Friday, May 25, 2012

Phil-Tone Eclipse Tenor Mouthpiece

Following up on a review of Phil-Tone's Equinox mouthpiece, today I'm reviewing his Eclipse model. It's designed to be a traditional straight ahead jazz mouthpiece, and it fits that role fantastically.

Mouthpiece: Phil-Tone Eclipse 7*
Reed: Rico Jazz Select Unfiled 3 soft
Ligature: Standard Metal 2 screws on the bottom
Tenor: Mark VI

Straight Ahead?

So, what does a mouthpiece need to be able to do to play straight ahead jazz? Sound wise it needs to blend well with acoustic instruments, or, in other words, it needs to have enough depth and breadth that it doesn't sound too strident or out of place. The Eclipse accomplishes this while also retaining enough highs to sound crisp and clear. This is pretty much my personal preference in a mouthpiece of any type.

The mouthpiece also needs to have flexibility and ease of inflection to be able to work in a range of situations, ranging from ballads to uptempo tunes. The Eclipse has both the flexibility and the ease of inflection needed. In fact, it feels a little easier to inflect than the average mouthpiece, not something I'd recommend for a beginner who is still getting their embouchure together. I actually fatigued slightly faster on this mouthpiece than on the average mouthpiece, similar to my experience on the Equinox. I feel like this experience is simply an adjustment to the mouthpiece on my part, and it does not necessarily represent any fault in the mouthpiece.

Technical Stuff

The mouthpiece is a great player. It feels and sounds even throughout the entire range of the horn. It has a great balanced level of resistance, meaning it doesn't feel restrictive but doesn't break up if given too much air. It responds great to articulation and dynamics. It definitely meets my personal playing demands, and many mouthpieces, especially traditional style tenor mouthpieces, often don't live up to those demands.

Here are a couple clips of me playtesting the mouthpiece:
Ballad Polka Dots and Moonbeams - Ben Plays Phil-Tone Eclipse Polkadots.mp3

Conclusion: A great playing straight ahead mouthpiece with a lush clear sound and a high level of flexibility.

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