Mouthpiece Beak Height & Shape


The beak of the mouthpiece is the top portion of the mouthpiece that is in a musician’s mouth while playing. We have been experimenting with ‘beak’ height and curve to create a comfortable feel of the mouthpiece in the musician’s mouth.

The early mouthpiece’s like the NY Otto Links had a very rounded beak – from side to side. Hence the center portion, again looking side to side, is much higher than the sides. This allows the upper lip to curl around the mouthpiece more. The later Florida Otto Link’s – starting in the early 1950’s – had a much flatter beak, once again looking from side to side. This has become a much more standard shape in modern mouthpieces, however this shape does allow for less of a natural seal of the mouthpiece along the sides of the mouth. I have not heard many people complain about this, however, it is a design consideration.

We took a high quality granite base comparator/digital height gauge and measured the beak height – parallel to the plane of the table and read – in the center of the bite plate on the beak. Interestingly enough the height was identical from the NY Tone Master Otto Links, Florida’s, and current models. The only difference was the curve from side to side. Over time the radius of the curve is getting greater, i.e. the beak has gotten flatter.

Hard Rubber mouthpieces obviously are wider, side to side. Hence there is more material in the musician’s mouthpiece. It has been interesting to me to hear how many people play either metal or hard rubber simply because of wanting less or more material in their mouth while playing, simply as it relates to comfort.


5 Responses to “Mouthpiece Beak Height & Shape”

  1. Ed Zlotnick Says:

    I would like to buy mouthpieces and ligs and the Glass to measure tip openings.

    Let me know.

    I have a bad pain problem -your story means alot to me.

    Thank you

  2. Dave H Says:

    Please consider the Guys with small mouths like me where the Guardala LT are probably the most comfortable and best seal i have come accross.


  3. Pete G. Says:

    …then there are those of us that like wide, but low-depth mouthpieces…. I’ve gotten in the habit of “duckbilling” all my hard-rubber mouthpieces, and find them really comfy. It also allows me to take more mouthpiece in and get a fatter tone. Why don’t any mouthpiece makers do this? Am I that weird?

  4. Bob Lee Says:

    Ed is this you…From NYIT?

  5. Doctor Bob Lee Says:

    Dr. Banks told me you were in Texas or something. I want to be able to play this old sax live on the radio.

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