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 Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 02:22

Hi everyone,

I know the whole mouthpiece thing is really subjective, and that we're all trying to find our 'voice' through equipment, so I would like to just give me opinions on my experiences with Brad Behn's vintage mouthpieces.


A little history on me, and my equipment. I am a 26 year old, studying clarinet and free lancing in Berlin, Germany. I was also before in Oberlin, OH for studies. I would say that I am relatively successful as a chamber musician and a soloist, I have a decent amount of opportunities in europe, and I get the chance to perform with some of the most wonderful musicians in the world, from time to time.

I play Buffet clarinets (at the moment) Bb RC prestige, and A Vintage. I used to use an old Hawkins mouthpiece, that he made for me when I studied with him, and then after a Viotto french bore mouthpiece.

Anyway on to Brad's work. I originally bought one vintage mouthpiece from him, and then later bought another one as a backup (which turns out to be even better for me)
Each time I bought from him, I received 5 pieces to test, all completely different from eachother, but all very good. I tend to go towards a closed tip mouthpiece (my main one is .98mm) and have found really wonderful results from the pieces.


What I find from them is a wonderful amount of flexibility in sound. Very easy to manipulate the sound in all different ways. I feel now that I can make the colors that I want from the mouthpiece, but VERY easily. The effort towards sound production is minimal, very easy to produce the sound.

For some this might not be an advantage, since the pieces have relatively low resistance. I counter this by using a #4 reed (Rico Reserve Classic, also amazing discovery), and when I started using the mouthpiece there was quite a large 'learning curve' so to speak.

I had to learn how to blow a little differently, without pushing to make things work. I found at the beginning it was almost impossible to get a real pianissimo (something I pride myself on) as the response was just too easy for me. After working, and learning, now I can do everything I want on the mouthpiece, with ease, and more than I thought was possible on my old setups.

The sound, I find has a lot of character. I lean towards a speaking quality of sound, rather than the ultimate in darkness, and these pieces give that to me. They are very colorful, one being slightly darker and more stable, and the other being a little brighter, but also warmer is tone, and with some more flexibility inherent. I tend to use the more stable one as my main piece, but love playing on both of them.

They are very resonant, and I'm not sure how much of this is because of the material (which is clear to the eye is different from zinner rubber, and obviously adds a lot to the characteristics) or the way he has faced the piece, but it just rings, and vibrates like crazy.

Projection is NEVER a problem, except in the few circumstances when I don't want to be heard at all, and then I have to work a little more, but it's again no problem to also focus in the sound to blend better.

Articulation is just easy on these mouthpieces. My tongue is not fast, and these mouthpieces let me be at least at the best of my ability.

I would say the main thing that I love about these mouthpieces, is that I feel like they make me a better player on the whole. I find large leaps, articulation, pianissisisisisimos, fortissisisisisimos (I also love to play at both extremes of volume) are all just easy on these pieces. They hold very well at the extremes, but I wouldn't say that you can get to the extremes without the sound spreading at all. They don't do that naturally if you don't want them to. The pieces allow you to do what you want with them, and it's very easy to do what you want, but they don't force you to play a certain way.

The only thing I have found to be a problem with the mouthpieces is that because the material is quite soft, I have damaged on of the tips with my teeth once. It made only a little difference to the playing, but after sending it back to Brad for free, he expertly repaired it, and it is as good as new. I just have to be careful.

I can't recommend these mouthpieces enough. I've been playing them for over a year now, and I can safely say that I have grown leaps and bounds because of what these mouthpieces allowed me to do. The price tag is high, but it's the best money I've ever spent on the clarinet. And I can't imagine needing to buy another mouthpiece for a long time, or ever.


by the way, I have no affiliation with Brad Behn other than a loyal customer, and I receive nothing for writing this, I just feel that people should try these mouthpieces.

Sacha Rattle

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 02:29

Expensive... is it worth the price tag?

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 03:06

I bought 2. So obviously.

I always feel that if I could find the perfect piece of equipment that will let me do everything I want on the instrument, I will pay anything I can for it.
I would pay $10000 for a reed, if it would last me a lifetime, and play as perfectly as any reed could, with everything I want from it.

You ask if it's worth the price tag, that's also very subjective. The kind of artwork that went into these mouthpieces, I can't imagine costing less. If anyone is willing to shell out for a Tosca, then this mouthpiece (which will make more difference than any clarinet) has to be worth it.

And, as many people have said, just look at the cost of other instruments. Even a bassoon overhaul is the price of some good clarinets. $650 for a close to perfect mouthpiece, plus a life time guaranty on repair is nothing. It's the price of a good gig. It's much less than a good camera. It's much less than a good computer. And this is what we do for our lives. I am by no means rich, and I do not have a steady job, and I was more than happy to put money down for 2 of them, and I've never looked back

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.VPN.McGill.CA - ISP in Montreal, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-10 03:54

I agree with Strattle. These mouthpieces had at least that much money in R&D, production, and artistic completion! 650 for these mouthpieces is not gouging in my opinion.

There are other companies sending out barely touched zinner mouthpieces and charging 300-500 dollars for them. Putting an extra fancy logo on them, which I'm sure adds to the tone colour.

There are a handful of really excellent craftsmen out there, each with their different styles. Brad is really at the top of the list for me. He's truly a top notch player, a true craftsmen, completely committed to every aspect of the pieces, completely honest, and is very good at customizing (even through the mail!) to your needs.

He's refaced probably 10-12 mouthpieces for me, ranging from old selmers to ch. chedevilles to kaspars and all have been truly excellent. No detail overlooked. Sometimes you get mouthpieces on trial nowadays, look at the facing and see the rails are crooked, or the tip rail is uneven\unfinished, see toolmarks, etc. With Brad it's always immaculate.

Is it worth it? Of course! 650 is nothing. The above post is right- if you spend 6K on a tosca, or even 3k for an r13, spending 10-20% more to get a truly fantastic mouthpiece is well worth it!

He also has a zinner collection that play very well. The only zinner mouthpiece I own\have played that I have\would perform on!

I too am not connected to Brad in any way. Just a very satisfied customer.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 05:41

Glowing reviews. I think I'm going to have to trial a couple of these pieces...

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: doublej (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Lombard, IL United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 12:20

I also have one of these mouthpieces. I tried three and all were great, they were all in the top five mouthpieces that I have played. I have tried hundreds of mouthpieces and even made quite a few. The one I purchased was the best I have ever played I knew in 30 seconds it was the one. I made a recording and loved the sound as a listener. Then I played all three for my mom who has no formal training in music. I played the one I baught last but did not tell her which or any I was considering she immediately within the first 10 seconds said, while I was still playing, that it sounded great. It was a done deal. I like to get a non players ear involved on something that is this pricey, relative of course, to make sure it is worth it.

As an aside, I found that on my vintage I like to play softer reeds. I have taken out almost all the bite and allowed the reed to resonate in conjunction with the rest of the equipment. I love the sound of these mouthpieces, I would not consider them "dark" don't quite understand that trend. The one I picked has a warm ringing sound with great articulation and the ability to change the timbre for a given piece but it is just as easy to keep a consistant sound.

I also have no affiliation, but I stopped making mouthpieces when I tried Brad's work it is truely exceptional.

Jeff

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 16:13

Thanks for the review Srattle, you clearly spent time on it and communicated your thoughts clearly.

My only comment is for Paul: (in good fun please!) After the review of the clarinets you have received from Schwenk & Seggelke, I can't imagine that you'd be worried about the cost of the mouthpiece (unless it's because what you just spent on the clarinets!).

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 20:57

LOL. It was pretty cool after a year of saving to see that kind of money in my account, and thoroughly painful to sign the order to wire all that cash. I'm pretty much back in that "broke-ass grad student" category at the moment... time to start saving up again!

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 22:28

While there may have been countless R&D hours, material costs and hours of mouthpiece crafting, they still cost $650---a very steep price to pay.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Oakland, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-10 22:43

$650 might seem like a steep price when you are comparing it to a vandoren mouthpiece, but actually it is very little if you think about something that will last you your whole lifetime and be amazing for you that whole time. That is, if you like it.

A backun bell costs about the same amount, and I see hundreds of people paying for those without any thought. A violin bow costs upwards of $10000 and I've seen some selling for $75000.

I just spent a week in NYC, and it's very easy to spend $100 in one night there. And, $650 is of course a lot to spend on something you know nothing about, but you don't HAVE to buy anything. Maybe it's worth just trying them (which only costs postage, and maybe a small fee) and see how worth it it actually is.

I also hear of a lot of people on this board playing original Kaspars and Chedevilles, which seem to be going for over $500 usually, plus the cost of refacing them (maybe another $80-$100). Seems about the same deal, plus you get a guaranty from Brad

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: tictactux (---.dclient.hispeed.ch - ISP in Zürich, 25 Switzerland)
Date:   2010-03-10 22:52

FWIW I have an (Acrylic) Ouverture that Brad has enhanced with a Vintage-like facing. Priceless, if you don't mind the material.

--
Ben

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Old Geezer (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 00:20

These strings on pricy mouthpieces are hilarious!

Whatever you guys do, don't subject your smoke dreams to a real blinfold test....

Clarinet Redux

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.Wireless.McGill.CA - ISP in Montreal, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-11 00:24

You have it exactly right on every point.

They're only expensive compared to zinner quality or less mouthpieces. (although backun charges 500 or so?). They also play better than most vintage mouthpieces, and are REPLACEABLE!

I play a Kaspar and am always worried that I'll accidentally drop it, or have it stolen. Even just chipping the tip by accident would be a very sad day.

Brad's vintage mouthpieces are the closest you can get to the best vintage mouthpieces out there. Considering how many Kaspars and chedevilles there are out there that play very poorly, these mouthpieces are far superior to the average kaspar or chedeville.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 01:40

"These strings on pricy mouthpieces are hilarious!

Whatever you guys do, don't subject your smoke dreams to a real blinfold test...."

Old Geezer: which of these "pricey" mouthpieces have you played, with or without blindfold?

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: OldClarinetGuy (---.wi.res.rr.com - ISP in Milwaukee, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 05:07

Well, to whoever said 650 is a lot if you know nothing about it..... I think I know something about it having played many of the custom and mass produced mouthpieces over decades of playing.

I don't have a problem with anyone charging 650 or those paying 650..why should I ?

But..650 is a tidy sum of money and one really can't compare it to buying a camera or a computer. All one can compare it to is buying another mouthpiece. I can rationalize paying anything for any purchase and maybe I would fall in love with these mouthpieces, but I am pretty happy with what I have now (currently a Gregory Smith 1)
so I don't see a reason to try a Behn, and 650 would stop me from doing so.

One last thing, and this could just be me, as I have aged I have found that a mouthpiece does not last forever. The mouthpiece lasts forever, but physically I change and one day I wake up and the mouthpiece I have used for many years is just not as comfortable as it once was. Then I look for something different.



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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 05:52

re: pricey equipment

Old Geezer:

You're right on one level: Double blind tests done on high end equipment (I'm thinking violins here) don't reveal much. It's hard to tell the difference in sound quality from out in the hall. A good enough player will always find a way to make their characteristic sound, even given wildly different equipment. So, yeah, in that sense, the equipment does not matter.

I just spend a lot of money on a new set of instruments... and I don't really sound all that different. They didn't magically transform my playing - they've been good for my playing, but I'm not a different musician because of them. What they have done is make it much easier for me to do the things I want, both musically and technically.

The reason I don't use a stock Buffet mouthpiece is because the ones I own make it difficult to play with my characteristic sound. I can do it, but it's much more work. I'm playing on a Fobes CWF for one reason only - it makes my job easier. The real value in a great piece of equipment is not in the dollar amount, but in the security it gives to the player. If it costs $650 for the right mouthpiece, then that's what it costs. There are other options out there that cost far less, sure, but if you're playing at a high enough level, then you need the right tools for the job. Maybe it's a $70 Vandoren. Maybe it's a $250 Fobes. Maybe it's a $500 Backun. Maybe it's a $650 Behn.

Expertise is cheap. It would cost me a hell of a lot more than $650 to learn how to make great mouthpieces.



Post Edited (2010-03-11 06:01)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: FrankM (209.68.98.---)
Date:   2010-03-11 12:39

It has been rare for me to make any equipment changes that were an immediate quantum leap forward...two that have been well worth the $$ for me were a Grabner bass clarinet mouthpiece and a Yamaha EC headjoint for my flute.

If a $600 mouthpiece was what I needed to play, I'd find a way to purchase one.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 12:44

And the peace of mind that sometimes comes with a product like this.

On soprano clarinets I'm still open to trying other mouthpieces. I haven't given another bass mouthpiece a nano-second's thought since I got my Grabner.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 14:51

Hey Brad, mail me ten of your best mouthpieces for a reasonable trial periold and if any of them play better (for me) than my original Chicago Kaspar--which I paid $12.00 for in 1960--I'll buy. I am curious as a result of what others say, but I need to "see it for myself" before spending, what to me is, a "lot of money." I'll be watching for the UPS truck..........in the meantime, practicing on my present equipement (Kaspar plus 1960's R13's) which, in spite of age and "cheap", everyone thinks sounds pretty good.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Sherbrooke, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-11 14:58

I wouldn't consider a Chicago Kaspar to be cheap, William. If you talk to Brad about what you're playing now and what you want, he could probably send you 3 mouthpieces that are all comparable or better.

Nothing's a 100% promise with equipment, as you know.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 16:42

Hi William,

I think your proposal is right on the money, and a fair statement. You may not find a better MPC than the one you're playing right now.

At the same time, though, I would argue against multiple-decade cost comparisons: inflation and value are what they are. At the time, Kaspar was still making mouthpieces -- now they are a commodity.

James

(I also have played Kaspars, and do play a '67 Buffet...it's better than the one I bought in 2000).

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 17:05

I'm with you, Tobin, regarding the relative economics and the Grabner bass clarinet mouthpiece. My CX_BS has made bass clarinet'n just the most fun. For my posting, I was just trying to rattle some chains of people that think something may be "good" because it costs a lot. I like my "stuff", but am always open to anything that will make me a better clarinetist--other than the drugery of daily practice, that is........LOL.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 17:22

I'm not one to judge by its cover (or in this case: price tag) but that last time I tried a $300+ mouthpiece it just didn't play. I'm talking specifically about Backuns. I know this is differently made, etc, however for $650 I can buy a whooole bunch of other things, than just one simple mouthpiece. I've never tried Brad Behn's mpcs, but I'm perfectly fine with my $200 Vaccaro M&M mpc.



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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 17:51

William -- agreed!

Clarimeister -- to each their own!

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.Wireless.McGill.CA - ISP in Montreal, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-11 18:37

Backun's 300+? They're 500 from the shop. And they're still starting from the same blank as the M&M and most mouthpiece craftsmen.

Zinner blanked mouthpieces range from 150-500 bucks, but at the end of the day- they are all modified zinner mouthpieces (which play, if you buy them in blank form).

The vintage line from Brad Behn is a different thing entirely. He's not just branding something, or modifying a zinner to his liking (which he also does). The extra money doesn't just go to marketing and pretty logos.

Of course it doesn't mean it will play great for everyone. But it's worth noting that the difference in price is related to work put in, not just to marketing\popularity\what people will pay.

From talking to Brad, his intentions with the project were not to sell as many as possible as quickly as possible. If you make a 650 dollar mouthpiece, it's not going to be a large volume seller like a vandoren, or zinner even.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 19:47

It's worth noting the Brad does offer a line of zinner models, priced at around $200. If the $650 price tag is scary, there are these as well, but I can't comment on them, since I have only played one for a short period of time.

These will be the same as most of the zinner mouthpieces ranging from $150-$500 but with Brad's work on them.

Then he has the Vintage collection on top of that which is more expensive, but rightfully so.

Clarimeister:
It seems really funny that you would say "for $650 I can buy a whooole bunch of other things, than just one simple mouthpiece" since at least in my experience, there is nothing more valuable on the clarinet than a good mouthpiece.

If you're happy with your vaccaro, that's great for you, I'm happy. Then it doesn't really make sense to me why you would comment on this thread at all.



By starting this thread, my motivation was to let people know of something that is out there, which I have had a great experience with, not to start a discussion on what something is worth. I'm not trying to promote Brad, but just thought the community here would be interesting in hearing about a great product on the market.
I'm not trying to sell anything here, but it seems very strange how skeptical a lot of the posters here are, about something they've never tried. . . but it doesn't bother me one bit if you're happy with what you have, or unhappy with what you have. Then just be happy!!!

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: DavidBlumberg (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net - ISP in Havertown, PA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 20:00

"I just spent a week in NYC, and it's very easy to spend $100 in one night there."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sounds like a bargain date to me!

David Blumberg
http://www.MyTempoMusic.com/skypeclarinetlessons.html
D'Addario/Backun/BG Artist
Phila. Intl. Festival Clarinet Faculty


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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 22:24

Quote by srattle: If you're happy with your vaccaro, that's great for you, I'm happy. Then it doesn't really make sense to me why you would comment on this thread at all.

Chill....out. I was not attacking anybody or your thread. I am entitled to my own opinion and thats why you post these types of informational and experience threads - to discuss and get feedback from people that have played mouthpieces (aka anyone on these boards) Not to sound like a jack*** I can post any opinion I want as long as it's related to the OP's topic, which is about mouthpieces.



Post Edited (2010-03-11 22:25)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 22:59

I actually posted this thread because I thought it might be informative. . .
I also don't really appreciate being called a jack***
Anyway, I don't think I'll take you seriously anymore. I'm done responding

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.Wireless.McGill.CA - ISP in Montreal, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-11 23:02

You know what I just realized.


The only bad thing anyone has ever said about these mouthpieces (that I'm aware of) is that they cost a lot.

That's not much of a critique.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 23:16

NBeaty:

I don't recall a post to this board by anyone who's tried them that didn't like them. It would be helpful to read of one, just to see what the flaws were perceived to be.

Clarimeister: Can you read Srattle's comments towards you in a neutral voice? The topic isn't "everyone comment on your mouthpiece".

Obviously, when a thread is started it begins in one place and the contributors then evolve the conversation. This one has gone in the direction of value.

Is saying "I wouldn't pay X because I bought mouthpiece ____ for much less than X" any more substantive than Old Geezer who just shot down ANY expensive mouthpiece?

James

(who, in reality, hasn't contributed anything substantive to the conversation...but isn't picking a fight with anyone either).

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: DavidBlumberg (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net - ISP in Havertown, PA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 23:26

I don't perceive him as calling someone a jacka**, he was saying that he didn't himself want to sound like he was being one.

So I think you took offense at a statement that wasn't meant to offend.


Just my take on it.

David Blumberg
http://www.MyTempoMusic.com/skypeclarinetlessons.html
D'Addario/Backun/BG Artist
Phila. Intl. Festival Clarinet Faculty


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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-11 23:44

oh, thanks David, I guess I misread.
my mistake

Clarimeister, I take back my comment, and offense.

I would like to say though, that I am pretty chilled out :)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: L. Omar Henderson (---.hsd1.ga.comcast.net - ISP in Lilburn, GA United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 00:37

From my own experience in recreating Chedeville(TM) rubber - Brad has not yet recouped his R & D and production costs for CNC milled rod rubber mouthpieces with his artful mouthpiece work at $650.00 per.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Barry Vincent (118.107.37.---)
Date:   2010-03-12 01:25

Ever heard of the old saying, A fool and his money are soon parted.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: JJAlbrecht (---.lightspeed.brhmmi.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Franklin, MI United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 02:10

A person is only a fool when he spends money on items that do not contribute to the improvement of his art. If the mouthpieces is sufficiently good, then it's worth every penny Mr. Behn asks for it. Nobody put a gun to anyone's head and forced him/her to buy it (at least not that I have heard). Value is a highly subjective thing. It's best to spend the money on things that make the greatest inprovem,enty in one's sound, and mouthpieces are right up there, probably more so than incremental improvements is sound gained per each extra $1000 spent on a particular new clarinet.

As with everything else, diminishing returns can set in, but the improvements in mouthpieces over the past few decades are substantial. And given the price some people pay on thoise auction sited for untried "classic or cintage" mouthpieces, it makes more sense to get a new one with a guarantee from the maker.

Some people think I'm nuts for what I have spent on my Grabner and Smith mouthpieces, but they do make a differences. They were worth every penny, compared to some of the older ones I played. I haven't had the opportunity to try a Behn yet, but I look forward to auditioning a few one of these days.

Jeff

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Sherbrooke, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-12 02:37

Brad told me that after finishing the project of creating these mouthpieces, he would be perfectly happy if he sold just one a month. "A fool and his money will soon be parted" is moderately disrespectful considering that it's a commitment to his craft and providing valuable service to the clarinet community that lead Brad Behn to this project.

that quote may be more appropriate for people buying $1000 kaspars or cheds that don't play...

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Dan Shusta (---.owb.bellsouth.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 02:53





Post Edited (2010-03-13 17:00)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Sherbrooke, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-12 03:10

I'm glad someone else shares my sentiment (along with the original post)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 05:57

I didn't mean to offend anyone. I was just giving my opinion. I never once said anything negative about Mr. Behn's mpcs, other than I just wouldn't pay so much for a mpc. That's all I pretty much said. Maybe I did say it rather harshly and I apologize, but there was no attack on anyone or anyone's creations intentionally. All I said was that they are rather expensive.



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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Barry Vincent (118.107.37.---)
Date:   2010-03-12 07:30

That old saying that I quoted above is what is sometimes known as a 'no win' saying for we have all been fools at one time or another in parting with our hard earned cash, it's that some of us part with more of it than others. I can easily think of times when I've been conned out of some of my hard earned dough.



Post Edited (2010-03-12 07:33)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: GLHopkins (---.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net - ISP in Hurst, TX United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 14:24

I"ve played a couple of Behn mouthpieces using Zinner blanks. They weren't my cup of tea. That's not to say others won't like them.

I sincerely wish him luck on recouping his R&D money.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 16:06

Dan Shusta: "Yes, everybody is entitled to their opinion, however, IMHO, when a respected person's reputation is being maligned..."

Aren't we better than this?"

And then, quoted my posting: "William wrote: "Hey Brad, mail me ten of your best mouthpieces for a reasonable trial periold and if any of them play better (for me) than my original Chicago Kaspar--which I paid $12.00 for in 1960--I'll buy. I am curious as a result of what others say, but I need to "see it for myself" before spending, what to me is, a "lot of money." I'll be watching for the UPS truck........."

Dan, please be more careful. There is no way I am maligning a "respected person's reputation", but rather only suggesting that for the amount of money he is charging for his Kaspar copy models, I must be able to try before I buy. Please notice that I did say if they played better than my original Kaspar, "I'll buy". In a later posting I commented about rattleing the chains of those who consider a product "good" simply because it costs a lot of money. But there is NO WAY I maligned Brads reputation as a mouthpiece craftsman nor did I cut down his mouthpiece.

As for being "hillarious", I think you were wrong there too.......

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: srattle (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in San Francisco, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 17:15

Brad does have a 14 day trial policy. That's pretty standard 'try before you buy' I think. . . .

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Old Geezer (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 17:19

Lazarus had over 80 (eighty) mouthpieces which he apparantly used in a kind of rotation...wonder what he would think of this discussion?

Actually all this has got my mouth watering for one of those $650 wonders. Think I could get one as good as my M13 Vandoren?

Clarinet Redux

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 18:19

Man, this thread really did go in the wrong direction fast.

It's just the internet, folks. Nothing to get all riled up about.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Dan Shusta (---.owb.bellsouth.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-12 18:23

William wrote:

" There is no way I am maligning a "respected person's reputation"

I agree with you. When I used the word maligned, I made no pointed reference to your particular statement nor anything you had written. Your statement was included with others "before" Not "after" I made my statement concerning maligning Brad's reputation. It may seem to you that I had singled you out, however, I assure you that there was nothing that you wrote that, IMHO, maligned Brad's reputation.

You also stated that I should be more careful. Well, for the record, I am very careful. I purposely looked up the word malign and studied several definitions of it before I concluded that that word was indeed the one I wanted to use. Before I posted, I read over what I had written several times and paused for several minutes before I clicked on the "post" button. I wanted to be sure that what I had written expressed precisely what I wanted to say.

Now, as for being wrong about including "hilarious". People react differently about being made fun of. Due to my sensitive nature, I know I don't enjoy it when it's aimed at me. However, during the past hour, I thought about your response and realized that something else was involved here. I look upon Brad Behn as a personal, good friend of mine. When other people make fun of people that mean a lot to me, I feel pain. So, perhaps, in this area, I may have possibly over reacted.

Thank you for your response.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: GLHopkins (69.199.91.---)
Date:   2010-03-12 18:36

From what I can tell the negative comments, for the most part, are referring to the high cost of the Vintage model. I don't think anybody is saying that Behn can't make a decent mouthpiece.

There are those that suggested a person is nuts for shelling out that kind of money on a mouthpiece, but think about it. So much of what we do is mental. The way we feel about our equipment and our abilities. If spending $650 or so on a mouthpiece gives a person what they consider a distinct advantage in their quest to be as good a player as they can then they should do it.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: GLHopkins (69.199.91.---)
Date:   2010-03-12 19:28

Thanks for the tip on the "Keepers" thread.



Post Edited (2010-03-13 19:34)

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Paul Miller (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net - ISP in Walnut Creek, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-13 16:54

GLHopkins... you have... erm... WHAT???

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Bob Barnhart (---.san.res.rr.com - ISP in San Diego, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-13 20:18

It seems that a very important issue is the cost of these mouthpieces and my expectation would be that this cost is largely reflects the cost of the R&D efforts to develop the material and the process from which the blanks are made.

My question is:

Has anyone been able to compare any of the Behn Vintage mouthpieces against any of his "standard" mouthpieces where the design and facings are legitimately comparable? That is, so that to the degree possible with hand-applied facings and adjustments, the only significant variable is the material?

If so, does your experience substantiate or refute the effect of the material on the sound, response or intonation?

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Toronto, ON Canada)
Date:   2010-03-13 23:20

Bob,

His style of facing and interior work is a reflection of the qualities of the rubber. I'm not sure you can say that he does the same work on both and that's it. I'm sure of it actually, after reading his website. Obviously, his sound concepts and feel of the mouthpiece will be similar in some respects.

If any of you care to, go to www.clarinetmouthpiece.com and read about it. He has TONS of information that answers most every question here.

I feel like I should buy one of these mouthpieces because I spend half my time on this bboard defending his work!

I do own a zinner series, and have 5 or 6 mpcs that he refaced. Amazing work. Otherwise I'm not affiliated.

-Nathan

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tom Puwalski (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ellicott City, MD United States)
Date:   2010-03-13 23:57

All the reviews thus far have been from people who bought Brad's mouthpiece and love it. If you didn't love it you shouldn't have bought it. I had a few of the vintage rubber Behn mouthpieces sent to me on trial. It was impeccably finished, and really well executed, except for one facing aspect. The tip rail was way to thin for me. I spent the full time really trying to evaluate this mouthpiece, and I really wanted to work. I tried every thing I could do to make it work. Different reeds brands and strengths. The tip rail is too thin, I spent time recording different things on it and I can hear the tip width. Now I have to admit I have been playing a little wider than I had been playing over the years, but these were have the width of the Matson, Gennusa type mouthpieces that I learned on.

When I talked to Brad he mentioned that if I purchased one he would rework a tip rail for me, but at the price that the mouthpiece commands it either plays better or easier for me or I ain't buying it. I am not going to relearn my playing to make a piece of equipment work. Now I have one of my zinners that Brad refaced for me a few years back at one of the ICA fests and he did a beautiful job on it, but it didn't endow it with any mythical or magical properties, it just played well.

It never ceases to amaze me how much money and energy we collectively spend on the "non Moving" parts of the Clarinet Machine. I know I can walk into a Music and Arts and pick up a M15 or an M30, take it home and in 10 min find a reed that will work on it. Does it sound as good as my normal mouthpiece? I'm not sure, I've listened to recordings of myself and I have trouble hearing a noticeable difference. My normal mouthpiece a Zinner refaced by Bob Scott, is nothing "special" but than Iggie's ched wasn't all that special either. I recently picked up a Gennusa for Ben Redwine had him put on my modified m15 facing on it and it played really nice. It was a 442 version and for me it played perfectly in tune the 440 version for me, played flat in the throat tones, but than so do vandoren 440 versions.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, when I was a kid there was a sneaker: PF fliers that made the claim that you could "run faster and Jump higher" wearing these shoes. You can't buy game!

Tom Puwalski, former clarinet soloist and principal clarinetist with the U.S. Army Field Band, author of The Clarinetist's Guide to Klezmer, More Klezmer Gig tunes and coming soon Clarinet Basic Training.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Toronto, ON Canada)
Date:   2010-03-14 00:19

Tom,

It's nice to hear from someone else who has tried these mouthpieces, even though you didn't buy one. Excellent to hear why it wasn't for you also and it sounds like you really gave the piece a run-around with recording and such.

Any chance you could share what model you tried?

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Brad Behn (---.hlrn.qwest.net - ISP in Denver, CO United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 14:59

Thanks all for your input. I really appreciate all that has been said and I enjoy the many perspectives shared. I am aware that my Vintage Collection mouthpieces are expensive but when I set off to make mouthpieces from the ground-up; my primary goal was to make the best mouthpieces I possibly could. Indeed the price ended up being high, but that is because my costs are very high, and each mouthpiece requires many hours to produce.

To make my own rubber in controlled conditions with unyielding quality and consistency requires a very unusual manufacturing approach which took great effort and to be frank, luck to invent. Additionally CNC manufacturing is far more costly than some may think as my mouthpieces are very intricate in design. Additionally each mouthpiece requires much hand work by me after the CNC process is complete. But in the end I can say that I am very proud of what I have accomplished. I have earned a good reputation and that is important to me. I will never sell out. I won’t just make mouthpieces for the money. I make mouthpieces for a personal reason…to find the best possible playing experience. I enjoy working with my hands and I like making mouthpieces but I wouldn’t be doing this if I couldn’t appreciate the rewards of my efforts by playing on my own creations. I am an active professional clarinetist and I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor by playing on my mouthpieces every day. That pride goes deep…right now I have three Chedeville based mouthpieces on my desk as refacing jobs for clients: Preufer, Henri Chedeville, and Ch. Chedeville. They are all exceptional mouthpieces yet I have little interest in them, because I like my own mouthpieces better.


My Vintage Collection mouthpieces may be not for everyone, but for those who find value in them, thank you. To those who do not, I offer Zinner-based mouthpieces at below average cost (to compensate for my above average Vintage Collection and Signature Collection lines). Additionally I continue to offer refacing services to single reed players, which is a wonderful way to audition my perspective and quality as a craftsman at an affordable cost. And finally I offer student mouthpieces at a very affordable price. So I do have something for everyone.

Thanks again for your consideration, and happy mouthpieceing.

And to all who are interested; thanks to my friend and client (Erling) who recommended this site to me, there is at last a good source for mouthpiece tip-wand gauges: http://www.musicmedic.com/catalog/products/tool-mp100.html

It has been hard to get for a few years now, but at last for only $35 one can once again acquire this necessary tool. I purchased one last week and found it to be accurate and of good quality.

Okay, now I would like to take some time to address comments from this thread. I will work up from here:

“When I talked to Brad he mentioned that if I purchased one he would rework a tip rail for me, but at the price that the mouthpiece commands it either plays better or easier for me or I ain't buying it. I am not going to relearn my playing to make a piece of equipment work. Now I have one of my zinners that Brad refaced for me a few years back at one of the ICA fests and he did a beautiful job on it, but it didn't endow it with any mythical or magical properties, it just played well.”

I have made many of my Vintage Collection mouthpieces with thinner rails than are commonly seen on other mouthpiece brands. I have always preferred thin rails for the faster response and clarity of resonance but I have come to realize that there are many people who prefer wider rails. So I have over the past two years or so produced Vintage Collection mouthpieces with rails that are a bit wider than I have made in the past. They are not as wide as most Vandoren or Zinner mouthpieces but they are in many cases wider than what I used to do. Please remember that every mouthpiece I make is ultimately a hand finished object that comes from me and my concepts, and my perspective is keenly part of the equation. I expect Tom’s and my perspectives are not identical and therefore we don’t share the same belief about what makes a great mouthpiece.

This is one of the greatest challenges a mouthpiece maker must grapple with. I have decided that I must be true to myself and produce the best possible mouthpiece as I see it. I know that what I do isn’t for everyone and that is why I offer many options. Usually if someone decides not to get a Vintage Collection mouthpiece, they are happy with my Zinner offerings. The price is surely a factor but Zinner blanks function well on their own, and after I put my concept into the mix, they offer the player a slightly different take on my concepts. Frankly my Vintage Collection mouthpieces are a more true representation of my concept of the ideal, and my Zinner offerings (Behn Artist Collection) are more of a collaborative effort. They are a collaboration of Zinner and Behn.


“Has anyone been able to compare any of the Behn Vintage mouthpieces against any of his "standard" mouthpieces where the design and facings are legitimately comparable? That is, so that to the degree possible with hand-applied facings and adjustments, the only significant variable is the material?

If so, does your experience substantiate or refute the effect of the material on the sound, response or intonation?”

Zinner mouthpieces have a variety of different design constraints which would make it impossible to compare the difference or similarity of material resonance. It is my assertion that material matters. This is due to the fact that the mouthpiece’s beak sympathetically resonates with the reed’s vibrational energy. The material’s visco-elastic characteristics (how it stores and releases energy) at the beak has much influence over the playing experience. Indeed design is a large influential entity but material is the icing on the cake so-to-speak. Some materials have a warm-dark sound, and others have a thin-edgy sound, some materials create more perceived resistance, and others have more blow-through. I would describe Zinner material to be warm, colorful, and free-blowing. It has been good material. Behn Proprietary Rod Rubber is different in many ways, and requires less bite to focus and works best with lighter free and vibrant reeds.


“…bag of 200 mouthpieces”

Indeed I will always be active as a refacer as I find it an enjoyable challenge. It is fun to try to bring the unique identity of a single mouthpiece out, to improve upon its resonance, and to let it sing with ease. To reface mouthpieces is good for my perspective as well because it always introduces me to the many voices within the clarinet mouthpiece field, and helps me keep perspective. It also continues to hone my skills as a craftsman…much like doing scales, and long-tones; it keeps me on top of my game.


“I look upon Brad Behn as a personal, good friend of mine. When other people make fun of people that mean a lot to me, I feel pain. So, perhaps, in this area, I may have possibly over reacted.”

Dan, thanks for your concern and for your kind sentiment. I don’t feel as though anyone was making fun of me. My goal in this forum is to only write when I have something to offer. You no doubt also have this perspective as I have frequently found your quest for knowledge and for a better playing experience to be an uplifting purpose. The zeal you show towards the clarinet is something we can all learn from.


“That old saying that I quoted above is what is sometimes known as a 'no win' saying for we have all been fools at one time or another in parting with our hard earned cash, it's that some of us part with more of it than others. I can easily think of times when I've been conned out of some of my hard earned dough.”

I have never conned anyone. My mouthpiece pursuits are real, genuine, and honest. My experiences playing my own mouthpieces have provided rewards that can’t be summed up in sales. Sales provide more R&D investment and so goes the cycle. To realize my ideals, to make mouthpieces from the ground-up are dreams come true. For me, those kinds of achievements are priceless. Soon Signature Collection mouthpieces will be available and the proof of my dedication and creativity as a maker and designer can be seen through my patent 7667118. No con, just something that comes from my heart.

“I'm not one to judge by its cover (or in this case: price tag) but that last time I tried a $300+ mouthpiece it just didn't play. I'm talking specifically about Backuns. I know this is differently made, etc, however for $650 I can buy a whooole bunch of other things, than just one simple mouthpiece. I've never tried Brad Behn's mpcs, but I'm perfectly fine with my $200 Vaccaro M&M mpc.”

Backun mouthpieces do play. Perhaps you don’t interface with them but that doesn’t mean they don’t play. There is a good reason why Zinners have become so popular…they play. My Vintage Collection mouthpieces are different than Backun/Zinner in more ways than any other manufacture and they play also, but for those who like Zinners, or would rather spend $195 instead of $650 I have Zinners as an option.

Cheers,

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: DavidBlumberg (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net - ISP in Havertown, PA United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 15:24

It's an ultra premium product - you get what you pay for.
Someone looking to only spend $80 for a mouthpiece probably won't like it as that's how the mind will justify that.


Quality costs!

David Blumberg
http://www.MyTempoMusic.com/skypeclarinetlessons.html
D'Addario/Backun/BG Artist
Phila. Intl. Festival Clarinet Faculty


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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Toronto, ON Canada)
Date:   2010-03-14 15:57

I'm so glad Brad Behn made his presence known. Always informative, respectful, and to the point posts.

David Blumberg is right, quality costs. There is incredible quality in the work done on zinners and refaced pieces by Brad as well, so in that sense it costs less than some competitors. I'm not sure of any zinner mpc. finishers that charge less, although there may be some.

The $650 price tag is simply matching the commitment of the customer to getting a superior product to the commitment of Brad to making a superior product with significant financial and personal commitment on his part. That's just the reality of it, you get what you pay for, as David just said.

If this thread keeps going much longer, I'm going to be out 650 bucks....

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: doublej (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Lombard, IL United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 16:12

Brad,

Thanks for posting. One of the most informative ten minutes I have ever had is talking to you about reeds that you use. Upon buying one of your vintage collection pieces I have gone from having quite a bit of bite and a hard reed to having virtually no bite and very resonant reed a hard reed just is not necessary with the way the mouthpiece functions. I was able to move all aspects of my embouchure and "voicing" to have a consistant focused and ringing sound. I played on very nice Kaspars before but love the mouthpiece I bought from you the most. I am able to have almost no motion in in my mouth to move from register to register and all with consistancy and near flawless intonation, I am within 5 cents through the range of the clarinet.

Thanks for a great product and sharing your passion.

Jeff

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tom Puwalski (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ellicott City, MD United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 16:14

If I wrote anything that some how demeans Brads mouthpiece work, than I didn't express myself effectively. I have a Zinner that Brad did for me years ago that's one of my "go to" mouthpieces.

"So I have over the past two years or so produced Vintage Collection mouthpieces with rails that are a bit wider than I have made in the past. They are not as wide as most Vandoren or Zinner mouthpieces but they are in many cases wider than what I used to do."

Ok, that has changed since I tried the ones I had on approval. I know that Ron Rueben likes the one he's playing, and anyone who knows Ron, knows he doesn't like much in the way of mouthpieces. I don't think the cost is really an issue either. If it ended up being "The" mouthpiece, I'll buy 2.

We need people involved with the "tools" to constantly push the envelope, so those of us that use these machines can have a wider range of creative control. But, I think we need to remember, these "Tools" don't play themselves.


Tom Puwalski, former clarinet soloist and principal clarinetist with the U.S. Army Field Band, author of The Clarinetist's Guide to Klezmer, More Klezmer Gig tunes and coming soon Clarinet Basic Training.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Toronto, ON Canada)
Date:   2010-03-14 16:27

I thought you did a fine job of describing your experience, not demeaning in the slightest.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 20:16

I disagree about Backun mouthpieces. I know everyone has a preference. But, with the dozens of Backun mpcs I have played at NAMM, through Backun, and other sources, they still do not play. I understand they're zinners as I myself own a Zinner hand crafted by Mr. Vaccaro. However, whatever Backun does to face those Zinners, they just don't play well IMO.



Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: DavidBlumberg (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net - ISP in Havertown, PA United States)
Date:   2010-03-14 20:19

Ricardo seems to play well on them - and so do I.

David Blumberg
http://www.MyTempoMusic.com/skypeclarinetlessons.html
D'Addario/Backun/BG Artist
Phila. Intl. Festival Clarinet Faculty


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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.dsl.teksavvy.com - ISP in Toronto, ON Canada)
Date:   2010-03-14 21:39

If Ricardo didn't sound good, being the player that he is, on a mouthpiece designed for him....there'd be something seriously wrong with the equation.

Since they do play out of the box (most blanks), you have to consider how much time and effort is put into the blank to make it something special to justify a given price. You also have to consider if the mouthpiece is doing something that you couldn't get from customization by another maker.

With Brad Behn's Vintage mouthpieces, we've spent a lot of time devoted to justifying the price. It's obvious that it has to be the price that it is, do to R&D and other factors.

I can rationalize up to 200, even 250 dollars for a zinner that plays really well. For double the price (or more), it has to be something special that I know cannot be produced by others. Ligature lines, logos, recessed lines on the table (found on Bonade Clarity mouthpieces as well) and market hype are not factored in for me.

As Brad Behn and others have said, Backun mouthpieces play. There are people who sound good on them.

For 500 bucks, I'd buy a zinner from another source, and a barrel from Backun!

I have tremendous respect for Morrie Backun and his contributions to the clarinet world. I have bought and used his products off and on for the last 6 years. Just because I don't prefer them, doesn't mean that others won't. I don't mean to say "It's too expensive so it's not worth it" which people have said with equal unfairness to Behn's Vintage line.

The same "is it worth it" thought process should be applied to Backun mouthpieces as Behn's. If you try a Backun and feel it's worth 500, then go for it!

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: JJAlbrecht (---.lightspeed.brhmmi.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Franklin, MI United States)
Date:   2010-03-15 00:18

>>>The same "is it worth it" thought process should be applied to Backun mouthpieces as Behn's. If you try a Backun and feel it's worth 500, then go for it!<<<

I wouyld have to agree and apply the same logic to mouthpieces form other vendors in the $200-300 range. Some folks won't jsutify spending that on "just a mouthpiece." To others, this is a critical part of the clarinet, and is worth the price to obtain the desired sound.

Jeff

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: USFBassClarinet (---.lightspeed.dybhfl.sbcglobal.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-15 02:05

Hello!

I have just emailed Brad Behn about his bass mouthpieces and I believe I am going to give them a try. Anyone here have any experience with them?

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: davetrow (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net - ISP in Hayward, CA United States)
Date:   2010-03-15 02:07

I am now lusting after a Behn Vintage Collection mouthpiece.

Someday, maybe.

Dave Trowbridge
Boulder Creek, CA

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-15 14:36

Thank's Brad for your informative posting. BTW, great full page ad in the current, "The Clarinetist".

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: dtclarinet (---.col.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Columbus, OH United States)
Date:   2010-03-15 18:00

Excellent article, Sacha! I agree with everything you write about Brad Behn's Vintage mouthpieces.

As Principal Clarinetist with the Columbus Symphony (Ohio), I have played Vintages for several years now, and own 4 of them. I don't play all four, but I have collected them because I feel that Brad is truly creating a mouthpiece which will supplant the cultish seeking of old mouthpieces for their "magical" sound.

Many players play on some antique mouthpiece, Kaspar, Lelandais, Chedeville, etc. People are willing to pay $500-1000 for these old mouthpieces, even if they don't end up playing them!

The problem with the old ones is that they have often been refaced many times, or the pitch is very high, or low. And they often tend to sound bright to my ears.

But many people, myself included, feel that these old mouthpieces really do have something magical in the sound! I have a Lelandais which has fallen prey to age, and I have tried to replace it for years. Brad's mouthpieces are heading toward replacing the need for these old mouthpieces. And they play better in tune, have better response, etc.

I like to think of the Behn Vintage models at top notch cars like BMW or Mercedes or Porche. You pay a lot for a car which has power, ease, flexibility, and high quality. And sometimes they take some time to learn to drive well because they are so responsive and powerful, and you have to learn to be a more sensitive driver to handle them. It is the same with Behn Vintage mouthpieces.

I work closely with Brad and am familiar with all the Vintage models, and I truly believe they are as good, if not better than any antique famous name.

And Brad's professional demeanor is world class. He has always responded to any request I have made. He is patiently willing to discuss in detail all aspects of the mouthpiece, tone, response, pitch, colors, and what I seek in it, to help me find the best mouthpiece possible for me.

Sincerely,
David Thomas

David Thomas
Principal Clarinetist
Columbus Symphony Orchestra
Blog- TheBuzzingReed.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Bill Patry (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Greenwich, CT United States)
Date:   2010-03-16 03:27

Dear USFBassCalrinet. I have Brad's bass mouthpiece and love it. I have 6 other bass mouthpieces (two Backuns, a Lawrie Bloom/Walter Grabner, a Clark Fobes, a Richard Hawkins and Dave McClune), and they are all very good mpcs, and all different. If I could only have one it would be Brad's. If I could only have one and I was limited to about $300, I would get the Lawrie Bloom/Walt Grabner ($270, a great bargain); the Clark Fobes ($295) would be right behind it.

Bard also re-bored and refaced a Kaspar Ann Arbor for my Rossi Viennese wide-bore Bb, brilliantly as he did with the Rossi mpc that came with it, and the turn around was really fast. He is making a vintage for my Rossi C clarinet right now. He is amazing to work with; he responds to emails the same day, and his sole interest is in making sure his customers are happy. We all find happiness in different things. I am very very happy with Brad, but I am happy with others' mpcs that I have too. I don't feel it necessary to weigh Brad against them or them against him, and that includes price differentials.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tom Puwalski (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ellicott City, MD United States)
Date:   2010-03-16 03:39

Bill, where are you playing all this cool stuff? Not to many people I know have a Rossi C clarinet.


Tom Puwalski, former clarinet soloist and principal clarinetist with the U.S. Army Field Band, author of The Clarinetist's Guide to Klezmer, More Klezmer Gig tunes and coming soon Clarinet Basic Training.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Noel (147.197.160.---)
Date:   2010-03-16 09:10

I was interested in The Doctor's remark about Brad using rod rubber. I have a vague memory of reading an article which described how this technique was widely used in the past but that it was hard to get really consistent results. The best ones could be great, but the problem was keeping that standard. (Maybe this re-exploration of an older technology is where the rather odd use of the word 'vintage' to describe a brand new mouthpiece comes into play). So perhaps there is a possible sub-text to this discussion that Brad has designed a way of vastly improving the reliability and stability of this base material. If that is the case, then it seems like a very significant development. If I've got hold of the wrong end of the stick, I'd welcome a bit of clarification.

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 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Tobin (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net - ISP in Charlottesville, VA United States)
Date:   2010-03-16 11:51

Hi Noel,

There are answers to many of your questions from Brad's site. I found this helpful:

http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/story_rubber.asp

Gnothi Seauton

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: L. Omar Henderson (---.cdc.gov - ISP in Atlanta, GA United States)
Date:   2010-03-16 16:52

Tobin is correct about finding many of the answers on Brad's wonderful web site. Indeed the old method of only using sulphur as the crosslinking cofactor for vulcanizing the rubber into rods was not consistent from batch to batch or from rubber maker to other makers. Today nearly all rubbers are molded and then vulcanized under heat and pressure (so were the old rubbers but molded rubbers require a different formulation than making rod rubber) and today there are better controls over heat and pressure conditions and other cofactor accelerators which make the products more uniform.

The old rod rubber machined mouthpieces have for the most part aged well as far as rubber goes if they have been stored reasonably well (away from excess heat and sunlight). We of course know that all rubbers especially the early specimens have changed over time. The nature of the cross links in vulcanized rubber dictates that they begin to break and change from the moment of manufacture. What we see in crosslinking patterns of the aged old Chedeville(TM) is an aged pattern - not the original pattern. Thanks to the automobile tire industry it is possible to accurately measure signature crosslinking patterns in rubber samples, and measuring a bunch of Chedeville (TM) samples indicates wide variation in the patterns.

It so happens that in terms of a material for clarinet mouthpieces the aged pattern produces characteristic acoustics somewhat different than modern molded mouthpieces. The physical architecture produced by expert makers such as Brad is of course the most important factor in the playability and sound of a mouthpiece.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: NBeaty (---.Wireless.McGill.CA - ISP in Montreal, QC Canada)
Date:   2010-03-16 16:56

I know others must be thinking it, but I'll say it.

Mr. Henderson,

Does this mean we should buy some of these mouthpieces and put them on the shelf to "age"? =)

(I'm being at least half serious...)

-Nathan

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: L. Omar Henderson (---.cdc.gov - ISP in Atlanta, GA United States)
Date:   2010-03-16 17:15

There is no way of telling how a specimen of rubber will age in terms of crosslinking patterns - as indicated, the formulation to make rod rubber is different than that used to make molded rubber. Each will have a different initial crosslinking pattern and will end up at some chronological age point with a different crosslinking pattern than the beginning and different from another rubber manufacturing technique. Today there are UV inhibitors and other additives put into molded tire rubbers to maintain stability for longer periods of time but all crosslinked rubber changes over time. In terms of acoustics I doubt that any of us know what crosslinking pattern is most favorable. Therefore, I would not recommend buying a bunch of mouthpieces now for a potential "classic" in 80 years or so (old Chedevilles (TM) were made from 1924 - WWII)
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: stevesklar (---.try.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Royal Oak, MI United States)
Date:   2010-03-18 11:21

A few years back Mr Behn offered to send me a couple vintage mpc to try. This was when my mpc collection was growing and I was ever so curious. In the end I declined due to the cost and not wanting to waste shipping$ on either of our side.

But since then I've played a couple vintage models from other people. they are perfectly finished and look great, and they should for the price.

I know he spent a ton of $$ to develop the rubber and he puts a perfect facing on it. If i recall they played flawlessly. great tone, ease of playing etc. This is due to the facing, not the rubber.

The vintage rubber "offers" additional benefits of the last "piece" of the countless Chedeville/kasper recreations out there. What are the benefits ?
Read about it on his web page
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/

But, the real issue is if it works for you and if you hear the difference. Not every one will agree that there is a tonal difference. some dont think the rubber compounds means much, others do. If one bounces around mpcs alot and finally find that this mpc works then it is well worth it. Hopefuly it will last a lifetime.

I do know that I tend to like my older mouthpieces ever so slightly more when used in a chamber environment. For regular "band", jazz, etc I use different mpcs. But then after measuring a bunch of old mpcs I couldn't find two that were exactly alike, even from the same manufacturer.

But looking at the price of used Cheds/kaspers on that market place that potentially have been refaced who knows how many times, I'd rather plunk my money on something that is much more "known" with a trial period.

If i manage to widdle my clarinet collection to just a couple, and also a couple mpcs, and play more chamber type music, I certainly wouldn't mind adding a behn mpc. but right now I'm playing too diverse genres.

==========
Stephen Sklar
My clarinets, My Little World of Clarinet Information

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Dan Shusta (---.owb.bellsouth.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-18 14:47

Stephen:

Do you believe that the "Vintage" mpc is better suited for chamber music than other venues? If so, would you please elaborate?

Also, after having refaced a few mpcs, I have found the "ease of playing" to change but never the tone. Doesn't the tone have more to to with the "internal" aspects of the mpc? And, lastly, couldn't the "great tone" you experienced possibly have been partially an aspect of the material that was used?

Thanks.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Vytas (---.hsd1.nj.comcast.net - ISP in Iselin, NJ United States)
Date:   2010-03-19 00:15

Dan Shusta wrote:
>"Also, after having refaced a few mpcs, I have found the "ease of playing" to change but never the tone".<

You're right! The facing alone will not change the tone native to a mouthpiece. Tone is governed by the chamber (the shape of the baffle and the side walls) .....and of course – material matters.

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




Post Edited (2010-03-19 00:29)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Spencer Stromquist (---.tampabay.res.rr.com - ISP in)
Date:   2010-03-20 16:37

I found when I trialed 8 of his mouthpieces that they made my sound harsh and very bright. The projection and resonance were very powerful but the tone it was sending out made me cringe. So I ordered a M13 Vandoren for 80 bucks and was completely satisfied and for the difference in price I went ahead and trialed 15 or so barrels and bells from Backun and bought a backun Moba barrel and Moba bell and haven't looked back since.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Dan Shusta (---.owb.bellsouth.net - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-21 01:43

Spencer:

Do I understand you correctly in that you trialed 8 Vintage mpcs and found them all to sound harsh and very bright? If so, did you contact Brad? And, if you did, would you be willing to share what his thoughts were as to the problems you were experiencing?

Thank you.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: mnorswor (---.hsd1.ma.comcast.net - ISP in Jamaica Plain, MA United States)
Date:   2010-03-21 22:22

It's been a long time since I've posted anything but this thread has brought me out of hiding.

I've played on Brad Behn's Vintage mouthpieces for years now and find that they really work better for me than anything else out there. I love the material, the craftsmanship and most importantly the sound and flexibility that I'm able to get out of his mouthpieces.

I've tried just about everything you can think of and for years played on a Zinner blank that Kal Opperman did up for me. This mouthpiece was difficult to get off of because of the sound and ease of articulation. Brad was the one who made the winning mouthpiece and I finally switched.

His meticulousness, thoughtfulness and care/attention given to each and every player he comes into contact with are a model of customer service and pride. Others I've dealt with that have given me the same care and attention include Clark Fobes and Dave McClune. He keeps very good company in the mouthpiece making circle and deserves every bit of respect that he's rightfully earned.

Many people talk about the price and balk at what they find. I'd mention that Brad makes a full line of mouthpieces from plastic beginner mouthpieces, Zinner/Behn creations and his Vintage and Signature line. His creation of this Vintage and Signature collection has been a labor of love and discovery for himself and his clients. Those that complain about price usually forget that there are those in other professions that spend 10X or more that amount for the tools that they need to perform at the highest level. Since playing concerts is what I do for a living, I want to have access to the elite tools in my field to help me do what I do better. In terms of making the sound I want and presenting myself on stage in front of an audience, I want to concentrate on music making. Brad's mouthpieces help me do this along with my Buffet clarinets and Rico reeds (disclaimer: I'm an artist for both of these companies)

In comparing them to my collection of vintage Cheds, Kaspars, Bettoneys, etc, I find that these are really the only mouthpieces that give me the same type of filled out sound (especially in the middle of the sound) across the harmonic spectrum. Perhaps some may not listen for the same things that I do, but with all of us being different, I'm glad that we have so many choices out there nowadays and glad that I found something that's helped me find my own unique voice.

Brad has become a good friend, a valued colleague and most importantly someone that I talk with on a regular basis in my own search for more knowledge about my instrument, literature and equipment. He's always willing to explore new possibilities with me and he's exactly the type of friend and colleague that I want along for the ride.

Thank you Brad and to my other friends in the field that help me every day. I appreciate your care, thoughtfulness and attention so that I'm able to continue improving and growing in my music making. You make all the difference and you're someone I simply couldn't do without!

--Michael Norsworthy
Professor of Clarinet, The Boston Conservatory
Principal Clarinet, BMOP
Artist in Residence Harvard University, HGNM
Performing Artist/Clinician Buffet Crampon, Rico Reeds
http://www.michaelnorsworthy.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: William (---.dhcp.mdsn.wi.charter.com - ISP in Madison, WI United States)
Date:   2010-03-21 22:43

Y'all must check out Michaels website for some great clarinet playing. BTW, whose mouthpiece do you play on your bass clarinet??

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: mnorswor (---.hsd1.ma.comcast.net - ISP in Jamaica Plain, MA United States)
Date:   2010-03-22 05:01

On bass clarinet, I play on Dave McClune's S2 facing. Thanks for the nice words!!

--Michael Norsworthy
Professor of Clarinet, The Boston Conservatory
Principal Clarinet, BMOP
Artist in Residence Harvard University, HGNM
Performing Artist/Clinician Buffet Crampon, Rico Reeds
http://www.michaelnorsworthy.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Liquorice (---.adslplus.ch - ISP in Zofingen, 01 Switzerland)
Date:   2010-03-22 06:01

Hey Michael, I really enjoyed listening to your Boulez and John Adams! Great playing!

Is there a CD available of these performances?

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: mnorswor (---.hsd1.ma.comcast.net - ISP in Jamaica Plain, MA United States)
Date:   2010-03-23 05:59

Not yet... but I'm working on it! Thanks again for the nice words, much appreciated.

--Michael Norsworthy
Professor of Clarinet, The Boston Conservatory
Principal Clarinet, BMOP
Artist in Residence Harvard University, HGNM
Performing Artist/Clinician Buffet Crampon, Rico Reeds
http://www.michaelnorsworthy.com

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Liquorice (---.adslplus.ch - ISP in Dietikon, 25 Switzerland)
Date:   2010-03-23 06:25

OK, well please let us know when it's available!

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: stevesklar (---.try.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Royal Oak, MI United States)
Date:   2010-03-24 01:21

Dan

I normally sub in college bands. And since they are college bands I dont' want to play first, etc as that would take away from college players .. they are there to learn - I just fill-in

Thus .. in Chamber I can hear myself more and have more regards to how I sound .. so for me it would make more difference in Chamber playing. If i were to play principal in a local orchestra then I would think more refinement there too .. so mine is just a different perspective based on venues I play.

As Vytas injected, if you reface a mpc you can also change the baffle a bit depending what you do with the refacing .. so .. if you open up a mpc alot from a closed facing you can change the baffle a tad.

==========
Stephen Sklar
My clarinets, My Little World of Clarinet Information

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: sam caviezel (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net - ISP in Washington, NJ United States)
Date:   2010-03-29 20:38

This has been an interesting thread to read, and, I'd like to give some feedback of my own. I've been playing Brad's mouthpieces for a couple of years now, and have been very, very satisfied with his work. I have to play rather "big" in the Philly Orchestra, and Brad's mouthpieces allow me to do so without sacrificing my tonal concept. They also articulate well, and have a beautiful legato. In addition, they are a pleasure to use to blend with the rest of the wind section- but can also project an assured and colorful solo voice when appropriate. In short, I couldn't be happier with Brad's gear.
-Sam Caviezel
Associate Principal Clarinet/ Eflat Clarinetist,
The Philadelphia Orchestra

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Scaysie (---.thorn2.nsw.optusnet.com.au - (OPTUS INTERNET - RETAIL) Thornleigh, 02 Australia)
Date:   2011-12-21 09:40

This being my first post on "The Board" I want to firstly thank you all for providing a really great resource. It is a chance to read comments from some really commited muscians. I am humbled to learn from your expert words of wisdom.
Thus far, I have been content reading your informative , heartfelt (sometimes very funny) comments concerning all things clarinet. I am pleased to say that they have been extreamly helpful.Please indulge me if I now add some of my thoughts .
To cut to the chase........
I play an R13 Bb a Selmer Signature A and an 1193 Bass in a few local Orchestra's ,a Clarinet Quartet and a Chamber Music Society. After being content to play a B45 and an M13 lyre for several years (and doing some good things with it ,I must say) I thought it was time to expand my tonal horizons somewhat. To cut a long story short I contacted Brad Behn and I am now the proud, if not slightly less financially well off, owner of one of his Signature 4 degree mouthpieces.
I just want to make a few observations further to those made by Michael Norsworthy on an earlier post in this thread all of which i agree with.
1. The Chamaleau and the Clarion registers have a distinct "roundness or completeness" that I have not found in any other pieces that I have tried.
2. The altissimo is "easier" ......these notes have taken on (for me) a more colourful aspect ...they have become tones not just sounds.I can use 3/3.5 Vandoren Blue Box with real sucess
3.I can't help but think that these qualities are a subset of the softer compound that Brad uses in the manufacture of the Signature series. Similar to the compound used in the 1930s apparantly
4. For me who broke c1 and c2 (spinal vertebra) in a motor cycle crash some years ago the 4 degree bias afforded to the tenon make clarinet playing a relative ly painless joy again. I can hold the instrument closer to the virtical with less strain to several muscle groups.
4.Brad is a pleasure to do business with, in all respects and I recommend his work to anyone in the market for a really excellent mouthpiece
Best Wishes and a safe and happy festive season to you all
-Pete

Disclaimer: I have no business contact with Brad other than being a very satisfied customer

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Cl69 (---.248.17.118 - (ShenZhen Topway Video Communication Co. Ltd.) Shenzhen, 30 China)
Date:   2012-06-25 14:10

Today I received a parcel with mouthpieces from Brad Behn.

Shipping included three of my old mouthpiece, which I sent Brad to do the reface work and a one new mouthpiece of his Vintage Collection. This new Vintage Collection - Brad designed and made ​​especially for me.

I sit and cry with happiness - this magic work, I had never seen until now.
Maybe I did not see that in general in this sense - but still want to say a few kind words.

All three of the mouthpiece, which I sent him to reface, all alive at his touch - they have become quite different.

I'll take any reed - take on - and it sings! Although the 2.5 - 4.0 at least - play on the health on what your heart desires - all are singing.

As for the new Vintage - it's a miracle!
Such a resonance and a range of colors of sound is difficult to imagine ...
And it's an instant response and a very nice tactile feel of the play on it.

I have no words to convey my feelings.
Of course, I still need a lot of time to properly adjust and realize for myself all the delights of this master, which I now hold in my hands already.
But what I saw today - tells me a lot.

Thank you, Brad! You are a true magician!

I highly recommend - call to mr. Bradford Behn to anyone who wants to get the mouthpiece to the quality of individual work extra-class, world-class.
Master not only guarantees the highest level of performance, but also completely individual approach to reface your old mouthpiece
and construction a mouthpiece specially for you to order.
It is impossible to overestimate his attentive, kind and warm attitude to each client personally.


Half a day could not tear myself away from the clarinet.

All tried and went through - still no tuner and no special care.
Just caught the buzz of sensations at different long notes and the sound.

Vintage Collection by Bradford Behn - it is a magic mps - no words!!!
Otherwise, you could not tell.
The Vintage mouthpiece is so easy to play and sing its own song.
Any efforts are not necessary - the sound is taken freely and easily.


No wonder the master himself suggests in the transition to put the reed weaker one which are used to Vintage .
Stunning resonance characteristics of the material and mps makers work can play it quite easily and without straining compared with the mps, which I've tried before -
they had to create a lot of extra effort.
After Brad reface completed my three mps to play on them has become much easier to and more pleasant - and in terms of the attack and in terms of general sound and tactile sensations.
And perhaps because the strain ceased (where not necessary) - it became easier and smoother to breathe ...

It remains to once again wonder: how everything is interconnected in a complex instrument.

Half a day playing - until it got dark - (decided by the night to honor peace of neighbors)
and no straining at all, and never feel any fatigue -
a continuous delight, the ecstasy turns into no-violent insanity, and fun ...

Bravo, Mr. Bradford Behn!
Such a miracle, I've never seen before ...

Disclaimer: I have no business contact with Brad other than being a very satisfied customer

Sorry, my English is so bad :(



Post Edited (2012-06-25 16:11)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: J. J. (---.mycingular.net - (Wireless Data Service Provider Corporation) , United States)
Date:   2012-06-25 15:30

Is everyone aware that a "disclaimer" is only necessary when you have an actual conflict of interest? Otherwise, it's assumed you don't, so I find it a little redundant.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Cl69 (---.248.17.118 - (ShenZhen Topway Video Communication Co. Ltd.) Shenzhen, 30 China)
Date:   2012-06-25 15:39

To Mr. J.J.

When I talk about my impressions of a good buy - I can often find the questions from the audience: am I in the commercial relationship with the seller, otherwise there is a suspicion that I advertise it, and heaped praise on purpose.
That's why I'm writing in advance "disclaimer".

Thank you for your understanding.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: Mark Charette (---.nb.ford.com - (Ford Motor Company) Plymouth, MI United States)
Date:   2012-06-25 15:46

J. J. wrote:

> Otherwise, it's
> assumed you don't, so I find it a little redundant.

Assumptions are overrated ...

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Brad Behn vintage review
Author: jmsa (---.hsd1.nj.comcast.net - (Comcast Cable) Abington, PA United States)
Date:   2012-06-26 08:54

Hey Tobin, Are you still playing the 1967 Buffet that I sold you?

jmsa

Post Edited (2012-06-26 14:28)

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