11/5/06

Brian Powell- mouthpiece wizard


My friend Tom Pereira sold me the Zimberoff tenor piece I've been playing on. It was re-faced by a guy named Brian Powell and is the nicest tenor mouthpiece I've played. Tom has had many pieces done by Brian and all of them have been vastly improved. Recently I was looking for alto pieces for a few of my students. I really wanted to find something that compared to my battered old hard-rubber slant Link 6. Even though my mouthpiece has seen constant action for the last twenty years and overdue for some maintenance it is still the best sounding alto piece I've ever played. It has a big dark warm sound, it's totally even up and down and still has enough of an edge to cut over any size band. Comparable Slant Links were going for upwards of $600, not in the budget of my students. Tom told me that Charles McPherson was playing on a Meyer copy that Brian Powell had made from a Vandoren V16 blank. I decided to send my Link off to Brain and have him make some copies for my students. The first ones that came back were disappointingly stuffy, edgy and dead. After calling Brian I found that he didn't use the same lay as my piece because he thought that it was too long to be playable. He suggested thinning out the tip and adjusting the inside a bit as well as making the lay longer. The second time I tried the pieces I was floored. They were all smoking! They played exactly like my rare Slant Link 6 except a bit brighter because the rubber was harder than the original Link, this was fine. I had never played anything as good as mine until that moment. The Valdez model V16 Link copies are under $200 and you won't find anything that is even close in that price range. All you need to do to get one is contact Brian and tell him you want the Valdez Link copy, have WWBW send him the V16 that he specifies. In a short time you'll have the best alto piece you ever played in your life, for just $180. I'm going to get one made for myself and then have Brian do some minor work on my original.

Brian does refacing work and his partner Erik does the chamber work, together they call themselves the Mouthpiece Guys. They are true masters of art of mouthpiece making, both having spent many years apprenticing with Ralph Morgan. He is very receptive to the needs of the player and is very reasonable and blazing fast. Check out their endorsement page and the pictures of their work. I cannot recommend these guys too highly.

Your mouthpiece problems are over!

Brian Powell can be reached at:
mouthpieceguybrian@yahoo.com
phone 937-271-8291

Mouthpiece Guys

2 comments:

HankC said...

Sounds great & very interesting. I would like to try one.
I've tried tenor links that Brian has done in the past & to be honest, was not really blown away. I feel that his style of refacing was a little too conservative for me, kinda taking the power out of metal Links, the "trane-ness" out of it. I thought Theo Wanne & Barone really did metal Tenor Links well.

Alto is another beast, it sounds like you might have come up with a winner.

honkbopsax said...

David,

I hear you re: Brian's work. I played a Barone Jazz model that Brian refaced and it was killing! He's got my short shank Dukoff metal Hollywood piece now and is refacing it. His work really is insanely good and all the tenor pieces I've tried that he refaced really sang.