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 Frying eggs
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-04 22:53

For those here who have experience with customizing mouthpieces:

I have for a long time wondered why mouthpieces, each with very similar or identical facings (as far as I can measure with a tip gauge and the 5 feelers in a standard Brand set), differ in reed friendliness. Some mouthpieces may tend to have frying egg sizzle in the sound at soft dynamic levels no matter what reed I put on them, while other mouthpieces don't sizzle at all with any reed that vibrates responsively. Again, measuring the facings with basic equipment gives no explanation that I can see.

I've found this noise in some mouthpieces consistent enough over a wide variety of reeds that I feel fairly certain it isn't a question of reed adjustment.

My question is: does this noise in the sound at low dynamics, in your experience, come from parameters in the facing curve that I'm not equipped to measure, or is it more likely to be caused by table imperfections, baffle characteristics or other internal parameters? If I wanted to preserve the sound and the response of a mouthpiece but get rid of the sizzle at mezzo-piano and softer, and I had the skill to make the adjustments, where would be the most likely place on the mouthpiece to work?

Karl
Karl

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-06-04 23:35

Simple question, difficult to answer, so I just throw this out.
How many gauges do you use? The old timers I think had four. I have increased over the years to 15. Many times, 7, 10, or other number of readings that are perfect on a few mouthpieces, but they play differently, are always caused by the tiny differences between the spot-on readings and they cause surprising differences.
Let us know if you find a reading that is common and fixes the problem. It will add to the refacing knowledge. I never had that problem.

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2019-06-05 01:55

I wondering if the 'fry' versus not is something that can be heard in a good recording. Sometimes these artifacts aren't really audible to the outside listener.

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-05 02:22

nellsonic wrote:

> I wondering if the 'fry' versus not is something that can be
> heard in a good recording. Sometimes these artifacts aren't
> really audible to the outside listener.

Well, I suspect it isn't audible to a listener. But I hear it and I don't want it there. I'd still be interested to know whether the difference is somewhere in the facing or elsewhere in the mouthpiece.

I prefer playing with relatively little embouchure pressure, although playing double lip as I do, I *can* close my lips more firmly if necessary, and that often gets rid of the noise, but at the expense of my endurance. Point is, though, the mouthpieces that don't sizzle don't require the extra pressure unless the reed is just too hard.

Karl

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-05 02:40

Ken Lagace wrote:

> Simple question, difficult to answer, so I just throw this out.
> How many gauges do you use? The old timers I think had four. I
> have increased over the years to 15.

I use the 5 that came with my Erik Brand kit 50 years ago and I have four tip gauges - two tapers and two dials, one of which came with the Brand kit. I know that there are refacers who use many more feelers than that - at least a couple of them who frequent this list. And I guess it's not much of an investment to use more - in fact I have a full set of automotive feelers from Pep Boys that I bought when I had to replace one of my original feelers that got lost, so I could probably start using as many of the set as will fit within the curve - pretty much any feeler less than .032". It's very likely that there will be small differences when the curve is measured so minutely. But are such small aberrations enough to cause this, or is the noise source more likely to found in the blank itself - particularly, I would theorize, in the baffle height or shape?

I should say, if I didn't before, that the mouthpieces in question, both the quiet and the noisy ones, are made by highly reputable mouthpiece craftsmen - they aren't Yamaha 4Cs or Goldentones, nor are they assembly line products. The blanks are produced in batches, of course, for each craftsman.

I will take your lead, though, and break out some more of the feelers in the automotive set and see what I find.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Karl

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 Re: Frying egg
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2019-06-05 16:54

A flat spot on the facing curve might be a source of this sizzle.

The classic Brand set of feelers are space too far apart for precise facing work IMO. You can have a small flat spot between feeler readings and not know it. One other test you can do is to look how light reflects off your side rails as you slowly tilt your mouthpiece under a desk lamp. Bumps and flats can be seen this way.

Saliva can accumulate on the baffle to make a sizzle sound. Trying to change your baffle shape to reduce this would take some trial and error and may change the tone a lot before reducing the sizzle. A quick puff of air can temporarily purge it out.

I have heard of players trying a layer of petroleum jelly inside the mouthpiece to reduce sizzle. I have not done this but it is fair game to try it. Could be a mess over time but a gentle cleaning would reverse it. I might be inclined to try Rain-X or something like that instead.

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

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 Re: Frying egg
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-05 17:04

Mojo wrote:

> A flat spot on the facing curve might be a source of this
> sizzle.
>
> The classic Brand set of feelers are space too far apart for
> precise facing work IMO. You can have a small flat spot
> between feeler readings and not know it. One other test you
> can do is to look how light reflects off your side rails as you
> slowly tilt your mouthpiece under a desk lamp.

Thanks. I'll try that.
>
> Saliva can accumulate on the baffle to make a sizzle sound.

I don't think it's saliva, because it doesn't come and go - it's all the time with these mouthpieces. When I test for reed response by blowing at each side with no embouchure pressure, I get the same noise, as though the reed is too heavy. But I can keep taking wood off the areas I ordinarily do until the reed collapses, and the noise remains. This happens whether there's saliva on the tip or baffle or not.

So, I take it from the rest of your post that the only influence baffle shape is likely to have is if it tends to collect saliva or condensate and that by itself the baffle won't cause the noise? That it most likely is caused somewhere in the curve?

Karl

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-06-05 17:12

Karl - you should go to Merlin Petroff!! He's not that far and is tremendous to fix what Mouthpiece problem ails ya.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2019-06-06 16:05

I would not rule out baffle shape but I doubt it.

Have you tried trouble shooting with another player? Swap mouthpieces, reeds, etc. See if the problem stays with the player, mouthpiece, or what.

I think some embouchures and air streams may be more/less clear sounding.

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

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-06 16:30

Mojo wrote:

> I think some embouchures and air streams may be more/less clear
> sounding.
>

That's an interesting proposition. But since my experience is that some mouthpieces are noisy and some not, then it should follow that something in the mouthpieces must be different and could be adjusted.

I haven't had a chance to sit down with a larger variety of feelers to compare some of these curves in more detail. I may find my own answer once I have time to do that.

Thanks!

Karl

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 Re: Frying eggs
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2019-06-07 16:45

True, there is something in some of your mouthpieces that does make them work OK for you. But there may also be a different way of playing that makes them all work for you. Parameter interaction.

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

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