Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,580 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Happy New Year everyone!

This is going to be kind of a long post, so my apologies in advance. However, I feel it's important to get the word out about Matt and his work. Like many of you here, I have bought/sold/traded probably a few dozen mouthpieces over the years trying to find "the one". Over that time, I have had some great pieces, some that were just ok, and a few that were absolute dogs (for me). I have bought mouthpieces new only a very few times in my life, and while they were all solid pieces they were "off the shelf" or "ready made" pieces.

About a year ago I had traded for a Marantz Florida Legacy from a member here, and absolutely LOVED the tone I got out of it, but found it very resistant for me so I ended up selling or trading it for something else (I don't remember what). On Facebook recently, I saw that Matt made a Slant Legacy for Melissa Aldana and I had an idea. Would Matt be willing to work with me to custom-make a FL Legacy for me, that would check all the boxes? I messaged him on Facebook and asked, he gave me his number, I gave him a call.

We talked for 45 minutes or so, great guy, at the end of the conversation he said he would be willing to give it a shot. Here's what he agreed to do:

He would make a piece, with my goals in mind, play-test it, and send it to me unplated. Once I had it, I would give it time (a few weeks, a few months, whatever) to make sure it is what I want it to be. If there is something about it that I'd like tweaked, I could send it back and he would make the adjustment then send it back (postage all paid by me of course). So I sent him the money and waited. I received the piece on Saturday, 12/22/18.

Here is essentially what I asked for:

Basically, a piece that took the best of every other piece I've ever owned, and ignored the worst parts of those same pieces. More than anything, I needed that Link "hollow" thing. Very important to me. Also, a piece that was easy to play, but not incredibly free-blowing (like a Jody Jazz or Theo Wanne would be). As an example, I had a piece that had the good kind of resistance in the upper register but anything below low F was a nightmare to play because it was just too resistant. If I went to a softer reed to help with that, there went the upper register. I wanted a piece that would give me a consistent feeling resistance through the range of the horn. I wanted something medium to medium-dark on the tonal spectrum. Something with a little focus, didn't want spread. We talked about how I'd had one of his pieces before and found it to be too resistant. Could've been requested that way by whoever originally ordered it, who knows?

I know what I was asking for was going to be hard to produce because, what do those terms actually MEAN to each individual person?

He sent me videos of the piece of him play-testing it. If you don't know Matt, he's a great player, and they sounded amazing of course, though a little brighter than I necessarily wanted them to be. Again, I wasn't worried as I'd get to tweak it if I found it to be too bright.

Turns out, he blows brighter than I do. And yes, I sound "like me" on it. The thing is though, so far, he has nailed everything I've asked for on this piece. The playability up and down the horn is right where I wanted it to be, I can whisper low Bb and no issues with altissimo (etc). The Link "hollow thing" is there. It's incredibly responsive and articulates cleanly/as fast as I can tongue.

I guess my point is, instead of buying 2nd hand on the market and hoping the next piece would be the one, I figured I would just try to find a craftsman who wouldn't mind working with me to get there and I think it worked. Something to think about. If any of you are in the market for a Florida Link style piece, I would really urge you to reach out to Matt. His pieces aren't the cheapest out there, but the finished product reflects that.

I will do my best to record something this week to add to this post, and post a few pictures as well.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,073 Posts
I love seeing this. Matt is an extremely nice dude, a world-class musician, and he's making some of the best mouthpieces around at the moment. He also has a cat named Allan Holdsworth who is extremely badass and worthy of mention.

I've been playing alto and tenor pieces Matt finished since the middle of last year and they're the best I've ever had (and I've had very good ones that are now backups). If you have money to spend on a high-end mouthpiece, Matt's gonna give you unbeatable results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,034 Posts
I’ve yet to see a new mouthpiece that truly captures the vintage Link tip design. There’s a certain flatness at the tip and where the tip rail meets the side rail that must be hard to duplicate.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
482 Posts
I’ve yet to see a new mouthpiece that truly captures the vintage Link tip design. There’s a certain flatness at the tip and where the tip rail meets the side rail that must be hard to duplicate.
Does the tip design have much of an impact on how a piece plays (beyond ensuring a good seal)? I would assume after all these years that today's craftsmen can improve upon the old designs.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
7,356 Posts
Does the tip design have much of an impact on how a piece plays (beyond ensuring a good seal)? I would assume after all these years that today's craftsmen can improve upon the old designs.
Thickness definitely does for sure. I also think the overall shape helps dictates which reeds would work better too.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
482 Posts
Matt's a great guy and has refaced several of my favorite pieces. His work is amazing. If one had a clear idea of the characteristics of the piece one wanted, working with someone like Matt seems (over the long run) to be a more economical option compared to buying/trying lots of pieces.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,263 Posts
Hi Buddy Lee,

Thanks so much for your order and for posting about your experiences. I'm happy to hear that you and some others have had good experiences with my shop! I aim to please, so it's nice to hear.

I do offer custom work on just about any mouthpiece, including my own. This example in particular is a great point for showing why it really helps if the client has a clear idea about what he wants out of a project, and especially if they are able to communicate it clearly in terms of what they need. The success rate goes up exponentially if a client knows what they would like and are able to communicate it in a way that the maker can use to meet their sound & response goals.

I also have a recipe for orders that are ordered "blindly", i.e. orders that just come in through my website with no instructions attached except tip size. That is actually a table, rails, curve, & tip work formula I've come up with for these pieces that seems to work best for most players including myself. I find that many, many players prefer them that way, but when someone comes in with a request for one of my pieces to behave a certain way that differs from my generic formula, I am more than happy to try and accommodate their requests.

I have spent a lot of time trying all sorts of tip shapes, curve shapes, tip flares, baffle profiles, rail widths, etc. on sax mouthpieces. In all that r&d, I've learned a lot about what you can do to a mouthpiece to make it behave any number of different ways. If someone wants a dark sound with a super focused low end that likes a soft reed, there's something you can do to achieve that. Likewise, if someone wants a bright sound with a super free blowing low end & screaming altissimo on a facing they can pair with a harder reed, there's something you can do that will achieve that goal, as well as many others.

In this case I was definitely aiming to please this client's particular requests by doing something on the piece that made sense for his sound & response goals. I'm happy to hear that it worked.

All that being said, as was even indicated in the OP's post, this is all a reason why it's tough to strike gold on the secondhand market. The chances that you're buying something secondhand that was customized for some other individual player's sound & response goals are very high, and they may not align with your own. That makes it tough to judge someone's work secondhand, and it also makes it harder to find exactly what you're looking for. So to sum it up, I'm happy to try and meet anyone's goals on one of my models within reason, and there's plenty of flexibility in the parameters of a facing curve to achieve different types of results.

Cheers,
Matt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,034 Posts
The Double Ring tip is unique but I actually prefer Early Babbitt with the nice pronounced baffle and thin rails.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top