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Discussion Starter #1
So I recently acquired one of Phil's custom alto mouthpieces in a trade and thought I'd post my thoughts.

This is not my first time doing business with Phil, I play one of his customized Tone Edges on tenor and really love it, so I had fairly high expectations. Although as far as details... well I didn't really know what to expect, because frankly I hadn't really been on the hunt for an alto sax mouthpiece as I was quite happy with my Mouthpiece Cafe NY 6. Phil told me the general sonic concept of the mouthpiece was somewhere in between a Meyer and a Link, which was intriguing to me as I have always played meyer-style pieces on alto.

Anyway, I received it in the mail last wednesday so here's my review:


Long story short... it's great!

It came out of the package with some hard rubber dust still lingering which I thought was pretty cool. it kinda gave off that custom mouthpiece vibe. The workmanship is excellent... even rails/tip, matches up with my reeds, and just generally has a clean and simple look to it. It does have a slight imperfection in the table but Phil told me in advance that he considered it a "second" even though the mark doesn't affect playability or reed sealing.

Playing it was even better. I would describe it brightness-wise as being medium-bright, but very flexible. less bright than my Mouthpiece Cafe piece but rounder-sounding - I see what Phil meant when he said in between a Meyer and a Link. It has fatness, roundness and warmth in spades but it responds really well when pushed, and has a really nice *pop* to the articulation that I really love. It projects well and plays evenly through the full range of the horn. Most importantly, I really feel like I sound like *Me* on this mouthpiece. My ONLY complaint is that subtone in the low register is slightly more difficult than on my Mouthpiece Cafe NY, but then again I have never played an alto piece with subtone as easy as that one. Don't get me wrong, the subtone is there, lush and full etc. but it just takes a little more finesse. not a big deal at all.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that with everyone... Phil-Tone alto mouthpieces are great! I'm not ready to sell my Mouthpiece Cafe NY, I think it's slightly better as a lead alto piece because of it being slightly brighter and I do play a fair bit of lead alto, but I am definitely keeping this one.

If people want, I can post photos and soundclips later.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I made some clips of the mouthpieces today. I played a fast thing and a slow thing so you can kinda get the vibe of each mouthpiece well. The fast thing is a transcription of Bird's solo on "Dizzy Atmosphere" that I'm working on, and the slow thing is Isfahan.

Dizzy Atmosphere (Phil-Tone)

Dizzy Atmosphere (Mouthpiece Cafe NY)
Isfahan (Phil-Tone)
Isfahan (Mouthpiece Cafe NY)

Oh, and both mouthpieces are a "6" tip opening. I don't know the exact measurements but they feel basically the same to me in that regard. On each track I'm playing on a '47 Conn 6M with the same Vandoren Java Red 3 1/2 and Olegature.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Not much of difference to me. The cafe seems a little brighter but isn't that a matter of an other type of reed or so? You play good! Cheers
I agree that the cafe sounds a bit brighter (and louder, assuming all recording conditions were the same), but the articulation and response sounds cleaner to me on the phil-tone...They both sound like you though.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Not much of difference to me. The cafe seems a little brighter but isn't that a matter of an other type of reed or so? You play good! Cheers
thanks! regarding the reed, do you mean I could compensate for the difference in reed choice or that you think the reed may have made some of the difference?

Yeah I also found what the rest of you noticed - the Cafe piece is brighter and a bit louder, the Phil-Tone is a bit warmer and cleaner with regards to sound and articulation. I think it will probably blend really well in a section, although I don't think I would have problems doing lead stuff on it too - although the Cafe is probably more directly suited for that. Both are such great pieces, they are really a joy to play.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm mainly a tenor player and didn't test dozens of alto pieces but since I have a phil tone meyer I don't feel the need to go looking for another alto mpc, it just a great piece !
I haven't tried one of his Meyers but I bet they're great, if this piece and the rubber Link he did for my Tenor are anything to go on.
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Yes, I have one right now, will be writing up a review soon, along with his new tenor model....

- Saxaholic
 
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