Saxophone Forum


by cwhiley
(25 posts)
10 years ago

Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

I have owned a new Keilwerth SX90R tenor since about August and haven't found many mouthpieces I like on it. I have tried a Rovner Deep V8, a Selmer Jazz metal, and an old vintage Brilhart 8* (this Brilhart was my favorite on my old Beuscher I used to play) . The first two I mentioned were too bight and nasty sounding. The Brilhart is not bad but its very hard to play high F and F#. Anyone have one of these horns have any advice? Thanks!

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  1. by mcorrea
    (25 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

    A short answer would be Morgan mouthpieces...they're very reasonably priced ($130 or so) for such a well-crafted piece. I play them now and they do the job, no excuses. definitely not bright-sounding pieces, though they can be pushed. but if you want a more detailed answer, please write back telling me how long you've played, what style of music you play, what tenor players' sound(s) you like, and if you have any preference for metal vs. rubber. I've done a lot of research on Keilwerths and mouthpieces and read a lot of opinions on them, and I could probably help you find something that would fit you as a player better.

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    1. by cwhiley
      (25 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

      I've heard the same advice from others and I am leaning that direction....the Morgans that is. I've played for about 13 years but I'm not all that. I just can't ever get enough time to practice as I want being a full-time day job guy . Also, I'm devoting a LOT of time to my EWI work. As far as styles go I mostly play in rock/fusion/funk bar band type of things. That contradicts me not wanting to sound so bright and nasty, but it's just not the way I play. What tenor players sound do I like? Hmmmm....Bob Mitzner, Pharoah Sanders, Michael Brecker, Trane are on my short list. I've always thought I could never get the sound I want from rubber. I've always thought rubber can never project like metal, always thought it was a quasi-jazz mouthpiece if its rubber, but I'm probably wrong on that one. The Ralph Morgans, what are they constructed from? The professional ones geared towards jazz that is....like the Morgan JAzz and the Excalibur. I've been looking at the Morgan Jazz in about a 2 chamber with maybe an 8 facing. I think the Excalibur is a little extreme for my taste, but who knows. Thanks for the help!!!

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      1. by mcorrea
        (25 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

        the Morgans are made from very high-quality rubber (different from many modern "rubber" mouthpieces which have a lot of plastic in them which "nasals" the sound, IMO). they can be loud and full but not necessarily THE MOST powerful mouthpieces out there. but they work, and they are flexible, meaning you can play dark and mellow or bright on them, and anything in between, depending on the reed you use and how you shape your airstream. the Jazz 8L I play usually gives me a darker 60's-Blue Note kind of vibe, but on the occasions where I've played it with bands that have amplified instruments and louder drums, it still gave me the "edge" I needed. Now, I don't know what you mean by "2" chamber...he's got two chambers...Medium and Large. The large are the ones they advertise for more traditional jazz and the mediums are advertised for the more contemporary edge, so you might want to try the medium first. Check www.junkdude.com the best place to go for Morgans. NOW, another thing to throw out there...I've heard good things about Ponzol mouthpieces and how they match up with keilwerth saxophones. Peter Ponzol used to have a business partnership with keilwerth, and the predecessor to the SX90R was called the "Peter Ponzol Model", go figure. he has a model called the M2 Plus, which is supposed to match up especially well with Keilwerths to help "center the sound" as he puts it. It's a little more cash than the Morgan, I think it costs $275 on WWBW.com, but this might be exactly what you're looking for...a full sound but one that works well in that rock/fusion/amplified setting. The thing to realize about the Keilwerths is that they have a larger bore and bell than selmers, yamahas, etc. they are more patterned after old conns, kings, etc. very powerful, but a different animal. usually, people say for this kind of sax, you want a large-chamber, low-baffle mouthpiece to help enhance the core characteristic of the sound, the Dexter Gordon thing. this is where I'm coming at it from, also because I can brighten up my sound on my own with my embouchure and airstream if I want. but others say it's good to have small to medium chambered pieces with high baffles, to help balance out the sound with more high harmonics. ultimately, it's what you like, and the sound is up to you...what you hear in your head and how you blow the sax are a much bigger variable than any set-up. so try those for a while, there are so many different facings, models, chamber sizes, etc., of the above mentioned brands, that you should find something decent enough to then shape your sound off of. and one more thing? have you checked out Ernie Watts? He has the vibe of those players you mentioned above...what I consider a "bright but still warm" sound. beautiful tone. he plays Keilwerth, on an otto Link with a HUGE opening (.160!!!) and added a huge baffle to it. HUGE sound. the Morgans don't have a lot of baffle in them, this, more than the rubber/metal thing, is going to be the biggest difference between them and the Ponzols. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

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        1. by cwhiley
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          Wow, thanks for the gob of advice! I have heard of the Ponzols. And the M2 Plus is supposed to be the perfect match for the Keilwerth's and the predecessor to the SX90R. I've got the nickel silver SX90R by the way. I might have to wait a bit, that sucker is expensive, $275 is no small chunk of change for a mouthpiece. And yes, I forgot the Morgans are medium or large. They don't number their chambers. I agree, I think the Morgan Medium would be a good choice. As far as facing though I'm a little baffled. I'm used to a Brilhart 8. Although as I've recently learned, facing sizes are completely arbitrary from one manufacturer to the next. I've got a few comparison charts to look at so I've got to see what compares to this Brilhart 8 as I do like the way it responds. Funny you should mention the Otto Link Ernie Watts plays. I'm not familiar with his playing but I Was considering the standard jazz metal (non New York husky) model with a 7 facing, since according to what I think I saw on this comparison chart, their 7 facing is about like a Brilhart 8. So, I think I've got it narrowed down to three to shoot for.... (in order of financial viability!) 1) Ralph Morgan 8M (8 medium) 2) Peter Ponzol M2+ 3) Otto Link Metal (there's a 7 and a 7* What's the difference?) Thanks!

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        2. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          it's all about the actual size of the mouthpiece. mouthpieces are measured in thousands or a millimieter(or is it inch? I'm not sure...) anyway a 7 Otto Link is a .100, which is a medium-ish opening for jazz/funk/etc. a 7* would be a .105. but different brands number their facings differently, e.g. a Morgan 8 measures .100, or the same as an Otto Link 7. Ponzol is nice enough to number them by size-.100, .110, .120, etc. a bigger opening has some advantages--it can be louder, you can shape the notes differently, etc., but you have to have the airstream and embouchure for it otherwise you'll be in trouble. but you can get a huge sound of a .100 if you work at it. BTW, what kind of reeds do you play? this can be very important, and much less expensive than a mouthpiece change.

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        3. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          mcorrea you are a pluthera of knowledge. cwhiley, I have a Kielwerth SX90 Tenor in Black Nickle and use an Otto Link 7 STM ( super tone master) metal with 2.5 vandoren zz reeds. From the reading on this forum and independent research, that seems to be a common set up. For me I LOVE IT. Low tones blow smooth and altissimo notes are clear and in pitch, depending on your chops. F and F#, no problem with that setup. Thats me though, ottos are about $119.00. Not much for a great setup IMOP. Good luck

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        4. by cwhiley
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          Thanks for the info on the tip sizes. The Brilhart 8*, which is what I play on currently and I REALLY like it except for the upper, non altissimo range of F anf F#. It compares tip size wise to a Morgan 8 and a Otto 7, according to the comparison chart I found on Steve Goodson's sax gourmet site. As far as reeds I use LaVoz med-soft. I've used Vandoren Java #2.5-#3 and V16's #2.5-#3in the past but LaVoz became my new favorite a couple years ago, with the Vandoren Java's coming in 2nd place.

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        5. by cwhiley
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          I should mention also that this Brilhart is vintage, and I Don't think the Level Aire's they make today are the same. This thing is at least 25 if not much older. I'm not really sure. Not only am I not crazy about its performance on my new horn but the bite marks are so severe it really needs replacement, and I'd like to explore other options.

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        6. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          that's cool...all of those brands of reeds are popular for the kind of music you're playing. if when you get the new mouthpiece you find you're still having trouble with your highs, you might want to go up to a medium. but try a new mouthpiece first. i don't know much about brilharts except that they were good a long time ago and supposedly great for alto, but one of the above options, as well as a good Link as someguy says (keep in mind that they can be inconsistent) should suit the kind of music you play more.

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        7. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice

          I must have been lucky. Chech out www.mouthpieceheaven.com. Lots of really good options and you could get a custom link from them. Never done business with them myself, but have corresponded with them and they seem to be legit. You have plenty of options and sometimes less is more. Just go to your local music store and try out different ones. Dont forget, have fun and try to see the limits of your air and the piece. I guarranty the horn wont be the problem, you got a bute.

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        8. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          While we are talking about Kielwerth horns, does anyone know if there is any noticable difference in sound between the SX90 and SX90R tenors. I know the tone holes are different, but is there really any diference than that? The horns need to be the same finish.

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        9. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          someguy is right...if you can go to a music store and try a bunch of Links, you might be able to find a real winner. Links are THE classic tenor piece, and so many different sounds have been produced on a Link. I'm jonesing to find a good link, but where I live there are none to try. I'd like to get one of Doc Tenney's links, but they cost too much for me right now. but you can never go wrong with a good link, so I just might have to bite the bullet and grab one. someguy, I've never played an SX90 but in the posts I've read about them, the people who own them seem to really like them. I've read everything from the tone is exactly the same as it is on an SX90R, to some people think the SX90R has a slightly smoother response when changing notes. But it's still for the most part that same big dark Keilwerth sound on either horn. The nickel plating combined with the bigger bore and bell are alls till there, and these I think are the real culprits of where the JK's get their sound. One thing that everyone agrees with is that the tone hole rings make sticky pads much more of a problem. Have you guys experienced this?

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        10. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          In a nut shell, YES. But, in defence of the JK's, the sound is sooo good. My alto is a sx90r black nickle, I bought it used, no big deal. My G# and C# key stuck, like every other G#/ C# key in the world. Formby's build up remover totally resolved the issue. Kielwerth also went a step further by having a G# lifter on the horn. It works just like it sounds. The lifter was removed off my alto, but is on my tenor. It really works good. All the other horns I have ever owned or borrowed had a sticky key, and they werent rolled tone holes. If you got alot of crud on your pads and tone hole a sticky key is sure to follow! I'll just keep my Formby's close by if I need it, and the oversized bell is huge. You may get horn envy :) The horns in that black nickle finish are quite possibly the prettiest on the market. Maybe I am alittle patial to them cause I own them, but it has totally made it an absolute joy to practice. When you dont have to worry about your tone and you can just play, man.., its great!!!! If you cant tell, I really like them. I'll be quiet now. Thank you.

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        11. by cwhiley
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          Yea, I love my Keilwerth too. The reason I went for the "R" is because from what I understand the biggest benefit to rolled tone holes is the fact that it is less susceptible to leaks. When the pad develops a leak due to the key being slightly misaligned on the tone hole, the larger surface area of the rolled tone hole still lets the tone hole seal properly. So, it doesn't suffer from use nearly as much as a standard non rolled tone hole. My SX90R is the nickel silver model. NOT nickel plate, which is completely different. It's actually made from a metal alloy called nickel silver, or "german silver". Nickel silver is an alloy composed of nickel, copper, and zinc I believe. It resonates more freely than brass and adds a different and unique characteristic to the horn that can ONLY be found in the Keilwerth horns. Thanks for all the mouthpiece info guys. I'm going to get a Morgan first, then try and see if I can get a good link. The only last question I really have is, that it seems that Link offers they're facing numbers in the number and with a *. Like a 7 and a 7*. What's the difference there? Thanks!

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        12. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          * means up a half, so a 7 in tenor would measure .100, then 7*=.105, 8=.110, 8*=.115, etc. I think they go up to 10* but stay away from that...get something in the 7-7* range for now, you have to work on links, they're "manilier" mouthpieces LOL, but when you get it right the sound is sooo worth it (right someguy?) man, Keilwerth's sound like a dream. I must've tried every modern tenor when I was trying to figure out what horn I wanted, plus a whole bunch of Mark VI's. the choice seemed so obvious to me from the start, although the Yanigasawa 992 (the bronze one) had a really good sound too. but then I found a black nickel SX90R on ebay, virtually brand new, for $2300! a pro sax player got it for his daughter who played it for 3 months and then gave it up. that was by far the best purchase I've ever made in my lifetime. I'll never need another tenor (though I will be getting many more mouthpieces for it!!)

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        13. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          That is a steal!!!! I found my tenor for $2450 on ebay and thought I stole that. Mine was new w/ the 2 year warranty, so I cant complain. cwiley, that horn is very expensive. Thats my feelings now, buy a great horn at a great price and it will last forever. If you want a different sound change your piece, bam different sound. Now all I need is a JK soprano. I have a yamaha now and like it alot, but its no JK thats for sure.

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        14. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          I think $2450 for any SX90R is a steal, especially with that warranty. I had to put over $400 dollars worth of work into it within the first year to get it totally right (poorly set-up--bumpers were falling off and stuff like that). Did that warranty mean they would cover any work you wanted done, or like only if something major happened to the horn within two years? Who was the ebay seller...was it a shop?

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        15. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          I agree. It believe it was a God thing honestly. It is a shop out of Stevens Point, Wisconson. Jim Laab's Music. The horn came totally set up and ready to play. All I had to do was get the otto link and adjust the palm keys to my liking. It is a SX90 not SX90R. No rolled tone holes. That is what prompted my question about the difference in sound. To tell you the truth I cant tell a difference with the transition/ smoothness of notes between the two. Remember, my alto is sx90R and my tenor is sx90. I really would have to have a the exact same horns one w/ rolled holes and the other w/out to be totally sure. That tenor is every bit as smooth as the alto. The store has a web sight same as its name. They were very helpful. Good luck and keep me posted.

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        16. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          I have more to say, remember,... you purchased the horn from a beginner. If you recall how much abuse your first horn took. That would explain the added expence when you bought it. These horns, any of them, especially pro model horns are works of art in a sence, and shouldnt be abused, especially by a new player. You still got a good deal IMOP, was the bell in good shape? Does the neck have any dings in it?

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        17. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          nah, my horn was in like-new condition when I got it...it was a beginner player but she's an adult and her dad who bought her the horn is a professional sax player and treats any horns in his care like gold. I'm sure he strongly advised her as to how to treat it. the only signs of use it had was lacquer loss on the thumb rest and some of the other often touched spots (Keilwerth has been known for spotty lacquer jobs). I think the problems I had had more to do with the fact that my horn was not set up like yours was (he bought it from WWBW). but he was a great guy to deal with and even kept calling me/emailing me, trying to make sure I had been happy with the purchase even after I had already left positive feedback on ebay. just a really nice guy. if only all web transactions were so smooth....

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        18. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          Well thats cool. I didnt know she was grown up. What were the problems you were having that way I'll know what to look for. Back to the warranty issue, 2 yr free from all defects. I had to register it with in the first 10 days. I just take it to an authorized dealer and they should fix it. I just got done playin' and I really cant tell any difference between the two (SX90R/ SX90), as far as the action goes. They really are nice horns. I would love to pick up a vintage Couf or modern Kielwerth soprano. One day.

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        19. by mcorrea
          (25 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          the problems I had were stupid, easy to fix things like bumpers and corks falling out, but also major things like the pads were not glued in well, causing the pads to swell, stick and leak more. i got like 2/3s of the pads replaced. it's still got a few issues that that tech didn't take care of because I wasn't used to the horn enough yet to know exactly how I wanted it (like the intonation on low C# is awful--I can't even lip it up enough--I'll get that key height raised). I've always read that Keilwerths can have a lot of problems early on. I'll be sending my horn to Tim Glessman at Sax Alley in Colorado, because he works on and sells lots of Keilwerths. Now I have the fortune of knowing every minute detail that I want changed. After that, I plan on using key clamps a lot more. Oh, I should elaborate a little more....the biggest problem I had early on was with the sticky pads but after getting the repad and using Charlie A's gig dust and crud patches periodically, the sticky pads have become much less of a problem. sounds alot like the Formby's you use. some people use lighter fluid. whatever works, but one thing's for sure--a stuck Bis key (or any other key) in the middle of fast passages does NOT work for me in any way. very frustrating, I'm glad I don't have to deal with it as often.

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        20. by someguy
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          I absolutly cant stand a sticking key. I have made it a habbit to always put those key klamps on. Only the right hand for me. I forgot how the left hand clamp goes on. That gig dust almost sounds like baby pouder. Thats what I used on a dollar bill. Now only Formby's touches those horns. You dont have a link do you? I want to try that F. Louis lig on my link. The stock lig isnt that bad though. I dont ever want to see anyone using lighter fluid on a horn. I would be so scared of it blowing up.

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        21. by ebert
          (18 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Keilwerth mouthpiece advice/ different sound

          mcorrea, I am pretty sure there is an adjustment screw partway up from the low c# key that you can turn to raise and lower the key itself. When I got my keilwerth I had to also open up the low b and Bb keys by raising the bumpers (turning the screw that holds them). Remeber that the bore on a Keilwerth, especially down at the bend of the body, is larger than regular saxophones. Because of that, you are absolutely right in thinking the C# key needs to be opened. This will help with intonation as well as a larger sound.

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