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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000136.txt from 1994/05

From: Tom Ascher <U15310@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: mouthpiece specifications
Date: Fri, 6 May 1994 02:02:14 -0400

The rule relating mouthpiece to reed should be, I believe that the
hardness (stiffness) of a reed will be inversely proportional to the
aperture of a mouthpiece and directly proportional to the facing length. That
is, in GENERAL, use lower reed strength with shorter facing, wider
apertures; use higher reed strength with longer facing, narrower apertures.
This can be confusing, because in actuality, mouthpieces tend to be made
with longer facings having the wider apertures and the shorter facings having
the narrower apertures. This provides a range of mouthpieces all of which
can be played with a similar reed strength. So that its possible to create
a wide range of mouthpieces, all of which will play with about the same
reed strength, but giving nuances of tone.

As Clark Fobes mentiones, the cylinder bore and chamber dimensions
also influence the playability and the tone, so its much more complex
than simply looking at aperture and facing. Nonetheless, the facing
and aperture seem to give a first, rough guide of what a mouthpiece will
be like, and I published my note on the Selmer and Vandoren mouthpieces
for the convenience of those who have inquired. Also, I have created
a chart (which is over 80 characters long, so I don't believe can be
sent as a note) which shows a matrix of facing vs. aperture for all of
the Selmer & VD mouthpieces, which allows the drawing of various slanting
lines that I suspect might show combinations good for a given reed strength.

All this said, I came home this evening to experiment with my Buffet R-13-A
and seem to have come across some sort of paradox. I had been playing it
with a 2-1/2 VD reed (with a Selmer HS* mouthpiece) with a resultant
stuffy sound and feeling to it. Out of curiousity, I picked up some
VD #3 reeds and ALSO some VD #1-1/2 reeds. I first played for about
an hour with the #3's, thinking I had been using too soft of a reed. And,
lo and behold, the tone seemed cleaner, more open and more satisfying.
Then, just to complete the study, I placed a 1-1/2 reed on not expecting
a very good result. And, surprise, the tone was WONDERFUL open, resonant,
full, easy-blowing, and clear even into the lower altissimo range. Hmmmm!
Well, as Clark indicates, there's something of an art to this. Based on
this experience, I can see its awfully important to try a wide range of
mouthpiece/reed combinations with EACH instrument. As I find a different
combination works best on my Yamaha YCL-62 Bb. Forgive me, all of you
who already know these things. But, I'm enjoying learning and playing
with my new toys!

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