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 First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Bill 
Date:   2019-02-22 20:06

For many people who play clarinet, the opportunity to play on (a mouthpiece that is *said* to be) an original Kaspar facing never comes, or comes only a few times. For others the opportunity is frequent (teachers, professionals, etc.).

I've played clarinet ardently since 1993, and this morning is the first time I have ever played on (what I am *told* is) an original Kaspar 13.

The first thing I noticed is that I couldn't find a reed that didn't sound good on it. Eventually, I found one -- but it took testing about 10.

The second thing I noticed was that it sounded like what I *imagined* it would sound like. There was a delay of several days between my receiving the mouthpiece and trying it. During that time, the idea of what it would sound like formed in my mind. I won't make myself a (further) laughing stock by trying to put words to the concept. But -- I guessed right!

The last thing I found was that the mouthpiece made my 1967 R-13 (96xxx) sound like my 1936 Buffet (19xxx), which is my favorite clarinet: warm and *compact* ... a bee buzzing in a jug. For me, this is a good thing.

I'll go back to my island of broken clarinet toys (I have a love of odd, decidedly inferior equipment), but something new has been added to my understanding today.

Bill Fogle
Ellsworth, Maine
(formerly Washington, DC)

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-02-22 21:39

I had a similar experience in 1979, when a colleague of mine had one that was about to be sold. I had the chance to play it for about a week and it was almost magical. Of course the sale fell through and I have been looking for "that" experience ever since!

I think I have gotten close though by focusing on short lay (14mm long facing) mouthpieces. Both Walter Grabner and Clark Fobes make amazing mouthpieces which do the job. Hard to know if they are as close to what I recall given the amount of time and number of brain cells that have passed since then.

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

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-02-23 01:37

I played a Chedeville in 1995, used it for 3 months preparing for a recital but then had to return it (I understand that it was next loaned to Chad Burrow, but that may be incorrect). It just made that sound, it felt like it was glowing. Then in 2000 I had the opportunity to play a Chedeville owned by a retired US symphony player (who claims in his book that he found this mouthpiece with a bad facing, realised its potential and had it refaced - then used it exclusively for many years) and found that same feeling, response and sound. The only time I've ever really had that response and feeling when trying out new mouthpieces.
There is some magic in the world.

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-02-23 18:55

I've tried several Kaspars in my career and never felt comfortable with any. My quetion is this. Is there a single Kaspar, or even Chedeville, that hasn't been refaced half a dozen times? And then there are all those manufactures that claim they imitated a Kaspar or Chedeville perfectly and or developed the exact material the blank was made from. Bottom line, I've heard players sound beautiful on Kaspers, Chedevilles, Vandorens, Bays, Morgans, you name it and there's some players that sound great on what ever they use. Yesterday I heard Morals play the Weber 2nd in Philly with his new Uebel clarinet he's working on with the company and assumed he was still using his Backun mouthpiece he helped develope but in fact he's now using a Vandoren mouthpiece for the time being and he sounds wonderful. My point is, more than the mouthpiece, it's the player. Find the one that you sound and feel best on no matter what name is on it.


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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-02-23 22:56

To illustrate Eds point - I had a student come to me last week and play with a very beautiful sound... Was amazed to see they were on a Rico graftonite mouthpiece???!!!
She had broken their other mouthpiece some months ago and not got around to replacing it over the summer (dec/Jan is summer on the southern hemisphere). The thing is that she sounded great on this piece of junk because the had adapted to it.
That doesn't change my anecdote above - but I could have mentioned that (as Mr Palanker suggests) that doesn't mean that a mouthpiece is going to sound like this just because it has Chedeville stamped on it (vintage or reproduction).

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-02-24 17:49

It's funny Donald mentioned a student sounding so good on a "piece of junk". Many years ago I was an a big music store in PA trying mouthpieces and looking for music when I tried a mouthpiece they had in a draw full of old mouthpieces and played on I really liked, sounded terrific until I looked at the name on it, it was an old Bundy they put in the draw. I always regretted not buying it because of my "education". Who knows where that Bundy could have taken me. :-)


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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-02-24 18:32

There is a tendency to go down this rabbit hole when we talk about gear. It doesn't do the discussion any service to speak of how great Morales sounds on (insert gear here) any more than how I can sound like crap on a Chedeville or a Behn.

Just a thought.

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

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-02-25 11:00

Point well taken, Paul.

If it works, stick with it--and if it doesn't, move on to something else--regardless of whatever inscription is stamped upon it.

I've got a nice collection of mouthpieces that I paid good money for which were obvious duds from the first test play. I should've returned all of them immediately, but incorrectly assumed that since they cost so much, it must've been mismatched reeds, faulty technique, or some other factor causing disappointing results.

Surely, untold legions of clarinetists have gone down the same road with vintage Chedevilles and Kaspars--wracking their brains trying to make them work, when it should be obvious that it just isn't gonna happen.

Post Edited (2019-02-25 11:01)

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-02-25 17:10


Just out of curiosity, do you know which model Vandoren Morales was playing?
M13 lyre? M40? BD5? Something else?

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2019-02-26 02:25

Hi Ed. I'm also curious as to which model Vandoren Morales was playing. While it's true that he sounds good on all kinds of gear, he doesn't sound exactly the same, so it would be interesting to know what he can get out of a specific mouthpiece and setup.

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: clarii2 
Date:   2019-02-27 10:00

in 1961 i was a freshman at u. of michigan and a student of william stubbins. i was using a selmer hs# and everyone thought i had a great sound. but in those days you did what your teacher said so stubbins said go out to the suburbs and buy a mouthpiece from this man. i borrowed a bike on a sunday. i knocked on the door and this guy about 55 opened the door about 2 feet and gave me my mouthpiece and i gave him. $15.00. i never liked the mouthpiece and luckily one of my students dropped it. i bought a woodwind G6 and loved it. i never knew
about kasper until years after. stubbins played on a metal mouthpiece kasper made for him. paul king in new zealand.

paul king

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-02-27 12:28

Seabreeze, last I heard which was about 3 month ago he was using a Pomarice crystal stamped Backun for some strange reason. To get rich I guess. Since changing horns he probably found that too bright so it wouldn't sock me if he went with a rubber MP to mellow the sound of his new horns.

Mitchell Lurie had all of his rubber and crystal mouthpieces made by Pomarico. I retouched several 100 for him, the facings, both the glass and rubber. The rubber is a tad bit soft and the depth of the baffle and chamber areas were deep. He had a very nice even sound. The crystal is hard like diamonds so I had to make a new secred way to face glass mouthpieces, yet improve the quality.

He may switch around for a few mouths before settling on something.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-03-02 05:32

I was just reminded of an anecdote that applies here, I once acquired two vintage mouthpieces, identical - and exactly the same as a very fine one I'd borrowed from my former teacher some years ago, and which had been in his case when his instruments were stolen. They both appeared not to have been already refaced or altered.
Upon testing and measuring them, one was a disaster - it could be saved but only with a LOT of work, the most lop sided asymmetrical mouthpiece I've ever seen and impossible to play in its natural state (this is still in a box somewhere).
The other just needed a little tweaking and played very nicely - I gave it to my former teacher.
So I still maintain that there IS magic in the world, but yes no doubt it is also a lottery where these old mouthpieces are concerned. I'd certainly not recommend bidding large amounts of money on ebay.

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 Re: First blows on a Kaspar
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-02 08:52

Here, here Donald..........I could NOT agree more!

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

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