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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000042.txt from 2004/08

From: Roger Garrett <rgarrett@-----.edu>
Subj: [kl] Charles Bay Mouthpieces
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 20:38:55 -0400

Hi Everyone,

Long time no see/talk too etc. Only on briefly - too much stuff going on -
including the final touches on the basement I have spent all summer
building. I finally learned to make raised panel doors, and it has been a
fun summer so far!

I was sent the thread regarding Charles Bay's bass clarinet mouthpieces,
and I wanted to mention a few things.

Charles Bay was one of the first bass clarinetists to make a truly fine
bass mouthpiece. He wasn't just an upstart - he actually made (and still
does make) really wonderful mouthpieces. It is my understanding, from
talking with Jim Green of J.J. Babbitt Mouthpieces, that Charlie designed
and purchased his own molds for bass mouthpieces. This was sometime back -
when molds and the tooling to make such were much less expensive than they
are now. However - it was a risky move - and explains in part why the Bay
mouthpieces cost so much. They really are wonderful mouthpieces (I've
tried many of them - old and new - and I like them) - and no one can
duplicate them because of the uniqueness of the blanks. Of course, other
mouthpieces can be duplicated - both bass, Bb and Eb
alike. Why? Mouthpiece blanks are available to ANYONE. For roughly $20,
you may purchase the same blank that Jim Pyne uses, or David Hite used, or
Walter Grabner, or Clark Fobes, etc. Of course, bore tapers, baffle work,
and facings are an issue in matching a mouthpiece - and remember - all hard
rubber blanks are incredibly varied because of the cooling process outside
the molds. Still, anyone who puts their mind to it, has good mouthpiece
making skills and plays well can make a mouthpiece that will work well for
just about anyone. BTW - the newest Hawkins mouthpieces cannot be copied
because he had the blank made for him specially. My hat is off to Richard
for taking the time and making the effort (not to mention investing the
capitol) to create a new blank from which to make mouthpieces. While they
are too close for my comfort level - there are many people who love them
and play on them (Larry Combs to name at least one!). Remember -
mouthpieces can be made by anyone who plays well and has skill in the craft.

I want to address another issue - that of J. Lawrie Bloom's supposed
"preference" in bass mouthpieces. The bottom line is that the mouthpiece
he plays on cannot be reproduced because the blank is no longer
available. He settles for a Selmer that is reworked for students -
primarily because it is the closest thing he can find to his own setup. I
can speak for him because he told me these things over lunch this past
summer. Lawrie only wants what works best for his students - and if
someone can rework a Selmer and sell it to Lawrie's students at a
reasonable cost - that's great. But let's not confuse the issue. The
Selmer reworked blank is NOT, I repeat - IS NOT the mouthpiece that Lawrie
prefers over all other mouthpieces. This is a mouthpiece that he
recommends to his students.

Hope this clears the air of two important and somewhat related subjects.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer and is getting ready for
another year of teaching, studying, playing, or vacationing!!! Please stay
in touch.

Best wishes,
Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director, Symphonic Winds
Illinois Wesleyan University

http://www.iwu.edu/~rgarrett/

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