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 Kasper tip openings
Author: Mark P. Jasuta 
Date:   2004-07-05 15:08

Does anyone know what the tip opening measurements on Kasper mouthpieces are? What I hear are just numbers like 13, 14, 16 etc. What do they mean?


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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Vytas 
Date:   2004-07-05 16:31

13 = 1.13mm (tip opening)

14 = 1.14mm

16 = 1.16mm

Kasper - Kaspar

Vytas Krass
Pro clarinet technician.
Custom clarinet mouthpiece maker.
Former pro clarinet player.

Post Edited (2004-07-05 16:41)

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: GBK 
Date:   2004-07-05 17:33

If you have never read Clark Fobes' essay on Kaspar mouthpieces: ...GBK

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Chetclarinet 
Date:   2004-07-06 00:02

Frank Kaspar of Chicago and later Cicero(1963-75) actually made mouthpieces with many different facing numbers,and also some that had letters such as DK, M, and no numbers at all for special order customers. I have seen some 07, 09, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 18 facings---unfortunately most Kaspars these days are not original and the facing indications do not accurately reflect the numbers to the left side. It is true that the majority of Frank Kaspar's mouthpieces had the numbers 11, 13, 14 , and 16 .Most of the original facings that I have come in contact with have medium, to medium open tip openings and medium to medium open facing lengths--many modern well respected mouthpiece craftsmen tend to lengthen the facings of these mouthpieces and also lengthen the facing lengths to accomdate harder reedsand copy the feel and response of older Chedeville and Lelandais mouthpieces.. Unfortunately, because Frank Kaspar did "voice" the chambers of his mouthpieces to match the facings, these closer re-faced mouthpieces, some frankly of very high quality, have a tendency in my opinion to play with a lighter sound, and lack the " dark core" of the original Kaspars--that is why the original facing Kaspars are so expensive and hard to find. The mouthpieces of the older cousin, Frank L. Kaspar also have many different facing numbers on them---I have seen 11,12, 13, 14,108, 112, 113, 114, no facing number etc. In addition, Frank L. Kaspar and Frank Kaspar made mouthpieces with Chicago stamps on them--the oldest of both makers say Frank L.Kaspar, Chicago, bottom logo , and Frank Kaspar , Chicago, bottom logo. After Frank L. Kaspar moved to Ann Arbor in 1951, his mouthpieces do carry the Ann Arbor "Superb" on them, and the mouthpieces of the younger Frank Kaspar during the same time period--1950-62, have the Frank Kaspar, Chicago stamp in the middle. The youger Frank Kaspar in 1962, noved to nearby Cicero--and as Clark Fobes and others state--these mouthpieces had the Frank Kaspar , Cicero label in the middle of the back. I agree that the Cicero Kaspars made in the 1960's are generally of better quality than the 1970's Babbit blank Kaspars--however, I have played on a later Kaspar shorter widow Babbit successfully for the past 30 years.

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: GBK 
Date:   2004-07-06 01:04

In my opinion and many others' as well, Chester Rowell (Chetclarinet) is the #1 authority on Kaspar mouthpieces in the world.

His posting above demonstates his knowledge of the subject ...GBK

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: mnorswor 
Date:   2004-07-06 02:19

It may interesting to note that Rick Sayre of Chicago is the only student that Kaspar (of Cicero) taught. Rick studied with him for 8 years and is the only person alive that I know of that can actually duplicate REAL Kaspar facings and interior work. Many try but in my experience, Rick is the only one I know of who's gotten it. I have several Cheds that I had him remake with Kaspar 11 or 13 facings and they turn out unbelievably well. I'd recommend him anytime.


P.S. I second GBK's recommendation of Chester. A very knowledgable player, teacher and a wonderful person as well!

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Douglas 
Date:   2004-07-06 02:35

Just a small point of correction to Chester's postings: he stated that the younger Frank Kasper "moved" to Cicero. Actually, he moved his shop from downtown Chicago, the same address that had also housed the older Frank L. Kaspar and the Goldbeck firm, to his home in Cicero because of health concerns.

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2004-07-06 17:56

I have not had the positive experience with Kasper facings as others...I have very little respect for the facing material on the Cicero Kaspars which is a grade of rubbber which tends to fall apart and erode considerably. There is also among the 11 facings a far greater tendency towards divergence which if one considers the Kaspars to the better of consistency of the finer mouthpiece makers to be disconcerting. As to the Ann Arbor Kaspars I have the best and highest regards. One must remember the Kaspars are also somewhat of a mix between a Chedeville and a somewhat more open bore sounding piece...the father was also from Moravia so the idea that his ideas were "American" is a bit far fetched. In fact much of his ideas came from European orchestal players of the 30s and can be directly attributed to the more open mouthpiece bore which was popular in France and Switzerland. So in some ways the Chediville is still the role model with these pieces....

However, among the finer of the Kaspars is a wonderful depth of sonority and excellent 12ths...the danger of Kaspar design is a slight tendency towards hootiness in the low register, especially in the lower chalumeau...this can attributed to the curve of the baffle and the increment opening towards the barrel. However, these are super pieces, and if you have a very good Kaspar you are really on to something.

In recent years Ebay has been the only source of these pieces, but alas the prices are a bit too high in my opinion when there are such great mouthpieces makers like Grabner, Smith and Fobes about. I also think that in some regards the material of the Kaspars seemed to move and even change quicker than alot of others. I have a few very bad Kaspars in my case and feel they are just too oxidated to revive. They are kept mainly for nostalgia which is a pretty poor reasonl.

The finest sounding examples of Kaspar's are any Marcellus record.. I don't seem to see so many about in Pricipal clarinet players cases as before...especially when you consider how fragile such an older material can become.

David Dow

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: jim S. 
Date:   2004-07-07 15:18

Didn't Borbeck study with Kasper?

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: GBK 
Date:   2004-07-07 16:29

jim S. wrote:

> Didn't Borbeck study with Kasper?

Yes ...GBK

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Douglas 
Date:   2004-07-08 00:18

It is my understanding that Sayre studied with the younger Frank Kaspar (usually referred to as the Cicero Kaspar) and that Borbeck studied with Frank L. Kaspar, later of Ann Arbor.

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: mnorswor 
Date:   2004-07-08 00:52

As far as Rick tells me, that's correct. He studied with the Cicero Kaspar.

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2016-03-18 01:32

I re read some of this rather long post and felt it needs a bit of amflication...there are right now a few people left who studied with Frank Kaper. I know of two who are still very much alive and do fine mouthpiece work

Robert Borbeck...he is a fine man and does great work..his zinner 11 works superb and has great depth of sound....he is a great guy to talk with and is a craftsman of first rank.

The second is Rick Sayre who I know nothing of but did study facing work with in the kaspar company..Again let me times the kaspar pieces were very diffent from another... Cicero..Ann Arbor.. Evanston etc....this company did move about so judge from there. I had played an 11 with the Cicero which was great until it warped ..and it was a wreck after that.

David Dow

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: bassclarinet101 2017
Date:   2016-03-18 02:10

I am quite fond of the Rick Sayre mouthpieces. I had one to complement my Grabner CXZ_Chicago, depending on the type of sound I was going for. I made the mistake of lending out my Sayre mouthpiece, and it was never heard from again. Last time I brought my clarinets in to get checked out I spoke with Rick, and he mentioned that he no longer makes mouthpieces, which is a tragedy. I did find the one I had to be similar to Gregory Smith's 1+ mouthpiece though, if that is useful to anyone.


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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2016-03-18 14:11

Which models did Marcellus use? I know that he had a pile of 1.11 tip openings.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Kasper tip openings
Author: Ken. 
Date:   2019-06-02 00:13

Looking at Chetclarinet's post above he says "Frank L. Kaspar and Frank Kaspar made mouthpieces with Chicago stamps on them--the oldest of both makers say Frank L.Kaspar, Chicago, bottom logo, and Frank Kaspar , Chicago, bottom logo. After Frank L. Kaspar moved to Ann Arbor in 1951,... the mouthpieces of the younger Frank Kaspar during the same time period--1950-62, have the Frank Kaspar, Chicago stamp in the middle."

By "bottom logo" does he mean the logo was close to the cork end of the mouthpiece, and "Chicago stamp in the middle" the logo was in the middle of the mouthpiece?

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