(c)2007 Sax Reviews
Saxophone Accessories :: Johannes Gerber Mouthpieces
"Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece Quest"
With myself being a HUGE Michael Brecker fan, I eventually became a big fan of Dave Guardala's work, having purchased a custom Guardala tenor mouthpiece made to my specs around 1996 for $1,000.00 and a wait of 6 months. I thought my tenor sound was PERFECT with that particular mouthpiece, that was until Johannes Gerber made me a custom mouthpiece out of solid bronze.
I used to think the secret to a great tenor sound was having a really high baffle, and that's partly right. The Guardala I had (and since sold) had about the highest baffle he could make, and it was pretty long too - with a bullet drop-off into a medium chamber. I got the "bite" I was looking for, kinda like the "bite" Brecker gets with his tenor's sound. But, there was a TON of midrange that really seemed to sweeten my sound too much - I personally like more of a "bittersweet" sound on tenor - like Michael Brecker gets. Nice and crisp, wonderful bite and edge, then TONS of full low end. I'm not that crazy about midrange. And until I heard Johannes Gerber's MP3 of him playing a prototype of the Santee Bronze tenor model, I only heard those sonic characteristics when I heard Michael Brecker play (and yes, he sounds the same w/o a microphone, it's not "studio magic" that gets him his sound!).
Johannes Gerber MouthpiecesWhat Johannes Gerber and I experimented on is the baffle length and style of drop-off. We eventually went with a VERY high initial baffle that dropped off in a rounded fashion rather quickly. This reduced the midrange and allowed almost a Link-type sound, but also gave the bite of the really high baffled mouthpieces!
Marca Jazz ReedsThis Gerber mouthpiece was designed for use with Marca Jazz reeds and JGerber ligatures. The Marca Jazz also give plenty of bite and full lows. If I couldn't get Marca, I would probably try Vandoren ZZ, maybe Vandoren Java, LaVoz, and Superial reeds with this mouthpiece. But fortunately, Johannes is the South African distributor for Marca now! So it works out perfectly for me, I can hear all future mouthpieces with the reed of my choice during mouthpiece model development, and we can fine-tune our ideas to achieve the perfect mouthpieces :)
J Gerber Santee Bronze Tenor Mouthpiece
My current JGerber Santee Bronze tenor mouthpiece is in a .120" opening, but I'll eventually be moving up to a .128" and using Marca Jazz 3 or 3 1/2 reeds.
For more info on this Gerber tenor mouthpiece, and for info on the upcoming JG Santee Bronze alto and soprano mouthpieces, please visit www.jgerber.com.
For info on me, my music, and my book, please visit www.AaronSantee.com - God Bless. ><>
By Aaron Santee
Aaron Santee is a Saxophonist playing Jazz and Commercial Music Styles on Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone and EWI. Aaron Santee is also an educator and now author, with 2 books on Saxophone Playing Now Available. Saxophone - Everything Sax Players Should Know is hot off the press and covers the bases just as the title suggests. Hot off the press is a new book by Aaron Santee, Jazz Saxophone - Everything Jazz Sax Players Should Know; Available August 2005 from Aaron's Website.
SAXBOY Quick Note :: I have not played these Mouthpieces but have known of Mr. Gerber for some time now. I had the good fortune of buying a Tenor Mouthpiece Johannes worked and plated on an eBay auction. Gerber does amazing work and I jumped at a chance to buy this Tenor LD Dukoff 8* after seeing some amazing PICs online. 2 weeks later I had a beautiful Mouthpiece; the finest Dukoff I have ever seen. Funny thing was I got 3 emails from other US sax players interested but not too sure of ordering from South Africa. 2 of these guys offered to buy it if I did not like it for more than I paid for it. Johannes Gerber is amazing, has a touch of gold, and could be the Mouthpiece Guru of the 21st Century. I love his work and fine attention to detail. Go see for yourself, these mouthpieces are beautiful.
Gerber Mouthpiece Update March 2007A friend just received an Alto mouthpiece made by Gerber. He had requested an Sanborn sounding piece to be bright and pop/rock sounding. The piece Gerber sent was beautiful in every way. The workmanship is unmatched and the sound was just as requested. For me, it was too bright because I tend to be pretty bright on my own and my desired sound concept for Alto is darker and round, so this was not a great piece for me. But it was really nice. Even thru the registers, altissimo screaming and projection that made my Guardala seem tame. Gerber is a true mouthpiece Guru and I hope one day to get to order a traditional Alto and Tenor piece from Johannes Gerber. True confession from a sax player - I spend many a night looking at Gerber's pics online. His claims of art, far beyond basic manufacturing - They are true. Bless you Johannes and keep up the good work. Now available - a schedule page to keep you up on the progress of work being completed. J Gerber's got it all going on! The only down side - I don't care for the ligature he sells with the mouthpiece. It is pretty but really doesn't hold the reed on very well when trying to make any adjustments on the neck. I prefer a more standard lig like the new Harrison, Vandoren Optium, BG Metal Jazz or Selmer Paris Ligs.
REVIEW :: Jody Jazz DV Tenor Mouthpiece :: Shannon Kennedy
REVIEW :: Tenor Saxophone Comparison :: Aaron Santee
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