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 Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Ebclarinet1 
Date:   2007-07-27 14:32

Was checking out the Backun website and was impressed at least with the price of the Backun mouthpieces. How many of you have tried the and are they really twice a good as a Fobes or Grabner mouthpiece? What nuance differences in tone do these Backun mouthpieces have? If you can color the sound more efectively with these then the price differential would be worth it.

I'd be interested if it truly is an improvement and would appreciate any views pro or con before I spend the $500+.

Eefer guy

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: L. Omar Henderson 
Date:   2007-07-27 15:21

Naive Question: Does Zinner make blanks for mouthpiece makers using their custom core or do they choose blanks of different stock styles for their custom work?
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: bcl1dso 
Date:   2007-07-27 15:23

Originally I tried out about 30 backun mouthpiece and ended up with a Backun Traditional. However, after a long period of playing, here are my thoughts. I found that the mouthpiece did not have the tonal depth of other mouthpieces I have played. the sound was very "surfacy to me". The mouthpiece did not have much "hold" to it and had very very little resistance. So if you are looking for a mouthpiece that is very very very free blowing, gives you a middle of the road sound, and can not always be depended on to "get" that important note, than this is the mouthpiece for you.

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2007-07-27 16:45

Hi Omar -

The latter.

Many mouthpiece makers, including myself, use Zinner blanks - either from the Zinner "A" mould or the "E" mould. Zinner only manufactures the two.

The tone chamber for all "A's" and for all "E's" are identical for all practical purposes, hence the similarity in tonal qualities amongst those that use the Zinner blanks/material. The Zinner blank is the constant.

There are many variables that one can have Zinner change in the semi-finishing of these two blanks although I do not know to what extent each maker takes advantage of this customization.

Each maker modifies these semi-finished blanks in different ways to achieve different results. Some makers simply put a facing on them with a machine of some sort, some hand face them, and some rework them extensively inside and out to further fit their ideals.

But essentially the two "core" Zinner blanks which come from his own moulds that are poured at the New York - Hamburger company in Germany remain the same.

Gregory Smith

http://www.gregory-smith.com



Post Edited (2007-07-27 16:47)

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: CPW 
Date:   2007-07-27 16:57

bc11dsc said
"I found that the mouthpiece did not have the tonal depth of other mouthpieces I have played."

That translates (I think) as a big "dont bother"

If the Zinner blanks cost $x and other mouthpiece makers do their thing and charge $y, what exactly makes the Backun modification worth $z?
Is it the ridges on the table? Is it the gouges on the side (which remove the zinner name, I imagine), or some other magic dust?

One of these days, when I get a round tuit, I will try one of these masterpieces and really see for myself. 'til then, skepticism reigns supreme.
Just maybe I have a little more Scully than Mulder in me.

Against the windmills of my mind
The jousting pole splinters

Post Edited (2007-07-27 16:57)

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: LCL 
Date:   2007-07-27 17:05

My Grabner CX_BB_90 for the Bass Clarinet is great. But the Backun BC + I recently purchased is superior for me, however it sells for approximately 3X the price of the Grabner! Do I think it's worth it? Yes, but if you are concerned about the cost, you may not be able to afford a Backun. Morrie does great work and has restored an Ab Sopranino and Bb Bass Clarinet for me. Did it cost more for him to do it than another? Yes, but it was worth it. I recently inquired about his Bass Clarinet Bells, which sells for $3,500. But I've decided that I can't justify it for the amount of amateur performance I do.

In my own work some clients can afford me and some cannot. It's their choice, but I'm still worth it, IMHO!



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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: claritoot26 
Date:   2007-07-27 18:01

LCL,
I would prefer to shop for an affordable mouthpiece 3x as long (and maybe buy 3 of them!) rather than spend 3x as much for one mouthpiece. Also, to ship an instrument out of the country and pay the customs fees to get restoration work when there are plenty of very reputable techs in the States seems like a waste. Not saying he doesn't do good work, but there are others that are closer geographically and more affordable that do fine and dandy work, too. I suppose I have to add...IMHO.

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Ebclarinet1 
Date:   2007-07-27 18:04

Thanks for all of your comments.

I was ready to pounce and buy one the other day and I may still for the bass. Am reasonably happy with my Eb and Bb mouthpieces right now but am wondering if I can force more volume out of the bass with another mouthpiece. My Grabner does soft very well on my Buffet but I'd like to get some of the louder sounds that I got out of my old Selmer. Maybe that's an impossible dream! The Selmer did cut above the orchestra better.

LCL, I thought I was the only one that had owned an Ab sopranino in the country! Had mine for about ten years but finally sold it off. Mine was a LeBlanc but it had severe tuning issues. Did play it once in public but had to do alternate fingerings for virtually every note. Not worth it even though it was way cool looking!

Again thanks. Still would like to hear from more that have tried them though.

Eefer guy

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: bufclar 
Date:   2007-07-27 18:07

In my opinion the top Zinner makers are Fobes, Hawkins, Sayer, and Smith. It's also interesting to note that these makers don't give you a list of all the people who play their mouthpieces. The products speak for themselves. Grabner and Backun's sites are flooded with lists of players and or ensembles that use or in Grabners case trialed a mouthpiece. Then you have the Genussa's which are gaining some of the market share and then the vinatge guys Behn and Krass. There are plenty of options by talented makers and players for far less money. These makers also hand finish their mouthpieces so you can get them to make adjustments as opposed to Backuns which probably used a nuclear powered CNC machine to make their mouthpieces.

Of course the most expensive products will always catch the buyers attention as we can see by those that by a Lexus even though it is a Toyota with more toys. The powertrain is of the exact same quality but the price is quite higher.

In my opinion, save your money because there are many good options that don't break the bank. I have an adult student who is starting up again after a fairly long layoff. She is playing on an old Marcellus mouthpiece by the woodwind company that she bought new a long time ago for very cheap and it is one of the best mouthpieces I have ever played in my life. I think she spent 20 bucks on it. So much for the 650 dollar mouthpiece.

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: L. Omar Henderson 
Date:   2007-07-27 18:17

Thank you Gregory for the insight. It is still amazing to me that with similar starting material - Zinner blanks - that mouthpiece artisans can produce and customize many different styles and flavors of mouthpieces. The diversity in successful maker's products only indicates to me the diversity in requirements of different players for their "best" mouthpiece. Price then does not dictate the end result since starting material cost is similar for all makers and player perceived value of the product is all important.

Exceptions are of course a different starting material - i.e. Bradford Behn Vintage, or the blanks made from custom cores by Babbitt in which there is a built in cost of materials or amortization of core setup. Different methods of customization e.g. hand versus machine also would come into play as well as the intangible costs of R&D, overhead, advertising, etc.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com



Post Edited (2007-07-27 18:21)

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: LCL 
Date:   2007-07-27 19:17

claritoot26,

With all due respect, you obviously do not know the customs requirements for Canada and have not done business with Morrie personally as I have. And I have had other techs in the USA, some of which watch this board, do excellent custom work for me on bass, Contrabass and contra-alto. And you certainly are not in a position to know what Morrie was asked to do or why and thus your opinion that someone else could have done it too is without merit.



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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Ed 
Date:   2007-07-27 19:53

A couple of points- You would have to play the mouthpieces and decide what they are worth to you. Equipment is a very personal thing. Backun makes a good mouthpiece, but they are quite expensive and there are many great mouthpieces out there at a much lower price point.

I know that there are some "custom" Zinner options out there. According to Clark Fobes website, his blank has been made custom for him by Zinner and is not available to other makers.

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2007-07-27 22:56

"According to Clark Fobes website, his blank has been made custom for him by Zinner and is not available to other makers."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a service provided by Zinner for *anyone* that makes mouthpieces. Zinner guarantees exclusivity for all mouthpiece makers so that their own mouthpieces will not be copied. He does not copy preexisting mouthpieces.

Gregory Smith

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2007-07-27 23:18

I understood that Walter Grabner also had exact specifications for Zinner blanks...as Ed is responding about Clark Fobes' products.

Gregory - I am only confused by the assertion that Zinner makes either an A or E product. Are the "personalized" blanks that other mouthpiece makers claiming within this scope, or something else entirely?

James

PS...still playing a G. Smith...with a Grabner as my backup...except on bass!

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Gregory Smith 2017
Date:   2007-07-27 23:32

Tobin asked:

Are the "personalized" blanks that other mouthpiece makers claiming within this scope?
-----------------------------------------------------------

They'd have to be. There are no other moulds/blanks.

I personally use both, have been to Hans Zinner's Bavarian workshop many times, and in collaboration with him have designed mouthpieces from both the "A" (my Chedeville model) and the "E" blanks (my Kaspar model) so that when they are sent to me in a semi-finished state, I have total control over all aspects of finishing through my hand work.

Gregory Smith



Post Edited (2007-07-27 23:33)

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Ed 
Date:   2007-07-27 23:40

I was not implying that this service was exclusive to Clark (or anyone else). I was merely pointing out that this was an available option. I was using him as an example to clarify the point, as he is one person that I am aware of who does this. I would imagine that most custom makers likely do some hand finishing to the blanks (chamber, baffle, bore, etc). Thanks to Mr. Smith for clarification.

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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: kev182 
Date:   2007-07-28 18:25

Backun mouthpieces are EXTREMELY seductive to the player.... Just make sure you record yourself and compare it to some other mouthpieces



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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: Don Gross 
Date:   2007-07-31 16:15

Having had Morrie overhaul both my Buffet R-13 Bb and A clarinets, and having him personally select cocobola barrels for them while they were in the shop, needless to say I was thrilled when I got an appointment to visit him and Joel when they were in Los Angeles a couple years ago. In the interim I had also purchased "factory second" bells for both instruments. When I first tried out Morrie's mpcs (sadly I can't remember the exact model I purchased), I was thrilled. They were, in a word, "powerful." I'll let Dan Leeson figure that one out. Many of my colleagues, both amateur and professional, in LA also bought them.

After about a year, several of us grew tired not being able to achieve the smoothness in dynamics that we wanted. It was sort of like you got to a certain dynamic level and the "afterburners" kicked in. As an overage (67) clarinet student at Cal State Los Angeles, I still am doing juries. Several of the judges noted that my sound was really over the top and that the soft passages were suffering. I sold my Backun mpc to a jazz clarinet student at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts who loves it, went back to my Richard Hawkins "B" facing mpc, and never looked back.

Your mileage may vary.

Don



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 Re: Backun mouthpieces vs. others
Author: kev182 
Date:   2007-07-31 18:25

Don, your experience with Backun mouthpieces matches exactly with my teachers and mine and some of my colleges. At first, everyone will pretty much be shocked and I know exactly what you mean by powerful =D It's a great feeling....

As time went on I became less and less impressed and I knew something was just not the same. When a saxophonist walked in my practice room and said he missed my old tone I started to become curious... I recorded myself comparing the Backun to a few other mouthpieces. What I thought I sounded like while playing the Backun and what I heard to in the recording were very different. The difference was not bad...but the sound was simply lacking something. I won't go into detail and ofcourse experiences differ for everyone. Make sure you RECORD yourself!! In different settings and with different reeds. Have an experienced, professional ear listen to you.



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