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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000340.txt from 2003/10

Subj: Re: [kl] Mouthpiece pitch
Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2003 11:36:30 -0400

In a message dated 10/10/2003 7:55:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> To one of the mouthpiece craftsmen on the List:
> How meaningful is the sound of a mouthpiece alone? When you're
> refacing or manufacturing a mouthpiece, and you're ready to test it, do
> you listen to the mouthpiece alone (in addition to playing it on an
> instrument)?>>

Yes, I have been reading messages, but I have only been responding to direct inquiries. Fortunately or un-fortunately, I have been literally consumed with work. (This week's IMEA auditions brought a half dozen desperate teens to my door with stuck keys, leaking pads, etc. and I literally did not have the heart to turn them away.) Well, at least I'm working, when so many are not.

Topic one - how meaningful is the sound of the mouthpiece alone?

To me, none at all. I never play on the mouthpiece alone. I can't possibly see what that one dimensional tect could tell me.

Last night I was working on bass clarinet mouthpieces. To test I played the bass clarinet excerpts from "Sigfried", "On the Trail", "Daphnis and Chloe - Suite #2" and the William Schuman Symphony with the wild bass clarinet part.

Using those four I can tect virtually any aspect of the mouthpiece's playing charteristics. I also have the tuner on and constantly scan for any tuning abnormalities.

Second Question - Toby, you asked this about a week and a half ago, about my use of alcohol in cleaning clarinets. You asked, I believe, if it rusted the keys and if it dried out the wood.

I waited awhile to answer this. I ran a test. I took a blue needle spring and soaked it in my alcohol, intermittently for a week. I let it dry out then poured alcohol over it again, I must have done this six times. At the end of the week, the spring had NO RUST on it.

In terms of alcohol drying out wood, I will agree that it has the possibility of doing so. Anytime I use alcohol and swabs to clean a clarinet I then oil the area lightly after I have it clean and dry.

When you are conasantly repairing clarinets, one of the things you see very often is an accumulation of greasy, oily GUNK. Alcohol cuts through it and leaves no sticky debris.

After I clean out rod and a hinge tube with alcohol, I make sure that nothing is leaft in the mechanism, like old grit, etc., that would hinder the motion of the key. Then I lightly apply a special corrosive-resistant grease I (not oil)to the key. In the 25 years I have used this grease on my own clarinets (two Bb's, one A, Eb, Bass, C) I have never had a key bind or get sticky from oil build up.


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