A review of Max Ionata's Signature Mouthpiece

A review of Max Ionata's Signature Mouthpiece

A few months ago, Nick Mainella made an interesting review about Max Ionata's Tenor Signature mouthpiece. So, if you want to discover all the details about this mouthpiece, this video is for you.

Vintage horn meets modern mouthpiece Reading A review of Max Ionata's Signature Mouthpiece 7 minutes Next Steve Kortyka's advices to play altissimo notes

A few months ago, Nick Mainella made an interesting review about Max Ionata's Tenor Signature mouthpiece.

So, if you want to discover all the details about this mouthpiece, this video is for you.

Here is a transcript of this video:

[Intro] Hey everybody and welcome back for another saxophone Gear review today we're going to be taking a look at the Max Ionata Signature Shape Your Own Sound Tenor Mouthpiece. So just a quick little disclaimer: Syos did send me this mouthpiece, but they are not paying me to make this review. They did not ask for anything specific, and they do not get to see this video before it comes out.

So as many of you know, I've reviewed a lot of Syos pieces in the past, and they have been some of my main mouthpieces over the past three or four years. There are several models from this company that I absolutely love, with the one that I've played on the most being the Tivon Penticott model. I used that mouthpiece solidly for about two years, and I still find myself putting it on my saxophones really, really often. So when I got an email from Syos that they were releasing this Max Ionata model, Max is one of my favorite players in the world, so I had to try it. And I gotta say, this is probably the best Syos mouthpiece that I've ever tried, and it has been my main piece for about a month and a half now.

And usually, I try to play on these mouthpieces for a while, use them in real-life situations in my practice time before I put a review out. So now, after this period of time, about six weeks, I finally feel like I'm ready to give you guys the lowdown on this mouthpiece. So first, let's start by looking at the Syos website and check out what this mouthpiece is all about, how it's built.

[Description of Mouthpiece] So I love the way that Syos presents the mouthpieces on their website. They give you a ton of information about the baffle and the chamber, and then they give you a cool little description about the mouthpiece and what you can expect. So you can see this mouthpiece has a step baffle, it has a small chamber, it's a 3.5 out of 10 on the brightness scale, and the power is a 6.5 out of 10. So really what they're telling us is that this is a pretty dark mouthpiece if that's what you're after, but it's going to give you a lot of punch and power. And I gotta say, that's exactly what I have experienced while using this mouthpiece.

If you know my playing at all, you know I like a dark sound in general, and most of the situations that I'm playing in require a little bit more of a traditional sound. And that's kind of what I model my sound after in my head, think like a Dexter Gordon, Hank Mobley, Max Ionata kind of sound. Now the one I'm going to be using for this review has an eight tip opening, and everything that you'll hear me play in this review is being played on a Boston Sax Shop number three reed using a Vandoren Optimum ligature with the flat plate, the one that comes installed on it.

[Sound Demonstration] Now let's go over some of the things that I have noticed while using this mouthpiece. That balance of darkness with projection is really what I love about this piece the most. I feel like I could use this on a restaurant gig where I have to play really, really softly all the way up to playing a 300-seat theater where I have to project a little bit more. This mouthpiece really does well in all of those situations. So if I'm playing something where I need to put a little oomph behind the sound, make sure that that high register cuts a little bit more, I feel like I can do that with this.


Now if I'm in a different situation where I'm backing off a little bit, trying to play as dark and soft as possible, this mouthpiece really adapts well to that situation as well. And even when I'm playing soft, almost at a whisper, I still feel like I have complete control over this piece.


I feel like I can play in all registers with an equally great sound all the way from the pinky notes down at the bottom up into the altissimo range. It really responds well everywhere on the horn. And the other thing that's kind of brand new for me is I just got a new horn, well, a new old horn. I recently just picked up a Conn New Wonder 2 (which video about that coming soon), and then I also have my other horn, which is an Ishimori Wood Stone. And I feel like I'm equally comfortable on both of these horns, which are two pretty different things. Of course, I'm still learning the tendencies of the Conn, and this is my first foray into a vintage American horn. But I feel like this is a great mouthpiece to really learn the ropes and get used to this new instrument that I have in my life.


Now I've also tried a bunch of different reeds on this mouthpiece because, as we know, a lot of mouthpieces can be kind of really reed-specific. But I've played on a whole bunch of different reeds, and it seems to respond pretty well no matter what brand I'm using. So I've used Boston Sax Shop 3, which are really my go-to reeds. I've used traditional Vandoren Blue Box number threes, and I've also used the D'Addario Jazz Select filed three H reeds on this. And I've found that they all play really, really well.

We all know there are slight differences between different reed brands, and those differences are definitely noticeable, but they all played great. So all in all, I would really, really recommend this piece. Another great pro product from Syos, who really over the years I've become a huge fan of. The more mouthpieces I try from this company, the more they convince me that they're really doing great things.

So if you're looking for a mouthpiece that has that small chamber that's going to give you a little bit more projection while keeping the sound nice and warm, and if you're looking for something that can be used in a bunch of different situations, a really versatile mouthpiece if you find yourself in a lot of different playing situations, I would definitely recommend looking into this mouthpiece and at least giving it a try. You've got nothing to lose.

So again, big shoutout to Syos for making great mouthpieces consistently. If you have any questions about this piece, please just drop me a comment. I do read all those, and I will get back to you. And if you found this Gear review helpful, please consider liking the video. That helps us to get it out to more people just like you who are searching for the perfect saxophone equipment. And if you really loved this video, please consider subscribing to the channel and turning on notifications.

Alright, that's it. We'll see you guys on another video soon. Bye.


Thank you.