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 Wood mouthpieces
Author: Gordon 
Date:   2000-01-10 05:59

I like a really dark, woody tone out of my instrument, and have heard that a wood mouthpiece will help. I'm having a very hard time finding them, though. Any suggestions?

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 RE: Wood mouthpieces
Author: Karel Vahala 
Date:   2000-01-10 10:49

Look in the on-line catalogue of Int. Music Supplies. They have Pomarico wood mpcs and probably others.There is a link through the "Retail Trade" on this Bulletin Board.

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 RE: Wood mouthpieces
Author: Mario 
Date:   2000-01-10 12:57

I have been a user of wooden mouthpieces for several years. I am quite a big fan of them. Let me offer the following points for consideration.

1 - Like anything else, quality of construction is more important than the material. A well-made synthetic mouthpiece will play much better than a mediocre wooden one.
In particular, the new two tone material used by Vandoren and Charles Bay is amazing in its similarity to wood tone-wise.

2 - Some of the good builders I know and have tried: Pomarico, Greg Smith, and Charles Bay. I use Charles Bay wooden mouthpieces because, after much experimentation, I determined that his particular design was the best suited to my physiology and aesthetic preferences. As usual, this is a highly personal choice.

3 - Wooden mouthpieces are about twice as expensive as synthetic ones (same design characteristics, twice the price). There is also more variations between mouthpieces of a given design since wood is intrinsically less predictable that machined material. So, you have to try may of them.

4 - Wooden mouthpieces are also more fragile. Tips, tables, chamber, etc. need special care. A bad ligature (something else to experiment with at the time of purchase) will scratch them easily. You need to oil them regularly. Neglected, they can wrap, split, change. But, if you take very good care of them, they will remain stable over time. In fact, the urban myth to the effect that wooden mouthpieces do not play the same depending on the environment is simply not true. They are built of the best dense wood available and will perform predictably if they are maintained properly (like the rest of your instrument for that matter - a piece of equipment much more sensitive with holes, keys, pads, posts, joints, etc. than a simple mouthpiece which has to be milled right, but which is mechanically very simple).

4 - What you get for this price is a vibrant, deeper sound (often called darker). You loose a little bit of accuracy in staccato and you must watch response in altissimo. Sometimes, there is a little bit more back pressure and you need slightly (just a tad) softer reeds.


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 RE: Wood mouthpieces
Author: William 
Date:   2000-01-10 16:29

Mario--What facing Charles Bay mp do you play. Has it been "worked on?" That might help your slower reponse. (Most pros play on customized mps, as you probably already know) I have always liked Bay mps as well.

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