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 Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Pappy 
Date:   2008-11-29 20:32

So here is a bit of a non-traditional mouthpiece question. I have a slew of mouthpieces, barrels and reeds that I get countless hours of fun putzing around with. So I'm really not looking for a "what's the best mouthpiece?" kind of thing.

So, I have several Vandoren mp's - M13L, M15, B45, etc. Grabner, a Kaspar Ann Arbor that was my fathers and Portnoys. I have some of each of the Portnoy facings. I always come back to them as they always work well for me. Anyway, my question is a bout measuring facings and the like. Tip opening is clear. The M15 for example has a 1.035 mm opening and the most closed Portnoy has an opening of 1.09 mm. What I want to make sure I understand properly is the facing length.

Can I assume that to measure the length of the facing, or curve, that I -

1) Put a reed on the mouthpiece
2) slip a piece of paper between the mp and the reed and slide it down until it fills the entire gap
(where you see "daylight")
3) Mark the paper and measure

So doing that, the M15, which is said to have a long facing is 31 mm. The Portnoy BP1 has a facing length of about 25 mm. So,

1) Is my method of measuring this right?
2) If a 31mm facing is long, then is a 25 med-long?

Also, I've seen a lot of threads about Chedeville and Kaspars and whether a given mp is based on one of those two. The Vandoren M13s are apparently Chedeville based. Does anybody know if Portnoy based his mp's on some previous standard like that?

Thanks



Post Edited (2008-11-29 20:35)

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2008-11-29 21:26

Hey Pappy, you have the right idea though I would suggest when you test the length of the lay that you place the MP on a piece of glass instead of putting a reed on it. A reed could be slightly warped at any point so you wouldn't get an accurate reading. Keep in mind too that different mouthpiece maker’s tools could differ slightly so to one a measurement could be medium and to another it could be medium opened, or whatever. Remember to, the tip opening and lengths of the facing are only two important measurements. Equally important in many cases are the thickness and curve of the rails, the depth of the baffle, the bore size and probably several other factors that I can't think of since I've never made a mouthpiece. Go for it! ESP www.peabody.jhu.edu/457
Listen to a little Mozart, live performance.

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2008-11-29 22:47

I think that the standard definition of facing length is the distance that a 0.0015 inch thick feeler gauge can be slid between Ed Palanker's plate glass and the mouthpiece.

This doesn't really show where the reed departs from the reed table on the mouthpiece, but is a useful standard, since finding the actual tangency point is difficult.

If you take a series of measurement along the facing curve, you can plot them and smoothly take the curve to zero and estimate the "true" facing length.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Alseg 
Date:   2008-11-29 23:37

The glass plate is the correct item, but instead of using mm's, many makers use 1/2 mms gradations.

Erik Brand used this method, and name Brand units stuck.
So a 16mm length is 32 Brand Units.

The curve is then measured by inserting wider feeler gages sequentually and recording where they abut the glass. (these are standardized, and I will not go into the sizes here).

So... Length might be, say 36 Brand Units
Curve would be listed as 36-22-12-6 as the feeler thickness is increased, and finally the tip of say 1.06mm (which is sometimes given in hundreths of an inch, just to complicate matters).

Also, disparity between rail lengths is also given (esp. in the case of models with asymetric facing, or mouthpieces that have warped.


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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Pappy 
Date:   2008-11-29 23:42

Thanks all! Good stuff! Clears some of it up. Is there an accepted range of measurements that describe a long or medium or short facing/curve?



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: redwine 
Date:   2008-11-30 12:38

Hello,

The standard measurements are, indeed, 1/2 millimeters. On a French style mouthpiece, the length can be between 30 and 38 half millimeters (I've measured some longer, but none shorter than that). The half millimeter measurements merely make measuring more accurate. So, based on what I've typed, a 30 would be a short facing and a 38 would be a long facing. Iggy Gennusa, who got his measurements from Everett Matson, agreed that a 34 was the preferred length, so that's (in my book, anyway), considered medium.

Measuring with the reed and a piece of paper will be inaccurate because of the reasons stated above. If you use glass with paper, you can be consistent with your own measuring, provided you use the same piece of paper every time. However, your measurements will not be standard with mouthpiece workers measurements, as we are using standardized metal measuring gauges.

If you have specific questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Ben Redwine, DMA
owner, RJ Music Group
Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Selmer Paris artist
www.rjmusicgroup.com
www.redwinejazz.com
www.reedwizard.com



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Pappy 
Date:   2008-11-30 17:25

Thank you Ben. So trying the glass an paper method - it looks like the M15 - called Long by Vandoren is about 36 mm and the BP01 is about 34 - or medium.

BTW, ordered some reeds from your site a few weeks back and they are excellent!!! Thanks for that!!



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: redwine 
Date:   2008-11-30 21:38

Hello,

You're correct, except that you said 36 and 34 mm, when, in fact, they are in half millimeters, so the 36 is really 18 mm and the 34 is 17 mm long.

Ben Redwine, DMA
owner, RJ Music Group
Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Selmer Paris artist
www.rjmusicgroup.com
www.redwinejazz.com
www.reedwizard.com



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: BobD 
Date:   2008-12-01 10:47

All the above for Bflat sop clarinet mouthpieces, .....right?

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: redwine 
Date:   2008-12-01 12:28

Hello,

Yes, for b-flat.

Ben Redwine, DMA
owner, RJ Music Group
Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Selmer Paris artist
www.rjmusicgroup.com
www.redwinejazz.com
www.reedwizard.com



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: huff n' puff 
Date:   2008-12-01 12:59

What a minefield!
Nothing much useful to add, except to say that you must first establish that the "solid" table is in fact truly flat before measuring on glass. On a reputable mouthpiece that may well be the case, but I have had to remove material- mainly from the barrel end of the mp because the table is slightly concave (looked at from the side).
This of course plays havoc with your reeds as well as your measurements.
Another relative thing to do would be to put your mp.s nose to nose on the glass, and this will give you a visual impression of which are the most open / closed.
Wish I had so much time to waste....... H&P

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Ed 
Date:   2008-12-01 14:56

There are many mouthpieces that are made deliberately with a concave table as opposed to a flat table. There are reasons that the maker prefers this. I believe that the Zinners have a concave table. The late Everett Matson believed in making flat tables. Ben, Vytass Krass, Greg Smith, Walter Grabner or others can address this better than I can.

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: Vytas 
Date:   2008-12-02 00:31

Ed,

Indeed the Zinners have concave tables. Very often the concave area extends to the point where it creates leakage at the end of the window. My line of mouthpieces on Zinner blanks have completely flat tables. Each fine mouthpiece maker has strong reasons for doing what he does, and those reasons have some validity. A very slight concavity in the table may be helpful in stabilizing the reed on the mouthpiece. Too much concavity in the table may cause the reed to warp away from the tip.

Vytas Krass
Custom clarinet mouthpiece maker
Professional clarinet technician
Former professional clarinet player




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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: huff n' puff 
Date:   2008-12-03 09:23

Ed...... Thanks-I didn't know that. All my instincts would tell me that a flat suface woud be the ideal. Most of the time I don't even fully tighten the ligature- mostly I just use the top screw and maybe half tighten the bottom one. The reed has never let me down by moving.
With regard to the use of feeler guages and paper........ this is fraught with potential difficulties. Can I throw this one into the ring;- just to be sure, I tested this last night and got very good results.
Based on the old engineering technique for establishing a flat surface and for mating two surfaces........ try this.
Smear or dab a thin thin layer of oil based paint ( since mouthpieces tend to be black, then use white or cream paint) on the glass. An area approx 3" by 1" will suffice. Better quality paint is better as it will have a higher pigment density, and you can apply a thinner coat- yes, thin thin thin.
Place the mp down on this painted area- let the barrel end touch down first- and press the table down firmly.
This will do two things...... it will show quite clearly where the curve starts, and also whether the table is flat or hollow.
If you are fussy, repeat the process two or three times and take the average.
I also did a quick test with emulsion paint, and it worked reasonably well, but it is much easier to obtain a thin application smoothly using an oil base.
Try dabbing the paint on with a piece of cloth.
I hope this is of use to you, and if you try it, please let me know the results.
all the best......... H&P

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: redwine 
Date:   2008-12-03 11:42

Hello,

A flat table is ideal, if your reed is perfectly flat too. Because the cane is almost never flat, a concave table makes a mouthpiece more "reed friendly".

Ben Redwine, DMA
owner, RJ Music Group
Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Selmer Paris artist
www.rjmusicgroup.com
www.redwinejazz.com
www.reedwizard.com



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: huff n' puff 
Date:   2008-12-03 12:10

Thanks, redwine......... hadn't looked at it from that angle. The clarinet seems to be an assemblage of endless compromises and to find that bent reeds are generally regarded as part of the package is a bit upsetting.
I did once find myself with a bent reed and a flat table, and I "cured" it with a piece of masking tape under the barrel end of the reed.
Can I throw in a related question here........... I have forgotten the correct (or generally accepted) name for the part of the rail that traverses the curved tip of the mouthpiece, and also I have a vague recollection of having read an article discussing the effect on tone of differing widths of this rail.
Anyone know about this?
Thanks......... H&P.

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: redwine 
Date:   2008-12-03 15:16

Hello,

That's the tip rail and the thickness of that rail most directly affects resistance and ease of articulation. Thicker=more resistance, "darker sound", and harder articulation, thinner=less resistance, "brighter sound", and easier articulation. All generalizations, of course, which have not taken into account any of the other variables.

By the way, when you put the masking tape under the reed, you, in essence, changed the facing of your mouthpiece. If the tape is only under the extreme butt of the reed, then you closed the facing a bit and if you run the tape all the way up to the window, then you've opened it the thickness of the tape.

Ben Redwine, DMA
owner, RJ Music Group
Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America
Selmer Paris artist
www.rjmusicgroup.com
www.redwinejazz.com
www.reedwizard.com



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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: huff n' puff 
Date:   2008-12-03 17:45

Yes, I remember putting just about 1/2" of tape under the reed, so the reed would be in contact with the table near the start of the lay- (it worked, anyway).
I honestly cannot see the point in a hollow table, when the problem of a bent reed can be so easily solved............ when it comes to calculating and manufacturing the lay and tip opening, the curve would be joining on to a reverse curve instead of a straight line, so one could ask- where does the curve of the lay end and the hollow table begin, and anyone asking for a specific lay would not be getting what they thought they were getting if they didn't know that the mouthpiece would have a hollow table.
As Vytas points out, the hollow can cause leakage.
Confused? I certainly am....... H&P

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 Re: Not the usual Mouthpiece Question
Author: huff n' puff 
Date:   2008-12-15 13:16

Redwine...... thanks for the info on the tip rail...... I have a few "proper "mouthpieces;- these all seem to have what I would say is an average looking rail...... the one on my clarinet is noticeably narrower, but it blows very well, and given time I may do a comparative study using the others. Your info gives me a pointer as to what I should be listening for.
Thanks ............ H&P.
Can I assume that the tip rail width does not enhance either the very high or the very low notes (or one at the expense of the other). I don't mean the quality or darkness,- more the actual playability of the notes?

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