About The Mouthpieces
Tenor HR ("Hard Rubber Profile"): Outer shape similar to an Otto Link hard rubber
or Selmer hard rubber piece.
Tenor SP ("Slim Profile"): Outer shape similar to a Link metal piece.
Alto: Similar to a Meyer hard rubber piece on the outside.
Philosophy: My motivation for making these mouthpieces comes
from being dissatisfied with the standard mouthpieces that I've tried over
my playing career of 30 years, and talking with so many other players who
have had similar experiences. Either they've been too expensive, had bad quality
control, bad designs, bad material, or combinations of all these. I take quality
control very seriously: If the rails aren't perfectly shaped, the mouthpiece
will be "reed-unfriendly" -- you'll have to find a reed that matches
the uneven rails of the mouthpiece.... which will usually result in one out
of a box of 10 reeds working well. I make my mouthpieces with rails that are
the same shape within .0003 inches of each other, which means more useful
reeds out of a box.
My designs are influenced by the sounds of Otto Links, Selmers, Dukoffs,
Berg Larsens, and Guardalas. My goal is to work with the styles that have
become standards in the sax mouthpiece industry. The models are based on designs
that have stood the test of time in many genres, from west coast cool jazz,
to powerful rock and roll, and everything in between... straight-ahead, fusion,
bop, all the sounds that today's player needs to bring to almost any gig situation.
Of course years of practice is a given, none of these are "chops in a
box." I have my concept of what it takes to get good at playing, but
I leave that to the past masters and today's teachers to get you there.
Delrin (acetal) material:
- FDA appproved for food contact -- no health concerns about epoxy baffles
or metal plating, no BPA
compounds as in other resin products like polycarbonate or epoxy
- Chemically very stable -- won't oxidize and give off bitter sulfur compounds
like hard rubber
- Extremely durable -- harder than hard rubber
- Musically resonant
- Used successfully in the highly regarded Lamberson mouthpieces
- Easy to clean with soap and warm water
Acrylic material: Used to be my main material but I phased
it out because it ended up being prone to chipping when dropped.
Do I think material makes a difference? Not to the listener,
but the vibration of the mouthpiece beak being conducted through your top
teeth and to your inner ear through bone conduction will vary depending on
the material, so that may or may not change how you feel about the sound.
That's a very personal thing. If you use a tooth pad on the beak, it will
muffle the vibration conducted through the top teeth, and this difference
will disappear, making most of that difference go away. This is all my opinion
of course. People have their own opinions about material which of course may
differ from mine. I have worked with mouthpieces from steel, to brass, to
rubber, to delrin, to ABS plastic (very cheap and soft, often used for cheap
band instrument cases), and my opinion remains that the geometry (rail size,
baffle dimensions, chamber size) is by far the most important factor for the
About The Maker (Ken Barry)
Music Engineering major at U. of Miami in 1985-86 (music major with electrical
engineering minor), studying saxophone under Gary Campbell (co-author of the
famous book "Patterns
for Jazz", Mike Brecker's roommate at U. of Indiana, and part of
the "loft scene" in NYC in the early 1970's). I was at UM on a classical
flute scholarship, although my soul was, and continues to be, drawn to tenor
sax. I graduated in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Studio Art from
Florida State University. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Penn Valley
Community College in 1992-93, getting about 60 credit hours there, maintaining
a 3.8 grade point average, before getting jobs playing music and doing 3D
computer-based modeling for architectural companies using Autodesk 3D Studio
Playing experience: I've played lead alto in the Florida
State University 1st Jazz Band in 1987-88, played bari sax in the "Dolphins
Band" (a big band that played in the Orange Bowl end zone during Miami
Dolphins games) in 1984 along with past members of the Stan Kenton band, played
principal flute in the Broward Community College Youth Symphony in 1983-84,
and studied Shakuhachi (Japanese traditional flute) and the Yamaha WX7 MIDI
Wind Controller at Florida State University, as well as programming the Yamaha
VL1-m Virtual Acoustic synthesizer in 1995-97 and the Nord Micro Modular synthesizer
from 2003 to the present.
After having played in the Miami, Kansas City, and North New Jersey scenes
for 30 years, I kept being frustrated by the inconsistency with mouthpieces
that you'd find in the local music stores..... try out 10 of them and maybe
one would work for you. My courses in engineering gave me some of the intuition
and technical chops I needed to analyze exactly what was going on, as far
as reed movement and air flow and resonance, and that would become important
as I got further into the world of mouthpiece making. I am applying these
physics principles now in these mouthpieces, where I give the required attention
to the tip curve, the tip opening, the facing curve, the rail shapes, and
the baffle shapes. I know that when I make a piece, it will be easy to play,
give you a good dynamic range from a whisper to a shout, be reed friendly,
and be easy to get in tune with your horn. Within the Saxscape brand, I've
come up with a half dozen or so tenor styles, because different players need
different types of pieces (Stan Getz and Lenny Pickett would need far different
mouthpiece designs!). I've got so far about 4 alto styles, and I haven't gotten
started yet with soprano and bari...... but I've played both of those professionally
so it is just a matter of having enough time and getting the correct tooling
fabricated to be able to cut the right shapes on my machinery.
Musical Influences: John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Cannonball
Adderly, Don Myrick, Phil Woods, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Bob Sheppard,
Rich Perry, Kenny Brooks, Jim Gailloreto, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter, Ira
Sullivan, Bob Franceschini, Gary Campbell, Jan Garbarek, Artt Frank, Chet
Baker, John Abercrombie, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Joe
Zawinul, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Krantz, and Keith Carlock.
My favorite players, the ones I personally aspire to sound like, are John
Coltrane and Rich Perry on tenor, and Cannonball, Don Myrick, and David Sanborn
Mouthpiece Concept Influences: Frank Wells, Bob Carpenter,
Jon Van Wie, Ted Klum, Theo Wanne, Fred Lamberson, Ron Coelho, Bobby Dukoff,
Wolfe Tayne, Dave Guardala, Otto Link, Frank Meyer, Freddie Gregory.
Horn Preferences: Selmer Mark VI, Super Balanced Action,
or modern horns based on those designs.
Chief Consultant and Endorser: Nick Franciosa. Nick was
the chief horn evaluator for Dave Guardala back when Dave was doing the hand
finishing on his mouthpieces, and selected Guardala horns for Branford Marsalis
and Tom Scott. Nick studied saxophone with Bob Berg and Steve Grossman, and
currently plays gigs in the NYC area. He is a great perfectionistic sax technician
and player in his own right.