Robert ‘Bobby” Dukoff was born in Worcester, MA. in 1918 and passed away peacefully on May 3rd 2012 at the age of 93. The information on my website I was fortunate to get directly from Bobby himself via email conversations we had together.
Bobby designed his first mouthpiece 1943, and manufactured mouthpieces in California from 1945 to 1949. These were brass mouthpieces with an Otto Link style. Dexter Gordon played one during that time.
In 1974 Bobby went back into the mouthpiece business full time producing new models at his workshop in Kendall, Florida. In the 1990’s he took on a young apprentice, Nicolas Hernandez, who went on to become a close friend, and business partner, allowing the famous Bobby Dukoff handmade mouthpiece legacy to live on. During this time Dukoff mouthpieces were made from ‘Silverite’ a Pewter type compound. The high baffle ‘D’ mouthpieces were played on by David Sanborn on alto and Kenny G on soprano.
- 1945 – B.D. Hollywood (flat inner-side wall version)
- 1945 – Stubby Dukoffs
- 1949 – B.D. Hollywood (rounded inner-side wall version)
- 1949 – Zimberoff Hollywoods & Vibra Metals
- 1952 – Fluted Chambers
- 1952 – B.D. Supersonic/Zimberoff House of Note
- 1963 – Transitionals
- 1972 – Miami Super Power Chamber
- 1975 – Miami Ebolite Vibra-Com
- 1998 – BD Hollywood Reissue in Silverite
According to the Dukoff website: As Bobby told it “One night while getting back on the bandstand one of the guys knocked my horn over backward and the cap jammed on the mouthpiece. That was the end of that mouthpiece, from that day on until I made my own, I was on the search for mouthpieces.” He started experimenting in his garage and soon all his friends from the big bands were coming around to have Bobby just “touch up” their mouthpieces. He was fascinated with the mechanics of mouthpieces as he realized that “the sound started there”, and this naturally led to his own mouthpiece business.
BD DUKOFF HOLLYWOOD (1945):
Shown below is the first Bob Dukoff mouthpiece made in 1945. They had a one piece design made of brass with a round medium chamber and flat inner side walls. They had white bite-plates and serial numbers. The baffle was very low, except for a very short roll-over right at the start of the baffle.
BOB DUKOFF “DUKOFF” (1945):
These mouthpieces are shorter than the BD model. They have a very large chamber with very deep rounded inner side-walls. In fact, what makes these mouthpieces so great is that they have such profoundly rounded inner side-walls, much like the NY Otto Links made in the 1940’s. However, they have higher floors than their Otto Link counterparts so have more projection. These are fantastic playing mouthpieces; however, the facings vary widely from piece to piece. About 200 of this model were bought by a New York Distributor who put the Woodwind Co. name on them. Most have a serial number on the shank with white bite.
BD DUKOFF HOLLYWOOD (1949):
These brass mouthpieces were produced in two halves that were silver soldered together (much like the Otto Link.) They had a large chamber and rounded inner side walls. Only about 200 of these mouthpieces were made. The white bite-plates continued with these models.
Dexter Gordon played on a Conn 10m and a Dukoff BD Hollywood tenor saxophone mouthpiece during the Blue Note era until the mid-sixties. There has always been a huge debate about which model BD Dukoff Dexter Played, the 1945 medium chamber or this 1949 large chamber model.
I know there was a 1949 Dukoff BD Hollywood tenor mouthpiece stamped “DG Special” on the side with a 6* tip opening. This might have been a ‘Dexter Gordon’ Special model, so I suspect he played on this model.
About 100 of these blanks were sold to Zimberoff -House of Note, who produced a mouthpiece under their own name. Some of these had the model name Vibra Metal.
DUKOFF LIGATURES AND CAPS:
All of the mouthpieces made in the 1940s came with one of the two ligature and cap combinations shown below.
DUKOFF HARD RUBBER “Fluted Chamber” MOUTHPIECE (1952):
These mouthpieces had lengthwise ridges inside the large chamber, inspiring its Fluted Chamber name. They had a large chamber and rounded inner side walls like the Florida Otto Link hard rubber mouthpieces. They also sound a lot like the Florida Link hard rubbers and can be very good playing mouthpieces.
This same mouthpiece was later made without the flutes. It is otherwise the exact same mouthpiece with a large chamber, rounded inner-side walls and good projection. Overall, it is an outstanding mouthpiece. This version was also sold under the name Zimberoff – House of Note.
TRANSITIONAL MOUTHPIECES (1963):
These mouthpieces are nickel plated, solid caste brass. They came in two styles. One had the same chamber as the Super Power Chamber mouthpiece but did not say Super Power Chamber. The second style looks similar on the outside and is also nickel plated solid brass, but had a chamber much like a Brilhart. It had a small roll-over baffle, lower floor and an almost oval medium chamber. Most of these models had a serial number with the exception of a few pieces at the end of the run.
SUPER POWER CHAMBER (1972):
The Dukoff Super Power Chamber mouthpieces were made out of metal Silverite. They were made from a single injection mold. The material is quite soft, requiring extra care. These are still currently in production.
EBOLITE VIBRA-COM (1975):
The Dukoff Super Power Chamber Ebolite Vibra-Com mouthpieces were pieces identical to their metal counterparts, but made from black plastic. A few clear plastic versions were also produced. The last of these pieces were made in 1994.
BD HOLLYWOOD (1998):
BD Hollywood models were reintroduced in 1998 made in a one piece design of metal Silverite.