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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000308.txt from 2001/07

From: Bill Page <bill.page@-----.com>
Subj: RE: [kl] Re: Mouthpieces misconceptions!!!!!
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 10:32:39 -0400

In discussing mouthpiece manufacturing, a certain range of measurements that
deviated to some degree from the nominal tip facing for a mouthpiece was
given. From that data, others assumed that quality control at the factory
must be out of whack.

As a guy whose day job is quality manager for a major electronics
manufacturing company, I'd like to weigh in with just a little
clarification. The term "out of control" implies that the process is
consistently providing product that is outside a given tolerance range (spec
limit) around the expected (nominal) measurement. That spec limit (range)
is determined by the factory as the amount of variance that will allow the
company to efficiently manufacture the product WHILE meeting the customers'
needs/expectations. Sampling the process on a regular basis allows us to
determine if the process is meeting requirements. A number of products are
checked, their measurements evaluated for the average and the distribution
of variance from the expected norm. If no measurements are outside the of
the spec limit previously determined, it may be decided that no action needs
to be taken.

What we don't know from the short example given: a) how large the sample
size was; 2) whether the sampled units were from one or many lots; c) the
distribution of the measurements around the nominal target. Ergo, we would
be jumping to conclusions to decide that the company named earlier has
process control problems.

Truth of the matter is, if making the perfect mouthpiece was a simple matter
of bore diameter, tip facing, length, etc., someone would have perfected the
process long ago. I don't know if the average clarinet player could tell
the difference between 1.15 facing and 1.13 or 1.17. Some of you certainly
could...that's why the guys who handcraft and personally test each
mouthpiece have a market.

I have no idea what the facing on my B45 actually is. I do know where to
(normally) place my reed and ligature on that mouthpiece to get a reasonable
tone that blows easily. On the days when my normal setup doesn't work, I
don't blame the mouthpiece -- it didn't change overnight!

Bill Page
Kenosha WI

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