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 Chedeville SAV, Elite, and Umbra Mouthpiece Inquiry
Author: Hy-Dex 
Date:   2021-11-07 19:57

To those who use or have play-tested the Chedeville SAV, Elite, and Umbra mouthpieces, please share your experiences and observations. I am particularly interested in learning about your impressions of the SAV concerning tone quality and color, response, intonation, articulation, and resistance. And, for those who prefer the SAV or Umbra, what make and model of instrument do you play? Thank you.


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 Re: Chedeville SAV, Elite, and Umbra Mouthpiece Inquiry
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-11-07 20:42

Judges in clarinet contests have remarked on how variable the response of mouthpieces to players can be. A judge may guess that a player producing a mellow, covered tone is using a Vandoren BD5 or a Kickmeier and then discover they are actually playing a Vandoren 5RV or an M15! The player's physiology and tonal concept are more important than the mouthpiece in determining the actual results. So the best that can be said of mouthpieces is that they have certain tendencies and those tendencies can be accentuated or opposed by the player in both conscious and unconscious ways. In the end, the player, not the mouthpiece, makes the sound. But they will make that sound more easily on some mouthpieces than others.

That said, one can generalize just so far about the Jody Espina Chedevlle line.
His own Youtube video (about the SAV but including the other two) gives a straightforward comparison of the differences. When I tried them--on a 1960 Buffet R13 #63058 clarinet, with a BG Tradition gold plated ligature and 3.5 Vandoren traditional reed--I got a different set of sounds (because I'm me, not him) but the basic characteristics of each model were essentially the same. The Chedeville Elite has the most vibrancy and strong higher partial overtone "ring" or "ping" to the sound, but it is not overly bright or harsh. The sound is tightly shaped and projecting, probably the closest of the three to the old Chedevilles of the 1920s and 30s. Articulation is sharp and precise but not hard sounding, and he overall effect is one of clarity and precision. The slightly more resistant Umbra has a more covered, darker response, mellower with more of the fundamental and lower partials in the sound but still well-shaped and well-projecting. Articulation is more muted but distinct. The Umbra is more of a modified or original design that does not closely resemble most old Chedevilles.
In line with its name, one might say the Umbra has a "shadowy," dusk-like quality. The SAV has a round, warm, and pleasant but shallower, less focused sound than the other two, tending towards the bland. (Caveat: I may be adding the blandness. I'm sure some players could get it to sparkle). All three were nicely finished with a very smooth appearance, and all three tuned and responded well. For me the Chedeville Elite is the best and most classic sounding of the three and the most malleable and flexible in sound. (I like lots of overtones in the sound so I can dampen some with my embouchure to get tonal variation. Unlike some players, I have trouble adding vibrancy to the sound, so very dark mouthpieces leave me in a corner tonally). These mouthpieces from Savannah, Georgia are high quality products that show attention to finish and detailing. I tried the closest facings I could find in all three--the F00 in the Umbra (0.95 mm), the F0 in the Elite (1.00 mm) , and the 1 in the SAV. As with any other mouthpiece, some players will want these tweaked and refaced by a favorite mouthpiece tech to come closest to their own performance ideals.

Post Edited (2021-11-08 20:19)

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