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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000768.txt from 1998/04

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: Mouthpiece Information
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 13:16:18 -0400

> At 06:41 PM 4/14/98 -0700, Jason Hsien wrote:
> >Now, in regards to your mouthpiece and instrument. I really don't like
> >Artley, they don't play well, but Vandoren mouthpieces are excellent. I
> >would try them out at your music store, see which ones work the best with
> >your instrument-reed-ligature combination before you buy from WW & BW.

> wrote:
> The other problem with this suggestion is that mouthpieces of the same
> brand and model are not always identical. I once tried a Larry Combs
> mouthpiece a friend had that was wonderful, but when I ordered one to
> try/buy it was completely unsatisfactory.

As a major part of my sabbatical leave project, I have been refacing
mouthpieces and trying to understand basic concepts associated with the
mouthpiece bores, facings, and measurements. I have been successful in
that, as part of the overall project, I purchased several of the brand
name mouthpieces for testing, measuring, and refacing. I was fortunate to
work with Richard Hawkins (a major talent in clarinet playing and superior
skills in mouthpiece work) who showed me the jist of what I needed to know
to get started. I have discovered many things about Vandoren mouthpiece
(B45, M13, V5), Gigliotti (P and P13), Blayman (E and R), Marcellus (M13),
and Larry Combs (LC1).......but one of the most glaring problems I have
run across is the sloppy consistancy from mouthpiece to mouthpiece. I
held the Marcellus prototype at the Leblanc factory and I can assure you,
the measurements of my commercially purchased Marcellus weren't even close
to the prototype! In fact, while three of the four numbers in the curve
schedule were very close, the fourth (lowest and closest to the bottom of
the window opening) was so long, the mouthpiece barely played. by
refacing ONLY that portion of the mouthpiece and bringing it back to
specs, it actually played very well. I would assume that this is what
Gary ran into with the Combs. The Combs LC1 I bought has a crooked,
uneven cut at the top. That is, the left rail is longer than the right!
Geez....I can't even reface it.....there is not enough material left on
the right side to give me the chance to reset the facing and make it even.
I am out the $50 or so I paid for it......but I learned what I needed to

Yesterday, I dropped by ISU and Aris Chavez, a good friend who teaches
there, let me measure all six of the school Cicero Kaspers, his Kasper,
and a special crystal he had. The Kaspers were very close in terms of
facing.....the only deviant being the one that Chavez had refaced by
Robert Scott several years ago. The facing had been altered severely
(based on the number on the Kasper), and the mouthpiece lacked the
brilliance of the other 6. What does this say? Commercial mouthpieces
are going to compared to hand faced, custom
mouthpieces. How does that help the consumer? Try 5 or 6 of each brand,
and, if possible, get to a person who can measure and adjust the
mouthpiece you choose. The skills are not difficult to learn (the basic
ones anyway)........but, leave the mouthpiece making to the masters. When
you are ready for a custom mouthpiece, go to the person whose mouthpieces
you have tried and liked and have two made for you at the same time.

Roger Garrett

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