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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000519.txt from 1998/03

From: "Frederick S. Sterns" <fssterns@-----.net>
Subj: Re: Mouthpiece baffles
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 16:30:59 -0500

Doug Sears wrote...

>What are these baffles? Are they a commercially available product -- made
>by whom? How do they attach to the mouthpiece?
>I could use more edge to my tone and more volume on both alto sax and
>clarinet, for playing Balkan dance music unamplified.

..."baffles" are well known to jazz, rock, and big band saxophone players.
The "powerhouse" saxophone mouthpieces with the "heavy duty" edge in their
sound usually have high baffles coupled with small tone chambers. The
"baffle" is the ledge in the chamber...the more pronounced this "ledge" the
edgier the tone.

For example, those rock tenor or baritone saxophone players whose tone will
cut through your ear drums at 110 decibels, or more, are probably using
metal mouthpieces with very small tone chambers and very high baffles. [For
the "shock" of your life try one once! It's an experience you'll always
remember. It's very difficult to define the sound you get...you can draw
analogies to train and factory whistles, however. :-) ]

I have never heared of a clarinet mouthpiece with a "baffle," but maybe
someone makes one!

One way of experimenting with baffles is to buy some kids' Silly
Putty...shape it in different ways to represent various baffle
configurations and press it into the top of your mouthpiece. You'll surely
notice differences in the quality of your tone...and if you find something
you like there's no reason not to continue using the Silly Putty. It will
adhere more or less permanently to hard rubber...and still can be removed
easily. BUT...

...my own experience with baffles that can be inserted and removed from
mouthpieces, either homemade or commercially obtained, is that they not
only change the quality and volume of the tone but also affect the
intonation of the instrument set up...in almost every case for me, not for
the better.

...therefore, if yoou can't find a manufactured baffled mouthpiece that
gives you the sound and intonation you like, and there are certainly some
great saxophone mouthpieces with different baffles, I for one recommend
against adding a baffle to a mouthpiece that wasn't designed that way.

If anyone wants more detail or information please let me know. Fred S.

   
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