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 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Mrdi 
Date:   2019-02-14 00:51

Anyone have any news, experience, info, scuttlebutt on the new (2019) Backun Clarinet CNC mouthpiece?

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-02-14 07:58

Are you referring to the ones made in collaboration with Hawkins?

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-02-14 23:30

I know only what I see on the Dillon Music Store (New Jersey) website about these and from a brief conversation with a salesman there. As a Backun dealer, Dillon has been contacted to sell a "Vocalise" mouthpiece that was made entirely at the Backun factory rather than on a Zinner or other outside blank. The selling price is projected to be much lower than that charged for either Hawkins' standard models or the Backun MoBas. But Dillon says these are "out of stock" meaning, in this case, that they have not yet received any to sell. Here's the ad:

https://www.dillonmusic.com/backun-vocalise-bb-mouthpiece.html.

Initially three facings will be offered, R (short and close), G (medium), an H (long and open). They are evidently intended to be pro model mouthpieces.



Post Edited (2019-03-07 17:57)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: MartyMagnini 
Date:   2019-02-15 18:43





Post Edited (2019-02-15 20:38)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2019-02-15 20:11

MartyMagnini wrote:

> Bob,
>
> Perhaps you caught Morrie on a bad day (we all have them). I

I deleted Bob's post. Facts are one thing and I try to make sure that any accusations are first hand. Opinions of someone's mental health are something quite different.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-03-26 07:46

https://youtu.be/lhXAvpebLsE

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-03-28 01:24

https://www.facebook.com/clarinetist/videos/10217121906092571/

is a video of a Solo from Faure Pavane - with Charlotte Symphony members using the new Backun Vocalise G Facing.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-28 02:42

Hey David,


What's that contraption at the top of the barrel (bottom of the mouthpiece)?





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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-03-28 04:38

David,

For a long time before, you were playing a MoBa C mouthpiece, which is a close facing (0.99 mm tip), right? In the new Vocalise, G is supposed to be the medium facing. Their R is the close one. So did you compare the G and the R and prefer the G? Or did you just try the G? Do you feel the G is just right or could it be a little closer?

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Mrdi 
Date:   2019-03-28 05:29

Are there tip dimensions available?

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-28 07:56

Love to have the tip opening and facing length (in real millimeters) of the "R."




............thanks in advance,



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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Alexis 
Date:   2019-03-28 11:29

Am I the only one that finds that ad (posted by fernie121) ridiculous?

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: YT 
Date:   2019-03-28 11:51

No Alexis, you're absolutely not ;-)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-03-28 17:21

I agree with you Alexis. That’s why I had to share. [tongue]

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Clarineat 
Date:   2019-04-01 19:45

I had a conversation with Richard Hawkins for almost an hour about this any many other things. I hope you enjoy!

https://www.clarineat.com/110

The Clarineat Podcast
www.clarineat.com
hello@clarineat.com

Post Edited (2019-04-10 04:20)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-04-01 22:27

It was a really interesting chat, too.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-02 19:41

https://youtu.be/U6Iii6Zjyeg

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-04-04 06:37

The G I found is very close to my C in feeling. The R is a bit too close as my reeds feel to soft with it.

I have a LOT of reeds, so that would not be good going to a higher strength  :)

I've got all 3 facings, and all 3 are great!!

I'm playing with 2 sets of the Lefreque Solid Silver, 24K Gold plated - Mouthpiece/Barrel, and Lower Joint/Bell.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-04-05 23:34

Thanks for the clarification, David. Sounds like the R would be best for me.
Backun now has a comparison chart up that shows the R comes between a Vandoren M13 lyre and an M15, the G is between a Vandoren 5RV lyre and an M30, and the H is between a Vandoren B40 and an M45 lyre.

https://backunmusical.com



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Claudia Zornow 
Date:   2019-04-06 01:58

Does anyone have actual numbers for tip opening, facing length, etc., for the Vocalise mouthpieces?



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-06 02:28

I have requested and been denied. I believe that they would refer to that as proprietary information.


That means I am not interested in this product.





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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-06 03:44

https://youtu.be/b-CBWQnzLTw
I have to admit that’s a beautiful sound coming from Hawkins. Very different from the typical backun sound.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-06 14:54

Quote:

I have requested and been denied. I believe that they would refer to that as proprietary information.


That seems odd. It is not as if you are requesting information that might be a unique trade secret (rubber composition, manufacturing techniques, voodoo incantations. etc) Manufacturers regularly give at least the tip opening and facing length. I don't expect the actual curve or internals, size of window, etc, but basic facing numbers often give folks a sense of what the feel might be like. I don't find that chart all that helpful, if at all, as the range of facings of the comparison mouthpieces is pretty wide. For example, the difference from a 5RV lyre to an M30 is pretty significant.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-06 16:19

Unfortunately this is not an odd result. A good percentage of mouthpiece sellers rely on "try it, you might like it." I have found basic specs that work for me so rummaging around willy nilly is a waste of my time.


Manufacturers that give you specs may be a helpful list.


I'll start:


ESM, Clark Fobes, Wurltzer, Maxton, Walter Grabner.....


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

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-06 17:10

Yeah, while there are SO many factors in baffle, bore, chamber, rails, that can affect how a mouthpiece plays and while I can play on all kinds of things, I know what ballpark I tend to be most comfortable in.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-04-06 20:49

Paul,

Fobes, ESM, Grabner, Brad Behn will give you facing tip openings and lengths. Wurlitzer does only for some models but not for others. Ask them for the measurements on the fo and fo* for instance, and they'll say that's a secret.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-07 02:38

Dear seabreeze,


Thanks for the Wurlitzer clarification. I am not familiar with the "fo" facings. Are those French facings on German mouthpieces?




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2019-04-07 06:23

I think them not revealing the dimensions of the mouthpiece is more of a Hawkins thing than a Backun thing. After all, Backun gave out the tip openings of their MoBa mouthpieces, but as far as I know Hawkins never published his dimensions. Back when I had a Hawkins S I e-mailed Richard and asked him what the dimensions were and he declined to give an answer, which I respect. Regardless it was the best playing mouthpiece this amateur had ever owned until it was unfortunately ruined in an accident. I have an Vocalise R model on order that will hopefully arrive Monday.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-07 07:11

I don't respect the refusal to offer dimensions on a mouthpiece. It is simply meant to continue to keep us (ALL of us) in the dark and just sell whatever they want to sell.


I'm not saying they created an inferior product, however, I believe in an educated consumer and this is NOT the way to achieve that.




"Core sound unlike any mouthpiece you've tried"

"Resonance you've never experienced before"

"Complex resonance at an affordable price"

"Best mouthpieces ever made for students and professionals alike"

"Pitch locking"

"Articulation management"

"Satisfies the nuances of change while preserving history"




..............and no dimensions



.........................spare me



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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-04-07 07:46

Okay, sounds like a plan then, Paul.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-04-07 21:30

Paul, you are correct about the "fo" mouthpieces - they are French facings on German mouthpieces.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-07 22:19

Micke,


Thank you for the added Wurlitzer information.




I have finally gotten to the Wurlitzer website and looked at their selection of mouthpieces under "Mouthpiece Shop."


https://wurlitzerklarinetten.de/shop/?lang=en


There are at least two different models that do not list dimensions. Also, if you are looking at the English version, the tip opening and facing length dimensions are labeled backwards.


What is interesting is that the majority of dimensions for each mouthpiece is listed. Additionally one can see that there are rather close dimensional differences from one mouthpiece to the other. I was told once by a local mouthpiece guy that one hundredth of a millimeter is about the width of a human hair (further implying that that is a negligible difference.......read inconsequential). And yet Wurltizer offers these difference for those for whom the differences are indeed important. Are they just being silly?



One last thought about Morrie Backun Musical Services. I doubt if anyone employed there would buy a car based soley on the description that "you can refill it with gas whenever you begin to run out, and it will get you where you want to go." But if they would, I want to be their used car salesman.






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



Post Edited (2019-04-07 22:20)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Exiawolf 
Date:   2019-04-07 22:59

The specs aren’t being released at the direct request of Hawkins, not by Backuns choice. (Read it in one of their comments replying to someone asking for the measurements)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-08 06:22

In this situation, it might work best to try the mouthpiece. Maybe there is something to gain from not knowing the exact specs.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-08 18:26

Quote:

In this situation, it might work best to try the mouthpiece. Maybe there is something to gain from not knowing the exact specs.


Good thing retailers of clothes and shoes don't use this philosophy!

For me, it is far more beneficial to have a sense of the product as after many years of playing, I know what fits into my comfort zone and what firs my taste and playing style.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-04-08 21:05

In our commercially ordered society, "what sells" seems to rule, and what sells is often based on both advertising promises and the track record of the manufacturers. In this case, Richard Hawkins mouthpieces have been used by many well-known classical players (Larry Combs and Ben Lulich, for example) and Backun MoBas were promoted by Ricardo, so a collaboration of Hawkins and Backun was bound to attract attention. Backun sent out a letter today to report that demand for the Vocalise has been so great, the original stock has been sold out and another production run is necessary before the initial rush of orders can be filled. So lack of specificity in tech details evidently did not hurt sales. After many players try the product, then word of mouth and reported experience take over and may count more than ads or previous track record.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-08 21:43

That is correct. Initially it will be a mix of marketing, name recognition, price point and curiosity. Time will tell if there is long term demand, but there are lots of players out there.

Certainly name recognition can do a lot for a company. Years ago the Leblanc clarinets had a huge boost when Players such as Combs or Daniels began endorsing them.

I do get a little tired of the word salad that these companies produce to describe their products, but I guess anything to convince the player that it is unlike anything ever produced in the history of mankind and is a must have product that will change your life.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-08 21:44

I think saying closed, medium or open is generally enough. The go a bit farther in saying the closed is more traditional and resonate. The medium is geared more towards what modern clarinet sound is moving towards. And the open mouthpiece is very flexible. That alone should be a good enough starting point to then pick something to try. After all, you shouldn’t settle on ANYTHING before trying it out for a period of time. No matter how perfect those measuresments listed look.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-08 22:00

Point taken. And offering a simplified process can be beneficial for some.


However


If you take the same mouthpiece and reed but just make the facing 2mm shorter, the reed will play harder and you would take in slightly less amount of mouthpiece. Conversely, with all other parameters being equal, if you make the facing just 2mm longer, you'd take in a bit more mouthpiece into your mouth AND the reed would play softer.


Once you get to a point where you can be more sensitive to those differences and prefer one over another (either less mouthpiece in your mouth is more comfortable or you prefer more resistance....for example) it is nice to know what you're dealing with in advance. Or perhaps you could have a mouthpiece adjusted accordingly to get more of what works better for you.


This is only possible when the "process" is demystified. I would aspirationally suggest that a larger company such as Backun Musical Services could lead the way with educating players, students and teachers alike.






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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-08 23:19

My complaint is that the terms close, medium and open can mean different things to different people. I have seen sites where one manufacturer's interpretation is very different from another. There is no reason that one could not give an exact number. Giving tip opening and facing length would give up no secrets, but would make it easier for those to whom those number mean something.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-08 23:28

I get that too. Based on my experience with Hawkin’s mouthpiece, I suspect his open mouthpiece is as open as say Vandoren’s medium. I wonder what Backun would say if you asked about suggested reed strengths.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-09 06:46

The comparison chart suggests reed strength 2.5-4.5 for all three models.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-04-10 23:58

A "proprietary" attitude toward the facing specs of any mouthpiece seems empty and even silly. There are so many of us around with the tools - they aren't very expensive or hard to find - to do the rudimentary measurements ourselves, particularly tip openings and curve lengths. So the information can't stay protected or "proprietary" for very long. It's hard to see what the point is of being closed about it.

The playing quality of a mouthpiece is mostly in the internal design of the blank, the execution of any idiosyncratic internal tweaks (like baffle height and shape) and the skill with which the facing curve is applied. The basic opening and length only give a ballpark idea of how one mouthpiece *may* compare to another, and keeping them "secret" is ultimately an exercise in futility.

Karl

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-11 00:33

Karl,


It's not a State secret, it's marketing (over being informative). How many reasonably intelligent folks walk onto a used car lot looking for something like a low mileage hybrid and wind up with a suped up Mustang?


I only ask for some semblance of rational comparison upfront.




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-11 03:45

Thanks for the input KDK. In that case, I suspect it has less to do with the numbers and more to do with how people judge the mouthpiece based on the numbers. Maybe it’s just a way to encourage people to actually try it first.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-04-11 04:32

fernie121 wrote:

> I suspect it has less
> to do with the numbers and more to do with how people judge the
> mouthpiece based on the numbers. Maybe it’s just a way to
> encourage people to actually try it first.
>

Well, I'm sure you're right. But the problem is that in most cases it isn't a question of trying "it" first, because for every custom maker I can think of and for every mass-producer (e.g. Vandoren and D'Addario) there are more than one model or version that differ from each other, if nowhere else (even if made from the same blank), in the facing measurements. So, without a ballpark idea of the facings on each available version, your only alternative is to buy one of each and return most of them.

How much easier it would be, once I've become interested in the playing qualities a maker claims for his products, if I could order only samples similar (within reasonable tolerances) to a facing that I'm used to and eliminate the ones that are clearly very far away. In fairness, asking the maker will often get you the information, but apparently in this instance, it doesn't.

Karl

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2019-04-17 10:27

I ordered one of these in the H facing when they were announced and received it yesterday. I've only had a few hours on it and spent most of that time A/B-ing it with some other mouthpieces I've been using lately to get a feel for it.

For a bit of background, I have been moving towards softer reeds and more open tips for the last couple of years after finding absolute joy in a Vandoren B50 (and later a very special Fobes 10K) on the bass clarinet. So after 8 years on a very close-tipped Hawkins and 2 on a Fobes CF, I've been down the rabbit hole of trying to find the right balance for tone and resistance. This has led me to try the Vandoren B40, B45, B45 Dot, B45 Lyre, the D'Addario Reserve X10, the Selmer Concept and a Fobes 10K 4L (Blue FWIW). Of those, only the Fobes, the B45 and the Concept worked well enough for me to play in public.

Reading that back, it's clear to me that I've gotten a little carried away here. Moving on...

I had the Vocalise shipped to my work, so I had a chance to ogle it a bit before I could actually play it. Here's what struck me on my initial visual inspection:

- The engraved branding and facing information on the satin exterior finish looks great to my eyes. I like to know about how things are made and that's a cool reminder that this was machined. It reminds me of the engraving on my Lamberson tenor sax mouthpiece. No bearing whatsoever on how it plays, but hey, I like it. It's different.
- The tip rail is not thin, if you're into that. It's about the same as on my Concept, thicker than the Fobes 4L. Not as thick as a B40. Nowhere near the extremely thin tip rails on my Fobes San Francisco or older Hawkins.
- The baffle falls away immediately behind the tip rail. My Concept and Fobes both have a fair bit of material right there.
- The floor is visibly concave side-to-side starting right behind the tip rail.
- The transition at the throat of the mouthpiece to the bore isn't completely smooth. There is a line there, but I can't tell if it's a step or just a hard corner. Not a negative, just interesting. My Selmer has a pretty pronounced step from the bore into the throat and I think that gives it some of its character.

So, now on to actual playing impressions. For reference, I compared it to the current mouthpieces that I play on, a Selmer Concept and a Vandoren B45. For me, the Selmer is what I have been reaching for anything classical or that calls for that clear, pure, ringing sound. It lives in my R13 case. The B45 is a bit warmer, a bit less focused and a bit more flexible, pitch-wise, with less of the glassy ring that the Selmer has. It lives in my 1948 Buffet's case.

I find both have comparable resistance and use a V12 #3 on both, with the Selmer being a hair more resistant. I also messed around a bit with a B40 and my Fobes 4L for other reference points, but not as extensively.

For me, getting that elusive "ring" in the sound is something I feel like I can do when the resistance is just right. I like a fairly resistant mouthpiece that I can pair with a softer reed, which is why I chose the open, long facing. This one is comparable in resistance to the Selmer. To dive deeper into subjective resistance feel, I feel like what I have been looking for is resistance that I can shape with my air, which puts the sensation of pressure low and back in my mouth instead of higher and more forward. For me, the Vocalise puts this pressure in just the right place, just like the Selmer does. I'm not sure if that makes sense. In terms of totally subjective feel, this one felt very natural and comfortable for me almost right away.

Where it really differs from the Selmer is in the tone that it naturally seems to want to produce. For me, the Vocalise has a bit of a thicker tone than the Selmer or the B45, in a way that feels rather forgiving. It's probably a bit on the "darker" side of things, but with a nice clarity to the sound. It's thick almost like the B40, but with what feels like a lot more definition to the sound. To me, the B40 is easy to make sound pretty in the upper clarion, where that dark tone means the notes don't thin out, but the long B and C can get pretty woolly and undefined. The Vocalise doesn't seem to do that. The tone stays clear through those notes and response is even throughout the range of the instrument.

While I love the Selmer's clarity, focus, and ring, it does have a tendency to get a bit brassy or even a little harsh. When I play it, I tend to walk a bit of a line between "focused and glassy" and "harsh and hard." The Vocalise isn't as focused and gives a bit wider landing pad, if that makes sense. It's definitely darker and warmer than the Selmer, but it doesn't come across overly woolly or covered to my ear, which most "dark" mouthpieces tend to do for me. So far, I haven't quite figured out how to get as much color into the tone as I think I want, but I do appreciate that this one makes it easy to get a pleasant sound, where the Selmer can be a bit shrill if I'm having a bad day. These days, that is probably more common than I wish it were.

A few other notes:

- I don't know what this "pitch locking" that Hawkins/Backun refer to in the promo video is, but intonation is fine. I don't really know what to say other than I had no trouble playing in tune. I don't have trouble playing in tune on any of the mouthpieces listed above.
- I found it handled wide leaps quite nicely. I am not going to pretend that I will ever play the Copland Concerto in public, but the opening page has some tricky intervals that give a good chance to really test how comfortable you really are on a mouthpiece. The Vocalise did very well on these. Response is predictable and that's what matters for me.
- I don't know what "articulation management" is (also referenced in the promo video), but I can confirm that I was able to articulate. Nothing was stopping me.
- I tried this mouthpiece with Vandoren Traditional #2.5 and #3, V12 #3, Peter Leuthner #3 and Legere European Signature #3.25 reeds. I still don't like Legeres, but it did work fine with all of those, though I found the Blue Box #3 and the Leuthner #3 were a bit stiffer than I really wanted. The V12 #3 was the sweet spot for me. The assertion that one might like this with a #4.5 reed seems crazy to me, but hey, maybe some of you are just tougher than I am.
- Dynaically, it has the quality of getting louder without changing the tone very much. A FF sounds like a MF, but louder. On my Selmer and my Fobes, the tone picks up a bit more edge at higher volumes. I think it's a matter of taste. Dynamic range seems good, though.

Overall, I'm quite interested in the possibilities that this mouthpiece has to offer. I thought the marketing was a bit heavy-handed, but the price is reasonable and the names behind it do have a solid reputation for making good products, so I took a swing. I think this one will be a keeper. It's still too early to say if it will take the place of my Selmer, but I'd certainly be comfortable playing it in public.

With this one, Walter Grabner's new 3D printed mouthpiece, Clark Fobes and Brad Behn's existing CNC-machined mouthpieces, D'Addario's Reserve line and Wes Rice now selling a CNC-ed mouthpiece, it looks like the Zinner shutdown might have sparked a lot of creativity amongst established mouthpiece makers. I haven't tried all of these (though I'd like to), but maybe we'll see some real variation in production mouthpieces in the coming years.

Exciting times to be a clarinet geek.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-17 13:49

Dear Max S-D,



Thank you for posting a thoughtful personal review. I think these sorts of analyses can be helpful for others to parse through.


As for the Legere European cut reeds, I use 3 1/4 strength on my closed tipped (1.00mm), short facing Fobes (custom 14mm length). I would strongly suggest to try much softer strengths on your open mouthpieces! You may grow to like them yet!



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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Mrdi 
Date:   2019-04-17 19:26

Thanks Max, thoughtful and well written.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2019-04-18 05:10

I have the G and H models on order--hopefully they'll arrive soon. My hope is that they might both use reeds similar to what I'm playing now.

WRT Paul's suggestion, I used to play a B40 (1.19 x 18 facing) then a Kessler-Backun III (1.16 x 18 facing) and now play a Backun Arabesque (1.19 x 19 facing). All of these will more or less play a Vandoren Blue Box #3. Since all vary in openings and facing length, I have been using a gross "resistance coefficient" metric computed by "tip / lay-length" as a way to estimate the mechanical resistance of the facing. (Yes, I know there are several other factors that contribute to the resistance and feel, but as I said, this is a rough metric that does seem to be helpful)

For example, a B40 yields 0.066, and the Arabesque yields 0.062, which suggests that the Arabesque would prefer a slightly harder reed than the B40, which it does. Interestingly, a Legere Euro 3.25 is about right (for me) on the Arabesque. I'm also playing Pilgerstorfer Dolce #4 reeds, which are also similar to a Blue Box #3, although many of them feel a bit soft.

FWIW, Paul's facing would yield 0.71 which suggests that a 3.25 on his mouthpiece might feel "harder" than the same reed on my Arabesque.

I've tried softer reeds on my B40 and Arabesque, but they don't have the power/response that I'm looking for. On the other hand Olivier Patey (?) claims to play 4-4.5 strength reeds on his B40(-like) facing (may be playing a Wodkowski now).

Still my hope is that, because the Vocalise mouthpiece facings may yield similar "resistance coefficient" values (i.e., close/short, medium/medium, open/long) they might play reeds similar to what I'm using now. I guess we'll see...

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-18 06:43

Bob,



Well that's the first I've seen a "resistance coefficient." I guess that might make sense.


The German mouthpiece and German approach to embouchure though change that picture quite substantively. A 0.94mm tip open mouthpiece and a 20mm long facing (or so....I am not sure about the precise method of measure) takes a 2 1/2 strength reed. Of course German cut reeds also are different and perhaps more resistant than their number would suggest to us.


But I can see where having some sense of the bigger picture is quite helpful.



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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: gwie 
Date:   2019-04-24 11:48

I received the R and G models I ordered in the mail yesterday. Wonderful re-usable packaging, protective cloth drawstring bags, and an included thin clear mouthpiece patch--this has all been very well thought out!

I spent about thirty minutes on each playing selections from Baermann 3 and the Rose 32. I used a Legere Signature European Cut synthetic clarinet reed in 3.5 and a Behn Aria reed in 3.5. The R is as expected, wonderfully compact and focused, with really easy articulation. I felt that the "hold" for the tonal range of this mouthpiece is fairly easy to achieve, and it feels good leaping through different registers while maintaining a consistent tone quality. The G is a more flexible and broad sounding, and can be pushed harder than the R. The response is excellent and it projects really well in a big space.

My family and colleagues who have listened to me in person and on a recording seem to prefer my sound on the R vs. the G, although I personally find the G more fun to play. The students I have had try them prefer the R more, as it seems that it is easier for them to achieve good results with immediately.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-24 18:38

Paul, don’t German mouthpieces also have narrower window openings(?) which makes them more resistant than a French mouthpiece with the same tip opening and facing length.

As someone who exclusively plays Legere reeds I find myself gravitating towards shorter facings for a better sounding altissimo.

Gwie, I find most people when listening to the sound of a clarinet prefer clarity to any added darkness or broadness in the sound. The R vs G might be an example of this.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-24 19:02

Fernie,



I cannot say that the space between rails has any affect on the perceived strength of the reed. I have used the Legere German cut reeds on Boehm mouthpieces with great success. In fact the only difference in reed strength from the mouthpieces I usually use on Boehm vs my Wurlitzer Oehler mouthpiece is that I wind up going up a quarter strength for the German mouthpiece.


I also (and I say this as a die hard short facing guy) would take issue with the assertion that shorter facings allow better upper register performance. In general a good medium facing will offer the best overall resonance for all registers (and keep the altissimo from getting too "squeaky"). For Legeres though I find that shorter facings tend to prevent me from pushing them into a state where they become too weak before their time. So besides my tendency to prefer the "feel" of a short facing, I use them the get longer life out of my Legeres.




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: TomS 
Date:   2019-04-24 19:16

It's almost fortunate that Zinner has stopped production of MP blanks.

This has stimulated the next generation of MPs using CNC machining offering much more precision and infinite geometric options.

Tom

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-05-11 08:21

I’ve switched to the Vocalise R. Beautiful warm tone. Lots of resonance. Very comfortable to play and stable intonation up and down the clarinet. And works great with synthetic reeds. Not much more I can ask from a mouthpiece. Except that it be very affordable, which the Vocalise is as well.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-11 20:56

I would ask for the two basic dimensions (tip opening and facing length) so that I have a rough idea which reads to use with it.


Alas.......too much to ask.




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-05-11 21:20

There is not a standard for 'tip opening and facing length'. Is the opening from the outside of the tip rail or the inside?
Is the length for 0.015 thickness or 0.001 and ate they calibrated gauges?
Or the measurements in inches or millimeters?
I see players assume it they are one way and then are disappointed at the results.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-12 02:05

Yes, that's not so different from the specifics of clothing.........so we try on the shoes, the pants. But if you go into a store and the you ask for a size 8 1/2 shoe and the clerk comes back with shoes and says, "I can't tell you what size these are, just try them on and see if they fit," do you still stay?




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-05-12 02:22

Yes because no matter what size they are you would stupid not to try them on given there are so many variables other than the one variable they have measured to get the "size"

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-05-12 04:47

Sure, if they are a size or two too small, that would be a pleasure!

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: JTJC 
Date:   2019-05-21 19:25

I’ve recently bought a Backun Vocalise model G from a UK retailer.

I found sound, articulation and intonation very good on my Yamaha CSG IIIs. However, I wonder whether the tuning of the Vocalise hasn’t been set somewhere above 440, possibly nearer 441. This might explain Backun’s claim of “lock in on an even pitch range between 440-442”. The table is flat and I measured the length of the lay at around 18mm.

My main issue with the mpc is the physical characteristics. The rails on my G are uneven, with the left one being slightly thicker than the right. (from what I've seen that doesn’t seem to be that uncommon on mpcs.) The lay is also uneven for much of its length, with the left rail having a slightly longer length at each measuring point. This might be expected, though undesirable, with a mpc made in a traditional way, where uneven pressure on abrasive paper cause one rail to be cut more than another, thus causing the difference in rail thickness and uneven rails. However, these mpcs aren’t made that way. While the unevenness of the rails is noticeable when playing it doesn’t seem to affect things that much. I’ll have to see if I can live with it.

In addition to the lay there are also a couple of areas where the finish of the mpc isn’t as good as I would have expected given the stated manufacturing processes - “on a highly advanced nine-axis CNC machine and finished in a unique done-in-one machining program that combines the milling and lathing processes without the need for a second setup or recalibration.” Internally, at some points there is additional material in the angle where baffle and sides meet. I don't know whether this affects anything. Also, there is a slight step where baffle meets the bore. These features are in contrast to the lettering on the mpc (Vocalise, Hawkins Backun), which seems perfect.

Given the manufacturing processes used to make the Vocalise (machines, software, material etc) all Model Gs ought to be the same. The flaws/characteristics I’ve observed in my copy should be present in all others. How’s your Model G?

I would have expected from something made by CNC to be to a higher standard. I don’t find my G to be any better than a standard Vandoren, worse in some ways. Maybe I was expecting too much and there are limitations to CNC machining, whether intrinsic or manufacturer induced (time/cost limitations, the need to differentiate top pro models from lower cost ones, etc). Whatever the reasons might be, the results, as judged by this G suggest some hand finishing is necessary. It’ll be interesting to see whether the CNC models in this price range that will be coming from other makers (Grabner, Behn etc ?) will display similar manufacturing ‘characteristics’.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2019-05-21 22:16

As a former software engineer for a prominent grinding machine company, the discrepancies seen are probably due to the process design, rather than the machining equipment. With a good process and decent hardware (and good consistent material), discrepancies would be measurable in millionths of an inch, several orders of magnitude smaller than what an eye can perceive.

Process design is not simple, and includes factors of material, cutting tool selection and maintenance, thermal changes, the platform holding the workpiece (which itself has to be stable within desired dimensional resolutions), the motors and moving parts, the computer hardware controlling the machine, and economic constraints (like how fast do you intend to produce each of these.)

I might assume the mouthpiece material is easier to shape than the metals that grinding machines typically are expected to deal with, metals chosen to resist heat and friction, i.e., the very process used to shape them. However, experience has made me wary of assumptions like that. It's undoubtedly a difficult thing to do well.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-22 00:55

If you want to see some crazy accurate CNC mouthpieces, you need to look at the ESM mouthpieces! The MCK-1 is pretty close to an M13......simply amazing constency across the mouthpiece and from one to another. You'd have to hunt for one of a batch of the same model to find one that plays differently than the others.




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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-05-27 21:02

For those who have tried the G model, did you find it more closed feeling than the Vandoren BD5?

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: sonicbang 
Date:   2019-05-28 01:59

I got my G model today. I wanted to buy a mouthpiece which was designed for Legere reeds. I have no time for making/adjusting/breaking in reeds anymore.

So I decided to give it a try. Many years ago I was playing on a Hawkins R model (of course it was Zinner back then, it was stolen, sadly) and asked Richard which current model can be somewhat similar. He recommended the G which I bought.

My first impression is that it has really wide tip rails and narrow window, which makes it too resistant for me. I tried it with 3.75 European cut and of course will give it a chance with lighter versions, and will also try plain Signature. I couldn't say I could evaluate the mouthpiece correctly with this strength. I don't want to test it with regular reeds. I have great mouthpieces to play with regular reeds...

Although, now I feel the mouthpiece is more resistant than it should be than others with similar facings.

Mark

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: sonicbang 
Date:   2019-05-29 00:00

Some update on the G model.

I visited a music store where it's allowed to clarinettists to actually try Légeres before buying them. Of course everything is professionally sanitized after that and I do think it's a good thing, others may disagree.
Anyway, I tried the G model with the following Légeres:

Signature 3
Signature 3 1/4
Signature 3 1/2
Signature European Cut 3 1/4
Signature European Cut 3 1/2
Signature European Cut 3 3/4

I found the strength to be about right with the S 3 1/2 and the SEC 3 3/4.However the sound was not my cup of tea to be honest. I know it's a bit different to play on synthetics and there a few professionals who use them on a daily basis etc. While I can appreciate the good things, like stable intonation (it's really consistent) and smooth legato, I think this one is not for me. Works great with cane, but I already have the mouthpieces for cane reeds. I will probably resell it at some point to somebody who works with Légere and can appreciate this mouthpiece.

Mark

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-29 02:01

I have been dealing with the strength equation of Legere reeds for the last three years. It is my experience that the process of "settling in" to the right strength takes about a week or two on one that approaches from the "weaker side" of your set up. It may then become clear after that time that you need to step up another quarter strength. It took me three tiers of that to arrive at the right strength on ONE mouthpiece.


I went through that process three times (for three different mouthpieces) in the last year. I only now think that I am settled (?) for now.


It is a tedious, time consuming and expensive process to establish yourself firmly with the Legere (and I speak of the European Signatures and the Signature Soprano Sax reeds. The Signature clarinet reeds do not work for me at all).


Worth the trouble





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



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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-06-08 20:50

Well sonicbang, if it means anything I own the vocalise G and R and I prefer the G with a cane reed, but the R for me sounds amazing with the Legere EC. Maybe it has something to do with the smaller tip opening, I do not know. The G sounds a bit dull with Legere, imo.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-06-09 00:55

>> The rails on my G are uneven, with the left one being slightly thicker than the right. (from what I've seen that doesn’t seem to be that uncommon on mpcs.) The lay is also uneven for much of its length, with the left rail having a slightly longer length at each measuring point.
-----------------------------
Uneven rails and uneven lay are grossly poor and sloppy finishing. Glad to hear that, and wouldn't ever recommend the mouthpiece to anyone.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Reed B Chirpin 
Date:   2019-06-09 07:20

Okay, having tried the 3 models in a music store recently, I'm going to chime in.

To be upfront, these new models are a step back from Hawkins' previous line, and Zinner blanks are not my preferential blanks. The machining and finishing weren't very impressive to me. I tried both Legere Euro's and cane. I don't understand why they put such thick rails to achieve reed-friendliness and evenness across the range. Maybe it's just me, but I like to have some sort of color in the sound.

I realize that it's a relatively affordable option at around $150, but there are a few Vandoren models at 2/3 the price that I would easily choose over these, and I wouldn't get this much resistance or lack of color.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-10 01:28

There seems to be a recent trend in making clarinet mouthpieces with very wide rails (though it may hearken back to the Vandoren M30 and the "D" models M30D and M40D and the Kuckmeier Play Easy models). The rationale is to give the sound more "hold" or "cushion" at louder dynamic levels and reduce the "screech" factor of unpleasant partials in the altissimo. Unfortunately the wider rails can also dull the sound and dampen the "ring" in the tone that gives the clarinet much of its characteristic color. I also find the Vocalise less ringing and focused than Hawkins old B model (always my favorite in his production line). Even Ridenour's latest model, the Homage 93811, designed in tribute to Harold Wright, has much thicker side and tip rails than Ridenour's previous HW model, which he said duplicated measurements he took of Wright's actual Chedeville.

The great beauty of Wright's sound was that it combined elements of darkness and vibrant glow at the same time in a complex balance. That glow is evident in his performance of the Strauss Duet for clarinet and bassoon: https://youtube.com/results?search_query=Harold+Wright+Sherman+Walt+Concertino. If Wright's Ched had been equipped with extra wide rails, I believe he would have had a much harder time achieving that tonal balance.



Post Edited (2019-06-10 01:54)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-06-10 13:22

The thick rails thing is not a recent trend. Pyne copied it off Dan Johnston years back, and Pyne sold a LOT of high end mouthpieces before Zinner became a household name. I've seen mouthpieces from the 1800s with these rails too, but it unclear if they just got that way from too many refacing efforts over the century....
I just examined/played a BD5 the other day that had a facing very similar to a symmetrical Pyne (not ALL his mouthpieces were deliberately asymmetrical).

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-10 16:32

Granted that wide rails are not just a recent trend but more of a recurrent historical pattern (which some who dislike it might call a "fad") in mouthpiece making. Wood mouthpieces from the early decades of the 20th century often have wide rails. In addition to Pyne and Johnston, Jim Kanter made some models with very wide rails. The current iteration of this style though seems to date from Manasse's Vandoren M30, M30D, and the M40D (picked up in the Fobes Europa model) as well as the Kuckmeier Boehm pieces from Austria and the latest Vandoren BD5 series. Done in moderation, wider rails can add some measure of security to tone production and mask harshness in the sound; overdone, it can lead to a bland and dull sound without "ping" or complexity.



Post Edited (2019-08-25 21:09)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-06-10 23:29

The BD5 to me is proof you can have wide rails and still have great articulation and color to the sound. So long as it is paired with the right reeds.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-06-11 00:40

I played a rehearsal with a string quartet (Brahms Quintet) a few days ago using the G I got last week and Legere Euro Signature 3.5 reeds. Blend, intonation, nuance, and color were wonderful. Heads and shoulders above the other couple set-ups I brought to experiment with, including cane reeds on the G.

I have not been a regular Legere user but am committing to this set-up for the next couple of months until this project is complete. I still find a good cane reed seems to have more color and responsiveness when I'm practicing, but I going to give an honest go with the Legeres and this mouthpiece to see what's possible.



Post Edited (2019-06-11 00:42)

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2019-06-16 06:52

Following up on my lengthy "first impressions" post earlier, I've decided that the Backun/Hawkins just isn't for me.

Compared to my normal mouthpiece, a stock Selmer Concept (the better one of two that I own), it's got similar resistance but just seems to top out at a certain dynamic level that is quite a bit lower than I need. For me, the mouthpiece has a sweet sound, but not a lot of color and I end up sounding pretty dull on it. Where I can push the Concept and my Fobes mouthpieces hard and have the tone predictably pick up edge, the Vocalise seems to hold its tone together until feels like it sort of abruptly hits a wall and, for me, the tone gets ugly after that point.

My old Zinner blank Hawkins (no idea what model, but it has a very close tip opening) had a similar feeling of a low "maximum" volume. I played that mouthpiece for many years before switching to a Fobes San Francisco that was a revelation in terms of its available dynamic range. My sample size might be too small to draw meaningful conclusions, but maybe Mr. Hawkins and I just like different things in a mouthpiece. He is certainly a better player than I am.

Overall, though, I think this is a good option in the price range, even though it isn't quite my cup of tea. If you like a dark mouthpiece and don't need to play terribly loudly (I often play with electronics and with drummers), this could be a great mouthpiece for you. I think its quality of keeping a very consistent tone across dynamic levels (up to its limit) is probably something that will appeal to a lot of players, particularly people who play in clarinet sections or other settings where blending can be a challenge.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-06-17 02:17

I wanted to give an update on this mouthpiece after having used it in a couple performance situations.

First of all, I’m finding a bit of a problem when it comes to projection. The sound is just not traveling as well as I need. I can’t push the sound into the forte territory as comfortably and as I’d like. Such a pretty sound at mf but it falls apart when it really matters. Which is when you need to be heard as soloist over other musicians!

I think I’m going to go back to my BD5 for now. I prefer it to the G model, which I also own. I’m wondering if it’s worth trying the H model or if this new line of mouthpieces are just not for me.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-06-17 04:06

I tried the R model and found that the rails are just too wide to give me the ping I like in a mouthpiece. The old B model Hawkins (with medium rails) did have that ping. Without the ping, you have to voice the tone like crazy to get it to "jump out." Some players can easily do that, but others (including me) need the mouthpiece to provide the overtones for easy projection.

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-06-17 04:13

My BD5 definitely has wide rails, but projection is really nice with a colorful sound. At least this one that I’ve picked out of several. With the R model, I get this rather dull sound quality in a larger space. Using cane reeds help. I’m not sure I want to go back to can reeds though.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: TomS 
Date:   2019-06-22 17:55

These MPs have been back-ordered when purchased from Backun ... for weeks. Seems everyone is trying them out ...

Anything that works or optimized with Legere European Signatures would interest me ... in the VD lineup, I've found that the M13 (not lyre) seems to work the best for me with the Legere ... and for last few weeks, back to using that setup.

Looking forward to trying the close/short facing on the new Backun MPs ...

Tom

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 Re: 2019 Backun Mouthpiece
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-06-22 19:40

The R model is a nice mouthpiece. It could be the way I’m voicing it that is causing me trouble. It is after all the most closed tip mouthpiece I’ve ever used.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Vandoren traditional 3.5, Behn Aria 4, Legere EC 4, Ligature: BG duo

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