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 Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2021-01-15 05:07

Through my use of the "search" function, I found out that the CWF is "very free blowing" and in another response which was directed to me, the responder stated that his Fobes CF was "particularly free flowing".

So, to those who have tried or played both, what's the real difference between the two? The ease of playing sounds pretty much identical.

Is it basically a difference in tonal timbre?



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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-15 07:19

The specifications of the two in terms of its facing length and opening are almost identical. The CF is listed as having a tip opening of .96mm (just a hair under 1mm) and a length of 17mm. The CWF has the same tip opening and a slightly longer lay of 17.5mm. If you were to use the same reed moving to the CWF the only difference would be that the reed would play slightly "lighter" in strength. Take a wooden ruler and hold it firmly against a desk with 9 inches hanging freely off the edge of the desk. Strum the ruler and quickly pull it in two inches. You'll HEAR the tone go up (it vibrates faster as the free length gets shorter.......same for reeds). Ideally you would ever so slightly want to take in a little (imperceptibly so) more mouthpiece with the CWF.



I was just discussing free blowing vs not free blowing with Brad Behn and I have come to the conclusion (for myself that is) that there really is no such thing. It really depends on HOW you play the mouthpiece (amount you take in and your embouchure "energy" vs the amount of air at any given moment) as well as the reed strength that determines how easy or difficult the process is. So I came to the conclusion that there is no such designation for mouthpieces in and of themselves.







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



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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2021-01-15 08:08

Paul,

You may come to the conclusion that there "really is no such thing" as "free blowing", however if you'll go to Brad Behn's Website, "Free Blowing" is mentioned in his ads for his Zinners, his SONO mouthpieces, and as for his Epic line, I quote from his EPIC G+4 (Large Chamber) mouthpiece ad: "It is a great option for players seeking a slightly freer blowing alternative."

So, with all due respect, I choose to accept Brad Behn's assertion that "Free Blowing" does exist.

I appreciate your response, however, as I stated in the beginning, I was looking for comments from those who actually tried or played both of Fobes CWF and CF mouthpieces for personal, yet subjective, opinions.





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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-01-15 08:12

There are some subtle differences in baffle and facing. In the particular models I played, I found that the CWF was a bit rounder or warmer, while the typical CF or CF+ seemed to be a bit crisper and perhaps a hair more focussed with my reeds and playing style. I also found the CF or CF+ to be ever so slightly more free and responsive.

Both are excellent and are pretty close in concept. The differences are fairly subtle. Of course, these were my experiences with the particular mouthpieces I played. You might find different results.

I would suggest that the best bet is to try to play both and also consider talking with Clark for his thoughts.

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-15 12:51

I have just acquired a wonderful new mouthpiece from Brad Behn and I have three of Clark Fobes' mouthpieces..........all of which are "free blowing" or "not free blowing" depending on how I play them (two customized C12s and a straight up CF+, blue version from Wesley Rice).



I think I inartfully trying to say that the designator "free blowing" is about as helpful as saying, "dark" or "bright" or most of those common words we use to market mouthpieces. For myself, I have found BASIC dimensions of facing that get me in the ballpark of what works for me, then try out OTHER differences offered by other makers (or other styles within a maker's opus) to assess what those differences offer to ME and how I play (sometimes this can get expensive for just foolin' around).


An audio engineering instructor once told me that talking about how something "sounds" is like dancing about architecture. So the best advice for mouthpieces is to try them and find out whether the subtle differences are better or worse for how you play.



One other example:


For ME, really thick rails make a mouthpiece less........"free blowing" and make the sound stuffy and unresponsive. Quite a few years ago now (probably not available anywhere now) there was a Vandoren video of a top Italian clarinet player making the most beautiful, responsive, crisp sounds on a Vandoren M30. I would have said that sounding like that on an M30 was impossible until I heard that fellow play like that. But don't tell him his mouthpiece was not "free blowing."





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



Post Edited (2021-01-15 15:17)

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-15 12:52

double post............sorry



Post Edited (2021-01-15 12:53)

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-01-15 19:26

I have a few mouthpieces sitting in my drawer, including a couple of pre-10K versions (CF, CF+ and CWF) and a couple of 10K CFs. I think they're all what I would call "free blowing" with differences depending, as Paul has suggested, on the reed I test them with.

But, if you're talking about his new, post-Zinner (10K) mouthpieces, I don't see anything on Clark's website that confirms they will have the same characteristics as before Zinner closed. The page for CWF 10K (soprano) mouthpieces shows three different tip openings: C (0.95mm), W (1.00mm) and F (1.05mm). That's not what the original CWF Zinner mouthpieces were. There is a separate page for a CWF (non-10K) that Clark says still uses a Zinner A blank, which is in limited supply, since Zinner is no longer making the blanks. Clark's facing chart shows that its facing has a curve (17.5mm) a half-mm longer than the CF (17mm) and the same (quite close) tip opening (0.96mm). In theory the longer curve should give more freedom, but a half-millimeter on a hand-faced mouthpiece could be within a typical range of variation for a good refacer.

So, comparisons may depend on which CWF and CF mouthpieces you're comparing or even which specific examples of each mouthpiece you have available to test. It still comes down to trying individual specimens and choosing the one you prefer.

Karl

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-01-15 23:43

The reason I bought the 10k was to see how close it is to the Zinner. My impression is that you cannot even tell the difference either visually or playing wise (in my case.....aside from the color that is).





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



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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2021-01-15 23:49

I also think that "free-blowing" is meaningless.

You could say that "free-blowing" is the opposite of "resistant", but the term is used to describe everything completely indiscriminately. It's basically the same as "comfortable", "easy", "magic", or "buy me". Everyone wants playing to be effortless, but it's not.

Better terms would be "more/less resistant", "flexible/stable". Regardless of the reed used some pieces tend to one or the other.

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-01-16 01:13

Perhaps old habits die hard, but I use the term free blowing. To me, it does have a specific meaning. I would say that it refers to the amount of resistance that seems to be built in to the general character of a mouthpiece.

There are various mouthpieces that I have tried that have a built in resistance no matter what style or strength reed I use. Some like that quality and like having something to blow against. That kind of set up seems to require a bit more air pressure or as is often described, back pressure.

There is a certain amount of resistance needed. If a mouthpiece does not have some amount of that hold it can be hard to control. I tend to like the feel of something with a little more "freedom". Those pieces have less back pressure and the air seems to flow more easily. I find that kind of set up to work for me in a variety of settings. I can adjust the reed to alter the feel.

Yes, there are many terms out there that are meaningless, but this is a term that works for me. If others choose not to use it or believe in it, that is fine too.



Post Edited (2021-01-16 01:16)

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-01-16 03:43

Ed wrote:

> Perhaps old habits die hard, but I use the term free blowing.
> To me, it does have a specific meaning. I would say that it
> refers to the amount of resistance that seems to be built in to
> the general character of a mouthpiece.
>
The issue, though, isn't whether or not a term is "useful to [you]." If it isn't generally useful - understood by the people you're describing the mouthpiece (instrument, reed or anything else musical or not) to, if it isn't meaningful to *them*, it's not much use as communication. It's the same problem as "bright" and "dark," which we hash over regularly ad nauseum.

> There are various mouthpieces that I have tried that have a
> built in resistance no matter what style or strength reed I
> use....

But if you need to explain all of that whenever you use the term, it's not an effective term. If you're having a discussion with a group of other people who have all been initiated into and agree on its meaning, you're on solid ground. Otherwise, you need to do some explaining each time you use it.

> Yes, there are many terms out there that are meaningless, but
> this is a term that works for me.

So, it's a good term for you to use, perhaps, when talking to yourself. Or to others who share your understanding.

> If others choose not to use
> it or believe in it, that is fine too.

It's not a question of choosing not to use it. Rather, it's a question of whether or not the people you're discussing (in this case) a mouthpiece with understand what you're saying.

I understand (from my own playing experience) your expanded explanation of blowing resistance and back pressure and even "hold." But I don't know without that kind of explanation what a person means by "free-blowing" - for instance whether it's the opposite of "pushing back" or of "stuffy." Does it allow the player to blow more air into it without interference, or does it allow control with minimal air and effort? Does "free-blowing" imply ease or compliance?

Shorthand can only communicate when everyone understands it.

Karl



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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2021-01-16 03:52

Good grief! What have I started here?!

First of all, I didn’t realize it at the time when I titled my original posting, that there were four (4) different versions of Clark’s CWF clarinet mouthpiece! The 10K CWF actually has three (3) different versions. I didn’t know that. There is the “C” version (0.95 @ 32); the “W” version (1.00mm @ 34); and the “F” version (1.05mm @ 36) and none of these use the Zinner “A” blank. The 4th one is simply labeled: “CWF Bb clarinet mouthpiece" which uses the Zinner “A” blank, and, even though the tip opening and facing are not listed on the pictured page, I feel assured that it is as listed in the Facing Chart as 0.96mm @ 34.5.

So, if I could start this thread all over again, I would have stated “Fobes Zinner CWF vs the CF” because the “CF” is listed on Clark’s page as “San Francisco Bb clarinet mouthpiece” and is crafted from the Zinner “A” blank.

Well, what can I say other than I learned a lot!

Now, as to “Free Blowing”, I have seen this phrase in so many ads and BB responses. Actually, at this time, I’m beginning to sense that Matt74’s analysis is absolutely correct. No clarinet mouthpiece is truly “Free Blowing”. All of them have at least a little resistance or back pressure.

After reviewing all of the above, what I believe I’m looking for is a clarinet mouthpiece with a medium facing of 34 that has the least resistance or back pressure to produce a tone. My dystonia muscles make a 32, a 36 and a 38 facing too strenuous for me to form my embouchure. And, as far as air blowing strength, I know I have the strength, however, my dystonia muscles are so easily overwhelmed that self-contraction is an absolute certainty.

Hmm...maybe, because I’ll turn 74 next month, I should just turn to golf and hit a little white ball into a cup. Oh, yeah, I forgot...when I bend over to pick up the ball...I can’t get back up again! (Nuts to growing older!) LOL

Edit: A correction needs to be made. The Fobes San Francisco Blue mouthpiece comes in numerous versions, one which is the CF version.



Post Edited (2021-01-16 08:59)

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: mihalis 
Date:   2021-01-16 08:30

Dan Shusta wrote:

> Good grief! What have I started here?!
>
> First of all, I didn’t realize it at the time when I titled
> my original posting, that there were four (4) different
> versions of Clark’s CWF clarinet mouthpiece! The 10K
> CWF
actually has three (3) different versions. I didn’t
> know that. There is the “C” version (0.95 @ 32); the
> “W” version (1.00mm @ 34); and the “F” version (1.05mm
> @ 36) and none of these use the Zinner “A” blank. The 4th
> one is simply labeled: “CWF Bb clarinet mouthpiece" which
> uses the Zinner “A” blank, and, even though the tip opening
> and facing are not listed on the pictured page, I feel assured
> that it is as listed in the Facing Chart as 0.96mm @ 34.5.
>
> So, if I could start this thread all over again, I would have
> stated “Fobes Zinner CWF vs the CF” because the “CF” is
> listed on Clark’s page as “San Francisco Bb clarinet
> mouthpiece” and is crafted from the Zinner “A” blank.
>
> Well, what can I say other than I learned a lot!
>
> Now, as to “Free Blowing”, I have seen this phrase in so
> many ads and BB responses. Actually, at this time, I’m
> beginning to sense that Matt74’s analysis is absolutely
> correct. No clarinet mouthpiece is truly “Free Blowing”.
> All of them have at least a little resistance or back pressure.
>
>
> After reviewing all of the above, what I believe I’m looking
> for is a clarinet mouthpiece with a medium facing of 34 that
> has the least resistance or back pressure to produce a tone. My
> dystonia muscles make a 32, a 36 and a 38 facing too strenuous
> for me to form my embouchure. And, as far as air blowing
> strength, I know I have the strength, however, my dystonia
> muscles are so easily overwhelmed that self-contraction is an
> absolute certainty.
>
> Hmm...maybe, because I’ll turn 74 next month, I should just
> turn to golf and hit a little white ball into a cup. Oh, yeah,
> I forgot...when I bend over to pick up the ball...I can’t get
> back up again! (Nuts to growing older!) LOL
>

Join the club. I am turning 76 this month.As for a freeblowing mouthpiece
I am using a Grabner K14 with 2.5 Vandoren Traditional reed, and very happy
about it.

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-01-16 19:09

Dan Shusta wrote:


> After reviewing all of the above, what I believe I’m looking
> for is a clarinet mouthpiece with a medium facing of 34 that
> has the least resistance or back pressure to produce a tone. My
> dystonia muscles make a 32, a 36 and a 38 facing too strenuous
> for me to form my embouchure. And, as far as air blowing
> strength, I know I have the strength, however, my dystonia
> muscles are so easily overwhelmed that self-contraction is an
> absolute certainty.
>

Dan, I understand a little better now what you're specifically after.

I'm not sure what you mean by 32, 36 and 38 facings, but I assume you mean the curve lengths as measured with a Brand gauge - translating to 16, 18 and 19 mm from tip to separation point. The shorter the curve, in general (at least in theory) the more pushback you're likely to get (the vibrating part of the reed is a shorter lever, needing more effort to move it). The one you leave out - 34 (or 17 mm) - is, fortunately, a pretty standard length, so there are many mouthpiece with that dimension. The chamber size will also affect push-back, but few mouthpiece ads quantify that. Sometimes they mention small, medium and large chambers or high and deep baffles, but I've never seen actual numbers describing the chamber volume (e.g. in cc/ml).

Getting back to your original question about CF vs CWF, I don't think you'll find a meaningful difference in the way either affects your embouchure endurance because of your dystonia. I hear a slight difference in timbre, which I won't try to describe because it's very subtle and probably not audible to a listener. They're both very easy to play. I'm basing my comments on one 10K CF and one older Zinner CWF. You'd be best off getting one of each on approval and judging for yourself. According to his website Clark Fobes isn't apparently extending his approval policy to the Zinner-based CWF model (the 10K C, F or W would be included), but maybe because of your specific concern you could negotiate that with him - he's very reasonable and helpful. Maybe just contact him and ask his opinion.


> Hmm...maybe, because I’ll turn 74 next month, I should just
> turn to golf and hit a little white ball into a cup. Oh, yeah,
> I forgot...when I bend over to pick up the ball...I can’t get
> back up again! (Nuts to growing older!) LOL
>

Not to mention the pain as you rotate in the follow-through.

Karl

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-01-17 03:28

Quote:

The issue, though, isn't whether or not a term is "useful to [you]." If it isn't generally useful - understood by the people you're describing the mouthpiece (instrument, reed or anything else musical or not) to, if it isn't meaningful to *them*, it's not much use as communication........... if you need to explain all of that whenever you use the term, it's not an effective term. .......Otherwise, you need to do some explaining each time you use it.


No problem. I will be happy to clarify it when I use it! FWIW-Over a lifetime of playing, many players, teachers, mouthpiece makers, repair techs I have known use the term and I never recall a major issue.

There are countless terms specific to clarinet or other specialized pursuits which use certain vocabulary. We could find many threads here which contain terms or words that may not be commonly understood or interpreted the same way by all people. Through discussion we can develop a common understanding and vocabulary.

Maybe we should create a woodwind.org glossary! (or perhaps a decoder ring!!)

Quote:

So, it's a good term for you to use, perhaps, when talking to yourself.


I try not to talk to myself because people might think I was crazy.



Post Edited (2021-01-17 03:30)

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 Re: Fobes CWF vs CF
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2021-01-18 01:00

I have both a Zinner CF and a Zinner CWF in my drawer. I got both on trial to replace the Zinner-blank Hawkins I'd played when I got my Bachelor's degree and at the end of the trial period, knew that I wanted one of them but couldn't decide which. So I kept both.

For me, both have the lower-resistance feeling that I associate with Clark's mouthpieces. Both feel "efficient" to me, in terms of usable volume produced for the amount of perceived "work" compared to something like a Vandoren, for example. Both have the clarity and absolute lack of stuffiness that I associate with Clark's work as well.

The differences that it came down to for me were in tone and articulation. The CF won out on tone by a fair bit for me, since the one I have feels more colorful and textured where the CWF was darker and rounder. Some friends who have played my CF find it too bright for their tastes, but when I play it, they have no problem with my tone. Personal preference, of course. My CF has noticeably more material in the baffle area behind the tip than the CWF. This may vary slightly from mouthpiece to mouthpiece, since they are handmade. Whatever you want to call it, the CF has more going on in the high mids and highs, which may or may not be what you want.

The CWF allows me to articulate my staccato the most cleanly of any mouthpiece I've ever used. I won't speculate too much about why, since I don't know, but something about it just works remarkably well for me, someone who has always had to concentrate a bit to get staccato to be light and accurate. Not that the CF holds me back, but the CWF made me feel like my articulation was better than it is, which I have never experienced with any other mouthpiece.

Ultimately, the more colorful tone and still-very-good articulation of the CF won out for me. That colorful sound really floated my boat, particularly in the lower clarion, which I sometimes find a bit hard to do much with, since I don't find those notes to be terribly flexible, tone-wise. Higher and lower on the instrument, I can vary the color a lot more, so if the tone is veering a bit bright, it's no trouble to scale that back a bit with voicing, but if the lower clarion, especially B, C# and C, are dull, I have a hard time doing much there.

I played the CF as my do-everything mouthpiece for a few years, playing classical, jazz and experimental music. I still quite enjoy it. A couple of years ago I went through a period of embouchure and voicing changes that resulted in a mouthpiece hunt that ended on a closed-facing Behn Sono because I prefer the somewhat higher resistance that it offers while still maintaining a similar feeling of highly subjective "efficiency." That mouthpiece occupies a similar position to the CF on the brighter/more colorful side of the still-classically-acceptable tonal spectrum. With appropriate reeds matched, I sound about the same on either after about ten minutes, but the Behn makes it a bit more physically comfortable for me to accomplish what I want.

In conclusion, it's likely that none of this will have any bearing on your experience and you'll have to try them yourself.

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