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 Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: johnwesley 
Date:   2021-09-13 00:18

Prices for Chedville MPCs are through the roof. I can't pay that price so haven't had the opportunity to try one. For those who have, can you explain the fascination with them? What makes them so good?

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-13 01:44

They are great mpcs. I own their #2 SAV ($189), which is architecturally and performance-wise identical to respective Umbra ($350), but costs only about half as much.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-13 04:27

Regarding the Umbra's claim about superiority of their snake-oiled "proprietary hard rubber", vs SAV's "industry standard" hard rubber, NB this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkZubyCX5TE

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: donald 
Date:   2021-09-13 04:33

I think the OP was asking about the original Chedeville mouthpieces, not the modern ones using the "brand".

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-13 04:52

IMHO, "the original Chedeville mouthpieces" are just another myth. Likewise "the original" Morre reeds, "the original" Selmer-Mark-VI saxes, etc.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-09-13 05:57

If "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" then the Chedeville mouthpieces of the 1920s and 30s are the most flattered in the clarinet industry. More mouthpiece techs and companies have tried to copy some model of Chedeville mouthpiece than any other brand. This is no myth but rather a procedure repeated generation after generation. Both Frank Kaspars preferred to use Chedeville blanks in their own famous mouthpieces. Just a few mouthpiece makers who have openly tried to copy cheds are Otto Link (for Gigliotti), Iggy Genusa (and Ben Redwine), Jim Pyne, Paul Durksmeyer, Vandoren (in their M13, M13 lyre, and M15) with the help of Donald Montanaro), Brad Behn (Vintage model and the later Epic), Walter Grabner, Dan Johnston, Michael Lomax, Greg Smith, Chris Hill and Guy Chadish, RetroRevival, Ramon Wodkowski (in his Philadelphia Model), Charles Bay, Omar Henderson, and most recently Jody Espina in his Chedeville Elite and Umbra models. Anyone willing to do the investigative reporting on this can check historical records for all these makers and easily verify that at one time or another, they openly advertised clarinet mouthpieces that were "of Chedeville design" or "inspired by Chedeville," or a "creative interpretation of Chedeville." The fact that all these mouthpiece producers bothered to attempt an emulation of Henri and Charles Chedeville pieces in itself makes the Ched name a big deal. They would not have bothered except that the market contained clarinetists who would be attracted to mouthpieces somehow having claim to the Chedeville lineage.

The reputation of the Chedevilles in America was partly established by a generation of clarinetists that included Ralph McLane, Ignatius Genusa, Anthony Gigliotti, and Harold Wright. They all preferred Chedevilles to other mouthpiece brands and tried to pass on that estimate to their students, many of whom spend long hours canvassing pawn shops and collectors' attics, in search of old Henri and Charles Chedeville mouthpieces.
One contemporary mouthpiece maker who has delved deeply in the Chedeville history and lore is Ramon Wodkowski. His Facebook entries and webpage entries provide considerable information on who the Chedevilles were, and their possible connection to other famous names in the clarinet world such as
A. Lelandais, Alexander Robert, Henri LeRoy, Bettoney, and Eugene Bercioux, that makes for fascinating reading.



Post Edited (2021-09-14 07:43)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-13 22:50

How close (or far) do distinct said Chedeville 'copies' resemble "the most flattered [...] Chedeville mouthpieces of the 1920s and 30s"?

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: Chris Sereque 
Date:   2021-09-13 23:01

I have an Artistic Facing CC mouthpiece, and the rubber formulation is different from modern mouthpieces. The rubber stinks when you work on it, probably because of the high sulphur content. Anyhow, the sound is very resonant-to some it might seem bright, but it has a clarity and focus that is hard to duplicate with modern materials.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-13 23:16

Can you prove in a scientific manner (ie, geometrical apples-to-apples) that "the sound is very resonant-to some it might seem bright, but it has a clarity and focus that is hard to duplicate with modern materials" because of the "high sulphur content" "stink[...]" "rubber formulation [which] is different from modern mouthpieces"?

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-09-14 00:15

The mouthpiece techs and brands I mentioned were (are) capable, honest workers trying to either copy a particular Ched mouthpiece or creatively produce their own interpretation of the Cheds they have examined and played. But the results vary for the following reasons:

In the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, Charles and Henri Chedeville were not consistent either in the design or execution of mouthpieces. Even the enthusiastic Ched players might have a drawer full of Cheds that were mediocre or just didn't work for them. The lights went on, though, when they got a good one.

Let's examine this more closely: If 6 great Ched advocates, say Harold Wright, Robert Genovese, Donald Montanaro, Ignatius Gennusa, Anthony Gigioltti, and Ralph McLane put their favorite Cheds on the table for inspection, you would have not 6 copies of a single Ur-Ched model but rather 6 different mouthpieces, handcrafted and in many respects dissimilar. One might have a narrow H-shaped tone chamber, the other a medium A-frame chamber and another a squat, squarish chamber, and another a chamber with slightly curved side walls. Each player has a "good" Ched but different measurably from the others. So the term "Chedeville from the 20s and 30s does not refer to some immutable ideal set of internal measurements or external rail and table measurements. It simply refers to mouthpieces made (preferably by Henri Chedeville in Philadelphia) on Charles Chedeville blanks from France. Did Charles Ched have access to a rubber blend that gave the mouthpiece greater stability, held facing measurements longer, and even encouraged the production of more overtones? Hill and Chadash, Brad Behn, and Omar Henderson as well as Jody Espina believe the rubber mattered and still matters today. Even if internal molecular structure of the rubber walls does not alter the sound, it is still possible that the molecular layer of the rubber on the inside SURFACE of the tone chamber and bore in contact with the air somehow shapes the sound.

But since there is no ONE model for an authentic Ched mouthpiece from the 20s and 30s, any tech who wants to either copy or interpret a particular Ched from that period is, I suppose, entitled to do so. Possibly the most copied Ched is Harold Wright's. But Wright had more than one Ched, so which one are you going copy or "interpret"? And unless you have access to the Wright Ched that is purportedly copied or interpreted, how can you judge how well the thing has been done? I have played an HW model by Dan Johnston, two different Harold Wright models by Ridenour, the HW and the Wright Homage (both very different from each other), a recent attempt by Michael Drapkin to apply measurements from the notebooks of Everett Matson (Wright's favorite tech) to a Behn Prescott mouthpiece, and I'm presently awaiting an HW mouthpiece from an inspired Canadian designer to try. All of these play differently. Finally, the only thing I can know is how I sound on the mouthpiece and whether I like it or not. None of them ever make me sound like Harold Wright, but some of them help me sound good--and that is enough for me.

I'm not going to march into Jody Espina's office in Savannah holding one of his Ched Elite mouthpieces in hand and demand to try "the original on which this is based." He owns the original and let him have it. I am content to try the copy to see if I like it. And the darker version, the UMBRA Chedeville, is not a copy at all; it is a response to a clarinetist's request to make a darker version of the Elite. That seems fine with me too; it is in the Chedeville spirit of trying different things out from day to day. All I want to know is how they play.



Post Edited (2021-09-14 05:26)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 00:24

I guess this validates my assertion about the original Ched mythology. Ditto for the original Morre reeds, the original Selmer Mark VI saxes, the original ______ (fill in the blanks - whatevers).

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-09-14 02:49

Yes, I agree with Seabreeze that there were changes over time, sometimes due to requests of a player, changes in material, changes to the goals of the maker, etc , etc. Sometimes those mouthpieces wore or were adjusted over time making it a little tricky to measure some. Some modern makers make adjustments to meet the changes in the demands that they feel a contemporary player will find.

While there are differences, there is also a similarity that unifies these vintage mouthpieces. It is the same if one were to compare Buffet clarinets over the years of the R13. While there have been changes, there is also similarity as compared to other makes and models.

One could say the same of Martin Guitars, Ukuleles or other instruments. Builds changed some over time, due to quality and availability of wood and slight variances in build. You would find that with any hand made product. But, there is a certain quality they share despite the differences.

Like many, I often doubted the special aspects of these mouthpieces, I will say that when I have had the opportunity to play them, I immediately get it. There is a special quality to the tone, depth and response unlike other mouthpieces I have played, especially modern ones.

FWIW- since it was mentioned, I have found the same with Mark VI saxes. That is not to say that there are not other great instruments out there, but they do have a special sound. Yes, it is not all about the equipment but there is equipment out there that can help achieve a certain voice.



Post Edited (2021-09-14 03:17)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 03:38

If the original Chedevilles were that good, why have they been so extensively modified?

Ditto for Morre reeds & MkVI horns?

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-09-14 04:00

You can ask why did players 100 or so years ago modify the old Amati or Stradivari violins? Why are those instruments different from each other? Why do sax players open up the facing of mouthpieces from the 40s?

Tastes change and the demands on the player change over time

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 05:10

If the modified violins are built 200 years after respective originals, can they still be called Strad, Amati, Guarneri?

Ditto for Ched mpcs?

If yes, than my initial reply to John is correct, as is my assertion about the mythically overrated originals.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: Hank Lehrer 
Date:   2021-09-14 05:40

Farabout,

Hold on a minute, please!

I'm a little confused by your use of the words "prove" and "validate" in the threads above. In scientific research, one does not prove anything; we begin with a hypothesis (research or null) then collect data that does or does not support that hypothesis. But there is always a chance for a Type I or Type II error.

Consideration for the confidence interval and sample size is a must.

HRL

PS "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan



Post Edited (2021-09-14 18:34)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-09-14 05:53

Ed and Hank are making a valid point. One cannot conclude that the Cheds players raved about were "overrated" and "mythical" without 1) trying their favorite Cheds and 2) listening to others play them. Since Cheds from the 20s and 30s are rare and expensive (especially those marked simply "H. Chedeville,") Farabout would have to go to considerable trouble and great expense to gather an assortment to try. This is the only EVIDENCE that a clarinetist would consider admissible. Everything else is hearsay. (Even then, of course, time and chance may have changed the way they play.)

Remember, the players were never raving about Cheds in the drawer that that they didn't play. And the later Cheds of the 40s and 50s probably need to be considered separately. They were mostly raving about their favorite Cheds from the earlier days when Henri himself was finishing them and that they often played exclusively. If you don't have those Cheds to test, the case has to be thrown out of court for lack of evidence. All you can say with assurance is "I don't know if they were any good," but "lots of mouthpiece makers thought they were and worth copying or serving as inspiration." (And many still do).



Post Edited (2021-09-14 07:14)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-09-14 06:51

farabout wrote:

> If the modified violins are built 200 years after respective
> originals, can they still be called Strad, Amati, Guarneri?

They aren't, if you mean copies. The labels, which often have one of those classic makers' names in larger letters, say "Copy of" in smaller type. If you mean the modified originals themselves, the instrument still traces its lineage back to the original shop and maker regardless of what anyone has done to them since.

I'm not sure what your point is.

>
> Ditto for Ched mpcs?
>

Makers up until recently have described their copies as just that, or "inspired by..." or some such formulation, except for the current holder of the legal rights to the Chedeville trademark. More recently my understanding is that a threat of lawsuits has prevented any reference to the name Chedeville by other mouthpiece makers.

> If yes, than my initial reply to John is correct, as is my
> assertion about the mythically overrated originals.

I'm not sure why it matters that your opinion is that they're overrated or that their qualities are mythical (or why you're trying so hard to win an argument that is essentially not winnable) any more than it really matters that other players consider (and historically have considered) them to have been God's gift to the world. In the end everyone chooses the equipment they find most useful and helpful to their playing.

Karl

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: johnwesley 
Date:   2021-09-14 09:37

Thanks for all the comments. Certainly not my intention to start "arguments". Pretty much what I thought. Chedeville's are like all MPCs, and clarinets. If you like what they do, then they're good. Personally, I love playing Pomarico crystals and grenadilla wooden MPCs but haven't like hard rubber ones. At least I haven't found one that suits me, and can't afford a Chedeville but would love to ty one someday.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: jack 
Date:   2021-09-14 10:06

Dear farabout,

Have you play tested an earlier MK VI alto (or The Martin Alto) compared to a late model Yamaha Custom Alto? If not, your opinion is just opinion. If you have compared them against each other and could not understand the difference in character and timbre, then you are not qualified to speak on this subject.



Post Edited (2021-09-14 10:08)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 16:33

I played earlier MkVI soprano and subsequent Selmer models: the former one can't hold a candle.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 23:00

You've got it John.

Anyway, back to your original Q: "Prices for Chedville MPCs are through the roof. [...] can you explain the fascination with them? What makes them so good?"

If said Q is about the "original"/ancient/antique/sulphur-smelling/laudator-temporis-acti Chedevilles, then an irrefutable answer is: a demand/supply ratio trend. Whether a nominator of said function is rational, is entirely another issue.

With my personal compliments to all "authentic"-Ched mpc (and ipso facto MkVI saxes and Morre reeds) gurus.



Post Edited (2021-09-14 23:04)

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: jack 
Date:   2021-09-14 23:24

farabout

So you didn't play a MK VI alto or tenor. So u r in no position to comment on this other then "opinion". (I admire your honesty in verifying you haven't tried these models, even though it renders your opinion useless).

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: farabout 
Date:   2021-09-14 23:31

Au contraire, I did play tenor & alto MkVI. And both were inferior to Super Action models in ALL respects, including but not limited to intonation, timbre, key action, ergonomics.

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 Re: Chedville. What's the big deal?
Author: jack 
Date:   2021-09-15 04:25

Sorry I stated you did not try MK VI alto or tenor, but this is what you inferred in your comment on MK VI soprano.

The timbre and weight of the tone is much different on 50's MK VI (and including The Martin Alto-tenor, certain Conns, etc) compared to the later models you must prefer. This sound is the sound of the big bands and the swing era. considering that this is the sound the legends (Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, etc) and routine players as well strove for and established genius careers playing on, I give all due credit to these original instruments and am in full accord with crediting them their legendary (not mythical) status.

You make the point that currently produced instruments are better ergonomically (true for Yamaha Custom for instance) although some well regarded brands are not much better ergonomically, if at all and some are worse. But that is not the point at all. It's the music they made and the tools used to produce that sound. Can you imagine Ben Webster producing the squawky sound that is so popular today? On clarinet, for instance, some players use Albert system simply because they want the early thick New Orleans sound (think Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Edmond Hall - simply can't get that sound on a modern, technically advanced clarinet. Artie Shaw got a sound on his Conn 444N that nobody has yet duplicated. So these instruments also deserve legendary status although not in favor today).

Martin Frost has lately recorded on newly constructed period instruments to get a certain sound he wants.

A 30's Alfa Romeo auto is legendary because it was among the pinnacle of racing cars in it's day and helped establish the careers of legendary drivers, not because it can outperform a current Ferrari. The legendary horns are legendary for the same reason, but also because that in the hands of those looking to produce the legendary sound of their era - they easily outperform currently produced instruments.



Post Edited (2021-09-15 04:28)

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