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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000127.txt from 1999/06

Subj: Re: [kl] New member with a question
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 16:19:42 -0400

Neil Leupold wrote:
> On Tue, 1 Jun 1999, Roger Garrett wrote:
> > One of the last things I do to a mouthpiece before putting it in the
> > plastic case waiting to be sold is to test it. If it needs a bit more
> > tweaking in the area of tone, the first thing I do is adjust the area at
> > or near the beak on the exterior. This is something Richard Hawkins
> > showed me, and it is something that has a dramatic affect on the
> > mouthpiece. When a student wants me to to "fix" their store bought
> > mouthpiece, sometimes this is all I do and they are happy.
> This brings up an interesting thought. Roger says that he play
> tests his mouthpieces as a final step in the production process
> (this is what you mean when you say "test", correct?). If there
> is some adjustment needed, based on his play test, he makes those
> final adjustments before sliding the mouthpiece into its plastic
> case as a finished product. Apprently Richard Hawkins performs
> a similar test and final adjustment on his own mouthpieces before
> considering them finished products.
> Is this common practice among mouthpiece makers? It sparks a
> train of thought in my mind, that if the quality of tone pro-
> duced by a first-generation mouthpiece (i.e.; made from a blank
> and faced only once, by the original maker) is partially deter-
> mined by the maker's idea of what sounds good, then part of our
> decision as buyers should include an understanding of what the
> maker's concept of sound is. If I heard a maker play one of
> his own mouthpieces in recital, and the tone quality I heard
> was not my cup of tea, would it be logical for me to conclude
> that this maker's mouthpieces would not be likely to please
> me if I were to buy one for myself?
> -- Neil
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No, not really. I am a student of Richard Hawkins, and I believe that
he is aware of the sound quality that will be produced when an "average"
clarinetist plays on one of his mouthpieces. By "average," we simply
mean a clarinetist who doesn't have extreme tendencies, whether this be
physical makeup, or concept of sound. Every mouthpiece he makes is
within these shades of grey, toward both ends of the spectrum, so that
the buyer would have to try several to find the sound quality he/she
liked. Mr. Hawkins can adjust his embochure and quality of sound to fit
the style of many different players...I know, it's an interesting
concept, but he really can. If you were to tell him how you hear one of
his mouthpieces, he'd be able to adjust it to your specifications as
well. By the way, the mouthpiece that a maker creates for the public
isn't necessarily the same style of mouthpiece he/she plays on, as long
as they have a concept of the varying needs that are out there. Sorry
for the long winded response. Boja Kragulj Cary, IL

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