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M.C. Gregory Saxophone Mouthpieces
How to read the tip opening on a MC Gregory mouthpiece: While looking down at the table, the number and letter on the left side of the table is the tip opening followed by the lay length. The number on the right hand side of the table is the chamber size. The chambers came in three sizes: 16 (small chamber), 18 (medium chamber), and 20 (large chamber). Hence a 4A18 would have a tip opening of 4 with a medium length lay and a medium chamber. The chamber sizes are not all that different though. A 16 looks very similar to a 20. They are like variations on a medium chamber. The one exception to this is the very last 20 chamber Master Model Gregory's made which did have a really big chamber like an Otto Link. In general, the chamber sizes on Gregory's are very different from the Meyers, which had radically different sized chambers.
Gregory Model A:
This was the first model of mouthpiece made by M.C. Gregory in 1936. At the same time, identical mouthpieces were being made under the Rico name. In fact, the Gregory Model A mouthpieces also had "Rico Products, Ltd. -Distributors" stamped on the back, showing the tie between the two companies. The top bite area (where your top teeth rest on the mouthpiece) is very thin on these mouthpieces. The thinness of the rubber in this area allows for a great deal of vibration in the hard rubber. However, it also makes tooth wear on the mouthpiece a concern as well. This is the mouthpiece made famous by Paul Desmond. He played on a Model A4A 18. If you like his sound, you will probably like these mouthpieces. These mouthpieces have rounded inner-side walls and a medium sized round chamber. All of these mouthpieces had serial numbers. The facings on these were all hand finished.
Gregory Model B:
Made from the same great hard rubber as the Model A but with flat inner side walls. The chambers are a lot like a Brilhart Ebolin or Tonalin. These have almost no baffle too, making them a VERY dark sounding mouthpiece. In fact they are too dark for most musicians and are rarely played. While it looks almost identical to a model A on the outside, these actually have a bit narrower body as well and play completely different.
Gregory Los Angeles:
These are a very different mouthpiece than the Model A or Master. They have flat inner side walls (like a Brilhart Ebolin or Tonalin) and maintain a nice baffle. These have a very nice sound and often have a bit of roll over to the baffle at the tip, giving just a little more growl to the sound. All of these mouthpieces had serial numbers. Interestingly they are made from a fiber filled resin instead of hard rubber like all the other Gregory mouthpieces.
There was one model made by Gregory called the Mickey Gillette that is very similar to this mouthpiece. Both have flat side walls and mildly increased brightness. This mouthpiece was also made out of resin.
Rico distributed these mouthpieces and so their name was usually on most variations of the Los Angeles model. A plastic mouthpiece with the same interior design called the Rico Reloplex was also made.
Gregory Master Model:
This mouthpiece is very similar to the Model A but manufactured later. I believe they were made from the mid 50s through 70s. These have more of a squared off shank and the top bite area is not quite as thin. The baffle and chamber are virtually identical though. Some of these had serial numbers, but the later ones did not. The interiors of these were sand blast finished. , The tables and rails were machine finished unlike the hand finishing done on the Model A models. The later ones had the facing number and chamber stamped on the back (see below).
The very last of this model (with a 20 chamber) did actually have a very large chamber, like an Otto Link. These sound a lot like an Otto Link and are very rare. Aside from the rare 20 chamber model, the later Gregory Masters are identical to the earlier ones. I believe they used the same molds for them. These later ones (without serial numbers) were produced at the Babbitt factory in Elkhart, Indiana. The Gregory mouthpieces were only produced there for a very brief time in 1969.
Below are samples of the MC Gregory Band. At the far left is the Model A, the middle version is the early Master Model, and on the right is the later Master Model.
Made by Gregory Mouthpieces, the Simpson is internally identical to the early Master Model. You don't see very many of these around. Besides being rare these are wonderful playing mouthpieces.
Gerry Mulligan played one of these on his baritone. These had a very thin bite section like the Model A Gregory and were produced just after World War II in Hollywood, California. These mouthpieces were named after Gregory's daughter Gale. She had taken a great interest in her father's company at that time. The Gale mouthpieces do not have chamber sizes. ; They all are equivalent to the Gregory 18 (Medium) chamber.
The Gale Hollywood came in three styles. The first had a full-length band on the shank and three white dots on its back. The second style was the same as the first but without dots. The third looks almost identical to the Gregory Hollywood, but with a thin band on the shank. Shown below is the Baritone Gale Hollywood mouthpiece which is identical to the mouthpiece played by Gerry Mulligan. The MC Gregory early Master Model is identical to this mouthpiece as well. The baritone model never had the three white dots though.
A later version of this mouthpiece was the Gale Custom, which had an identical chamber and baffle.
Internally identical to the Gale Custom, Gale also made a non-banded version. This came at first with the three white dots like the fully banded model. Later the dots were removed. The shank design is slightly different as well.
Gale Hollywood Triple Rail:
This unique version of the Gale Hollywood mouthpiece had a third rail going down the middle of the throat of the mouthpiece. Does it play better with this third rail? No, it actually plays worse. But it looks cool! It was a great mouthpiece without the third rail and over the years many people did indeed remove the third rail in order to use them.
Gale Hollywood Metal:
These are very rare. They have a large chamber with scooped out inner-side walls much like an Otto Link. They were also cast in two halves which were then silver-soldered together. These have more of a rounded throat than the Link mouthpieces giving them a different tonal characteristic. They are VERY good playing mouthpieces. There was also a Gale Companion metal mouthpiece made that was similar but with much poorer construction than its Hollywood brother.
The Companion is a later model of the Hollywood. With a bit more roll over at the baffle, it has little more edge to the sound. Otherwise it is very similar to the Hollywood model.
After these models were made, Charles Bay bought the company. I'm told he still has the molds to make the Gregory and Gale mouthpieces. The mouthpieces made under his name are different than the Gregory and Gale mouthpieces. All Gregory and Gale mouthpieces stopped being produced right around 1970.