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Why the E. Rousseau RC Mouthpiece?

Artist Preston Duncan 
Discusses The RC Mouthpiece

The E. Rousseau RC Classic Mouthpiece is the newest entry in a mouthpiece line that has received the endorsement from university teachers and professional saxophone artists in the U.S. and throughout the world. While the original line was first developed by Dr. Eugene Rousseau in the 1970’s, the full line of classical and jazz mouthpieces has grown and continues to be unmatched in providing both professional players and advancing students with the appropriate tools to achieve superior saxophone tone, response and performance.

“During my studies and efforts to create a line of superior saxophone mouthpieces, I found that proper mouthpiece design is not an easy task,” explains Dr. Rousseau. 

“While in Paris, I became extremely interested in the design and construction of saxophones and of mouthpieces. I worked with and studied under the eminent acoustician, Charles Houvenaghel. As M. Houvenaghel explained, with virtually all aspects in the manufacturing of wind instruments and mouthpieces, the final product is determined by trial and error; this is why it is an art!” 

Maintaining a balance among all of the important qualities of a mouthpiece requires imagination, skill, knowledge and a passion for the best. Different mouthpieces provide different results for the player, and determining which model to use will be based on many design factors. A well-designed baffle is one key factor, bringing together the best balance between each of the four main features of a mouthpiece – tone quality, response, projection and dynamic control.

Since Dr. Rousseau first completed his original mouthpiece designs, including the R Series and the NC Series for classical and concert band performance, there has been a virtual onslaught of new mouthpiece models promising a variety of benefits. However, as one might expect, there is a trade-off. “When a mouthpiece design focuses one or two issues,” explains Dr. Rousseau, “the usual result is lost benefits in other areas. For example, if a designer focuses on improving projection and dynamics, there is likely to be a loss in overall saxophone tone quality and response.”

One such more recent development is the development of mouthpieces that claim be more free blowing and responsive in all registers. What many fine saxophone players find, however, is that this responsiveness sacrifices the tonal colors available. The result is often a very homogeneous tone quality that lacks the resonance expected by those who know. As one artist explained, “it’s more like a ‘clarinet type’ tone that has come out of many schools over the last twenty years.”

That same artist says, “What I hear most from the concerts I have done is that other players love my tone because it sounds like a saxophone” playing on the E. Rousseau RC alto mouthpiece.

The RC model maintains a terrific response and dynamic range, as with all E. Rousseau models. It does provide some increased opportunities in the lower register and is not as restrictive as some other brands. Most critically, however, there are many tonal colors available and a properly trained player will readily notice that the result provides a truly beautiful saxophone tone.

Some performers may choose the projection and control offered by the New Classic (NC) models or the warm flexible tone of the Classic R series. But for those who are looking for a classical performance mouthpiece with some alternative performance and tonal features, the E. Rousseau RC Classic model is highly recommended.