Merlin Williams
Mouthpiece Refacing

Merlin working on a piece at Gary Armstrong's Christmas Clarinet Keg Party!

"As a concert saxophonist, I am always searching for a better sound. Thanks to Merlin Williams I have been able to improve my high register and my overall sense of projection. His knowledge of mouthpieces (design, imperfections, and improvement methods) is outstanding. I heartily recommend him in your quest of a better sound."
Daniel Rubinoff
concert saxophonist

I reface saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces. My goal with each mouthpiece I work on is to make it play its best. Many mass-produced mouthpieces have irregularities in the facing curve, uneven rails or a table that isn't flat. These defects can make a mouthpiece stuffy, unresponsive or chirpy. Fixing defects is just one aspect of refacing. It's also possible to increase or decrease tip opening and alter the brightness of the sound by working on the baffle and tip rail.

Here are some photos of a Guardala Michael Brecker model II tenor mouthpiece I recently refaced. As you can see in the first shot, there is quite a lot of wear; so much in fact that there is a ridge at the very tip of the mouthpiece. I flattened the table and refaced the tip to spec, correcting an overly long facing curve in the process.

Guardala Brecker piece Before - see the ridge at the tip?Guardala Brecker piece after refacing.

Here are two pics of a tip repair I did recently on an old Otto Link Slant Sig tenor mouthpiece. You can see how much of the tip was broken off. The replacement material doesn't match cosmetically, but it works and sounds great!

Here's what the owner had to say:

"The mouthpiece arrived today. It plays fantastic from top to bottom, just like it did before I dropped it. I am very glad I sent it to you because I have not been able to find another piece that was quite like it."

As you can see, there was significant damage to the mouthpiece. I was happy to make it play at all, and delighted to learn it met the owner's expectations. I was also pleased to find out after the fact that the original reface was done by the legendary John van Wie. I'm delighted to have been able to keep this great mouthpiece in action.

I work on jazz and classical mouthpieces, either hard rubber or brass. I particularly enjoy working on mouthpieces for classical saxophonists. I believe that many of them are playing on pieces which are unresponsive because of manufacturing inconsistencies or wear and tear. I can also apply the old NY style Meyer #5 facing to modern Meyer mouthpieces. My rates are very reasonable; prices can be quoted on consultation. I can also repair chipped tips, and broken shanks. Shipping and taxes are extra, if applicable.

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