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 The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-13 07:27

I used to play Wurlitzer Oehler system 100c clarinets about ten years ago and gave up on them because I could not make a final leap to achieving the sound and response that I wanted.



A recent correspondence with Mr. Bas de Jong of the Netherlands led to a trial of one of his German mouthpieces that he claims works well with Boehm clarinets. Mr. de Jong stressed that he is confused by the general tendency for American players to put so much effort into their embouchures when mostly all you have to do on one of his German mouthpieces is "just blow."



I received in the mail today a Viotto N1 facing (1mm open, 23mm long facing) and several strength 2 1/2 Vandoren White Master reeds. This confused me at first because I had always used stronger reeds (as a player of French clarinets to begin with).


I dutifully began the trial of the N1 mouthpiece with the 2 1/2 strength reed. I placed this combination atop my Yamaha CSG and much to my amazement I got the most wonderfully clear, powerful sound with all the overtones I could ask for................and it was.......EFFORTLESS !!!!! The general affect on intonation was similar to a lower pitch mouthpiece, but the pitch tendencies throughout the registers was very even (in some ways even better than with my French mouthpieces).


As a comparison, I did also try one of my #4 White Master reeds to compare the result. The sound was not as immediate and in short order I found myself pressing (biting) and pinching off what little sound I was getting. So what happens with the German facing seems almost counterintuitive. I learned something very important today!!!!!


Of course after playing for a while it was clear that it would take some time (months of course) to get used to NOT working as hard as I have for so many years. So in the end I will just stick with the current pack of French mouthpieces on my French clarinet (I am after all a victim of doing things a certain way for many years) but here is a summary of what I may be of use to others:


1. The Bas de Jong Viotto N1 works GREAT on French clarinets and can give you a more German sound with just the change of a mouthpiece.


2. There are no pitch irregularities using the Viotto N1 with a Boehm clarinet


3. You can get a clear, vibrant sound with a soft reed and very little effort (if any) of the embouchure.



Of course the approach to HOW you generate sound is different from the French paradigm, VERY different and will (if you are curious) require diligent open-mindedness and time to adjust to the experience. And it requires the use of Vandoren White Master reeds (or other equivalent true German cut reeds).









.......................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-13 09:42

Hi Paul,

Does the Viotto N1 have grooves? Did you try it on "normal" Buffet clarinets? Maybe it suits your CSG clarinet because its German genes?

Lee

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: kenb 
Date:   2015-11-13 11:23

I play N1+2 with White Master 2.5 on my Wurlitzer RBs and find it a very comfortable set up. I also have a set of CSGs, and the tenon of the N1+2 does not fit, so I guess Viotto is producing the N1 facing on a blank with a tenon to fit 'French' barrels.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: donald 
Date:   2015-11-13 12:49

The clarinet BB seems to be full of odd coincidences for me lately, JUST THIS WEEK a friend came back from Melbourne with a Viotto N1 (bought 2nd hand from someone he met at a conference) that plays very nicely. This is a German style blank in terms of design of facing/baffle/sidewalls etc, with a bore and a tenon to match Boehm system clarinets (the CSG doesn't really have much in common with German or Reform Boehm clarinets other than the shorter barrel). And the German style "rings" on the outside in case you want to use string.
Viotto has always produced very fine mouthpieces for Boehm system clarinets (the ones I've seen and played were produced using a mouthpiece blank very similar to the Zinner "E" blank).
I'm down on record here on this BB as saying that Wurlitzer RB mouthpieces can work very well on Boehm system clarinets- from my own experience and that or some very fine professional players (though, worth noting that both the players I note have returned to using French style mouthpieces). My experience has also been that mouthpieces made for Oehler system clarinets do not tune correctly- I'd amend that to "Might not". My F Wurlitzer mouthpieces (I own 2) fit on a Buffet barrel well enough to play, but the 12th are out by 20c across the board- obviously an acoustical mismatch.
Of course, Germany being a land of hand made clarinets with unique and inovative acoustical design ALONGSIDE those just repeating the tradition handed down to them, it's a bit pointless to talk of "German mouthpieces" where the bore is concerned- though the acoustic design of the baffle etc is more uniform. Some people on the BB here have in the past also mentioned Zinner blanks designed for Boehm system as "German mouthpieces". Which they are, but made specifically for French clarinets.....
Anyhow, my friend is also very impressed by his Viotto N1. It's designed with a lot of compression and "hold" in the mouthpiece that makes it relatively easy to get a certain "shape" in the sound, but less easy to vary that within a phrase (not impossible by any means, just "less easy"). If you want to play a french style mouthpiece with "very little effort (if any) of the embouchure." there ARE options for that within the Boehm mouthpieces available (was it Campione who talked of "the reed floating on a bed of roses"?) but it sounds like you'd need to adjust your embouchure and playing style somewhat (remember- the whole purpose of the "Flat chin" is that it pulls the lower jaw AWAY from the reed).
Let me know if you want to sell that mouthpiece, I quite like my friends one and find it very easy to adjust to (from a Lomax A3, or Hawkins S) plus I have a local supply of German reeds (imported when playing RB mouthpieces was a fad here in NZ, but never sold)
dn

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-13 19:13

I did fail to mention some specifics. Yes, the N1 is a traditional German mouthpiece with the grooved surface. I tried a slip on braided ligature made by Vientos Bambu (I've been using this on my ESM mouthpiece) first, but I would have had to make it tighter to fit snuggly. Being lazy at heart, I just opted to tie the reed on with one of the many strings I have lying around (with some 100% bees wax on it to make it a bit tacky).


I believe this version of the Viotto N1 was made specifically to be played on standard Boehm clarinets. Mr. Bas de Jong mentioned making the tenon 1mm thinner and 1mm shorter. It would be just a matter of re-corking to allow it to fit back onto a Wurlitzer (I think).


I agree completely with Donald. The only thing the Yamaha CSG has in common with a German clarinet is the 'write up' it gets from Yamaha. I had used R13s interchangeably with my set up over the last ten years and find them to virtually identical (that is the CSGs vs the R13). My personal horn is a CSG because (due to my laziness) it was easier to find one that tuned evenly for me. It was literally the first and only CSG I tried and I bought it on the spot.


I am not retired from the Army Band program and no longer have a ready access to R13s. This led to an interesting problem (for me anyway). I have a modified R13 barrel so I can play German Wurlitzer mouthpieces on the R13. But I have not (and will not) modify one of my Yamaha barrels so I could not directly compare the Wurlitzer to the Viotto. I do recall quite specifically thinking that because the German mouthpieces are longer, they may have problems playing flatter in the altissimo than the rest of the range. This is the problem I experienced on my Wurlitzer M3+. That is why I am so pleasantly surprised with the results from the Viotto.


Donald, I have a question for you. Are you saying that current Wurlizer Reform Boehm mouthpieces fit into the top of a standard Boehm clarinet (ie Buffet)? When last I ran into one (1997 in Korea), the top barrel socket was the same "oversized" version that I had on the top of my Oehlers.


If you are asking if I am selling the mouthpiece, unfortunately it is not mine to sell - it is going back to Bas de Jong. But I'm sure he has a bunch of 'em !!!!







...............Paul Aviles

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2015-11-13 19:34

Paul,

I had a Viotto N1 with the string ligature thread some time ago that did not tune well on either my Buffet R13 or my Ridenour Libertas clarinets. This Viotto had a very large A-frame tone chamber, larger than any chamber I have seen on a French or American clarinet mouthpiece. Is the tone chamber on the Viotto N1 you tried more of a "normal" size, like, for example, most of the Vandoren models, the Hawkins, the Fobes, or the Backun Mo-Ba?



Post Edited (2016-05-04 00:18)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-13 19:43

No, the Viotto N1 is standard for a German clarinet. The baffle barely tapers as it enters the bore so there is almost no side to speak of, but what is there is DEFINITELY "A Frame."


Was your intonation issue strictly speaking that it brought the pitch too low? Or was the issue one of the intonation from note to note or register to register a problem?


You do also need to use reeds of German specifications. The ONLY proper reeds readily available here in the States are the Vandoren White Master (Black Master are NOT a match). One would have to order through Germany (not that hard these days) to get other German reeds of the right dimensions.







...................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2015-11-13 19:59

The 12ths were wildly inconsistent, leading me to wonder if the peice was really intended for Oehler clarinet (I bought it off the famous internet auction site); yet the tenon fit just right in width and length. The wrong reeds (I tried Vandoren trad and V12) probably impared the tone and response, but would reeds have that much effect on intonation?



Post Edited (2015-11-13 20:00)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-13 20:12

The wrong reed will force YOU to adjust incorrectly to different pressure differentials as you move from one register to another.


I ran into this when I was auditing Mr. de Jong's French style TH mouthpiece (also sent along with the Viotto N1). For snicks and giggles I tried the French mouthpiece with the Vandoren White Master #2 1/2 reed. It was a complete disaster! You must remember that the length of the vamp must be compatible with the length of the mouthpieces lay (completely different from German to French).


You used the wrong reed........period.





.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: AAAClarinet 
Date:   2015-11-13 20:15

What are Black Masters a good match for?

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2015-11-13 20:19

Hi Paul, nice to read this post.
I can only confirm your experiences with the Viotto N1. They like softer reeds for the sound to 'blossom'. If WM 2.5 is too soft for you at the moment you can try WM#3, also widely used on this mpc.

I discovered the N1 around 15 years ago when the Viotto mpcs were heavily marketed by Bas de Jong in the Netherlands. Almost every 'good' player I knew then switched to the Viotto N1 or N1+2. Professional players often used them on their Wurlitzer Reform Boehm clarinets but a lot of good amateur players used them on French clarinets.

The French version of the N1 has -AFAIK- the same internal dimensions as the German (Oehler) version. There is also a Reform Boehm version but that has a different bore and chamber (larger). The 'resistance' or 'impedance' characterics of the French version is somewhat different than regular French mpcs. Generally speaking, the combination with 'free blowing' instruments is better than with clarinets with higher resistance. That's why I changed in the years from Selmer Recital, Buffet Festival to Buffet RC clarinets. Depends of course on embouchure but some clarinets don't work well when you 'just blow'. I guess the new Buffet Divine would be a very good match too. After many years I finally changed to Wurlitzer RB clarinets, for me an even better match. But still using the N1+2 as main mpc.

On French clarinets I never had any intonation problem with Selmer Recital, Buffet Festival, Leblanc Sonata and Buffet RC. The overall pitch is somewhat lower so you may have to compensate with a shorter barrel but internal intonation was ok. However, with a Selmer Series 9 the altissimo got relative too high. So, may be not every French clarinet is a good combination with the N1, but many are.

Playing the N1+2 now already for ca. 5 years on Wurlitzer Reform boehms made my embouchure even more 'just blow' than on French clarinets. But sometimes I miss some of the colour/timbre that a French clarinet can give (especially Buffet). Well, that's live I guess.



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2015-11-13 20:27

--What are Black Masters a good match for?

For Viennese style facings: long and close.
They do play well sometimes on American style facings.
Very dark sound.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: donald 
Date:   2015-11-14 00:12

If you get the correct strength Black Masters can be played on French mouthpieces (as Jeroen says), there has been discussion on this BB in the past about this. I've never had any such luck with White Masters (not even on my E flat mouthpieces).

The Wurlitzer RB mouthpieces I mention above (ie the ones that DO work/fit on Buffet clarinets) came with a pair of RB clarinets originally played in NZSO in the 1970s/80s but may have been more reccent (these instruments had been overhauled by Wurlitzer in the late 1980s). A number of NZ clarinet players bought new Wurlitzer RB mouthpieces in the mid 2000s (as noted above, this worked but no one stuck with it more than a year or so).
The Wurlitzer Oehler system mouthpieces I mention are probably from the 1960s or 70s. I also have an Oehler mouthpiece given to me in 1998 (when I was intending to switch to Oehler and live/teach in Germany with my then wife) and this does NOT fit on a Boehm clarinet so I can't tell if the intonation would work.

Here's something odd- I have a Classical era clarinet made my Steve Fox, and the the mouthpiece that came with that fits on my Buffet with some help from extra wrapping around the tenon... and oddly enough the intonation is not too awful... it's quite amazing the extent to which the tonal characteristics of the classical clarinet are transferred to the modern clarinet in this experiment. I don't suggest this should be the next new fad in mouthpieces, but it's an interesting experiment.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2015-11-14 02:57

Indeed White Masters are difficult on French mpcs. Certainly the Traditional version. The newer White Masters (not Traditional) are more flexible but also lack the 'core' of the Traditionals. However, I do have some luck with soft WM Traditionals (2 - 2.5) on a Masters CL6.

The Wurlitzer RB mouthpieces I have, do not fit on Buffet clarinets. They have the same tenon width and length as the Wurlitzer Oehler mpcs.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-14 05:36

Yeah, I don't exactly understand what any one on a French clarinet would do with a White Master reed. But I enjoy the fact that they are available here!!!!


There was one point I wanted to address earlier that I neglected.


Donald wrote:

"My friend is also very impressed by his Viotto N1. It's designed with a lot of compression and "hold" in the mouthpiece that makes it relatively easy to get a certain "shape" in the sound, but less easy to vary that within a phrase (not impossible by any means, just "less easy")."


This lack of variety in the sound is pretty much a hallmark of what I consider the "German Sound." Listen to Leister or Fuchs or Ottensamer. Beautiful sounds from heaven, but not so different from one style to another (Brahms vs Mozart vs Prokofiev). I think this was also a bit of a deciding factor for me when switching back to Boehm some 20 years ago. The variety of the Boehm mouthpiece/clarinet is not THAT much greater but it cannot be discounted.






..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: CEC 
Date:   2015-11-14 05:45

I just had a gander at the Bcl offerings.

German - 1.27mm

French - 2.01mm

Wow! That's quite a spread. Seems there's no equivalent (or even close) to the N1+2. Worth looking, though :)

But that's OK. Tonight my heart is with France.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Ed 
Date:   2015-11-14 16:49

FWIW- I know a very prominent NY player whose set up was a Vandoren mouthpiece and White Master reeds.

I don't think that there is any one answer for every player. Sometimes it is not that something does not work, but that it does not work for you.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-15 00:39

Whether the "prominent" NY clarinetist is aware of it or not, he is fighting his set-up.



When you let him know, be gentle.







.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Ed 
Date:   2015-11-15 02:21

When a player has been principal in one of the top orchestras in NYC, as well as a freelancer player in most of the top gigs and a studio musician they certainly don't need my help or opinion. I would also call that pretty prominent, although some may differ.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-15 03:24

Doesn't mean they're right all the time either.






.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: babrinka77 
Date:   2015-11-19 11:58

Hello,
I bought a Viotto N1+2 for my Buffet RC, my idea was to play this mp with Legere synthetic reeds, i like the sound this combination produces, but i had problems in the upper register.
While using this mouthpiece, i saw an advertisement in the Nick Kuckmeier's website (PlayNick) of the Sabine Meyer mp adapted to french clarinets. I was not really interested in this mp since what i really want is to keep using legere reeds, but i contacted Nick Kuckmeier to find out if he could make the german mp Playeasy D2 (this mp is designed to be played mith Legere reeds) for a French clarinet, the answer was positive. Since the mp arrived i haven't played any other mp and love the combination with legere 2 3/4 reeds.

Now, i am also thinking of purchasing the Vienesse style mp Playeasy B (also from Playnick) which seems to be the best combination mp/synthetic reeds, but need to think about it a lot since i cant try it before purchasing.

I love the combination German mp/french clarinet, and in my experience, synthetic reeds work better in german mp than in french mp.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-19 12:57

If you don't mind "Babrinka77," I have a few questions.


Firstly, what was the issue in the upper register that prevented the Viotto N1+2 from working?


I see the PlayNick D2 is a less resistant (and shorter than usual) German style mouthpiece as well. Are you using the German cut Legere reeds?





.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: babrinka77 
Date:   2015-11-19 16:06

Hello Paul;
I'm spanish, so it's a little difficult for me to explain this kind of things in english, but i will try: while i love the sound and the response in the rest of registers, i find the upper register to be "weak" with the legere reed on the Viotto N1+2, and a little difficult to produce, i don't have this same problem with the Playeasy D2. In my opinion, they are very similar animals, the sound and response, but the bigger difference (using legere german 2 3/4 cut on both) was the upper register.
Another problem with the Viotto N1+2 which i don't have with the Playeasy D2 is that, after a time playing the legere reed i have the feeling that it becomes too soft.
I don't know, i haven't tried those mouthpieces with cane reeds, but in my opinion, when it comes to play with synthetic reeds, the Playeasy works better.

As i told you, i would like to try the Playeasy B Viennese cut with legere reeds, i have heard many people having success with this combination on reform bohem and Viennesa style clarinets, but haven't heard of anyone playing them on french clarinets. Anyway, i haven't heard of anyone playing the Playeasy D2 on french clarinets and i bought it, and now i am very happy....so one never knows.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-19 17:31

Thank you so much for your answer!


Very interesting that with the D2 the Legere reeds don't seem to 'get soft.' I had a period of several months long where I played exclusively on the Legere Quebec cut reeds (with French mouthpieces and clarinets). During this time the reeds had two issues with getting softer. The first is that within about ten minutes they seemed to drop about a half strength. The other issue was that over the course of a few weeks the core strength seemed to soften just a little, but once this long term strength was reached, they stabilized. I wanted to contribute those reactions to the fact that I use a good bit of "control" with my embouchure. It is a more typical "French/American" approach. I am now to understand that the usual approach with the German mouthpiece/reed is much more subtle. Therefore it is striking that you report a similar issue, and more striking that you do not have this happen on the D2!

I don't want the appearance of any endorsement one way or the other, but it should be noted for those reading who are not familiar with Nick Kuckmeier mouthpieces or the German Legere reeds, the Legere Co. developed that particular cut in conjunction with Nick Kuckmeier.



Thanks again!






...................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2015-11-19 20:12

I saw him in Utrecht - he really wanted me to try the Mouthpieces, but I'm happy with what I have, and my sound, so didn't end up coming back to his room to give it a shot.

Are the German Legere reeds still being manufactured?

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2015-11-19 21:05

With a narrow enough French (or English) mouthpiece, both colors of Master will work, but I've always felt the sound was a lot better with the White Masters. I've gotten them to work on Eaton and Pillenger mouthpieces, but a lot of the American mouthpieces are too wide at least for the White Masters. Back when I was playing HW Oehlers in Germany, nearly everyone was using Steuer Esser Solos, which seemed to have a somewhat softer sound than the White Masters and were a little easier to work up, except that the left side of the tip frequently was harder than the right side.



Post Edited (2015-11-19 21:08)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: donald 
Date:   2015-11-20 03:24

Very interesting- of course, the mouthpieces you describe are DESIGNED to work with French clarinets so it's little surprise that the tuning works better. It's good to hear of others' success, and I am certainly keen to try out the various options.
- In the past when people have posted that "German mouthpieces don't work on French system clarinets" they were referring to mouthpieces designed to work with the various Oehler system bore options. Not German mouthpieces especially designed and produced specifically to work with French clarinets (as are the ones discussed above)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-20 05:22

Given that so many people begin to pursue the German sound and a large part to repertoire was composed by German composers, is that possible German clarinets will become more popular in the future? I know this is somehow happening in Japan.

I also believe instead of figuring out if German mouthpieces can work on French clarinets or not, buying one Reform Boehm and eventually change into German system might be the final solution. In fact, the change is not as difficult as most people imagine. Of course, this is for someone who really wants to get the German sound.

Lee

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2015-11-20 05:54

Probably the price is an obstacle to a lot of us moving to German reform Boehms; they can easily get to $10K apiece, and the unreformed Boehms sold by a lot of German makers have French bores and use French mouthpieces. Oehler instruments can be a lot of fun, but not if they're pitched at 445 and you play them with people tuned to 440. That said, when I was playing Wurlitzer Oehlers, I loved the sound and feel, and did better with the altissimo than I ever did before or since. Nice to have the option!

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-20 08:07

Lots of interesting thoughts above........thanks guys.



The German Legeres are not only a current product, they are becoming the standard for European players.



One more clarification: the Viotto N1 is made for the German clarinet. The ONLY special modification is that the last few millimeters of the tenon are about one millimeter smaller in diameter so it can FIT into the socket of a French barrel. I think Mr. Bas de Jong would want everyone to know that his mouthpiece just simply "works" on French bore clarinets. And it allows us French clarinet players to experience the "ease" of blowing with little if any embouchure effort that German players have always had. This in itself is a bit of work in that we who have never played this way before can find the feeling quite disconcerting (this despite the wonderful sonic results).



I personally don't feel the German clarinet is an easy transition even if we speak of the fingering differences by themselves. Think about all the odd fingerings we pick up over the years for specific passages. Those exist in the German system too but how many years will it take to learn them all?


The bottom line is that the Boehm approach was meant to make things easier all along. I also feel there will never be a rush to go backwards. Only those amongst us pursuing some "ideal" will be the customers of the Oehler. Look at the rising popularity of Boehm in Germany. There are more heated debates amongst sections of purists still intrenched in orchestras but feeling the pressure to allow newer players the freedom to use Boehm in their sections.


Finally, I still insist that the German reed is species specific to the German mouthpiece design. The cut is not just narrow, it is also cut more like a chisel with a flatter profile (less of a curve) to the vamp from side to side, and it is a much shorter vamp. All these differences make the German reed incompatible with a French mouthpiece. Now, as some have said there are players willing to make it work. All I have to say about that is you can force a square peg into a round hole if you want but it doesn't make it the recommended method of filling a round hole.









.....................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-20 09:08

Well, I admit that the fingering of Oehler is a little more difficult than Boehm. But I would argue that actually Oehler does not require players to learn as many odd fingerings as Boehm. That's why we see so many holes and complex mechanisms on the Oehler clarinets, resulting generally slight better intonation than Boehm. Also, the fingering for the third register in fact is easier than Boehm. Another minor benefit of Oehler is that on Oehler system, players can play more micro-tones by just using fingers while on Boehm we have to use the embouchure in a lot of cases.

It seems Boehm clarinet manufacturers are hesitating to add the keywork even through we all know it is not perfect and the keyworks for student instruments and professional instruments are almost same. I personally believe the simplified fingering actually would compromise the intonation. By contrast, the professional model (or soloist model) German clarinet usually has much more keys and tone holes than the student model. Some of them are for easier fingerings, some of them are for better intonation.

Lee



Post Edited (2015-11-20 11:43)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-20 16:55

Yeah I agree with that premise 100%. But that is exactly the point. We see that in the compromise on the Boehm between the flat low E and the sharp middle B. Fingers and embouchure vs. fingers.


No one from the sympathetic side of the equation ever mentions that the throat F is fingered like our throat E, only adding the second to last side key. This means if you move from first line Eb to first space F, your right index finger must slide UP to the next side key (one of the more awkward Oehler fingering glitches).


There is no alternate middle B. You always have to use BOTH pinkies for that note, resulting in more sliding (that's why there are rollers folks) and more pinky agility.


For me the "problem" was always how similar the fingerings are. Getting confused can be a real issue.


But the thrust of this thread is that there is a WHOLE UNIVERSE of issues relating to the embouchure and use of air which is also completely different. A lot of top players have stumbled on this one (or cheated, using their Boehm mouthpieces on their German horns and wondering why they could never achieve the sonic goal they set out to achieve).








................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-20 21:54

Paul,

I agree with most of your points. However, the throat F can be played using three different fingerings. One is thumb and middle finger only, which means there is no need to slide up to the next side key (you can do that of course). To me, sliding is not a bad thing. That's why S & S also uses this on their Boehm clarinet as required by players.

Lee

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-21 07:09

The finger position to which you refer works for the second ledger line above the staff C (the 12th above) but it is too sharp to be of use in the chalumeau (much like the 1st and 3rd fingers of the left can be used as your clarion Bb but not your chalumeau Eb).


Are you using a full keyed system Oehler?






....................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-21 08:28

Yep, full Oehler, aka professional instruments. The middle finger position is indeed sharp for Austrian models. But for German models, the level of sharpness is not severer than the lowness of low F on Boehm systems (at least for my clarinets), which most people accept for so many years until recently manufacturers begin to add the correction key. Also, I would like to mention a not widely known theory here. As you all know, clarinet is the only transposing instrument in the woodwind section. For all other members of this section (i.e, flute, oboe and bassoon), without any doubt, their key systems are designed, ideally, to play the C major scale most easily. By realizing this, it is not hard to understand why F sharps can be played easily on Oehler system while F naturals are not. This can be also observed for the third space C sharp (and the high C sharp). On Boehm, the transition from middle B to C sharp is not very smooth and in fact the trill of B/C sharp is in theory impossible because it requires using both pinkies, one up, one down. But it can be easily achieved on Oehler system. Nevertheless, even with this theory, I still have to admit fingering for Oehler is more difficult than Boehm, especially considering that nowadays probably the role of clarinet in the band is more essential than it in the symphony orchestra.



Post Edited (2015-11-21 09:30)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-21 10:32

Regarding the embouchure problem, my personal experience is the transition probably is as difficult as changing from B45 to 5JB, which is not easy neither. I know a lot of Reform-Boehm players who have changed their embouchure successfully within months. This happens everyday in the Netherlands because RB is popular there for professional players while due to the price reason beginners have to start with common Boehm systems. You mentioned the rising popularity of Boehm in Germany. To my knowledge (I lived in Germany for a quite long time), this is still largely limited to the amateur players world but not in the professional orchestras. Once again, as you can imagine, there must be a lot of amateur players who change their instruments to pursue a professional career.

Some people believe doubling Boehm and Oehler is absolutely impossible. Although it is not wise to double, please just consider the players doubling clarinet and sax (they are everywhere in US I guess?). I believe the embouchure difference (and use of air etc.) between sax and clarinet is probably much larger than the difference between two systems of clarinet (this example could likewise apply to the fingering, do they get confused?). Other less convincing examples are doubling oboe and English horn, doubling horn and Wagner tuba and so on. Don't forget the famous Josh who can play all woodwind instruments pretty well, if not so professionally. He must have a super power to change his embouchure insanely (from clarinet to oboe and from clarinet to flute, wow!!!) if you consider the embouchure for Oehler is "completely different" from Boehm.

In fact, some renowned clarinet professors in Germany can also play Boehm system very well. One example is Laura Ruiz Ferreres (please read the link below, she is not a native German but I know others by personal communication).

http://www.lauraruizferreres.com/wp/biography/?lang=en

Paul, it is really a pleasure to read your post and discuss issues with you.



Post Edited (2015-11-21 11:51)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-21 11:45
Attachment:  c3c97a2fjw1e3xlrrab86j20et2ee7e4.jpg (87k)

Just for fun, I attached a photo of Sabine Meyer playing Tosca:)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-11-21 14:28

Ah, very impressive resume. All the more impressive for having the knack to alternate systems, though from the list of orchestras I'd assume she does most of her work on Oehler.




............Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2015-11-21 15:31

Assuming your assumption is right, again, one more Boehm to Oehler example:)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2015-12-05 04:44

Paul,

I read with interest about your experience with the Viotto N1 as pertaining to how "effortless" it was to play.

Could you possibly compare it to the M15 or M13? I understand they are very easy to produce a dark tone even with harder reeds.

However, with my embouchure dystonia, the idea of "just blow" is not only appealing to me but kind of gives me hope that I could possibly play again.



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2015-12-05 06:31

Hey Dan,


Well I am literally only on the second full practice day with this idea in mind.
It is a long term experiment that will require also receiving German Legere
reeds (should be here shortly) to add to the mix.


OK, the German thing is not (now that I have used it in one rehearsal
already) completely effortless. I am still utilizing my handy leather pad
under my lower lip. It is, however, a completely different feel. There
is quite a bit less effort to range through dynamics which I am still getting
used to.


There is also a little intonation issue. Truth be told I sent the Viotto back
after just a 30 minute trial (at that moment in time I wasn't looking to buy).
I am now using a few old Wurlitzer mouthpieces of similar facing. What I
recall of the Viotto, it was a bit lower than the standard Vandorens,
but more in line than the Wulitzers I'm using now. In conversation with
ESM, they told me that they do NOT consider the two bores (French
and German compatible). To address this issue ESM makes their most
popular German mouthpiece available with a French bore. You'd better
believe I just ordered one through Madison Band supply. It will take a
month or so to get it though. After that experiment I will most likely
order a Viotto N1 to add to my collection. It is that mouthpiece's sound
that 'haunts my dreams!'

There is NO comparison to the M15 (one of the closer standard French
mouthpiece in my estimation). You still approach the Vandorens (no matter
which) with the same French/American embouchure approach (much more
support all around than the German approach).

And the real kicker with these really closed German mouthpieces is that you
are supposed to use them with weaker reeds (generally a White Master 2 1/2 or
3 at the very most).


In your case, this may be a beneficial but you still "feel the effect" on your
lower lip!




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2015-12-05 18:12

Actually, the "natural" scale of the clarinet (always raising the lowest finger) is G (clarion D). It's still that way on the Oehler, as well as on the original versions of the flute, oboe and bassoon.

I can switch fairly easily from Boehm fingerings to 5-key clarinet fingerings, which are similar to Oehler fingerings. I can't play a modern Oehler for more than about 5 minutes, though, because the wide stretch between the right index and middle fingers make my right hand cramp up.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: efsf081 
Date:   2016-02-18 17:46

I have recorded a little from Fantasia 'I puritani'. I am using a vandoren D6 mouthpiece (germane mouthpiece, rebore for boehm clarinet), S&S barrel and R13 clarinet.

https://soundcloud.com/ka-kiu-caleb-yan/d6-mouthpiecer13

Not prefect recording and recommend use circumaural headphones.



Post Edited (2016-02-18 17:50)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: faltpihl 2017
Date:   2016-02-18 17:53

I have since a few days back switched to a Viotto N1 mouthpiece for use on my Ridenour Libertas Bb and 576 A clarinets.

I'm really enjoying it so far, and will start experimenting with different brands of reeds in the upcoming weeks :)

I previously played Vandoren B40d and so far the change has felt good.

Regards
Peter

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: efsf081 
Date:   2016-02-18 18:02

Your Viotto N1 is a Boehm version or original Oehler version?

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: faltpihl 2017
Date:   2016-02-18 18:25

It is only modified a bit to fit in the barrel of a Böhm clarinet.

Regards
Peter

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2016-02-19 02:38





Post Edited (2016-02-19 03:56)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Elifix 
Date:   2016-02-20 20:44

@babrinka77
Do you personally have any idea what did playNick do to the D2 mouthpiece so that it would work on your French clarinet? Was it a case of German dimensions onto a French Blank?

@Paul
You wrote this in one of your reply
<quote>
One more clarification: the Viotto N1 is made for the German clarinet. The ONLY special modification is that the last few millimeters of the tenon are about one millimeter smaller in diameter so it can FIT into the socket of a French barrel.
<unquote>

Wouldn't he had to adjust some of the math (eg. chamber bore etc...) for the French clarinet?

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: babrinka77 
Date:   2016-02-22 11:45

Hello;
I think there's no change on the mouthpiece, the only modification is the reduction of the tenon to fit a french barrel, actually, i previously tried the same mouthpiece for german clarinet on my Buffet, and apart from the difficulties to fit the barrel it worked ok, i was a bit high in pitch, but response and sound was exactly the same, that's why i decided to order them this mouthpiece.

I love the german mouthpiece experience...

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2016-04-19 04:14

Thank you for starting this thread Paul.
About a year ago I bought a Viotto N1 (unaltered) off eBay, thinking I might modify it for one of my period clarinets because of its pronounced A-frame sidewalls. I didn't get around to modifying it but this thread prompted me to take it out and try it with my Yamaha CSG IIs. It is tight but it fits. I used White Masters 1 1/2 that I had for period clarinet, all of which were much too soft for this Viotto.
A couple of questions for players that use the Viotto N1 or N1+2 shortened for French clarinets:
1) Every once in a while I am seduced by its dark sound to try one of the very dark mpcs (VD Black Diamond, PlayEasy). However what sounds gorgeous in a small room does not translate to the large hall. My orchestra records its concerts and when I listen to the playback when using a PlayEasy or Black Diamond I am surprised at the nondescript, monochromatic, characterless sound. Solos in which I know I inflected come across as unmodulated and uninflected (while requiring twice as much effort as my Hawkins). Does the Viotto have more sonic presence in a large hall than the above-mentioned mpcs, with hopefully more capacity for inflection?
2) On the Bas de Jong Viotto site he does not mention the N1 or 1+2
length reduction for French clarinet. When ordering these mpcs for trial, does one need to specify how much to shorten the mpc? My unaltered Viotto N1 plays about 20 cents flat on my CSGs, so the mpc would have to be shortened quite a bit to play at 442.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,
Simon

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2016-04-19 06:11

I don't have any direct experience with the Black Diamond or PlayEasy. What I can say is that the Viotto played pretty close to pitch for me (mine was altered only by 1mm in length. Bas sent me a mouthpiece that was adapted for the French clarinet. To answer an earlier post, none of the internal dimensions are modified. As a consequence, the way you approach pitch is quite different, but not any less of a compromise in tuning than what we do with standard mouthpieces...... just different.


As for projection, there are some really fine players that get great results from the Viotto. If I were to use cane, I probably would have no issue with it either. I think though when used in combination with German Legeres (what I have chosen to do), the sound is just a little too dry (not enough over tones). This is why I have gone to using the Wurlitzer mouthpieces (M3+) which project better for me and the Legeres. The Wurlitzers DO, however, require a shorter barrel. 3mm shorter should do the trick but a 4mm drop would be even better (where I sit now).


The real advantage to the Viotto is the pitch. At least the ones that are modified should work quite well with your standard set up (no custom barrels required!). Of course, if you are "pinching up" with your French mouthpiece, the tuning differential will be much bigger.




...............Paul Aviles

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2016-04-20 06:17

Thanks for the response Paul.
Tonight I discovered a box of White Master 2.5 in a drawer and tried them with the unaltered Viotto on my CSGIIs with its short barrel and while still a bit soft, they played close to pitch. So as you mention, 1 or 2 mm shorter should bring the Viotto to A442.
(One interesting phenomenon I noticed on the White Master 2.5s was that the altissimo got sharper the higher I went, which is the opposite of what a French mpc does on a soft reed.)
The Viotto I got off ebay is a Viotto-refaced Hammerschmidt 2. That could mean it does not play exactly like Viotto's own product.
Anyhow, I will contact Bas de Jong and see if he can send some N1 and N1+2 mpcs over.

I am hoping dynamic range and sonic presence will not be an issue, as they often are with dark, creamy German-sounding mpcs.

Thanks again and I will post my findings,
Simon

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2016-04-20 07:13

Well it's pretty funny what you say about the altissimo. I had the opposite happenstance. I found the pitch needed to be nudged up a little more than what I normally do on a French mouthpiece .......so I found the response opposite as well (in an opposite way!!!!).


[And this is a consistent result across five different German mouthpieces: 2 Wurlitzer M3+, a Wulitzer M5, Viotto N1, and an ESM French modified W5A.]



I guess this points to two sure things. I need to be careful about anything I consider advice that can be taken to the bank. And, all bets are off when dealing with equipment that may not necessarily be designed to work together.


The Viotto features pretty thick rails. Bas mentioned that this does get a "darker" tone and Viotto himself will not provide a version with thin rails (that made me very sad).






..................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2016-04-21 10:05

[Content deleted]

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: mddds 
Date:   2016-04-21 11:24

i hope i'm not hijacking the thread...

if you are not sure about pitch compatibility, you may want to consider a zoom barrel by P&S. i'd make sure the bore size is compatible first, however.

the length is adjustable by turning a screw mechanism located in the middle of the barrel.

both of my P&S barrels start at 55mm in length but i also have a 53mm Bb barrel.

i dont have any experience in older oehler clarinets, so i really cannot comment on those.

are you sure that your oehler has a German (versus Austrian bore)?

i currently play on a Kuckmeier N1 but have others (Wurlitzer, Play Easy)....

i hope this was helpful!

-CK

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2016-04-21 12:09

[Content deleted]

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2016-04-21 17:08

The short answer is, yes.......try the "proper barrel" route.


Of course the vintage clarinet thing throws everything into chaos. I know just enough about vintage Boehms to know that tuning could be quite different from one to another within a certain by-gone era. Also (correct me if I am wrong), manufacturers where NOT as worried about THEIR product matching ANOTHER'S product in terms of type of bore, or dimensions, or anything really.


I don't know if this is the case with German horns, but I would not want to even attempt this research (yet another dissertation!).


For me, I would at some point be interested in purchasing another modern Oehler horn (perhaps used.......but within the last decade!), so modifying the mouthpieces is OUT OF THE QUESTION.





.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2016-04-21 21:01

[Content deleted]

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2016-04-23 12:37

I just thought I'd clarify on the barrel length (just in case you're unsure....and forgive me it that is not the case). German horns are LONGER in the top joint and shorter in the barrel (like the Rossi or Yamaha CSGs). This configuration allows the pitch effect when pulling out to be less centered around the very "top of the horn notes." Since I don't have an Oehler lying around anymore I can't say what the exact measurements are but my CSGs look to be about the same at 54mm.


Of course, once all together, the modern Oehler wants to play more between A=443 and A=445.





................Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2016-06-01 18:07

Paul, each make of the Oehler clarinet seems to have different barrel lengths, as shown on this website.
http://shop.hueyng.de/birnen-becher-klarinette/birnen/index.html

I can't speak for Oehler Bbs myself since I've only played an Oehler bass(even rarer!) before, I have a Wurlitzer M5 German bass MP and I used 3s on it(both are much smaller than ones on the Boehm bass). I agree with Paul that it has a completely different feel. Rounder embouchure with less support. Feels a bit more natural.

P.S. The Viotto N1, at 1.00mm, seems to be quite open For a German mouthpiece, at least on this chart: http://www.klarinette24.de/material.html

Josh


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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2016-06-01 18:33

They don't standardize their beer; why should they do it with clarinet barrels? The master makers are laws unto themselves. Wurlitzer Oehler basses are very sweet instruments! Agile, centered, expressive and easier to control, back when I played a borrowed one for awhile. If I ever spring for a bass, it will have to be a German bore and MP.



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2016-06-02 03:16

dorjepismo,
Speaking from my experience playing one until recently, I'd spring for an Oehler bass again if I ever have the chance. Problem is that they are often tremendously expensive, even more than a Buffet Tosca bass. In fact a new Wurlitzer is around 20K. Another thing is that they are usually tuned to A443 or A444, So you'll have to specify to the makers to tune them to A442. If you'd like to discuss further, please contact me offline.

Josh


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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2016-06-02 05:13

Regarding the 'website,' I am not seeing different sizes per maker but rather 54-57mm for any given model.


This is right for Oehler. When I had my 100cs I used the longest barrel and pulled out a fair degree, but then didn't really have issues with tuning. I am told that today's makers claim A=443, but it was much closer to 445 with mine. I did audition a current Oehler system F. Arther Uebel that came in closer to the 445. That's pretty major difference from what we use for tuning. And on that clarinet, the internal pitch became too unstable (pulled out to approach 440) to be usable here in the States.





.............Paul Aviles



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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2016-06-02 06:45

Paul Aviles wrote:

> And on that clarinet, the internal pitch
> became too unstable (pulled out to approach 440) to be usable
> here in the States.

My experience too, and why I went back to Boehm system. I'd like to try one of the S&S German bore reform Boehm bass clarinets. They seem very innovative, but you never know about anything until you play it. There's a link on the German version of their website to an article with a picture of Seggelke playing a science fictioney contrabass clarinet that looks like it has a bunch of wiring and a CPU attached to it. It would fit right in in the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: faltpihl 2017
Date:   2017-02-27 14:45

I would like to add my recent findings regarding the Viotto N1.
I can see that I posted in this thread 1 year ago, so I'm happy to say that I've played on the same mouthpiece for the longest time in my short clarinet career with the Viotto N1.


I have had some issues with tone stability, especially (or exclusively) on the throat area. Throat A and open G are some of my most dreaded tones.


Therefore, I have recently experimented going up to 3-3.5 whitemaster reeds on the Viotto N1.

I have found that some airyness in the tone up close has allowed me to much stabilize these tones.


I however do balance my reeds quite some, so people using non-modified #3 on their mouthpiece may have a similar experience perhaps.



I also find that using that much air that I need to use on this reed strength, gives me some increased ease in technical passages perhaps.

Regards
Peter

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2018-02-04 08:26

To bring this subject back to life, there was one lone clarinet mouthpiece maker at the Midwest Clinic Band and Orchestra Conference in mid-December 2017: Martin Fluch of Maxton (Vienna), who sold me a model BW (Boehm clairinet, Wien style) with opening 9,5 (what we notate 9.5 in the US).

In general, I am working less to get a better sound. Intonation is close and easier to center. My volume level is lower but better clarity and presence seem to make up for it. And it seems to be able to let me work with less optimal reeds and produce acceptable music.

A friend who started taking singing lessons late in life told me his teacher said to "listen louder than you sing" and I think this is wonderful advice. I can certainly listen better with this piece.

There is, however, a gimmick from the Austrian engineers: the cork is replaced with 3 O-rings. They sell 4 different thickness O-rings, color coded, to accommodate different barrel socket sizes.

http://www.maxton.at/



Post Edited (2018-02-04 08:27)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-04 10:42

In the original post, Paul said that "Mr. de Jong stressed that he is confused by the general tendency for American players to put so much effort into their embouchures when mostly all you have to do on one of his German mouthpieces is 'just blow.'"

I'm a student here, so I'm confused: if German mouthpieces are really that good, then why don't mouthpiece makers learn from the Germans and modify the mouthpieces to suit the French clarinet?

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-04 13:01

I loved Paul's comment back in 2015...
"All these differences make the German reed incompatible with a French mouthpiece. Now, as some have said there are players willing to make it work. All I have to say about that is you can force a square peg into a round hole if you want but it doesn't make it the recommended method of filling a round hole."
Meanwhile, I notice the comments above re Oehler system bass clarinets...
By the end of March I will have in my possession a Bass clarinet made by Oskar Oehler himself (I am told that he only made 6 himself, but not sure how accurate this information is), and am looking forward to playing it. An odd fact is that the original Oehler clarinets were built to play at A=440 and if they've been looked after play well in tune with modern instruments (my wife has several, and they sound amazing, though a lot of that is her!)
dn

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-02-04 15:21

Ray, obviously making a German mouthpiece suitable for the bore of French instrument is not that easy...again, intonation problems.

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-04 20:18

I understand that Klose, but I'm saying why can't French/American mouthpiece makers apply the same concepts that work so well on German mouthpieces onto French mouthpieces?

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-04 20:40

zhangray4 wrote:

> I'm a student here, so I'm confused: if German mouthpieces are
> really that good, then why don't mouthpiece makers learn from
> the Germans and modify the mouthpieces to suit the French
> clarinet?
>

(a) It isn't a question of "that good" but instead one of ease of use. The result determines how "good" a piece of equipment is, and if a player sounds good - plays well - the equipment he or she uses shouldn't really be irrelevant.

(b) Over the years on this BBoard, my perception is that most of the questions related to the effort involved in playing the equipment the poster uses come from students - often high school students but sometimes players studying in university music programs. These questions are often fed by a good deal of inexperience.

There are French-style mouthpieces being made that really do fit Mr. de Jong's description. You don't really have to do much more than "just blow" - assuming a well-formed, efficient embouchure and well-adjusted reed. And I'll bet there are mouthpieces in use on German-style clarinets by German and German-school players (if such schools really still exist) that are every bit as hard to make work as some of the ones I hear about here.

I haven't ever played on a mouthpiece, at least for any length of time, that I really had to work hard to play. The Cicero Vintage mouthpiece I've been using lately (by Bob Bernardo), again with a well-adjusted reed, plays with very little embouchure effort. Likewise, the mouthpieces by Chris Hill that I used previously and going back through several by Walter Grabner, Clark Fobes and the old Babbitt-made Gigliottis. I have quickly discarded a few popular ones because I felt too much effort was needed to make a clear, controlled, flexible tone come out.

I don't think it's a question of French-style mouthpieces' being harder to blow. It may be that the prevalence of concert bands in U.S. clarinetists' experience leads many American players into playing setups that are meant to play louder with easier-blending tone qualities and with less emphasis on flexibility. But that's only an off-the-cuff thought, not a researched conclusion.

If you want to find a French-style mouthpiece that you can "just blow" there are many candidates.

Karl

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-04 21:15

Donald,

It would be good to know what brand, model, and facing of mouthpiece your wife has found to work well on original O. Oehler clarinets and what type of reed she uses.



Post Edited (2018-02-05 01:57)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-05 01:35

Hi there, she uses the original mouthpieces if possible, but also has various old German mouthpieces from that era. Vandoren White Master reeds (the original "trad" profile, not the "improved" WM cut. There was a thread on this a while back).
The bass clarinet is coming with an original mouthpiece and an Uebel mouthpiece (not sure how old- the original F.A. Uebel actually was one of Oehler's proteges). For some of her historical instruments she has mouthpieces made by Mr Vittorelli where he has copied original blanks and acoustically matched the bore etc, we might have to go this way if we don't get a good mouthpiece....

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2018-02-05 07:40

Ray asked, "if German mouthpieces are really that good, then why don't mouthpiece makers learn from the Germans and modify the mouthpieces to suit the French clarinet?"

One of the significant differences between the French and German mouthpieces is the shape of the throat. The development of the French mouthpiece in the first half of the 19th century saw the sidewalls of the mouthpiece become parallel, creating what is called an H-frame, as opposed to the German A-frame throat.
This narrowing of the throat was intended to create, among other qualities, more focus in the sound (some might say, more "ping" in the sound).
In relation to the A-frame, the H-frame effectively bottlenecks the air, resulting in the air passing through the throat more quickly (since the throat is narrower).
This results in more intrinsic resistance in the mouthpiece, but it is one of the qualities that renders the sound what we would call today French (or American).
In other words, in answer to your question, if French mouthpiece-makers altered their mouthpieces to play more like a German mouthpiece, their mouthpieces would no longer be wholly French and might perhaps lose what some might call that spinning, hyper-focussed sound.
A short answer like this leaves a lot out. There are many more considerations and a full discussion would be a lot more nuanced.
I have attached photos, one of a typical French H-frame (M30) and one of a typical German A-frame (Wurlitzer).

Simon

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2018-02-05 07:54
Attachment:  French H-frame.JPG (38k)
Attachment:  German A-frame.JPG (40k)

Ray asked, "if German mouthpieces are really that good, then why don't mouthpiece makers learn from the Germans and modify the mouthpieces to suit the French clarinet?"

One of the significant differences between the French and German mouthpieces is the shape of the throat. The development of the French mouthpiece in the first half of the 19th century saw the sidewalls of the mouthpiece become parallel, creating what is called an H-frame, as opposed to the German A-frame throat.
This narrowing of the throat was intended to create, among other qualities, more focus in the sound (some might say, more "ping" in the sound).
In relation to the A-frame, the H-frame effectively bottlenecks the air, resulting in the air passing through the throat more quickly (since the throat is narrower).
This results in more intrinsic resistance in the mouthpiece, but it is one of the qualities that renders the sound what we would call today French (or American).
In other words, in answer to your question, if French mouthpiece-makers altered their mouthpieces to play more like a German mouthpiece, their mouthpieces would no longer be wholly French and might perhaps lose what some might call that spinning, hyper-focussed sound.
A short answer like this leaves a lot out. There are many more considerations and a full discussion would be a lot more nuanced.
I have attached photos, one of a typical French H-frame (M30) and one of a typical German A-frame (Wurlitzer).

Simon

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-05 08:53

Ahh that makes a lot of sense, Simon. The pictures helped a lot, as I know little about mouthpieces. I only got a chance to play on a German mouthpiece once, on Michele Zukovsky's clarinet. Although the clarinet was certainly a Wurlitzer, I think the mouthpiece may have been a different brand: probably Playeasy. It was very free blowing, easy to play, flexible, and warm sounding. But the sound was so smooth and round (hard to describe) that I think it may not be the best when it comes to projecting over a whole orchestra. But then, I tried her horn last year, and even she admitted that after she retired from the LA Phil, she has been using a much lighter setup.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-05 10:02

Simon,

Your generalization about French mouthpieces having narrower H chambers and German ones having wider A chambers is broadly true, especially if you take the very popular and widespread Vandoren mouthpieces as the French standard. But if you look a little further, it is clear that French mouthpieces by some other makers have had fairly wide A chambers. I have a 1920s Paris Selmer mouthpiece with a chamber that looks similar to your your photo of a German model though smaller. An A chamber also appears in the "air flow" table HS* medallion model Selmer that was issued as a limited production model to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, I believe. The Gale 440 made by Gregory in Los Angeles had a big A chamber like that, and today Ben Redwine advertises a model with an A tone chamber. Jerry Hall mouthpieces had A chambers and that chamber has even been adopted by Zinner as the "angled wall" JH blank for French mouthpieces. Zinner's two other French models, the "A" model and the "E" model, both have regular French H chambers, but the Zinner "A" has a deeper baffle, and the Zinner E has a shallower baffle. Some Ralph Morgan and old Otto Link pieces--both American--had A chambers, and Brad Behn offers his custom made "Sono" model with that shape and roughly the size of a German chamber.
Here's a photo from his website: https://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/sono-clarinet-mouthpieces.

Nick Kuckmeier in Austria has recently changed the fairly H shaped chamber in his Soloist M French model to more of an A shape though smaller than the A chamber found in most German models. So players looking for French style mouthpieces that will play on Buffet, Backun, Selmer and Yamaha French Boehm clarinets but still have an A chamber don't have to look very far to find one.When A chambers appear in French mouthpieces, however, they nearly always have less total volume than the A chambers found in German pieces. So, tone chamber volume may be even more of a distinction for the German pieces rather than shape. In them, the hollowed out chamber space is cavernous. In French pieces, the A chamber--when it is used--is more restricted in size.



Post Edited (2018-02-07 10:37)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2018-02-06 02:02

Seabreeze, to make my response to Ray comprehensible, I focussed on one clearly-defined notion: the H-frame and its role in the French sound. I left out the many, many exceptions to the rule, as it often muddies the waters when explaining this notion to someone with little knowledge of mpcs.
"In French pieces, the A chamber--when it is used--is more restricted in size."
Indeed. One feels at times that the French-style mpc-maker is only hinting at an A-frame (eg. Richard Hawkins).
You mention Kuckmeier. When I want to demonstrate to students the nub of what I am describing in my response to Ray (that being the increased resistance in a H-frame), particularly when the student declares they like more closed mouthpieces because they are easier to play, I have them play on two Kuckmeier Playeasys (a B2 and a B3). The student always chooses the B3 as less resistant and easier to play. I then measure the tip opening of the two mpcs and show the student: +/- 1.02 mm for the B2 and +/- 1.19 for the B3. The much-more-open B3 is easier to blow. I then show them the H-frame in the B2 and the A-frame in the B3. Of course, there are many other factors in a mpc's facing and interior, but the effect of an A-frame can be quite unexpected to a French-mpc player.
What also has to be explained is the "ahh" voicing which creeps into an A-frame. As Brad Behn writes on his site:
"The concept of A-framing a throat is to combine tonal concentration with freedom and flexibility. H-frame throats, depending on width, allow one to concentrate on a specific playing attribute.  For example, wider throats will predominantly make for a free, flexible, and broadened tone ("Ahh" vowel sound), whereas narrower throats will add working resistance, require softer reeds, add stability, and produce a narrower tone ("Eee" vowel sound)."

Simon

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-06 04:01

Simon,

I agree with everything you said in your last post about the differences between H and A chamber mouthpieces. Somehow though, Behn has found a way to make a very narrow H chamber blow effortlessly in his new (not yet advertised) Vintage model that concentrates and focuses the sound quite wonderfully and is still easy on the lungs and embouchure. (I just bought one!)

I didn't know the Kuckmeier B3 had an A chamber. I've only tried the Playeasy B2 and the Soloist M models. Do you know what kind of chamber the B1 has? I think the resistance in the B2 (and consequent difficulty the players can experience in blowing it) comes from combining features designed to play with a dark, covered sound and an H chamber. In German pieces, the dark features (the details of which are best left to the mouthpiece techs like Behn) combined with a wide A chamber makes them easy to blow, as you have said.



Post Edited (2018-02-07 10:38)

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Elifix 
Date:   2018-02-06 17:14

Maybe of interest to some,

I am currently using a Wien mouthpiece on my Buffet R13s. The bore /facing /table /dimensions are "Wien-original" except for the tenon made to fit a French clarinet.

Interestingly enough, my octaves /melodic intervals are more squeezed together in general although the overall pitch of the instrument has dropped quite a bit (think of the Vandoren "12" series). So I use a shorter barrel to compensate for that.

The instrument has to be really warmed-up before intonation settles so long rests are an awful moment. But for some reason, I still fit in normally (with normal intonation issues) with ensembles on A=442Hz.

I am still thinking should I muck around with another mouthpiece to get the same exterior dimensions as the Wien one but, with a French-bore and see how's the result thou...

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-06 23:13

While throat width and shape does have some influence over resistance, the baffle contour and depth can have much greater influence.

Also the ratio of total volume displacement between the chamber and bore influences not only resistance, but tonal depth and access to artistic nuance.

Many French style mouthpieces with larger A-frame throats were made with smaller bores and higher baffles. Whereas smaller H-frame throated mouthpieces were often accompanied with deeper swooped baffles and larger bores.

Bottom line however - the total volume of the mouthpiece must be correct for overall intonational excellence. That said however, small details in baffle contouring such as a slight rollover in the upper baffle can increase freedom, tonal grip, "point", and influence intonation in certain ares of the clarinet scale as well. And deeper baffles can add resistance causing the player to bite the reed closer to the baffle - in an attempt to achieve better tonal center. This added bite can become fatiguing and can be interpreted by the player as resistance. The solution here is for the mouthpiece maker to adjust the facing to correspond with chamber shaping - and for the player to find a suitable reed.

So the ideal mouthpiece - whether it has an A or H framed throat, a high or low baffle, a large or small bore, or a large or small chamber, is one which properly focuses the sound with minimal embouchure pressure or "bite, which orients the focal center of sound as FAR FORWARD in mouth as poossible, and produces a core tone which is congruent with the player's concept as possible.

These elements provide the best platform for a player to freely express with comfort and reliability.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

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 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-07 01:16

Thanks, Brad for reminding us just what a complex web of tonal factors a mouthpiece presents and how a change in any one of them can offset inherent tendencies in the others. Great, responsive mouthpieces can be made with either H or A shaped chambers if the designer has the knowledge and the craft to balance the many opposing factors.

Reply To Message
 
 Re: The German Mouthpiece Experience
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2018-02-07 05:54
Attachment:  Baffle comparison.jpg (652k)

Thanks for your contribution Brad. The lucidity of your writing is on par with the quality of your mouthpieces!
Among the points raised by Brad is the lesser-known fatiguing effect of deeper baffles. After being seduced by the darkness and lack of burr in the sound of a deep-baffled mouthpiece, the honeymoon is often short-lived when, in ensembles, one often has to work much harder to produce less sound, less inflection and less opulence.
For those not aware of what is being discussed, I have attached a photo of two upside-down parallel mouthpieces side-by-side, revealing their shape of their baffles. On the right is an M30 with its straight (relatively shallow) baffle. On the left is a BD5 with a considerably deeper baffle.

Simon

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