Robert Martin Signature Tenor Saxophone mouthpiece
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Words from the artist
Creating this signature series mouthpiece was a profoundly rewarding experience. If you love fat, muscular “Texas tenor,” this is a must try.
The history of Robert’s ongoing career weaves in and out of the very fabric and history of Rock ’N’ Roll, Pop and Jazz, including working with Hall Of Fame inductees and icons who changed the face of music, like Frank Zappa, Paul McCartney, Prince, The Moody Blues, and Etta James (on tour with the Rolling Stones), to name a few.
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I was looking for a big, raw – even raunchy – boss tenor sound. The parade of adjectives on the website seemed frankly a bit tame/bureaucratic, so I can't say the choosing process was easy. I was going to bail out, but whether by luck or clever algorithm, Syos sent me a Robert Martin promotion video and from there a mention of David 'Fathead' Newman. I hadn't heard of Robert Martin but the David Newman link made me sit up and take notice. I liked the 30-day guarantee idea, so … I gave it a try. When it arrived it felt slightly low-tech – I know it's 3D printed, but the texture is slightly gritty like a very fine sandpaper – fitting the ligature puts my teeth slightly on edge. The shank diameter was a lot smaller than my previous Otto Link Ebonite 6*, so I was chary of using it in case I made the fit over the cork too loose. I returned it to Syos saying exactly what the problem was. They kindly agreed to send me another one. I thought that meant they would do one with a wider shank; the new one came back quickly but was exactly the same size … But then one evening I played it in my quartet. I pulled it out quite a bit so I thought it would be flat. But it played great! The other band members said so too. Since then it's become my go-to mouthpiece – if the cork gets squashed, it doesn't matter. Up to mezzo forte it sits down well in the blend but beyond that you can give it a raw kick that sounds like a Maserati when someone puts their foot down – raw energy, compelling. And I've never had so much control over the lowest notes – subtone Cs and Bbs seem much easier and controllable. Intonation seems more secure across the range. Playability is fabulous. Choosing is a bit random, hence four stars, but I'm probably being a bit harsh. If I didn't think it was great, and didn't want to help the lovely Syos people, I wouldn't have spent so much time on this …