Vintage Vandoren Blue Jumbo Java A45 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece
One of the most sought after saxophone mouthpieces in the world today is the Vintage Vandoren Blue Jumbo Java A45 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece. If you happened to buy one in the 1980’s and NOT sell it back then, you are probably VERY happy with yourself knowing how much they currently sell for today online. On average these mouthpieces sell between $900.00-$1,500.00, specifically the size A45. The A35 and A55 sell at a pretty decent price as well, usually between $450.00-$900.00, depending on condition.
Why do you ask? (Or really, why would anyone pay that much?)
This guy right here:
The global smooth jazz artist Warren Hill has struck a chord with saxophone players who would do whatever it takes to get that sound. Including shelling out $1,500.00 for this little blue “magic” pill. That’s all it takes.
Many of these mouthpieces that we have owned or that have passed through our shop have been very good players throughout the range of the horn. However, at the prices they are currently selling for, they are not really that accessible to most saxophone players. Well, most of the saxophone players that we know.
From our experience in selling these Vandoren Blue Jumbo Java A45 Alto Saxophone Mouthpieces, there is a very specific market looking to buy them. Nearly every one that we have sold has gone to either South Korea, Japan, or China. Saxophone playing, combined with the love of Jazz and Smooth Jazz has really grown in these countries over the last 20 years, and players like Warren Hill are hugely popular. This has really caused the demand of these great mouthpieces to skyrocket – and since they are no longer made by Vandoren, people will pay what they feel they need to pay, in order to have one.
What about a black one?
Does the color of the mouthpiece matter? OF COURSE NOT! It’s the design that matters, and dare I say, the materials. The truth is though, the processes used by Vandoren Paris to make these mouthpieces back in the 1980’s has changed, and therefore the mouthpieces have evolved into something different as well. The concept has remained the same, but small modifications, even the most trivial change, can make a difference in the tone and response of something like a saxophone mouthpiece.
Not all of the 1980’s Blue versions has the same exact dimensions, the same exact facings, the same exact width of the tip and side rails. These mouthpieces were all hand finished at one Vandoren Paris facility in the 1980’s, and the company moved to a new facility early in the 1990’s. As time has gone by, new systems have been put in place, and new craftsman are hand finishing each mouthpiece. Those changes can create an entirely new feel and play-ability for these or any saxophone mouthpiece.
We have played some current production Jumbo Java A45’s that were outstanding mouthpieces for what they were. Even just visually, there is a difference between the old and the new, despite what many will tell you. And well, it’s black and not blue. At this time I am unable to tell you if this special blue ebonite used by Vandoren Paris was sourced by the same company that sourced their standard black ebonite.
So you want one?
We are not going to try and talk anyone out of buying an original Blue Jumbo Java A45. If you have the money to spend and it won’t break YOUR bank, then that is all on you! There are some great alternatives, including the modern production Jumbo Java’s. CE Winds also makes a great tribute to the Vintage Vandoren Blue Jumbo Java A45 Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece. We call ours The Mainstream Jumbo Blue A45. It is priced at 1/3 to 1/6 of the cost of an original blue vintage piece ($299.00). And, it is BLUE!
We’ve bought and sold no less than 15 ‘originals’ over the last 10 years. About 8 years ago we found one in a case of a $100.00 Selmer Bundy. They are out there and sometimes you just have a good day and find one. We have also paid a premium price while looking for the best for our Mainstream line. Some we were happy with, and some, not so much.
So, are you really going to buy that Vintage Jumbo Blue A45? We won’t judge you.
Don’t have that much extra cash? Perhaps just try the CE Winds Mainstream A45. Who knows, maybe, with a little luck (and an insane amount of practice), you will sound just like this guy!