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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000316.txt from 2001/07

Subj: RE: [kl] Re: Mouthpieces measured/blanks too
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 00:13:24 -0400

Regarding quality control - here is a true story:

Today, I began filling an order of 10 mouthpieces for a public school music
program in Illinois - through one of the local music stores for that
particular town (the teacher wants a particular type of mouthpiece in the
beginners' cases - in place of the stock plastic Yamaha mouthpieces). I
also have to make and Eb and a Bass mouthpiece for a person in Minnesota
today, so I will be busy. At any rate, the first Bass blank I picked up
and began flattening the table on was very odd. Most mouthpieces have a
concave dip in the table - somewhere in the middle of the table. The
Zinners have this dip much closer to the window, therefore, it is more
controllable for those who wish to make hollow table mouthpieces. For
those people who want to use Babbitt blanks, the dip is much further down
the table, therefore much more difficult to control. The bass mouthpiece I
picked up had a convex table - in other words, the center of the table
popped out rather than dipped inward. This is the first one I have ever
run across like that. If it was not faced properly, it would be a disaster
for anyone who tried it. You may be saying, well, it didn't have a
machined facing on it - that's YOUR job...........but, read on.

I occasionally have the opportunity to make contra alto and contrabass
mouthpieces for people on special order. Rather than stock these blanks
(expensive), I just have a person order a Bundy, hard rubber mouthpiece
from a major supplier like IMS or WW/BW and send it to me. I then treat
the mouthpiece as a blank and go from there. It is interesting that
virtually every Bundy (Babbitt blank) mouthpiece I have recieved is a
semi-finished blank - with the name simply stamped into the back of the
mouthpiece. In other words, there is no facing put on except by those at
Babbitt who make sure the mouthpiece looks right and is ready for a more
specific facing to be put on it. This is a very scary thing. What it
means is that if blanks are stamped and then sent to the major suppliers,
many people who purchase the name brand mouthpieces may actually be
purchasing a semi-finished blank (but, they may not).

I just thought you all would be interested in more stories regarding
quality control.

Best wishes,
Roger Garrett

Roger Garrett
Clarinet Professor
Director, Symphonic Winds
Advisor, Recording Services
Illinois Wesleyan University
School of Music
Bloomington, IL 61702-2900
(309) 556-3268

"A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes
Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825)

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