As with the tenor and baritone mouthpieces, my reason for developing the PPT soprano saxophone mouthpiece is not commercial, I just wanted to get the best soprano mouthpiece for my own needs. I had been using a vintage Selmer Soloist which I really enjoyed, but it did not quite have the rich darkness that I love so much about a soprano tone, so, using that as an initial inspiration, I developed the PPT soprano mouthpiece. Above all I wanted to get a smooth, sweet but powerful tone, without any of the nasal “ducky” sound so often associated with the soprano saxophone.
After a lot of experimenting with prototypes, extensive playtesting, I finally came up with a soprano mouthpiece that for me does everything the Selmer can do, but also allows me to get a lot of different sounds from the mouthpiece, in other words, it’s a very versatile mouthpiece. This is a bit of a bonus as I had assumed we would end up with a darker, warmer sound. What we now have is a darker, warmer sound but not at the expense of losing the brightness, sweetness and edge. It’s still very capable of that if you want it, but is probably the most versatile saxophone mouthpiece out there.
One of the biggest issues with the soprano saxophone, compared with the the larger horns, is the difficulty of intonation. This is due partly to the smaller tolerances in the dimensions of the saxophone and mouthpiece, but also due to pitch being changing more due to even the very subtlest changes in embouchure. You’ve probably noticed that it’s much easier to bend a high note than it is to bend a low note. For this reason, the research and development phase of the soprano mouthpiece was much longer then the tenor or baritone. We would find a mouthpiece with a great tone and response, but difficult intonation. At one point I almost abandoned the idea and went back to my Selmer, until by trial and error we discovered a very specific chamber and throat size which seemed to give exceptional intonation without compromising the tone. This then went through several “beta testers”. Although the mouthpiece was for me, I wanted to make sure that it also suited other players and instruments.
The mouthpieces are made from Onyxite, as with the tenor and baritone PPTs and available in sizes 5 (.050), 6 (.060), 7 (.065) and 8 (.080)
Message: Hello Pete, a little feedback re. the PPT soprano mouthpiece. The jist of it is that it has replaced the Lawton 8*B I’ve been playing for exactly 30 years! I remember buying it in a store on Shaftesbury Ave. after recording with Peter Gabriel (and shelling out the £200 I received for the session). Since hen, I haven’t found a mc. which would give me that kind of sound, notwithstanding the difficulties in control (especially in the low reg.) and intonation (for which I’ve learned to compensate in time). Recently, I bought a remake made by Lawton’s son, and found it very disappointing. Anyhow, playability and intonation on the PPT are superb, which frees a lot of energy for music (like, ideas for improvisation seem to come more abundantly and fluently). Also, the action on my already smooth Yamaha 875 feels even smoother.
The sound to my ears does not have the tremendous authority of the Lawton, but I’m sure a little practice in the next 30 years will make it perfect. By the way, the price is very reasonable too. So, thanks to you and Ed for the great job,
Roberto Laneri – Woodwind Professor, Florence Conservatory
I recently purchased a size 7 soprano mouthpiece from, as you advised and I must admit, i’m absolutely thrilled with it. Both myself and my teacher, James Rawlinson have played it a lot and agree that it is incredible. Many thanks again for your advise before I purchased and I will carry on to advise your products to my friends in the future.
From the first notes I found his mouthpiece extremely easy & friendly to play with a very clean solid tone – it just sang! Intonation was very good, even for me! As the reed (La Voz med soft) was just removed from my usual mouthpiece & looking a little sorry for itself, various others were tried – Rico 21/2 & 3 (orange box) new La voz etc all playing without effort. Upon changing back to my ‘latest’ best piece, a Jody Jazz DV 7* I preferred all elements of the PPT. Another few were tried, including the much spoke of Rico (which on my sops have the worst intonation ever) – all without charm. Saxes used were Elkhart curved & straight, both very similar.
I don’t play soprano out (with the exception of a quartet in summer holidays & only because I get the melody!!) therefore not having the opportunity to try when concentrating on other things in a band situation – this possibly may reveal a slightly different side…
Did I want to buy another mouthpiece, especially soprano – NO.
Have I bought THIS mouthpiece, well hopefully YES as I asked Pete for first refusal, when they play like this you just have to buy it (well that is what I told the wife!).
in the meantime I have playtested the Soprano PPT on my Yani S 981. The MPC works perfect, produces a very nice sound and what is very essential for me : It is very easy and free blowing. Alltogether it works better for me than my Selmer SS size F.
Initial finding was that the PPT was significantly more resistant to blow. It felt a bit sort of constricted compared to the Bari, which may be partly down to it having a smaller tip opening. The tone was not as bright as the Bari, with an attractive warmth, and a sort of ‘pure’ tone. I rattled through a few straightforward pieces I know well – a few soul bits, Moondance, Harlem Nocturne, God Bless the Child, so I could concentrate on the mouthpiece rather than what I was playing. The more I played it the less resistant it seemed, and it had a good forceful attack, and also plenty of volume when needed. Intonation of the PPT was superb, the best of any sop mouthpiece I can remember playing. It also had a good consistent tone throughout the range, including the higher notes. On the Bari, above high C things thin out and tuning becomes a bit more tricky – much easier on the PPT.
I tried on the Buescher next. Tuning still great, tone a bit brighter than on the BW. However, as the ergonomics of the Buescher are so poor compared to the BW, I went back to that. I think I prefer the tone of the BW anyway.
As a final test I stuck the Bari back on. In comparison, it was much brighter, and easier to blow in the lower notes. Higher up, the Bari was much thinner and less stable.
So, in conclusion, I was very, very impressed. Although I’ve played soprano for a long time, I don’t play it much, and I don’t think I’m much cop as a soprano player, but the PPT helped me play the thing more in tune over more of the range with less effort than my normal mouthpiece. It was a bit of an effort to blow at first, but nothing that I couldn’t adjust to after a few minutes. I liked it, a lot, and I think I may be buying one when they are on sale.
– Jon F
I’ve had a proper play on the PPT 6 using my Yanagisawa SC991 and Rico Jazz Select 3H reeds with Vandoren Optimum lig. Here are my thoughts.
The PPT looks great and unusual – like its tenor and bari siblings. The body is a little slimmer than my favourite soprano mouthpieces which are a Berg Larsen and a Selmer HR, but the Vandoren Optimum still fits and holds the reed well. The PPT is comfortable in the mouth, with a fairly conventional beak shape, unlike the Berg which is more like a clarinet. Once you get used to the Berg it is quite nice and it opens up the mouth.
The sound of the PPT is very much in the area that I like for soprano – which is quite sweet and singing and not nasal (like an oboe or that Selmer metal Soloist sound). The intonation is good, once it is in the right place on the cork, which is nearly all the way down. That seems to be common for many mouthpieces on this SC991.
It’s got a bit more resistance than either my Berg (65/2) or my Soloist (refaced to 0.065″ also), but it is good resistance that gives something to push against. It seems pretty even from to to bottom of the horn and loud enough, sounding a bit louder, from the player’s perspective, than the Berg, but not quite as loud as the Selmer.
Overall I would be very happy to have it as my main piece, but I’ve got too many already so it’s got to go back !
The mouthpiece has arrived – and in short, it’s everything I hoped for. It’s got all the character and body of my Otto Link Tone Edge (something I would have missed) and all the ease and precision in the uppermost regions my Rico B5 has. It was never easier to reach the highest notes AND make them sound worthwhile. I’ll pass on the Rico (someone wants to buy one of my sopranos, he’ll get it) and keep the Tone Edge – but I’ll play my new PPT from now on (on a Bauhaus Walstein soprano for the time being…). The ligature is my trusted GF-System III, the reeds are Alexander Superial 2.0. In my opinion, it’s hard to beat the mouthpiece – at the price as well as the purpose.
Another great experience – thanks a lot!
Yours sincerely M.