Saxophones are popular in various music formats, including concert bands, chamber music ensembles, as solo instruments, marching and military bands, jazz and rock bands and modern pop recordings. A proper saxophone mouthpiece is needed to play the saxophone to its full potential.
Because the saxophone is such a popular instrument, it makes perfect sense that there are plenty of mouthpiece options to choose from on the market. With such a wide variety of mouthpieces, knowing the top brands is useful.
Of course, the brand is far from the most important aspect, though it's still worth considering for general knowledge and judgment. In this article, I'll share my take on the top saxophone mouthpiece brands.
Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Performance of the saxophone mouthpieces
- Longevity of the saxophone mouthpieces
- Variety of saxophone mouthpieces available
- Accessibility of the saxophone mouthpieces (how easy they are to find/buy)
- The company must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let's list out the brands.
The Top 10 Best Saxophone Mouthpiece Brands Are:
Let's detail each of these brands and explain why they belong in the top 10 best saxophone mouthpiece brands. I'll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable mouthpiece, and a link to their official website.
Meyer is a company with a reputation in the world of mouthpieces for making some of the finest mouthpieces ever made, especially in the 1948 to 1970 era. This is because the company used precious and semi-precious metals in the construction before moving to crystallite and the highest-quality hard rubber on the market.
By 1971, JJ Babbitt, one of the world's oldest, most important mouthpiece manufacturers, acquired the company and kept the structure intact, stamping the iconic “Meyer New York” mouthpiece with the original name and brand.
Try one today and feel the difference a century of experience does to a mouthpiece.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Meyer New York Alto
This is the 100th-anniversary model released by JJ Babbitt to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Meyer's most iconic model to date. It was revived in all its glory, allowing players the playability and control no other free-blowing mouthpiece enables.
Moreover, it is the perfect mouthpiece for students, seasoned players, and professionals to sound amazing without sacrificing power or control. Try on today to understand what Meyer's reputation is based on.
After working for WS Haynes, Otto Link and Frank Meyer opened their first retail and repair store in 1922. By 1931, Otto Link delivered the Master Link mouthpiece to the world, revolutionizing how saxophone players approach the instrument.
Later on, the Four Star model (1935) and the Slant Signature NY (1936) established the company as the go-to option for professional musicians in the New York circuit of the era.
JJ Babbitt bought Otto Link Mouthpieces in 1977. Nowadays, the company still manufactures every mouthpiece completely by hand, respecting the specs and processes that made them world-famous during the 1940s.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Otto Link TOLM-8# Super Tone Master
Finished with 24K gold, this is one of the finest mouthpieces being made in the world today. Moreover, the Otto Link metal tenor sax mouthpiece has been the go-to option for professionals worldwide looking for that dark, rich, warm tone.
Furthermore, most players who swear by these mouthpieces refer to them as an “extra something” they can't find in any other brand. If you want to take your performance to the next level and want to try a piece of musical history with your favourite saxophone, this is a perfect choice.
Syos is an acronym that stands for Shape Your Own Sound. This name comes from a revolutionary approach that blends cutting-edge technology with high studies in acoustics by the company's owners. Regarding this, Maxime is an expert in auditory perception, while Pauline is a specialist in wind instrument acoustics.
Syos is the next step in mouthpieces not only because their 3D printing techniques allow them to achieve unparalleled precision but also because the material used for the mouthpieces, called SCAL3D, was developed by Syos in its Paris labs. This material delivers top-notch acoustics while being durable and compatible with the 3D printing process.
If you want to blow through the future in mouthpieces, try a Syos today.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Syos Smoky
Syos offers three lines of mouthpieces designed by company experts. The smoky line is the darkest sounding of them, offering players a warm, ample sound that can easily work in blues and jazz settings.
These are available for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophone and are made using the company's exclusive cutting-edge technology, achieving uncanny precision and a unique sound. Finally, the large chamber and low baffle make them easy to play as well.
Berg Larsen was an accomplished professional musician who had played with some of the most prominent artists of his time. Also, he made reeds for fellow musicians and himself in his spare time. It was in 1945 that he created his first ebonite model, which became very popular among professional musicians. Later on, the same model turned into stainless steel for an increased life span.
Although Berg passed away in 1972, the company continues to honour his name, crafting the highest-quality mouthpieces that require ten machining processes to complete and that are also hand-finished one by one before going through a thorough quality control process.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Berg Larsen Bullet
This mouthpiece, available in bronze and stainless steel, is perfect for musicians who need to excel in live performances and also perform in the studio. This is because this is a free-blowing mouthpiece with great volume and edge.
Furthermore, it can be requested in a variety of tip openings and tonal chambers. Finally, every Berg Larsen mouthpiece comes with the original ligature and cap.
Brancher is a revolutionary brand offering the first-ever mouthpieces CNC machined from bar stock in their entirety. This means none of the mouthpieces sold by Brancher go through any kind of moulding in the process.
Moreover, Brancher mouthpieces are well-known for being manufactured to extreme precision standards. These standards offer uncanny power and allow players more power while making it easier to play in every register.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Brancher Alto L Ebony Wood
After carefully handpicking the densest ebony from Africa and drying it for over 10 years, these mouthpieces are engineered to perfection by the Brancher experts.
Moreover, the material offers compactness and harmonics to the sound making it as unique as it is powerful.
The “L” in the title stands for “Loud,” which is the most common way players describe this mouthpiece. Finally, this mouthpiece offers maintenance-free stability due to the long drying process.
Bobby Dukoff was, first and foremost, one of the most remarkable saxophone players of his generation. He worked with legends the size of Frank Sinatra, among many others.
Moreover, as he was making his mouthpieces, he got a solo artist contract with RCA and became a sound engineer recording with legends the size of Charlie Parker.
This thorough understanding of sound from a player, manufacturer, and recording perspective allowed Bobby to fine-tune his designs and create outstanding mouthpieces.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Dukoff Tenors X (link to check the price at Dukoff)
This mouthpiece by Dukoff is the darkest and warmest model in the company's catalogue, offering the perfect tone for those who want to blend in with an ensemble setting. Furthermore, this mouthpiece also offers the widest open projection of all the models in the company's catalogue.
That being said, the chamber and baffle are designed to enhance focused projection and give the sound a particular colour full of deep and rich overtones.
Vandoren is a synonym for excellence in the world of brass and woodwind instruments. This is the result of over eleven decades of relentless commitment to excellence.
Moreover, this family-owned company is currently run by the fourth generation of Van Dorens trying to make it grow and expand its scope to the rest of the planet.
Speaking of which, Vandoren's growth has been as huge inside France as outside of the country, and as a result, the company currently exports 90% of its production to over 100 countries around the globe.
Finally, Vandoren products aren't only a synonym for excellence and performance but also reliability, power, tone, and innovation. If you haven't already, try a Vandoren mouthpiece today and blow through a century of tradition.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Vandoren Jumbo Java
These are the hardest-hitting mouthpieces designed and manufactured by Vandoren. The combination of a very high baffle and a large bore with a small chamber makes this an utterly powerful and aggressive mouthpiece ready to project the tone to the last member of the audience.
Furthermore, it is hard to believe this is not a metal mouthpiece since this model provides the same edge and projection those mouthpieces do but adds warmth and low end to the resulting sound.
Finally, these mouthpieces are available in a plethora of sizes and openings to accommodate all players.
Jody Espina, the company's founder, CEO, and designer, is a professional saxophone player and jazz educator in the never-ending quest to find the perfect mouthpiece. In that search, he met Santy Runyon, a legendary mouthpiece maker and saxophonist. He made Jody the best mouthpiece he had ever tried, and so they decided to join forces and make a line of outstanding mouthpieces.
Therefore, with the help of Santy's factory staff and the directions of Jody's privileged ears, the company is the proud owner of an uncanny catalogue offering players around the world the best mouthpieces in the market. If you want to blow through the perfect mouthpiece, you must try a JodyJazz today.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: JodyJazz DV Alto
Finished in stunning 24K gold, this mouthpiece is not only beautiful-looking but also an effortless player capable of powerful sounds. Indeed, the company set out to achieve three goals with this mouthpiece:
- To create the most efficient mouthpiece design in the market. This design privileges the appearance of natural harmonics and favours uncanny projection, making this a powerful and colourful mouthpiece.
- Get rid of alto saxophone shrillness. Usually, alto saxophones are associated with a shrill high-end that might annoy players and audiences alike. Therefore, this mouthpiece retains overtone harmonics while delivering consistent, focused sounds.
- Enhance the instrument's low-end and midrange. Alto saxophones don't generate sound in the lower registers and are often associated with high frequencies. With this mouthpiece, a fat midrange and powerful low-end appear magically in every blowing effort.
If you want to blow through the future in alto saxophone mouthpieces, this is the perfect mouthpiece.
Yamaha is currently one of the largest corporations in the world, offering a catalogue with thousands of products that range from some of the finest musical instruments in the world to high-end motorcycles that have competed in the most demanding circuits.
Why is this important? Well, because Yamaha's commitment to excellence shines through the most complex high-end motorcycle engine all the way to the smallest musical instrument accessory.
As a result, every time you buy a Yamaha product, you're buying a piece of history representing the best of Japanese precision.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Yamaha Custom Series
Sculpted out of ebonite, every mouthpiece in this series is the perfect blend of the warmth, and deep resonance wood can offer with the durability of hard rubber.
Moreover, Yamaha's experienced artisans are present in every step of the process, from sculpting the blank pieces to crafting the facing.
Finally, Yamaha's Custom Series offers the players uncanny playability and intonation along with a rich, warm tone that exudes exceptional clarity in every note.
Beechler is a company dedicated to creating the best mouthpieces for professional musicians. This has been the company's main goal for over 7 decades of existence.
As a result, the research and development department has developed different models that can expand the instrument's tonal palette while delivering effortless power night after night.
Moreover, the word professionals use to describe it is often “personality” since that is what the combination of state-of-the-art machinery and traditional hand-finishing techniques give to each creation by Beechler.
Finally, since these are professional-oriented mouthpieces, they are tested by in-house professional musicians one by one to ensure consistency and excellence in every product representing the brand worldwide.
Trying a Beechler mouthpiece is a must if you are serious about your sax playing.
Notable saxophone mouthpiece: Beechler Diamond Mouthpieces
The combination of hard rubber with cutting-edge plastic technology makes the Diamond series the first step into a new era of mouthpieces. The one-of-a-kind material blend allows the player to utilize the entire dynamic range of the instrument like never before.
Moreover, the company offers mouthpieces in three distinct bore sizes to accommodate all players. These go from small to large, offering a powerful, brilliant sound rich in overtones with increasing projection and low end.
Finally, the Diamond series offers the player effortless power with nuances and complexity, making every note a layered, almost 3D experience.
- Theo Wanna