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Thread: REVIEW: Mercer & Barker - Brandon Jones 51 Solo

  1. #1

    REVIEW: Mercer & Barker - Brandon Jones 51 Solo

    I have had the opportunity to obtain the recently released Mercer & Barker - Brandon Jones 51 (Solo Version). 51D version review will come soon. I completely understand that mouthpieces are very personal, and based on your physical make up/sound concept/instrument they may not be for everyone. This mouthpiece was tested on a Willson 2900 (medium shank). I have broken the elements down to separate categories.

    Appearance/Build Quality/Options:
    I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I do like the look of the M & B mouthpieces (see photos). The one downside is that the satin finish on mine scratched very easily. There are different options available: silver plate (satin or polished [all models]), rose gold plate, stainless steel, yellow gold plate. Medium and large shank are available.

    This is where this mouthpiece really shines. The rim of the mouthpiece is rounded and rests well on the embouchure. During an hour and a half practice session with minimal breaks, I had very little fatigue on the face. My practice sesson included Clarke Studies, Arban (some etudes up and down an octave) and some solo work (Varied Mood, Symphonic Variants). This is what most surprised me regarding this mouthpiece by a long shot, and this is the most comfortable mouthpiece I have personally played to date.

    Because this mouthpiece is largely based on the Schilke 51D, I carries some of the similar tone qualities. The 51 solo vesion has a slightly more shallow cup than the Jones 51D. The play testing environment included personal practice sessions, and in a forty+ pieces wind band. This mouthpiece is especially excellent in the traditional wind band setting. I was able to easily achieve a strong, stable core of sound enough to blend and project when necessary. I was unable to use this mouthpiece in the brass band setting due to our group being on recess for the summer, but I would strongly recommend this mouthpiece for the wind band setting to be sure. It is a stellar performer!
    This mouthpiece has some heft to it, and I didn't have many issues with notes responding when I wanted them to do so. Arpeggio and interval practice made this very evident. The only slight response issue I ran into was in the lower range (B natural to Eb below the bass clef/C# to F treble clef). This may be different with the standard Jones 51D (I will follow up later), and more than likely it is me adjusting to the mouthpiece.

    From what I can tell, Mercer & Barker are doing some great things on the mouthpiece front. I will be trying out their GW line of mouthpieces as well. I especially encourage wind band players to give the Jones 51 (solo) or 51D a try! This will at a minimum be my band piece from now on.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ben Dawley
    Music Director
    Solo Euphonium, Mid-Michigan Brass Band
    Principal Euphonium, Midland Concert Band
    Euphonium, Chemical City Band

    Besson Prestige 2052 (Gold)
    Shires Q41S (Medium Shank)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    Thanks, Ben! So glad you're enjoying it!
    Brandon Jones
    Principal Euphonium - The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C.
    Principal/Solo Euphonium - Brass of the Potomac
    S. E. Shires Artist & Clinician
    Mercer & Barker Signature Artist


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