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 The balance of mouthpieces
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2018-02-13 11:15
Attachment:  3.jpg (68k)
Attachment:  QQ截图20180213151854.jpg (182k)

Recently I made a mouthpiece tip and side tail measure tool .Measured and use legere euro cut reed to tested at least 10 different brand &model clarinet mouthpieses . The fact is almost all mouthpieses is imbalance(vandoren 5rv b45,5jb,BD5,SR-S1,bemonts,ridenour hw,t36,yamaha4c.. side tail is not at same high,or 2 side play test is different ) ,But playeasy B2 and pomarico is except. Playeasy mouthpieces is factory recommend to play with playnick reed,what is second development of legere reed. But all of them play with traditional reed is fine after I balanced the reed.
Here is my thought: The factory product mouthpieces have manufacturing error,even Vandoren,The only way to fix this is hand repair. But it will cost much. But they can ignore this problem.Why? People usually play traditional reeds ,they can tested 2 side of reed and balance the reed.So the combine is fine. People will not noticed the mouthpieces is imbalanced.
But the fact is even when the reeds after balanced,is still imbalance,just fit the imbalanced mouthpieces well. And if this reed use to another mouthpiece , it will plays still imbalanced. Also when we picked up from a bunch of mouthpieces to find a best, the fact is maybe it just played balanced with your reed.
Till now,the legere reed is well balanced because the material is same density. So if people used imbalance mouthpieces to play with it, The result is imbalanced.That is why most mouthpieces play legere reeds are not so good. You can test mouthpieces like test traditional reed. Play with legere reed side by side. If plays the same resistance the mouthpieces should be balanced.
After knowing this ,I start balance all of my mouthpieces, and all plays better with legere,even my 3d printer PLA mouthpiece!

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2018-02-14 02:13

Did you find the mouthpieces unbalanced on both the glass gauge and your new gauge ?

I have measured quite a few Vandorens over the years up until about 10 years ago, using glass gauge and feelers and generally found they were quite even.



 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2018-02-14 03:17

This might finally explain why I've never cared for Vandoren mouthpieces. Hummmm...

Furthermore, why some mouthpieces are 'more' Legere friendly than others. My Behn is great with Legere Euro Signature. Of course Brad's mouthpieces are hand finished...craftsmanship is impeccable.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2018-02-14 04:05

Vandoren mouthpieces looks like have same problem, the right side tail is higher than left ,very tiny .And the play test also shows the right side have more resistance.

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-14 23:09

I think the Legere reed is excellent for testing mouthpieces. In the past, after about 15 seconds of playing, I would carefully remove the Legere reed only to find one rail dry and the other wet on some mouthpieces. I find the Legere to be quite unforgiving on imbalanced mouthpieces.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-15 07:19

Not long ago there was a post about asymmetrical rails v/s symmetrical rail readings. Well needless to say I am a strong advocate for symmetrical rails and this is a great post to provide some reasons why.

Great post. For mouthpiece makers, refacers, people that adjust their own reeds, make their own reeds, hmmm I seem to do all of these, it's nice to start with a great mouthpiece table. Once the table is correct then you can make the rails even and of course you will get a lot more reeds to play really well.

Hours, sometimes days can be spent just making a flat table on a mouthpiece when you are first learning. There is something called a French Curve which refacers sometimes use and mouthpiece makers use which is actually a hole in the center of the mouthpiece table. It's an easy way to get mouthpieces facing to measure. But the bad part is this hole can or will change during time and then you have uneven, asymmetrical rails, and it's harder to find reeds that work. Wood or plastic.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2018-02-15 12:35

I found the imbalance of mouthpieces not only because of rails ,but also the chamber is asymmetric , so when the mouthpiece rails is good but still play imbalance, it must be the chamber problem, the space between two rails . Like Yamaha 4C .

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2018-02-17 00:16



David Dow

Post Edited (2018-02-17 00:42)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-17 02:15

I had a bass mouthpiece that would squeak on certain notes- but the facing was perfect... After much examination by THREE mouthpiece experts, the problem was discovered -
The baffle was asymetrical. When this was remedied the squeak disappeared. True story.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-17 03:19

donald,

I may be entirely wrong, however, I believe an asymetrical baffle should be fairly easy to discover. (I just left a message for Brad to verify this.) I hope you'll feel inclined to expand upon your true story and name the artisans involved. If you would rather keep them anonymous for whatever reason, I fully respect that. My request is in no way to shame or look down upon anyone who might have missed it.

David Dow,

I didn't get a chance to see your response before it was deleted. I always find your comments respectful and enlightening in nature and hope that you will reconsider adding them back in again.

My thanks to both of you.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-17 06:36

Well, it was Brad who worked out what was wrong... though to be fair it wasn't obvious as it wasn't completely asymetrical, just at one part of the baffle. This was a long time ago and I'd be surprised if Brad remembers (1998)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-19 00:36

Hi Donald and Dan,

Yes I don't remember but thanks for the reference. Indeed baffle and facing irregularities can influence playing characteristics. Many older mouthpieces were significantly hand worked and unfortunately unskilled laborers worked them into very poor performers. Note Bonade mouthpieces for example. Very good blanks, yet they typically didn't play well at all. Their facings were crooked, their tables weren't true, and their window shapes was all over the place. Bonade's student's were required to play on them, but they typically only used the mouthpiece during lessons, or tried to use another in lesson (hopefully without Bonade's noticing). Eddie Daniels and Robert Marcellus both shared the same story with me.

But...

When properly refaced, a Bonade mouthpiece can be a very nice player. balancing their poorly rendered upper baffle irregularities, their tables and facings and a little TLC would alter these mouthpieces from something totally unacceptable to something artistic.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-19 15:33

Fantastic Post!
I'd like to note that Playnick and Viotto MPCs are supposed to be CNC-made. This might explain their superiority.

Glass MPCs might be more accurately casted - this WE, the guy on the bass clarinet had a fantastic Vandoren A3, which sadly isn't produced anymore. It's completely "squeak-free" and immediately got me down to low C, which I could play even with a most aggressive staccato. Of course, it might be his instrument, but I never ever played on such a great Vandoren, in fact I find their other MPCs to be pretty mediocre. After buying one, I can strongly recommend taking a look at Pomarico MPCs, too.

Best regards
Christian

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-21 00:40

The Viotto mouthpieces I've seen aren't CNC made. They are Zinner blanks which have been refaced by a machine. They combine Zinner's voice with the addition of rather wide rails for additional dampening. To compensate for their rail width, their facings are more Germanic in that their curves are flatter and freer than more traditional French style offerings. However they are made with more open facing's than typical German facings of yesteryear would dictate. So I would describe these as Hybrid in spirit.

I have never seen a glass mouthpiece with balanced rails or facing, or consistency from piece to piece. The manufacturing process eliminates consistency where facings are concerned.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-21 23:43

According to a renowned vendor, Viotto's manufacturing is/was computer aided, but I cannot judge that.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-22 00:38

I'm in agreement with Brad. Not talked about is the sound. The baffle and chamber can look good to the human eye but when you are designing an actual mold, which I have, you have to be so careful. Really careful. I have special tooling just to measure every part on this area from behind the tip to the table. If one side of the baffle/chamber is higher well the sound will surely change. People often think the deeper you go the darker the sound, true, but you lose that ring. If the sides are off you get a weird brighter sound on the higher side and a dead sound on the low side. Playing on a mouthpiece like this brings frustration.

Just a human hair difference can make a mouthpiece sound great or dead sounding. Marcellus usually used to order Kaspar's 8 at a time. One day he tried one out in the symphony and Szell didn't like it and at the Institute I passed him in the hall and he just gave it to me. Later on, years later, I measured it and it was too deep, lost it's ring/ping. I put thin coats of nail polish in some of the areas and slowly brought it back to life. Took a few weeks but it was saved. I had to sand and remove the nail polish slowly, because it isn't thin. So lots of patients is required.

I think this is why there are so many stinky Kaspar's and Chedeville's out there on the market now. Too many people have gotten their hands on them and simply wrecked the old Cheds and Kaspars, by digging out these areas of the mouthpieces. Taking files to them and just pounding out the rubber.

I really don't like most Zinner's because of the lack of this ring. They in general are too deep behind the tip. But as I've said before the German Zinners are shallow. So who decided to make these so deep? It was surely a mistake.

Szell was right. Bob's mouthpiece didn't ring enough. What an amazing ear Szell had.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-02-23 10:52

I've had the same inconsistency on the right side of the mouthpiece as I was testing out some 5RVLs a couple of months ago. What's concerning is that you can see these inconsistencies with just your eyes.



 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-02-23 10:52
Attachment:  5RVL(1)_LI.jpg (1353k)
Attachment:  5RVL(2)_LI.jpg (1408k)
Attachment:  5RVL(3)_LI.jpg (1129k)

I've had the same inconsistency on the right side of the mouthpiece as I was testing out some 5RVLs a couple of months ago. What's concerning is that you can see these inconsistencies with just your eyes.



 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-23 11:44

GenEric,

Did you play test these mouthpieces? If so, would you tell us how (1), (2) and (3) played or reacted differently due to their differing inconsistencies?

Thanks.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-02-23 18:31

While we desire visual rail symmetry, it is not that important. It is what you can not see by eye that will probably determine which of those 5RVs play best. That is the shape, symmetry and quality of the facing curve.

Still, all of my mouthpieces look symmetric.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-23 21:44

Mojo - Excellent! I guess that is why we use such special tooling. We can't see a lot of "Stuff!" Always inventing new measuring devices and ways to make better molds and mouthpieces.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2018-02-23 21:47)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-23 22:08

One thing I find VERY interesting is players that ask me to put a 1.01 tip on my mouthpieces because that's what's on their Zinner's.

Here is a major problem. The baffle behind the tip on most Zinner's drops off fast so you can get away with a tip opening of a 1.01 and it is actually equal to about maybe a 1.04 on my mouthpieces. So if I put a 1.01 facing on, the airflow doesn't pass through. You get back pressure. So I always put on a 1.03 to a 1.05. Then they have these measuring tools and say the mouthpiece is too open! So I will send them a 1.01 and they hate it. It takes time to get the feel of a totally different mouthpiece. 2 to 3 weeks.

We have to remember there is that very close relationship between the baffle and the tip opening. Then comes the length of the facing.

Another example are the Kaspar mouthpieces. A 1.01 Ann Arbor Kaspar surely won't sound very good next to a 1.01 Chedeville. The baffle on the Ann Arbor's are very shallow. 1.07 plays great. A 1.01 Ched from the 1940's is a dream mouthpiece. The baffle of the 1940 Ched is deeper. A Cicero Kaspar is often a Chedeville. But not always.

So refacers really have to know what they are doing as so many mouthpieces, great mouthpieces have been wrecked. A real shame. A special school should be set up and a certificate given out to those that pass a mouthpiece class. There are guys charging $400 to reface a mouthpiece and the rails aren't even.
I usually do this for free!

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2018-02-24 06:05)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-24 01:36

Much of what I do as a refacer is to correct the problems which were built into a mouthpiece do to poor workmanship at the factory, or (more commonly) to a badly refaced mouthpiece. Issues from unbalanced facings, rails with uneven widths, tip rails of poor construction, facings with overly flat curves, and baffles which have been scratched up with files in an ugly fashion are common. Any one of those issues can cause a mouthpiece to perform poorly but rarely is it just one, but rather an assemblage of many poor-quality issues which make an otherwise good mouthpiece design play with detuned resonance and poor response.

Yes I too find a close faced Kaspar mouthpiece places it outside its sweet spot. But in looking at a baffle and to see the obvious differences in contour and depth aren't the only factors influencing a mouthpiece's optimum tip opening. For example where Kaspar mouthpieces were concerned, many were made with bores of a more conical nature. This more extreme conicity is a problem in that it widens the ratio of the twelfths, and it encourages a more open facing than a bore with less conicity would prefer.

Another element effecting how open a mouthpieces feels - I have found that the displacement ratio of Chamber versus the total volume of the mouthpiece is very important in how quickly a mouthpiece responds, and how flexible sounding the mouthpiece performs. This important bore-baffle displacement ratio then influences how I make a facing's tip opening and length.

Furthermore the angle of the table's plane in relationship to the entrance angle of the baffle is of crucial importance. It may be of interest to some that in fact - due to a Zinner's upper baffle rollover, and extreme slackness of the table plane (6 degrees) that the entrance angle of the baffle isn't as deep as many would suggest. And no a Zinner's baffle - although appearing deep, isn't as deep as conventional wisdom would to dictate.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-02-24 04:56

Very interesting Brad (per usual you have thought about this, and prove to be a fountain of knowledge and skill!)
You mention the "table's plane"- I only do limited refacing now (just bits and bobs for my students) and never was that great at it, but one thing I found was that many of the new Vandoren mouthpieces I had from the late 1990s/early 2000s seemed to have symmetry and dimensions that were all hunky dory but had an odd resistance.
A few times I found mouthpieces (I was mainly looking at 5RV and 5RVL mouthpieces) that were GREATLY improved just by a "smoothing pass" or two (not enough to flatten any concavity). At the time I wondered how the table/facing were being machined- and if one of the problems with Vandoren 'pieces was that the table and facing were not linking, or aligned well.
I never looked into this, or discussed it with anyone, but my suspicion was that the table was on a different plane from the symmetry of the facing. You are of course discussing the same table plane, but in relation to the baffle- but I wonder if you have any comment on what I noticed all those years ago.
I hope all is going well over there!
dn

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-24 08:10

donald, I emailed Brad that you had a question for him. He messaged me back from his iPhone that he is in a concert now and will answer your question when he gets home late tonight.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-24 09:32

Hi Donald,

As I recall you were and most likely remain a fine mouthpiece refacer. Your students are no doubt lucky to have you as a teacher, as you understand the playing experience both from your insights as an extremely fine clarinetist and also as a fine mouthpiecer as well. Mouthpiecing is a very tedious skill requiring the right frame of mind, which is backed up by good hand-eye skills and an artistic understanding of the nuances of the playing experience. You have all of those things I am certain! Well done my friend.

Regarding your question, I have several thoughts regarding different parts of a facing- all of which influence how a mouthpiece responds, blows through, and resonates.

But before I go into details I would like to share my observations of how Vandoren facings are cut into a mouthpiece. While I haven't toured the factory so I can't speak from personal experience, I have however made many mouthpieces and so I project my understanding of typical manufacturing processes onto my thinking here. In evaluating a Vandoren mouthpiece's table, one can witness radial cross-cut texturing on the table. When reviewing the facing's table for flatness, convexity, or concavity, one will witness that typically Vandoren tables are relatively concave. And I further observe that the concavity is on both axiis. This indicates to me that Vandoren uses a cutting process by which a turning, round, planar cutter is used - at an angle non-coincident with the table. Furthermore as the facing's curve is drawn out by the cutting process, the angle relationship between the spinning cutting "disk" grows more obtuse, making the rail-tilt which is subtle at the break, more significant at the tip. So when one analyzes the Vandoren mouthpiece's tip it is actually concave on its horizontal axis, or in other words, there is a slight trough which runs all the way down the table, and extends all the way down the facing and into the tip. This 'tip-dip' adds resistance, stuffiness, and impedes resonance. This is what causes a mouthpiece which has been machine faced in such a way (tip-dipped) to play as if someone stuffed a sock up the clarinet's bell. That may be an extreme analogy, however it isn't mine. It is something I have heard oftentimes by colleagues when describing some mouthpieces and their playing experiences.

You can imagine that indeed larger mouthpieces - ones with wider windows such as Tenor and Bass Clarinet, have very large tip-dips, and when that flaw is faced away, the playing attributes of the mouthpiece in question are greatly enhanced. By enhanced, I mean: Resonance, Response, Ring, and Vitality.

Issue could be however that some players have come to rely on this flaw, and its dampening characteristics. They prefer the duller sound, the darker timbre, and the greater effort required to both get the mouthpiece resonating, and to get it responding. Needless to say, I don't like those elements in a mouthpiece.

So Donald, while you weren't actually facing out the tip-dip flaw, why you may ask did the mouthpiece improve. Well, I submit that a facing with a PROPER concave table can play with improved warmth, flexibility, reed longevity, and tonal buoyancy, this is a very nuanced and delicate thing to properly implement. AND when the concavity is too great, the sound becomes more difficult to manage, and the sound will lack point, resonance, and tonal ring. So when you semi-flattened the table, you reduced the concavity, brining in more ring, improved response, and you preferred its playability. However you most likely shortened the facing and closed it down a touch as well. And YES that was undoubtedly an improvement as well. Why? Well in my opinion, Vandoren made facings which were too long for their tip openings...especially during that timeframe of which you speak. So by shortening it, you made the response better, and by semi-flattening it to a better level of concavity, you improved its sound and response as well.

Indeed everything influences everything?

So there are three important things relating to one another here...
1. Table concavity. Flattening things out to some degree helps improve tonal core and response.
2. Shortening the facing brings out more reed snap, and more resonance.
3. Closing the tip down a touch improved embouchure comfort, and aided blow-through.
4. Numbers 1, 2, 3 all reduced the perceived negatives of the tip-dip. Imagine how much better your mouthpiece would play if you adjusted that too!!

Again, everything influences everything. I can say from first hand experience that some people like the concavity from Vandoren mouthpieces left stock. They prefer the tip-dip left alone, and they like the "too long" nature of some of their facings... And they don't know why or how; they simply know they like it. Those folks generally are playing on reeds which are brittle sounding, and lack warmth. They crave a mouthpiece which is free with a long facing to compensate for a reed with a vamp profile that has lots of wood on the back ( thicker vamp). They need something in a mouthpiece to compensate for other shortcomings...sadly.

By the way, I will add another observation. Conventional wisdom seems to dictate that long facings are for players who take a lot of mouthpiece in, and short facings are for players who take less in. Well that isn't necessarily the case in my experience. I find players who use thicker vamped reeds such as V12 prefer longer facings - which are freer farther down their lay. This added freedom is necessary to help get that thick and hard reed vibrating. Whereas shorter facings work better for players on thinner vamped reeds, such as Blue Box. The shorter lay helps solidify the thinner cut reed, providing the necessary balance for the added vibrancy of this superior reed design.

Yes you can reed where my preferences are. Indeed a thinner reed is preferable not only because it vibrates with less jaw pressure, but it utilizes harder cane. This harder cane improves longevity, tonal integrity, response (when properly balanced). And when a thinner cut reed is made with a proper fine-tip-construction, the reed is highly responsive yet stable and reliable as well. It becomes effortless to blow, extremely free and without any unnecessary embouchure pressure as well. A good thinner cut reed wins in my opinion.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-25 01:01

Brad Behn wrote:

> Furthermore the angle of the table's plane in relationship to
> the entrance angle of the baffle is of crucial importance. It
> may be of interest to some that in fact - due to a Zinner's
> upper baffle rollover, and extreme slackness of the table plane
> (6 degrees) that the entrance angle of the baffle isn't as deep
> as many would suggest. And no a Zinner's baffle - although
> appearing deep, isn't as deep as conventional wisdom would to
> dictate.
>

Brad, Can you break this down a little more? I'm confused at this point and am not sure I can frame my questions coherently, but I'll try.

I have certainly read and been told about Zinners' baffles being deeper than other blanks. I have found for myself that the sound of the Zinner-based mouthpieces I've played, while seeming warm and rich-sounding at first in my practice studio, have turned out when I take them into an orchestra setting to feel muffled and covered, a characteristic I've always understood to be caused by a deep baffle. They seem to lack the ring, clarity and projection of mouthpieces I've played like (most recently) Bob Bernardo's Vintage 1940 Cicero, Chris Hill's HC model and the old Gigliotti P facing when I've used them in a large ensemble setting. (I'm sorry, I haven't tried your mouthpieces, so I can't comment on their level of ring, but from what you've written, I assume it's something you pursue.)

I've read over and over again that the baffle depth of the Zinners was much of the reason for the difference. You seem to be suggesting that the apparent depth of the Zinner baffles is offset by "slackness" in the table plane. I think I'm not clear about what you actually mean by this 6 degree slackness.

One of the things I've often checked with a new mouthpiece is that a straight edge laid across the table where it begins just beyond the end of the window should not show any light between the edge and the table. I think you're describing a concave shape longitudinally from the bottom of the table to the tip (so light would be visible near the center) and a tip that's actually concave along the tip rail (so the sides of the reed would be closer tot the rail than the center). I had never before heard of that as a deliberate design feature. How does that correspond to what you call "slackness" of the table plane? And what does that do to the entry angle of the baffle? And what does the entry angle of the baffle do to affect the general depth of the baffle beyond the area just under the tip rail (or the effective chamber volume)?

I don't know if in my confusion about this I've made enough sense for you to know what to clarify. I hope so.

Karl

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: JohnP 
Date:   2018-02-25 14:26

I thought I’d just chip in here and point out that there are two Zinner blanks available to my knowledge, the 361 which has a deep baffle and the 362 which has a shallow baffle. The impression seems to be that all Zinners have the same deep baffle.

John

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-02-25 20:55

There are 3 at least 3 different Zinner blanks for French clarinet mouthpieces. The relatively deep 361 A, the shallower baffle 362 E, and the wide 363 A framed JH. That is according to Zinner's own description on his website.
Also makers who finish zinner blanks often have their own variant models. I believe this is true for Greg Smith, Clark Fobes, Walter Grabner, and David McClune among others. Projection also varies according to the changes the tech makes in the blank. My experience is that the Grabner K model series, for example (K11* and K13*) projects well with some sparkle and focus in the sound and has been used in symphony orchestras around the world.



Post Edited (2018-03-03 03:02)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-26 01:50
Attachment:  Tenon end.jpg (439k)
Attachment:  Tip end.jpg (429k)
Attachment:  Entire mouthpiece.jpg (353k)

kdk, after reading Brad's explanation of the 6 degree "slackness", I believe I have figured out what he is talking about.

Please refer to my, rather crude, 3 mouthpiece pictorial drawings during my written interpretation which may, of course, be entirely wrong. However, it seems to make sense to me in that all of the pieces of the puzzle appear to fit together exactly. (The pictorial drawings are, of course, totally exaggerated, on purpose, to hopefully amplify what I believe Brad is talking about.)

The only way I can interpret a 6 degree slackness, a lower baffle entrance, and "not as deep as conventional wisdom would dictate" is that there is a 6 degree "downward tilt" from the tenon end to the tip of the mouthpiece. Again, when I combine all of these 3 items, a downward tilt seems to fit the explanation exactly. This "downward tilt" would indeed yield a lower angle of baffle input and a baffle that is "not as deep as one might believe" when viewing directly into the baffle.

Just my opinionated interpretation...

p.s. On the 3rd pictorial drawing, the 84 degree measurement should be on the inside of the diagram rather than on the outside. The outside measurement would then be 96 degrees. Sorry about that...



Post Edited (2018-02-26 08:28)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-26 02:06

kdk, I emailed Brad last night about your questions. I just noticed that I received an email from him about an hour ago, stating that he has a rehearsal to be at for a later concert. He said he would answer your questions tonight.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-26 06:45

Karl,


Yes a Zinner mouthpiece (Model A) has a deeper baffle shape than I prefer, however I suggest that it isn’t as deep as some suggest when taking note of the geometry of the mouthpiece. Zinner tables are set back at a more slack angle as compared to true-vintage old ideals. Thank you Dan Shusta for your drawings which show what I am talking about.

Please note that for commonly available mouthpieces, table planes are set differently, for example:

Zinner 6 degrees
Vandoren 5 degrees
Vintage mouthpieces from the golden era 4-4.5 degrees.

Note that as a mouthpiece receives numerous facing adjustments over time it becomes slacker. So a mouthpiece which has been around the block a few times may well suffer from a larger facing angle than in its original optimum state.

Anyway, when you factor in the relationship of the mouthpiece table and how the reed vibrates and reflects against the baffle, the entrance angle of the baffle is crucial – especially in relation to the table’s angle.

And when viewing a baffle it is uncommon for folks to relate the baffle’s depth to the table. It simply isn’t in conventional wisdom’s vernacular. However I know from having designed and manufactured mouthpieces that there are many HIGHLY important factors involved in the dark versus bright spectrum which have nothing to do with how deep a baffle appears. In fact the depth of a baffle – while using a special tool (many exist) designed to measure baffle depth isn’t the only thing defining dullness.

Dullness can come from many other things:

1. Material resonance characteristics
2. Rails which are too wide
3. Facings which are too flat
4. Facings which are not balanced properly
5. Tables with concavities which are too deep
6. Facings which are too short
7. End-bores which are squared off (see Zinner)
8. Throats which are too wide
9. Baffles which are too deep
10. ETC.
11. Reeds which are made from poor quality cane
12. Reeds which are too hard
13. Airstream which isn’t properly supported
14. Embouchure which isn’t properly formed

I should note that indeed Zinner does offer different baffle contours for their blanks. And yes the Zinner A blank has a baffle which is rather deep. However the E blank isn’t especially deep. And both options play rather dark, and coupled with their squared off back-bore, and their material resonance characteristics, and their typically very wide rails, and their VERY deep table concavities, any Zinner blank is a rather dark sounding mouthpiece. They are very popular for that reason. I am not especially into such darkness as it simply leaves me seeking more in my orchestral environment. However when working on a Zinner I offer treatments to put some good “zing” in their personality, to compensate for areas in their design which in my opinion are misguided.

Yes tonal “ring” is extraordinarily important. And to achieve beautiful brilliance, sound with personality, effervescence, richness, depth, and substance requires a fundamental truth. It requires FULL reed vibration.

There is something I am very conscientious about in how I personally sculpt my sound. In a word: RESONANCE. And that comes from a good reed, which is fully vibrating. There is nothing worse than the “sound of effort”. That is to say, I can’t accept fuzz, or the sound of air going to waste – simply traveling through the clarinet. When you hear that airy tone, you are hearing wasted energy. The wind of the player is simply passing through the setup and down through the clarinet, NOT being converted into sound. My goal is to convert 100% of my wind into tone. I don’t accept airiness or fuzz in the mix. And to have a highly efficient setup as such comes from the proper balance of reed vibrancy with the mouthpiece’s facing and design characteristics. Furthermore the mouthpiece must be made with balanced, efficient facing architecture meant to fully empower the reed’s vibrant energy/potential into a sound which is full with life and beautiful energy. That efficiency is more easily achieved when using lighter reeds than conventional wisdom seeks out, and it is achieved while producing a tone that is complete with overtones (a good thing, and yes a sound which isn’t dull – to say the least).

And by the way, the more efficient your setup is, the longer you can play on one breath. The more expressive you will become, and the more beautiful your tone will become as well. It is a win-win. You‘ll sound better, AND you’ll achieve an easier experience. Of course a good mouthpiece helps convert a light reed’s sound into a proper tone, which is clean AND rich, warm, deep, and ringing with life.

So back to your questions. YES in fact a deep baffle can dull the experience somewhat. However I submit that Zinner mouthpieces don’t have as deep baffles as conventional wisdom thinks - when factoring in the geometry of the mouthpiece. Furthermore, there are many issues at hand when evaluating dullness. And there are many factors at hand in achieving optimum efficiency. It isn’t just about baffle depth. It is about the sum of all of the parts, to include:

1. Player’s concept
2. Reed
3. Mouthpiece material
4. Mouthpiece design
5. Mouthpiece quality of implementation (craftsmanship)

And to your questions: “One of the things I've often checked with a new mouthpiece is that a straight edge laid across the table where it begins just beyond the end of the window should not show any light between the edge and the table. I think you're describing a concave shape longitudinally from the bottom of the table to the tip (so light would be visible near the center) and a tip that's actually concave along the tip rail (so the sides of the reed would be closer tot the rail than the center). I had never before heard of that as a deliberate design feature. How does that correspond to what you call "slackness" of the table plane? And what does that do to the entry angle of the baffle? And what does the entry angle of the baffle do to affect the general depth of the baffle beyond the area just under the tip rail (or the effective chamber volume)”


Please know that the table on a properly made mouthpiece extends well up and onto the window of the mouthpiece. With some poorly made Austrian mouthpieces being the exception, a mouthpiece’s facing length isn’t typically so long as to extend to the bottom of the window. If you are using a straightedge and you rotate the edge so it would hop onto each rail (concave tables) or at least show no light through on a flat table, then you are good. But as you rotate the edge, as it associates with each rail, if light shines through at the bottom of the window, then you have a convex table which simply isn’t acceptable, however all to common. Furthermore, many tables by Babbitt and Zinner are made with extraordinarily deep concavities, which in my view darken the sound, and make for a less solid interface between reed and mouthpiece. While some concavity (properly implemented) is a lovely thing, too much is not.

Additionally most machine-faced mouthpieces (typically Vandoren, Zinner, Selmer) offer a concavity which can be seen from both orientations – longitudinally and horizontally. This isn’t necessarily meant to be a feature, as I haven’t heard anyone from those firms advertise as such, however it is certainly the result of their manufacturing process (as I mentioned in my previous post). And if the horizontal concavity is too deep, it will for sure dull the response. But far more influential in response is when the facing cutting process creates a horizontal dip which extends into the tip region of the mouthpiece. This tip-dip can be very dulling. It isn’t widely known or discussed, but most refacers have experienced how the rubber dust left behind on the sandpaper can leave peculiar marks when refacing a machine faced mouthpiece. Furthermore, when reviewing the mouthpiece in hand, following a facing pass on sandpaper, one can witness where material has been removed and where material has been untouched. These signature characteristics of each factory's facing tendencies speak volumes of how and why things happen. Tip-dips can be part of any mouthpiece geometry, whether it has a 5 or 6 degree table slackness is immaterial here. However the all too common tip-dip is indeed a problem, it is something never discussed, however surely impacts the mouthpiece’s performance. And so I felt it necessary to bring it up within the context of response, darkness/dullness, and balance. And since it is my objective to offer information which would hopefully be of service – any time I write in, I felt it a worthy addition to the conversation to introduce tip-dip.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-26 07:46

Brad Behn wrote:

> Additionally most machine-faced mouthpieces (typically
> Vandoren, Zinner, Selmer) offer a concavity which can be seen
> from both orientations – longitudinally and horizontally.
> This isn’t necessarily meant to be a feature, as I haven’t
> heard anyone from those firms advertise as such, however it is
> certainly the result of their manufacturing process (as I
> mentioned in my previous post). And if the horizontal
> concavity is too deep, it will for sure dull the response. But
> far more influential in response is when the facing cutting
> process creates a horizontal dip which extends into the tip
> region of the mouthpiece.


Brad, thanks. Along with Dan's sketch, I understand your explanation of "slackening" and that it's a separate issue from table concavity and "tip-dip." I'm not sure which way you mean by horizontal and which by vertical. I know that many of the vintage mouthpieces were made with a dip, or concavity running across the table about where the ligature applies pressure to the reed. My understanding is that that it was meant to add spring to the reed, making a reed on a more close-tipped mouthpiece less likely to close and allowing it to vibrate more. Is that what you mean by horizontal? Or by horizontal do you mean the dip you describe running up the middle of the table from the butt end to the tip? (Where I've added the boldface is where I'm confused.)

Regarding the intentional dip across the table: I've seen people put that in (or restore it after refacing a mouthpiece) by hand. How is it put into the table on a machine? Or, maybe more to the point, how was it put into the vintage mouthpieces before computer-guided cutters were available?

Karl

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-26 09:21

kdk,

To me, I interpret Brad's use of "longitudinally" as being in-line with the mouthpiece from the tenon to the tip. I also interpret his use of "horizontally" as being across the table of the mouthpiece.

Now, as to the intentional dip in the table...I need more enlightenment on this subject.



Post Edited (2018-02-26 11:40)

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Wes 
Date:   2018-02-26 11:19

Just think of how a reed moves - when the tip goes down, the middle of the thick butt must go up because of the lengthwise fibers in the cane. Also, when the tip goes up, the middle of the thick butt must go down, again because of the lengthwise fibers in the cane. The tip would move a greater distance than the distance moved by the middle of the butt, which would be very tiny.

Making the ends of the table higher than the center of the table allows this microscopic vibration to occur and promotes reed vibration. More fun!

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-02-26 11:49

Thanks, Wes. The more I thought about how a Rovner Light increases the intensity of the reed tip with respect to the Rovner Dark, I knew my theory was wrong. When I went to edit it, I saw your response. Yes, indeed, the butt end does vibrate in a very microscopic manner.

If I remember correctly, I believe Brad stated that this "dip" had to be "just right" and not too deep.

Hopefully, everyone will hear from him tomorrow.

Thanks, again!

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-26 19:59

Hello Karl,

In answering your additional questions, the vertical or longitudinal dip on a table concavity runs from butt to tip direction. And the horizontal or cross-concavity runs across the table from side to side.

Table dips, or concavity was original implemented to add stability to wooden mouthpieces which would severely change in mouth while playing. It was the manufacturer's attempt to help make an unreliable material perform without the catastrophic results of a warped table. Indeed concavity helped, but obviously not enough to solve the problems inherent in wood where mouthpieces are concerned. And as a result of hard rubber's increased reliability, wood went largely the way of the Dodo...where mouthpieces are concerned. While wood isn't totally extinct, I certainly would NEVER use it in a public setting. I just don't trust it.

Regarding concavity and how your reed relates to your mouthpiece's facing. Yes by creating a dip in the table, with PROPER voicing, it can add a little more spring, and make a close facing feel a little more open. There are possible issues when the concavity is poorly rendered such as a too open feel, wild response, added bite, dullness, and difficulties in control will plague the experience.

By the way, close tipped mouthpieces can be made to not close down and open tipped mouthpieces can easily close down by how the facing curve is designed. Basically a flatter curve (whether it is open or close) will tend to close down more readily than a tighter curve. So as a facing's "radius" decreases, resistance will increase, inviting the use of a lighter reed, and reducing the possibility of the reed closing off. So to prevent closing concerns, go with a tighter arc, and go with a lighter reed.

Tables were made with concavities by machine well before computers. Concavity is the result of the manufacturing process. As the rubber heats up during the cutting process it swells, and when the facing is finished, the rubber cools down, and shrinks a bit. What is left is a table which has been warped in such a way as to be concave. Yes it actually "warps" but in this case, the warping can be considered meritorious by some...

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-02-26 20:13

I suspect most players clamp down their ligature enough that you can no longer see light between the reed and the middle of a longitudinally concave table. With a a Rovner Light ligature, you may be able to look through the cutout in the Lig to see if that is true in your case.

The “just right” dip could also refer to a small horizontal and longitudinal dip in the table just below the end of the window. I prefer flat tables but I have done this for clients who do not like the way their set up plays after the reed swells and they do not want to flatten their reeds.

The dip is small enough that a flat reed still seals well due the the flat perimeter of the table. The dip just keeps a small amount of reed swell from creating an air leak near the corners at the bottom of the window.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-27 03:31

Excellent stuff Mojo!

I have seen many clarinetist however use minimal ligature tightness which is scary for me since I want things to securely remain in place when I go from Bb to A clarinet in orchestra.

Those players using minimal tightness will definitely benefit from a table which is true.

Do you have a video showing how you address table issues? That would undoubtedly be helpful to the many refaces out there. To my knowledge I am the only clarinet refacer who works with both flat and concave tables as a voicing technique. I have seen many clarinet mouthpiecers keep the factory concavity from Zinner or Babbitt, but I am unaware of other makers who deal with tables in such a way as to voice the experience.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-02-27 18:04

I have videos showing how to flatten a table on sax mouthpieces. Maybe on bass clarinet too, not that it is any different.

I do not concave tables for voicing response purposes, or any other purpose besides allowing for a little bit of reed swell if requested.

I think it is an OK thing to do if players want it. I give players my opinion but usually do what they want.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-01 05:05

In regard to the question I had for Brad, from reading his informative posts and thinking about my refacing efforts, I think what was happening was that my "smoothing pass" was correcting the "tip-dip". I may have been shortening the facing slightly, but I doubt this was more than a tiny fraction of a millimeter. At any rate, in more than one case I found mouthpieces rendered significantly more playable with little measurable change made to the facing specs.
dn

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2018-03-03 02:55

I too have measured many of the mouthpieces on your list and also own many now and I have never found any named brands unbalanced. A tiny speck of dust on the glass or facing will distort the measurements a lot. Check your technic carefully and report back.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2018-03-03 07:31

Hello,Ken Lagace
I use same tools and measured each mouthpieces many times. I also used tip measure tool to measured the 2 tip corners of mouthpieces. I am sure the right corner of Vandoren MP (NEW M30,BD5)both have 0.02mm higher than left corner.and side by side play test with legere euro cut is unbalanced (also my friend's B40).

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

 
 Re: The balance of mouthpieces
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-03-03 08:56

I've checked a number of mouthpieces for symmetry. I don't have anything that would allow precise measurement of this, but I was only after a ballpark test. I mounted several Legere reeds using several different ligatures and found that the rails are not symmetrically identical and that the tip rails are not always level. the state of the rails can be determined by the wetted length visible through the Legere reed. I then repeated the test using brand new unplayed Rico Royal 3's and 56 Rue LePic 3's with similar results. The mouthpieces tested were as follow:

Vandoren M30
Vandoren B45
Clarke Fobes San Fransisco CF+
Walter Grabner First Chair
Selmer HS* (New old stock)
Pillinger 1010.
Rico Reserve X05
Ridenour Professional.

All mouthpieces were as new or with little use. I found the Grabner, HS*, Ridenour and Pillinger mouthpieces to be symmetrical as far as I could measure them, the Fobes rails were symmetrical but there was some slight tilt to the tip rail. The M30 rails were uneven but the tip appeared straight, the B45 was all over the place and the Rico Reserve was pretty well square and symmetrical. All of these mouthpieces play OK for me, with the Fobes and Grabner mouthpieces being my personal choices.

Tony F.

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