Besides improving my new website, I am also constantly striving to improve my bamboo instruments. My current bamboo saxophones have a warm and rich sound, but is it possible to achieve a slightly more saxophone-like sound? With this exciting goal in mind, I set out to experiment a little with the design of the mouthpiece. Let’s see how it went.
First, let’s look at what the original mouthpiece I normally use looks like:
You can see that I’m using the natural wall of the bamboo to form the end of the mouthpiece, and I’m not using anything else. This design results in a rich and stable sound, but with a slightly less saxophone-like tone. How could this be improved?
The solution is simple, I insert a little piece of wood into the mouthpiece to form a baffle, resembling a traditional saxophone mouthpiece.
In the first step, I placed the little piece of wood a little lower than the edge of the mouthpiece. You can see the result in instrument #21-02, which has a mouthpiece that looks like this:
The small space between the little piece of wood and the edge of the mouthpiece made tuning easier and the sound more stable. Although, I have to say that it proved to be quite a difficult task to find the correct shape and size of the wooden baffle and glue it inside the bamboo pole. It’s worth listening to the resulting sound:
Then, of course, I took it a step further and tried fitting the little piece of wood right up to the edge of the mouthpiece, which is exactly how the mouthpiece looks on a traditional saxophone. I have to say that this was even harder to do because the slightest unevenness or imperfection distorts the sound. But with meticulous work, I think I achieved a pretty good sound. The mouthpiece looks like this:
You can see the perfect fit at the edge of the mouthpiece. This instrument has got the code number #21-03 and sounds like this:
And that’s the end of my experimentation with inserting wood pieces in the mouthpiece. To summarize the results, yes, you can achieve a more saxophone-like sound, but the truth is that I’m also in love with the original, simple sound, as it is stable, warm and rich and it’s almost a trademark of my instruments. So, all this extra work invested may not be worth it in the future. Of course, if someone wants to purchase such an instrument, just write to me and I will make one of these mini saxophones for them. I am always open to requests from my customers.
I also made a short video of the two mouthpieces, which you can watch here: