Sunbury School of Music

Book Review: Saxophone Mouthpiece Selection
By Robert Scarff
Available from

With the right mouthpiece and reed combination a good player can make almost any good saxophone sound decent. Unfortunately there is no standard system for naming saxophone mouthpieces. Some brands use letters, some use numbers, and others use 'small', 'medium', and 'large'. Thankfully Robert Scarff's book provides a series of tables which enables a simple comparison between brands of saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces.

Metal saxophone mouthpieces give a brighter and louder sound than hard rubber or plastic, however, the difference is minor compared to the difference in sound that is contributed by the overall specifications both internal and external.

The aspects of a saxophone mouthpiece which can vary include:

  • The internal chamber size
  • The tip opening
  • The reed-facing curve
  • The side and tip rails

In summary, with a saxophone mouthpiece with a smaller chamber with a wider tip opening and a shorter facing, you will get a bright sound with more volume and an easier altisimo register suitable for rock, blues and modern jazz. Classical music and traditional jazz on the other hand, benefits from a larger internal chamber size, closer tip opening and longer facing curves which provide a quieter rounded tone that is easier to keep in tune.

This book should form an essential part of every saxophone players library.

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