Gear Review – Ted Klum London 8*

In May, I dropped my Sebastian Knox mouthpiece. As soon as it hit the floor in my office, I knew the tip had broken. I had played that mouthpiece for a couple of years in every situation, and although I had checked a few other mouthpieces out, it was my main mouthpiece. I had to figure out what my next mouthpiece would be.

For a few weeks, I played on a few different mouthpieces, including an Otto Link that Sebastian had opened up for me, an Otto Link Super Tone Master, and Vandoren V16 B7. There were elements of each piece that I liked, but none of them were quite right.

Finally, I decided that I needed a bit of guidance and called Jack Finucane at the Boston Sax Shop. He told me that he was getting a good response from bari players who were testing out Ted Klum’s London Model. After talking for a bit, I decided on an 8*. I normally don’t buy gear without trying, but Jack reassured me that if it didn’t work, that we’d “figure something out.”

I have since filled out my London Model collection.

The sound of this piece is what first caught me. It’s huge. I can drive it as hard as I need it and I still don’t feel like I’ve hit the end of the sound. That’s a characteristic that I like in a mouthpiece – I love it when I feel like I can give as much air as I want and the sound keeps developing. It also handles at low volumes. I have played mouthpieces in the past that I love playing at medium and top volumes, but when I wanted to pull the volume back, the mouthpiece seemed to give up on me. The London Model allows me to manipulate my sound at all levels just the way I like.

The mouthpiece is incredibly reed friendly. Here’s a list of reeds that I have used on it.

  • Gonzalez Local 627 #3 **
  • Boston Sax Shop #3.5
  • Légère Signature #2.5 or #2.75
  • D’Addario Royal #5
  • D’Addario Select Jazz 4M
  • Marca American Vintage #3.5
  • Hemke #4
  • LaVoz Hard

All of these reeds work beautifully for me and give me different sounds. In addition to these reeds giving me the sounds that I want, they also tune really well – something that has become increasingly more important the longer I spend anchoring big bands and horn sections.

**Disclaimer** I am a Gonzalez artist and endorse the 627 Jazz Reeds.

There have not been many gigs since March, but I have had two with this mouthpiece. The first was an outdoor big band gig with the Prime Rib Big Band and I loved how Ted’s piece allowed me to hear myself through the whole gig. It was also flexible enough to blend with the saxophones, or trombones, and projected well above the band when I played solos.

The second gig was a gig with my quintet, Richard Page’s Night On The Town Band, which will be released next month through GigSpace Live. I play lots of clarinet and bass clarinet in my band, and when I jumped over to the bari, the transition was really smooth.

I can’t wait to get it on gigs (when the gigs return) to see what it will do in live situations regularly, but from this small sample size and every day in my studio, I have no reason to think that it will respond any different than it has.

For me, the beak angle and shape of the mouthpiece is perfect for my playing position. I use a double-lip embouchure and I am picky about the way the beak feels. For the most part, I find hard rubber mouthpieces a little too big, and metal mouthpieces a little small. Having a mouthpiece this comfortable allows me to spend more time on the horn – which is always a great thing!

The only drawback for me (and it’s more of an inconvenience for me, personally) is the ligature fit for the mouthpiece. I have lots of ligatures and my Rovner ligatures (I use the Van Gogh) have no play – it still works, but it’s tightened all the way, Selmer 2-Screw for tenor is a hair too big and slides too low, my “standard” hard rubber tenor sax ligatures don’t quite fit the way I’d like them. I have an alto clarinet, and it’s lig fits perfectly, but there isn’t a lot of choice for that perfect fit. I have a few other ligatures to check out, but I haven’t been out at the music stores as frequently over the last few months. I’ll update this when I find something that I like.

This mouthpiece has given me some more freedom in my playing and I can’t see myself switching to any other mouthpiece in the near future.

Are you playing on your ideal mouthpiece? What is it?

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