Goodbye to the Lawton 8*BB as well ?

It was so far back that I honestly can’t remember when I bought this Lawton 8*BB tenor sax mouthpiece.  I got it from Bill Lewington’s magical emporium, when they were in the West End – just the other side of Cambridge Circus from Shaftesbury Avenue – and I seem to remember the salesman saying Have you tried the new Lawton ?” when I explained that I wanted something with as much bite, but a wider range of sounds, than my faithful ‘0’ chamber Berg Larsen.

In a  2001 interview with JazzNation, Geoff Lawton said “…and I’ve been making them ever since. You’re talking forty-odd years…”, so the timescale fits.  All I can remember is that I parted with around 20 quid for a spanking new Lawton.  I may well soon be parting with my tenor Lawton for a great deal more than that – enjoy the pictures ! Click on the image for a web page full of lovely Lawton pictures…

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17 Responses to Goodbye to the Lawton 8*BB as well ?

  1. lewis Pelham says:

    Sad day Alan; I do hope that you will not regret it.
    I have Lawtons on both tenor and soprano despite a drawer full of very good alternatives.
    My 8*B tenor piece lacks it’s “easy to lose” reed cap but I am unlikely to spend £40 on a replacement….I will only lose it!  😦

  2. Mal-2 says:

    You might want to see how this auction pans out:|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

    That could hopefully give you some idea what you’re likely to get, and whether it’s worth it for you. He’s asking for a starting bid of $325 and has so far received no bids (less than 12 hours remaining).

  3. Alan says:

    (strangely enough my anti-spam word was ‘lawton’ – spooky…  🙄  )
    Mal – it’s a bit like comparing Chalk and Cheese I’m afraid, mine is an 8*BB, that’s a 6*B, and thankfully mine doesn’t have a bite plate that looks as though Dracula has been playing it – I must be lucky in that I don’t bite, is it an ‘agressive playing’ thing ?
    I’ve been watching Lawtons for quite a while – I’m looking for 7*B ebonite tenor and soprano – and have never seen an 8*BB tenor come up in years, plenty of 6*B’s, even a few 7*B’s, but never a tenor 8*BB.  It’s a bit of a beast, you can certainly hear yourself without foldback, and I suspect that anyone that has one will (usually) keep them.   There’s NOS tenor Lawtons regularly on ebay for $700+, and this is a well cared for  ‘original’ stock, before back before the boxes started having extra little labels describing the tone…
    I’m in no rush to sell, I had an interested buyer, but he seems to have cooled – it can gladly stay with me until I can’t play anymore, and then I could just sit and look at it – however it really deserves to be out there, scaring guitarists, taming loud keyboard players, and impressing other musicians. That’s the Lawton 8*BB (0.115” facing) – as used by Bootman and featured in the Mouthpiece Museum, get yours here !!   😉

  4. lewis Pelham says:

    Yes, the BBs do seem to sell at a premium, yet, when new, they were no more expensive that any other facing. One wonders therefore why everyone did not choose the BB….possibly because our concept of the ideal sound has changed…or everyone is now competing with ****^! guitarists.
    To market a new mouthpiece now it has to be CNC milled, Spark Eroded to within +or- 0.0000135 of a Miliblean & comply with pseudo mathematical formulae & New World mumbo jumbo….amazing that Geof Lawton could fettle such glorious pieces in a garden shed, in glamourous Macclesfield!

  5. Alan says:

    Sorry about the recent lack of posts/comments, but been a busy and distracting few weeks (plus school holidays, and good ‘getting out and about’ weather etc.)  – normal service soon to be resumed…
    I’ll start off by saying it’s almost certainly the “Return of the Prodigal Lawton”, might well be starting it’s journey back from the U.S. of A. on Tuesday, didn’t really settle in with the new owner, so she’s comin’ back to Dorset…  AAaaahhhh…  😆

  6. lewis Pelham says:

    Why does it come as no surprise that Alan has done the honourable thing?
    Buying back a mouthpiece that did not suit the new owner;  proving that Caveat Emptor does not always apply.
    A good man.

  7. Garth Rees says:

    Hi there, I hope you don’t mind me leaving a comment but I’m a bit of a Lawton man myself and was a little surprised that you were parting with it to start with. I play an 8BB on my ’55 Martin “Committee” and old Nick himself won’t be able to pry it from my dead fingers. Yours obviously belongs in Dorset.

  8. alan says:

    Garth – Your comments are very welcome here…   Yes, The 8*BB is on its way home, left Wilmington Airport (the main DHL US hub), Ohio, about mid-day UK time, so it should be nearing the UK shores anytime now. 

    I’d quite like to drop back just a little on both the edge and the tip, so a 7*B might be on the menu – maybe in ebonite this time for a wider sound spectrum – if I can find one without re-mortgaging the house…  My Funk and Rock days seem to be at a logical end, I just plan to gently blues away into the sunset – my wedge-baffled Coufs are ideally suited to that until an ebonite Lawton comes along.

    Maybe I should mention here that I’d be ‘up’ for a part exchange  ?

  9. JonF says:


    If you’re interested, my Lawton 8*B might be up for sale/trade soon. It’s a metal one, so maybe not quite what you’re after, but on its side it won’t be costing a mortgage sort of amount. That’s because although it plays very well indeed it’s not cosmetically perfect. It’s previously been drilled for a mic pickup, which has since been filled, quite well. Send me an email if you’re tempted.

    Only selling because I’m so utterly taken with my RPC.



  10. alan says:

    Jon, email sent – the 8*BB is just a touch too edgy for a C-Mel, absolutely fine for the bigger volumed tenor, so hopefully dropping back a  ‘B’ might stop the overdrive tendency…  However, if I played the C in a loud bannd, that little extra is wonderful insurance 😆
    The 8*BB should be back in my hands today (it’s on the van).  I may well re-unite it with my one-and-only ‘Martin stencil’ tenor – worth less than the mouthpiece -it really does bring that tenor alive, even tho’ it’s in need of major attention.  Think it came from a marching band, a few dints,  and even has stereo neck patches…
    Here she is…(click/hover here)
    Not bad for less than $77 plus shipping, eh ? Played right out of the cardboard box (that was $77  NOT including the Lawton)
    She was on ebay as an alto, I though C-Mel, but didn’t ask too many questions – just in case other buyers got interested – and turned out to be a tenor, with my friendly front-F

  11. JonF says:


    Fantastic sax for $77


  12. alan says:

    Jon – Thanks, she plays well on a (very much ) older set of pads – and the alto (one of three cheapies)  that I hope will replace the Magna alto, is a Martin Medalist that cost all of $102  (£77 including shipping…)

    Pig-ugly, but has the same adjustable RH thumb-rest as the Magna, and an amazingly comfortable heart-shaped LH thumb-rest. 

    Click/hover here for a picture – or  Click here for a slideshow

  13. ukebert says:

    I love those key guards.

  14. lewis Pelham says:

    Very similar to those of the Selmer “Cigar Cutter”.
    Equipped with those, and that very wide octave rocker yoke, which should be able to open the largest bottle, the saxophone is equipped for the very best of London Clubs.   🙂

  15. Lewis Pelham says:

    It’s very quiet around here…anything that I said?   🙂

  16. ukebert says:

    I’ve had a nightmare couple of days unfortunately, too much work. It looks like the whole experience will be repeated next week as well, although I’ll be a little more settled in to the rigours of term time. They certainly don’t like breaking you in easy here 😕

  17. Alan says:

    Lewis, Owen  (and all) – sorry, but April has been a ‘wiped out’ month, I just seemed to run out of steam all too easily.  Fine for one-liner comments, but just too tired to concentrate on new posts etc.   On the plus side, I did have the energy for some reflective playing, so it’s not all bad – and last weekend we had a trip down to Cornwall, which revived the concentration.
    May will be better, I’ve a few interesting (well, to me…) posts lined up, and they’ll get on here, by hook or by crook.  Not only has the faithful old Lawton 8*BB come back home, I had simultaneous offers of an 8BB ebonite and an 8*B brass, naturally neither of which I refused, so I’ll be testing all three on tenor and old/new C’s.   Still love the Coufs, but a Lawton is a Lawton (is a Lawton…)…   😆
    Sincerest thanks to all who’ve continued to look in here, despite the lack of new content.  Your patience and diligence will be rewarded  😀

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