See more information
about vintage Meyers in
Theo Wanne’s NYBROS video
- 1916 – Frank J and Edward G Meyer started making saxophone mouthpieces.
- 1931 – April 28, 1931. Frank and Edward Meyer patented the bite-plate inlay for metal mouthpieces with Otto Link.
- 1936 – The Meyer Bros Mouthpiece Company is founded & their first metal mouthpiece is released.
- 1937 – The Meyer ‘True Flex’ Facing mouthpiece was released.
- 1948 – The ‘Meyer Bros’ mouthpieces released.
- 1960 – New York USA Version 1 released.
- 1970 – New York USA Version 2 released.
- 1971 – JJ Babbitt purchased the Meyer Mouthpiece company from Ed Meyer.
- 1972 – J.J Babbitt incorporated the Meyer Company on July 1, 1972
- 1995 – Reissue of Meyer New York Limited Edition.
1936 MEYER BROS FIRST MOUTHPIECES
The first Meyer Brothers mouthpieces were made in New York from 1936 in silver alloyed with other semi precious metals. My guess is these were made in the same factory as Otto Link who was making their Master Link blank. However, the Meyer version has nicely fluted outer-walls. It is a very nicely finished mouthpiece and came with a slide on ligature. These came in facings from 2 to 6, with facing lengths of S (Short), M (Medium), L (Long )
Ike Quebec played the brass version of this mouthpiece:
They even had a clarinet version which is very unique as it had rounded inner-side walls and a round chamber just like their saxophone mouthpieces.
1937 MEYER “TRUE FLEX” FACING
These have a cut out on the table with the phrase, ‘Meyer “True Flex” Facing’. The cut-out was to allow the reed to vibrate more freely. This concept does not work well though as the ligature pushes down on the malleable reed right above this cut-out, deforming the reed. The wet reed bottom also expands into the table and further deforms the reed bottom, not allowing it to lay flat. This is probably why they later dropped this table design.
These had a slightly larger chamber than the later Meyer Brothers mouthpieces. Hence they also had a little less projection and punch. MeYer was written lengthwise on the back of these mouthpieces.
A rare version of this mouthpiece is a clear plastic version called ‘Crystalyte’ that is otherwise identical to the other “True Flex” models.
The most sought after of the Meyer mouthpieces is the Meyer Bros. New York model. These had a fat body and came in a small, medium, and large chamber. The small chambers were very bright, and the large chambers were very dark. Hence most people played on the medium chambers. The large or small chambers are still very good playing mouthpieces though. The finish work on these was excellent. They had very rounded inner side walls and a small rollover baffle at the tip. The Meyer Brothers mouthpieces are also known for having a very good quality hard rubber compound that produces a very rich sound.
Though officially the Meyer Bros. mouthpieces came in three chamber sizes, really there were four. The fourth is another small chamber model. Both were marked as small chambers but one is much smaller than the other. The below top two photos show the two small chamber models. The top-left version has a very high floor and the back of the chamber forms a circle smaller than the bore. The top-right small chamber mouthpiece also has a high floor but the back of the chamber actually extends out to the same diameter as the bore.
The below left mouthpiece is the medium chamber model and the right mouthpiece is the large chamber model. The back of the chamber on both of these is the same size as the bore. The difference is in the height of the floor and the width between the two side walls inside the mouthpiece. The large chamber is significantly larger than the medium chamber. It is interesting though that the larger of the two small chambers, the medium chamber and the large chamber do look and play very similar.
The most popular model for alto is the medium chamber. It has the most traditional sound. All models play very well though. The Meyer Bros. tenor mouthpieces are not nearly as popular as the altos. However the small and large chamber versions are very special and unique playing mouthpieces. Both are quite rare.
The Meyer Bros. mouthpieces came in two historic vintages. The early version had the chamber size marked on the shank UNDER the table and included the word ‘chamber’. For example it would say, MEDIUM CHAMBER. The later version had the chamber size marked on the shank under the Meyer Bros logo which was on the back of the mouthpiece. The chamber size only read, SMALL, MEDIUM, or LARGE. It also had a slightly longer shank, while the overall length of the mouthpiece stayed the same.
Both models are very similar and play almost identical. There are small differences though. The early model did not have a clear line in the mold separating the chamber from the bore. The lines in the chamber are from hand work and are different on every mouthpiece. The later model had a clear circle inside from the mold. The later model also had a thicker ramp. The ramp is the section under the table separating the table from the chamber.
Cannonball adderley is known for having played on the Meyer Bros. mouthpiece. You may notice that his mouthpiece has a band around the shank. That is not stock, but was added because the shank on his mouthpiece had a crack:
Sonny Stitt also played this model most of his life:
MEYER MOUTHPIECE BOXES:
Meyer boxes only came in two variations. The True Flex mouthpieces and first Meyer Bros. mouthpieces came in the boxes shown below on the left. The later Meyer Bros mouthpieces came in the boxes shown in the right picture.
1960 MEYER NEW YORK USA – TRANSITIONAL
This mouthpiece is unique as it has the body of the New York mouthpiece, but the Diamond stamp on the table of the NYUSA mouthpiece. This is very uncommon though, so it is classified as a transitional mouthpiece.
The NYUSA mouthpieces retained the deeply rounded inner-side-walls of the Meyer Bros. mouthpieces.
The body of these mouthpieces got thinner. The thin body produced a very nice resonance but sacrificed the solidity inherent to the Meyer Brothers mouthpieces. Many players prefer this resonant quality though.
The baffle on these rolled up all the way to the very tip of the mouthpiece, leaving almost no tip rail. This also added to the slightly brighter sound.
The finish work on the baffle of these mouthpieces is impeccable, true masters refaced these. This impeccable finish work is part of the reason these mouthpieces play so well.
1970 MEYER NEW YORK USA – LATE MODEL
These mouthpieces look identical on the outside to the earlier New York USA models. Inside they are very different. They have less of the rounded inner side-wall than the earlier model but do retain the same amount of baffle. The interior finish work is good, but not as good as the earlier model. This interior design is the same as the later ‘Made in USA’ model.
1971 MEYER ‘MADE IN USA’ MODEL
These are the current production mouthpieces and were made at the Babbitt factory since the mid 1970s. They have a flatter inner side wall forming an almost triangular chamber. While they have changed from the vintage Meyers, they are the same general concept, and still a very good alto mouthpiece. They are still the standard of the alto mouthpiece industry.
1995 MEYER NEW YORK LIMITED EDITION MODEL
According to Meyer these mouthpieces were made to duplicate the older style New York mouthpiece. They use a different rubber compound than the current production pieces, and only a limited number of them were made. The chamber shape is more like the late New York USA models. The finish work on these mouthpieces is nicer than the standard model as well.