The question I asked myself over and over again when I decided to form my company and make my own mouthpiece line was:
“Is it possible to make ORIGINAL DESIGN mouthpieces that play better for me than the best playing vintage pieces that I’ve made a living buying, selling, and using for over 30 years?”.
I can positively answer that with a proud, “Yes”.
This is a very unique website to educate players, set up by an OVERLY passionate professional player, educator, mouthpiece expert, and vintage mouthpiece dealer for 34 years. I understand about sound and design– and what’s really going on out there in the saxophone world. This is NOT a website set up with just pictures of mouthpieces and price tags next to them. I have always helped to educate players and make a real difference in the saxophone mouthpiece world and this website continues that with a lot of great information for players of all levels.
I would like to preface my website by saying there are many mouthpieces out there, both vintage and modern, and I hope you all enjoy your own personal journeys finding which ones suit YOU the best.
Some like small chambers, while others prefer medium or large. Some like low baffles, while others like more medium or higher baffles. Some like scooped sidewalls while others like flat sidewalls. Some like lower floors, while others want medium or higher floors. Some like lower beaks, while others prefer medium height or higher beaks. These design preferences go on and on… 🙂
There are different flavors for everyone to enjoy, and that’s how it will always be.
There is NO “BEST” mouthpiece out there for everyone because we all enjoy different things.
10MFAN MOUTHPIECES: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SOUND!
My intention for designing my own mouthpiece line after 34 years of playing on and selling the finest vintage mouthpieces, was to learn from those designs and make what I consider to be better playing original design mouthpieces for myself and others seeking something new and fresh designs. I wanted to offer players today a truly REFRESHING alternative to the same old mouthpiece designs we have seen over and over again.
My deepest feelings are that saxophonists today deserve NEW MOUTHPIECE DESIGNS rather than all the copycats of vintage mouthpieces that are over-flooding the marketplace. Its the same old hype over and over again, about how somebody had the greatest model of this and that, and how they’re making the best copy from it. You know…somebody had 10 of the same model and some mouthpiece guy took all the “important” measurements from the best parts all of his greatest versions of some specific vintage mpc models to make some “holy grail” mouthpiece. Aren’t you tired of that hype??? …..I certainly am.
Listen, they had a good blowing vintage piece and they copied it…end of story. Nothing more than that.
LET ME TELL YOU WHATS IMPORTANT TO ME:
In the old days when a mouthpiece company offered you a new mouthpiece, they offered you a NEW design…not a copy of an existing model.
Look at the big 6 pioneers from 70 or so years ago—-Otto Link, Selmer, Brilhart, Meyer, Dukoff, and Berg Larsen.
These companies designed completely different mouthpieces than each other, and players really had a FULL selection of new ORIGINAL designs to choose from to get themselves the sound they desire.
I REALLY RESPECT THAT GREATLY, AND THAT HAS BEEN MY INSPIRATION FOR MY 10MFAN™ MOUTHPIECE LINE.
Today, a guy with no knowledge of mouthpiece design can get to a CNC machine, copy a vintage model, put a new shell for the outside with a new name on it, and voila, he is a “mouthpiece maker”.
Its so sad to see what has happened, and the same thing has happened with saxophone making also. Look at the big 5 saxophone makers over the last 80 or so years. The vintage Conns, Selmers, Bueschers, Martins, and Kings all offered players ORIGINALITY and a real difference in horns.
Here at 10mfan mouthpieces, we offer ORIGINAL DESIGNS for players today looking for an alternative to the same type of thing you see from one maker to the next. Designed by a 30+ year pro player, for players looking for super flexibility and versatility in fresh, new, ORIGINAL mouthpiece designs. Mouthpieces designed so that players DON’T sound the same. Mouthpieces that allow players to get their own unique sound without feeling like they sound like everyone else.
10mfan mouthpieces have become the mouthpiece choice for more than a couple thousand players all over the world who have been yearning for ORIGINALITY, superb craftsmanship, world class designs, incredible playability and sound. EVERY single mouthpiece plays as it was designed. There are no duds or mediocre pieces coming out of here. They all play perfect, and I take great pride in that. Eric Falcon hand finishes VERY single mouthpiece and we both play test them extensively.
Here at 10mfan mouthpieces we are truly focussed on making a difference in mouthpiece design. No gimmicky designs, no snake oil salesmen, no copies, no paid endorsers, AND NO BS.
I am very proud that 10mfan mouthpieces are all over the world, and being used and enjoyed by so many players of all different abilities, from heavyweights, all the way to players who play simply for fun. NO ONE IS PAID TO DO SO!
10MFAN NEWS FOR 2018: THE 10MFAN “CLASSIC” MODEL TENOR MOUTHPIECE AND HARD RUBBER ALTO MODELS ARE COMING OUT THIS YEAR!
I have been asked for a very specific thing from players since releasing my mouthpieces almost 5 years ago. It is for all the vintage mpc lovers who have asked me for a more focussed, centered, warm, full and powerful sounding mouthpiece that has power and depth to spare. It has a uniquely shaped big oval chamber with scooped out sidewalls and for me, is an amazing new opportunity for sound, than the vintage HR Links many of you cherish. (SLANT, RESO, AND EARLY BABBITTS). We will also offer brand new metal tenor pieces, and have the first alto hard rubber pieces out in the summer of 2018.
A heartfelt THANK YOU from 10mfan mouthpieces for all the incredible support! We strive for excellence and originality.
A little background on myself for those of you who don’t know me: I have been the biggest vintage mouthpiece dealer on the internet for 3 decades. I have made my entire living solely as a professional saxophone player, educator, and dealer of the finest vintage mouthpieces and saxophones for 30+ years. I am overly passionate about mouthpieces and I am a well-seasoned sax player. My day job has been the saxophone and my night job has been the saxophone. I sleep it, I live it, I LOVE IT!
I’ve had the opportunity to own more vintage mouthpieces than anyone on the planet, and having this collection of primo original vintage mouthpieces has challenged me to make what I consider to be phenomenal mouthpieces in terms of their flexibility, sound color options, etc, for players today.
I have been thrilled and inspired greatly by this challenge, because I have had a deep love for the vintage mouthpieces for over 3 decades. I can honestly and very proudly say that my 10MFAN™ mouthpieces were not going to be released until I firmly believed that they were the finest playing, most flexible tenor mouthpieces I have ever played in each of the 3 categories I put them in. Since these are completely NEW original designs, the mouthpieces had to pass the test of pleasing ME first, and then I knew they would be ready for release. I personally will NEVER play a vintage mouthpiece again, because there is simply no need. My 10MFAN mouthpieces are far better for me and allow me to sound the best I can sound. Will everyone feel that way?—of course not. that would be impossible. My goal was to please myself, and then I knew countless others would feel the same.
I couldn’t be happier with my 4 hard rubber bar stock tenor mouthpieces and I say this with immense passion and pride. I wanted players of all levels including pro players like myself, to have NEW mouthpiece options, ORIGINAL designs, and a simple categorical system to be able to pick the right mouthpiece for themselves.
THESE MOUTHPIECES ARE ALL COMPLETELY MADE IN THE U.S.A.
When I ventured into making my own mouthpieces, my goal was to make mouthpieces that I felt outplayed the absolute best vintage mouthpieces for me, in the 4 categories I set them up in, and to make them affordable for players today. It was an enormous undertaking, but something I felt was really necessary and immensely important for the saxophone world. The consistency from one piece to the next is remarkable. If you lose yours or drop it and break it, you will never have to worry about finding one that played as well as that one, because ALL of mine play with incredible accuracy. Unlike vintage mouthpieces you will find in the marketplace, there are NO bad playing 10MFAN mouthpieces coming from me.
In terms of “vintage” mouthpieces, you need to realize that our saxophone heroes played on those “vintage” pieces because those were the “modern” mouthpieces of THEIR day. Now the prices continue to get way out of hand for those and they’ve acquired a sort of mystical status, making it so difficult for players today to afford to own these pieces. While many of those original pieces can play very well…. SO MANY of them don’t. I know that if our sax heroes were alive today, many of them would be playing on my 10MFAN™ mouthpieces instead. Technology and human perseverance has come a long way in 70 years. My belief is to embrace with respect the past, and carve my own path for the present and future…something familiar, yet different with more flexibility. I want something new and refreshing for players today, including myself. I will always have a deep love and GREAT admiration for the vintage mouthpieces, and I can honestly say I have no need or interest whatsoever to play any vintage mouthpiece ever again—and those vintage mouthpieces are what I played on for my first 30+ years as a pro. I have played and owned a couple thousand vintage mouthpieces, so please don’t take these statements lightly.
An important goal for me was to make original designs that allowed players today a feel for the vintage sound and also allow for a modern vibe when and if they want or need that. Mouthpieces that could cross-over and sound authentic either way. I wanted players to have an opportunity to play mouthpieces with tons of flexibility in the availability of sound colors. It’s all about original designs. Copying vintage mouthpieces would NOT do this for me, so I got together with my friend and master mouthpiece maker Eric Falcon, to set forth on my personal journey to make hard rubber and metal tenor saxophone mouthpieces that cover the full spectrum, thus making choices very easy for players when choosing a mouthpiece for themselves. I will over time, add another mouthpiece option to each tenor category, offering players other options, so they have variety.
HOW THE 10MFAN MOUTHPIECES ARE MADE:
My mouthpieces are original proprietary designed saxophone mouthpieces and the designs are saved to the computer, then the pieces are milled on a state of the art 5-axis vertical mill. Each mouthpiece is then hand finished, balanced, and voiced one at a time by Eric Falcon. The hard rubber pieces are made from the absolute finest pure German BAR STOCK hard rubber. We use brass for our metal pieces. Each mouthpiece design was prototyped until I finally nailed what I wanted.
After 30 years of dealing with vintage and modern mouthpieces, I realized that no matter how good some of the vintage mouthpieces can be… so many players who play the same model mouthpiece have sounds that are so similar to one another. A player who plays a Berg, SOUNDS like he’s playing a Berg. A player playing a vintage rubber Link, SOUNDS like he’s playing a vintage rubber Link. Nothing wrong with that for some, but I wanted to make mouthpieces that had a beautiful balance, that did NOT get in the players way, and allowed the player to get THEIR own unique sound and not the sound of a particular vintage mouthpiece model. The other issue is the price that the vintage pieces have gotten to. They have gone into the stratosphere. That’s great for the value of my private collection, but not for the players or their wallets. Trust me, I have sold my share of crazy priced pieces for decades, so this was my chance to make my mark with new ORIGINAL designs at lower prices.
My 10MFAN™ mouthpieces are the first mouthpieces I have ever played that truly allow the player serious customization of sound through simple reed changes. Not just a little change, but ALOT. Reeds are your friends, and the better friends you become with them, the better you can make your sound all you want it to be for yourself. Dialing in what you want, comes from due diligence with trying many brands of reeds!
REEDS: LET’S TALK ABOUT REEDS A LITTLE HERE, AND THERE’S MORE TO READ ABOUT ON MY MOUTHPIECE SPECIFICS PAGE.
Your sound will never sound good with a bad reed. Reeds are the most important factor for getting a great sound. Mouthpiece choice would be second. It is imperative that you understand that you need to choose reeds for their strength, response that you desire, and their color options. By color options, I am talking about brightness and warmth. I will discuss this more in the MOUTHPIECE SPECIFICS SECTION of my website. Its very basic and simple stuff. Every player should get the reed size that fits their mouthpiece best for themselves, and then choose the reed brand which allows them the color and response they seek. This is with any mouthpiece.
If you put 5 different brand reeds on an old vintage hard rubber Link mouthpiece you’ll hear that the sound color doesn’t change much at all. Different brand reeds in the past with vintage mouthpieces have primarily been for us to get the size and response we want. Put 5 different brand reeds on my 10mfan™ mouthpieces, and you will hear the differences right away.
For example—- blue box Vandoren reeds will darken the sound alot, Lavoz give it warmth but less darks than the blue box, Rico Jazz Selects will give it more power and less darks than the first two, ZZ Vandorens will give it even more pop, buzz, and brights than the first 3, and Rigottis will make it sound way brighter and powerful than the the other 4 reeds.
You don’t need 5 different mouthpieces or a mouthpiece refacer to get you the colors you want—you just need to try different brand reeds with my mouthpieces and get the right category mpc to accommodate a huge spectrum of color for yourself.
The trick with reeds with my mouthpieces is to get the strength that fits your mouthpiece the best so that you can blow as hard as you want without the your palm keys shutting down, and allow the low end to play full or subtone easily. After you get a hard enough reed to allow these things to happen, then you find the brand that will give you the response and color you desire…..IT’S THAT SIMPLE.
A LITTLE EFFORT WILL GET YOU HUGE REWARDS!!!!!!
Many people are picking the model of mine that they want, and keeping a few different reed brands in their reed guard to accommodate different playing scenarios and needs. It’s that simple. This has truly been a labor of love, and much more difficult but much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. My entire heart and soul has gone into making these mouthpieces, so that players can finally get something that is TRULY unique and is priced much lower than the best vintage mouthpieces. I just felt like players deserved a break from all the over-priced mouthpieces out there. I sold loads of them and really felt it was time for a change. Those vintage mouthpieces are rare and limited as they are no longer being made, so they are priced high…but modern mouthpieces aren’t rare, so they don’t need to be priced so crazy, in my opinion.
I’ve sold a couple thousand vintage mouthpieces for the past 3 decades, and for me, the best of them aren’t better for me than my 10mfan™ original mouthpieces. Vintage pieces command such high prices, and frankly, their prices are certainly NOT always warranted by how the pieces actually play. Many of the vintage mouthpieces play well, and many out there are frankly lousy players. I promised myself to make mouthpieces that were what I considered to be the absolute best players for me, and offer them at a great price for everyone else, while making sure every single piece plays beautifully. You can see pristine 7* Slant Sig Otto Links listed for $1500, but I would personally rather have you playing on my pure hard rubber Robusto or Merlot models that I sell for $450,
My 4 10MFAN tenor mouthpiece models are original designs and made to give us all more options than what’s been available to us.
I feel strongly that it is about time we stop comparing every mouthpiece to the old vintage mouthpieces. If you have played an old Link for 40 years and thats the best mouthpiece you’ve ever played, enjoy it. There’s no need to change if you are content.
I will however challenge you to come and see what I’ve been up to. My mouthpieces aren’t stuffy or tubby and all are voiced wonderfully top to bottom.
New options are now available to players with my 10mfan™ mouthpiece line——Having been in the mouthpiece world for 30+ years, I can tell you that the bar has definitely been raised!
Countless players who have played on those vintage pieces for decades are now switching from their main piece to my 10mfan™ mouthpieces. You can use one for everything you do, or mix it up and use a couple to accommodate those particular playing scenarios you might encounter where you need something specific. I want to help put INDIVIDUALITY into sound. My 10mfan mouthpieces are truly mouthpieces that don’t get in your way, and actually let YOU sound like YOU. Mouthpieces that are so comfortable in the mouth that they allow you to forget about the mouthpiece while you’re playing, so you can just concentrate on the MUSIC being made— without worries about any mouthpiece issues. Mouthpieces that can sound vintage and modern depending on how you blow them and what you want to do with them. Listen to the hard rubber audios on my website of Jeff Rupert on my MERLOT model, then listen to Joel Frahm on the MERLOT model, then listen to Jay Thomas on my MERLOT, then listen to Ian Tordella, and then listen to David Wells on my Merlot model. You’d swear there were 5 different mouthpieces being played—but they’re not! Just 5 great players displaying some of the huge sound spectrum thats available in that one mouthpiece model. They all get their OWN unique sounds from the same mouthpiece model—that says so much about these mouthpieces. All 4 of my mouthpieces offer a huge sound spectrum within the 3 categories I set them up in.
The feedback has been spectacular. “A new standard in mouthpiece design” is what I keep hearing, and I am incredibly proud of that. Players of all levels all over the world are enjoying these mouthpieces. Look for the 3 white rings around the shank of my hard rubber mouthpieces when you are out seeing guys playing….these are popping up all over the world. They have been seen on The Voice, The Today Show, Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, The View, Letterman, and on countless tours with heavyweights including Blood, Sweat and Tears, Selena Gomez, Al Jarreau, Smokey Robinson, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, etc, etc……. You may have also seen jazz greats like Joel Frahm, Pharoah Sanders, Jan Garbarek, Jerry Bergonzi, Emanuele Cisi, Doug Webb, Jay Thomas, Antoine Roney, Ray Gelato, Dave O’Higgins, Doug Lawrence, David Mann, Max Ionata, Ivan Renta, Roger Manins, Ken Gioffre, Cristiano Giardini, Herve Letor, Marcelo Curumim, David Wells, and many more using their 10mfan™ mpc’s all over.
NO copy pieces, NO marketing BS, NO endorsers, NO overpricing.
Now doesn’t that sound refreshing!
A HEARTFELT THANK YOU TO THE BIG 6 ORIGINAL VINTAGE MOUTHPIECE MAKERS:
I pay homage and will be forever grateful to the BIG 6 vintage mouthpiece makers who started it all and set the mark for mouthpiece making:
MEYER BROS, OTTO LINK, BRILHART, BERG LARSEN, SELMER, AND DUKOFF. These companies made ORIGINAL mouthpieces that sounded unique and offered players a great variety of different designs and sound choices to choose from. These guys laid down the foundation for what makes a great saxophone mouthpiece, and I am forever grateful for their efforts. These designs are timeless but the demands on todays musicians welcome some new mouthpiece designs. It has been my vision to make ORIGINAL DESIGNS that sound and feel unique, embrace the past, and will accommodate todays players needs beyond the vintage mouthpieces.
MATERIALS AND HAND FINISHING:
My 10mfan™ mouthpieces are made from 100% PURE HARD RUBBER BAR STOCK from Germany and brass made here in the U.S.A. All of these are hand finished by master craftsman Eric Falcon. His work is incredibly accurate and exceptional. If I felt someone else could do a better job on my mouthpieces, I would be using them. I have spared no expense in making these mouthpieces just right. Eric and I find this German pure hard rubber bar stock to be the most resonant, and that’s what I want from my rubber mouthpieces. The brass has a beautiful ring to the sound and we hand finish and plate each mouthpiece until they are just right. 100% pure hard rubber bar stock is EXACTLY what I wanted for my hard rubber mouthpieces, because that is the best way to go to me. If you think the vintage rubber is better—I disagree.
When you play my mouthpieces, you’ll understand. My mouthpieces are NOT produced from anyone else’s pre-made blanks. These pieces are precision made and are incredibly accurate, and these are ORIGINAL proprietary designs, not copies of anything past or present. My mouthpieces and model names are trademark and copyright protected. They are made here in the U.S.A.
I know what my personal mouthpiece needs as a player have been for 30 years. My business has been to watch the mouthpiece marketplace carefully, and listen to what players needs are. I’ve been very fortunate to have owned the very best playing vintage pieces. I’ve played on them for 30 years because that’s what has been the best option available to me, in my opinion. Unfortunately, there are design limitations with all of these that we’ve gotten used to all these years. The problem is that vintage mouthpieces are what they are….THEY DON’T CHANGE. Don’t get me wrong—again, many are wonderful mouthpieces. Technological advances allow design adaptations to accommodate the needs of todays musicians. Let me explain about design limitations:
You can’t play an original vintage Dukoff Fluted Chamber tenor with a small chamber, a shorter table, narrower window, higher floor, higher beak, or a super high baffle. No, of course I’m not making anything like this—— These are just examples of design limitations. In other words, designs of vintage mouthpieces DO NOT change over time. They are what they are and that’s it. People are still playing the mouthpieces that were designed 50-70 years ago. Many of those are very good mouthpieces, but I certainly don’t want to be limited to their same old designs. Todays technology allows us to do so much more.
I won’t play any vintage mouthpieces ever again, because I truly enjoy my 10mfan™ mouthpiece line more. Many of you will enjoy them as much as I do, and that makes me very happy. If you enjoy your vintage pieces the best—thats OK too!
I have made mouthpieces here where the beaks feel incredibly comfortable, yet different than anything youve tried. All of my tables are extra long so you can line up a reed properly. The insides are masterfully designed, an abundance of ligatures fit these pieces very well, and the sounds are incredibly versatile to allow you to get YOUR sound. The baffles, floors, chambers, throat squeeze, etc, are different on all 3 of my mouthpieces. The pieces were designed one at a time to meet the desired sound concept for each of the 3 sound categories.
With todays computer technology, there are virtually NO limitations. Technology allows us to do things that the past mouthpiece makers could’t do, due to the technology available at that time. I was able to make pieces that embrace the past, but meet the needs of today’s players looking to get beyond the limitations of vintage mouthpieces. I have heard over and over again, “I love my piece in my living room, but when I go on the gig, I can barely hear myself. Then I blow harder to get louder, and my mouthpiece won’t take all the air I want to give it.” The world’s best players have said to me for decades that they wished their mouthpieces “opened up” and “released the sound” more when they’re blowing hard and blowing up high on the palm keys of the horn. Vintage hard rubber pieces stay pretty warm throughout the ranges and many players find they end up hitting a wall when they try and really push them. I have addressed all of this with my 10mfan™ mouthpieces.
Great players are commenting on the immense flexibility of my mouthpieces offer, and one of my clients said this: “10mfan mouthpieces—–The greatest Swiss Army Knife of mouthpieces”!
The 4 keys to a perfect 10mfan mouthpiece set-up:
1. Line the tip of the reed to the absolute tip of the mouthpiece without going over. We make our tip rails very thin for quicker response and faster articulation, so it’s imperative that the reed is lined up to the absolute tip of the mouthpiece. You should be doing this anyway with any mouthpiece.
2. Make sure the end of the reed is centered on the table….. I have taken the added care in making ALL of my 10mfan original mouthpieces with extra long tables so that you can make sure that the bottom of the reed is lined up perfectly side to side on the table.
3. Try out different ligatures to give you what you want. I made the tapers on my bodies a certain way so that 99% of the ligatures out there will fit my hard rubber mouthpieces well. As far as modern ligatures go, I enjoy the Rovner Platinum, Marc Jean, Ishimori, Absolute, Silverstein, Rico H, etc…
My metal mouthpieces come with a great Rovner star series ligature. It’s their thinnest ligature and it works great! Other ligs that players are enjoying include the Selmer 404, Rico H, Oleg, Saxxas, Ishimori, Silverstein, Marc Jean, etc…
4. My mouthpiece are incredibly reed friendly. You can dramatically change the degree of warmth and brightness of each of my mouthpieces with simple reed choices. Pick the right reed brand, size, and cut to get you the response and color YOU want from my mouthpieces. Don’t be afraid to try different sizes. Many players are happily finding that they can make all of my mouthpieces warmer or brighter with simple reed changes.
The saxophone reed comparison charts on the internet are a wonderful source to help you get zoned in on the correct size from one brand to the other. If you play on a Mark VI and your Robusto mouthpiece is perfect for you with a Rico Royal reed, but it sounds too warm on your Martin tenor with the Rico Royal reeds—just change to Rigotti, Queen, ZZ’s, V16’s, or Marca reeds. You’ll get more pop on your Martin with that set-up.
It’s that simple—it’s all about fine tuning with reeds to get you just what you want from your sound and set-up. Stop running to your refacer for simple warmth and brightness changes. Just learn to use your reeds correctly to your advantage.
I’m also a big fan of the Reedgeek tool, so check that out.
No, I am not paid to say that. Just passing on good, helpful, honest information.
*** INFORMATION ON CHOOSING THE RIGHT TIP OPENING FOR YOURSELF ***
MERLOT, THE CLASSIC, ROBUSTO, AND BLACK WIDOW MODEL TIP OPENING SUGGESTIONS:
1. If you play a lower or medium baffle mouthpiece and you enjoy the tip size you are using, you can get the same size you use now in either my Merlot, The Classic, Robusto, or Black Widow models. If you have always played a 7* and feel it’s perfect for you, then stay with my 7* tip. For more fatness and spread, you can go bigger in tip size, if you’d like.
THE BOSS MODEL TIP OPENING SUGGESTIONS:
With my high baffle Boss metal mpc, I highly recommend going up in tip opening.
1. If you already play on a high baffle mouthpiece in an 8* tip—you should order my 9 or 9* tip Boss. Don;t worry, its the right way to go—TRUST ME.
2. If you are playing on a low or medium baffle mouthpiece and you’re looking to get into the higher baffle BOSS piece, then I recommend definitely going up a full size. In other words, if you play a SLANT SIG lower baffle 7*, order my 8* Boss.