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 Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-01-08 14:11

Paul Aviles raised this question in another recent thread, which interests also me. As he wrote: "Can we have 34-37mm length facings on Boehm mouthpieces? And would that change the basic sound? For better? For worse?" (I made a new thread just to get the heading more in line with this specific question.)

For my part I "discovered" the former PlayEasy mouthpieces with Viennese facings just about two years ago, together with Reform Boehm clarinets. Before that I had played on both French and German mouthpieces on the same clarinets. Those Viennese mouthpieces gives me a lot more fullness to the sound compared to any other ones. In some wild experiments with these mouthpieces also on regular Boehm clarinets I've found out the same (though tuning have been problematic).

In this forum I've also seen a few others playing regular Boehm clarinets with Viennese mouthpieces (of course either the tenon of the mouthpiece or the socket of the barrel must be altered to suit each other dimensionally).

Thus I don't see why a very long facing couldn't be applied also on an otherwise regular Boehm mouthpiece. It would be very interesting to hear if some mouthpiece maker have tried that, and with what results.

At the same time I wonder what exactly gives the unique fullness in sound that I get from those Viennese PlayEasy mouthpieces, since I don't actually think it's only about the very long facings. When I tried out the former Vandoren Viennese mouthpieces (the VA0 and VA5, now replaced by the new W270 - which I've not tried) they didn't have that same kind of fullness in their sound at all, though the facings are very long. The Maxton Viennese ones that I've tried are closer to the PlayEasy ones, but still not a the same level (I've tried both acrylic and rubber ones).

The answer is probably that it's about the combination of the facing and other aspects of the design of the mouthpieces. Still I think that the very long facing itself is a crucial part of this equation. Perhaps even to the point that a very long facing would always add fullness to the tone, no matter how the mouthpiece is designed otherwise? A comment from a mouthpiece maker would be most welcomed. Brad, are you here?  :)

On the other hand and when it comes to the tip opening, I personally don't think that the typically very closed openings of most Viennese mouthpieces may be necessary. My PlayEasy A' mouthpieces have a larger than usual tip opening for a Viennese facing, and the blowing resistance is just a little, little bit higher compared to typical "non-Austrian" mouthpieces. The mouthpiece itself must however be taken a lot deeper into the mouth (by the way, in my experience also such French/German PlayNick mouthpieces as the former Solist M must be taken deeper into the mouth compared to other ones, but not as deep as the Viennese ones).

Generally speaking, I think there would always be a niche on the market for a mouthpiece with the most possible fullness in sound - also at the possible expence of some other aspects of the sound, such as projection, highest possible volume, variability in color, etc. If a very long facing is a prerequisite for that, I hope that at least some mouthpiece maker will take on that challenge, also on Boehm mouthpieces.



Post Edited (2019-01-09 11:59)

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-01-08 15:23

Whatever the other virtues/weaknesses of the Playnick mouthpieces, one thing he certainly has got right is an excellent relationship between the facing curve and the curve/shape of the baffle. This is a factor that tends to be a little hit or miss with most "handcrafted" mouthpieces (even from some respected makers) but Kuchmeier has an almost scientific formula and approach here that produces excellent results, and is probably more influential on the tone and response that the comparitive length of the facing. My 10c

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-08 17:56

Hmmmm.........



So, Donald, is there a meaningful way to describe the baffle/facing relationship of the Kuckmeier mouthpieces?





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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-01-08 21:05

Micke,

I feel a little better asking this because in another thread, Michelle Zukowsky mentioned having the same experience with, I think, 15 different Playnicks. I have an A and an M Boehm model, and they are both massively restrictive. I can't get much of a sound out of them at all. These are not Vienna facings, but still, it's hard to imagine that just a different facing would be a big enough change to make them playable for me, though maybe it is. There are people who like these, so they must have found ways of getting a good, solid, projecting sound with them. Is there some kind of playing technique, or reed model and strength combination, that gets around them being really, really stuffy?

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-08 21:24

I believe Micke above states that he is having success with the PlayNicks over and above other brands.



Michelle Zukowsky bluntly stated that she found none of the large number she tried worked for her.




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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2019-01-08 21:53

Mouthpiece length influences the type of reed a player will prefer. The baffle shapes the resistance and response envelope.

So if you like long facings, you probably will need reeds which are thicker (have more wood) in the back 2/3 of the vamp (think V12 as apposed to blue box). German reeds are more shingle shaped and narrower making for a snappier response, with lots of room to play, however they too like longer facings as German reeds are typically made with shorter vamps and more wood in the back 2/3 of the cut.

Regarding baffles, a deeper baffle is intrinsically more resistant as the reflective surface is farther away from the reed. But oftentimes deeper baffles are contoured with a gentle rollover near the tip bringing more tonal center and free blowing characteristics back into the fold.

Broader tone can be the result of a facing's architecture. That is to say that if a facing is a radius, the larger the radius, the flatter the curve, the broader the tone...more Ahh vowel shape to the sound. And the smaller facing radius, the tighter the curve, the more resistant the playing experience, the brighter the sound, the more Eee the vowel shape to the tone.

So most German and Austrian facings are long and designed with a larger arc to the facing's geometry, whereas French facings are shorter and designed with a smaller, tighter facing geometry. All that said, French facings require lighter reeds to feel good, as compared to German and Austrian.

Germans play lighter setups then Austrian, and French are all over the map.

Brad Behn
http://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2019-01-08 22:52

When Michele Zukovsky had just switched to here Wurlitzer Oehler clarinets, she came down to the San Diego Clarinet Society (of which I was then the president) and gave a talk on her experience. One thing I remember her saying was that the whole resistance concept was different for the Oehler instruments than for our common Boehm instruments. Whereas we tend to have resistant mouthpieces and non-resistant clarinets, the opposite was true for the German (or Viennese) instrument: the clarinet provides the resistance and the mouthpiece/reed has relatively little resistance. (If so, this would explain why she might say that the high-resistance PlayEasy mouthpieces don't work on Oehler instruments. This also seems consistent with comments that Germans use relatively softer reeds) I also recall her saying that this was the reason that Oehler clarinets needed to be replaced periodically as their resistance would diminish over time.

To me this sounds a little like the "acoustic suspension speaker" concept where the air in an enclosed cabinet provides (a significant part of) the "spring" required in a speaker.

My attempts to get a German/Viennese sound on a Boehm clarinet by using heavier reeds generally result in more work and poorer response. However, I think I actually get my best results when using a (softer) reed whose design/stiffness matches the mouthpiece in such a way that I can (begin to) feel whatever resistance the clarinet has. In this way one might get an approximation of the Oehler "acoustic suspension" effect on a Boehm instrument.

I have to wonder whether a (low resistance) German/Viennese mouthpiece/reed combination would really be helpful when used with a low-resistance Boehm clarinet. I would imagine this to be a very free-blowing combination--perhaps too much so. Perhaps a more resistant instrument like a Selmer Signature or Recital(?) might be a better match for such mouthpiece/reed combinations.

Maybe someday I'll get a chance to find out...

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-08 23:23

Hey Mr. Barnhart,



I had gone down that path about three years ago with a Boehm clarinet and German mouthpieces. I don't know so much about the resistance being in the horn for German clarinets though. From 1984 through 1998 I played Wurlitzer Oehler system 100Cs (same as Leister and Zukovsky). The problem I had was NOT understanding the concept of a softer reed with this mouthpiece/clarinet and I sold the pair in 1998. So back to three years ago where I no longer had the Wurlitzers, I was able to achieve wonderful results with my Wurlitzer mouthpieces that I held on to (modifying a Boehm barrel to accept the larger tenon) by using either 2 1/2 strength White Master Traditional reeds, or Legere German cut strength #3.


The fact is that with a correct German approach to playing there is very little if any resistance anywhere.......you basically just blow (as Bas DeJong of Viotto mouthpiece described to me three years ago).


My initial response to trying the correct combination was that it was a bit of a joke. It felt like a beginner set-up. But I soon realized that the timbre and the dynamic contrast possible was far from a beginner sound. It took a few months to get used to the "ease" of play after years and years of feeling like I had to work at it.


I was just looking at the PlayNick website and he has a video for his "MouthPeace" product that kinda captures the affect........in a humorous way. Of course he referring more to the combination of his synthetic reeds with his mouthpieces meant for synthetic reeds.


http://www.playnick.com/UPLOAD/MOUTHPEACE_YOUTUBE.mp4


Watch to the end it gets pretty funny.






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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-01-08 23:58

n response to Paul - I don't KNOW anything about the PN baffles per se, other than the fact that 1) he has taken this into consideration and actually plotted different baffles into the machine with the different facings AND 2) as his facings are applied by the machine, this relationship/result is able to be reliably reproduced.
Most makers take the baffle into account to greater or lesser degree, and will make adjustments that reflect their artistry and expertise. Brad Behn is one of the real experts where this is concerned (as his post above shows).
For the record - I don't particularly like Playnick mouthpieces, was just commenting on what I have observed and sharing information I'd accumulated (as NK is fairly secretive about specific details).

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-01-09 00:22

I agree with the higher resistance in the clarinet concept Barnhart is referring to. I remember Zukovsky letting me try out two B40 lyre mouthpieces another one of her students picked out for their Buffet clarinet. She said it workerd beautifully. I play a Ridenour G1 which has a lot more resistance than any other Boehm clarinet I’ve ever played Buffet/Selmer/Yamaha. And the B40 lyre was very fatiguing to play. In fact I had the best result with an M30 with a relatively soft reed. Zukovsky found that had the perfect balance of resistance, which I agree with. I have to say, I definetly enjoy the feeling of a freeblowing mouthpiece setup with a resistant clarinet.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Vandoren BD5 Reed: Legere Europeans Cut 4, Ligature: BG Duo silver

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2019-01-09 01:57

Are the numbers 34-37 correct in the first post? These are double the usual facing lengths in North America.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-09 02:36

Arnold,


As far as I can tell kinda eyeballing a piece of paper taken to my 24.8 facing, there is a 20% overage on the given number. So whatever "system" is used to measure the facing on German and Viennese mouthpieces, the actual length of 38mm is probably closer to 30mm (if that makes any sense). It is still considerably longer than the facings of (a real) 18mm here in the States.


If you watch the Vienna Philharmonic performance of this last New Year's, you'll see that they take in a fair amount of mouthpiece.



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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2019-01-09 12:19

After trying to find out a way to get a soft, round sound with a very dense core, as i feel the best oehler-clarinetists get, i play now with a combination of PlayEasy B1 mouthpiece and Legere European Signature #4 reeds. And that is quite different from german/austrian setup. The facing of B1 is very close to Vandoren B40: tip 1.20 mm, facing about 20mm, the baffle deeper and side walls slightly A-shaped than in Vandoren, which makes it darker and more resistant. So, IMHO copying an oehler mouthpiece is not the solution.

Resistance is a matter of temperament. Some want the playing be as effortless as possible as if you were playing the recorder. Sound production is all about control, you decide what should come out of your instrument and try to avoid to slip the less preferred qualities out of your horn.

Some on the other hand thrive for a very solid basic sound and want that every aspect that differs from that basic sound must be conciously brought out of the instrument by extra effort. I feel, that when qualities that are more expressive, as brightness, also demand more physical effort make me also physically feel more expressive, and thus i am better in unisono with my mental thought and therefore more "genuine".

A resistant setup has it's challengies, of course. Many things are easier to produce with a lighter one. But is this supposed to be as easy as possible?

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-01-09 13:02

Just for the record, when I slide in a piece of paper (80 gram/m2) between the reed and the facing of my PlayEasy A', it gets stuck at about 26 mm from the tip. Since Kuckmeier doesn't tell any specs of his mouthpieces, I don't know what an "official" figure for this mouthpiece would be.



Post Edited (2019-01-09 13:05)

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-09 13:27

Micke,



Just to clarify on the mouthpiece, is that a Nommos Alpha (Austrian model)?




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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-01-09 16:57

Paul,

No, it's from the previous "PlayEasy"-series. The different PlayEasy Viennese facings were labeled B (typical Austrian very closed tip opening with a lot of blowing resistance), A (a bit more open and probably with a shorter facing since it didn't need as much intake as the others) and A' (a "more open" but still very long Viennese facing). I have two specimens of that last one, with different bore sizes.

Besides these they also had two Viennese facings especially for wooden reeds, "W Fuchs" and "Carina B", both very closed.

Currently they have only two Viennese models, the "KV 622 Mozart" for wooden reeds and the "Nommos Alpha" for synthetic ones. The former is a very closed one, and according to Carina Kuckmeier the latter is not as open as my A' but still a bit more open than the previous B (Austrian). I haven't though tried any of them (due to their current trial policy).

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-01-09 19:19

The Viennese players often separate themselves from the German tradition by preferring larger bore clarinets, closer and longer mouthpiece lays, and especially stronger reeds. Judging from more than one interview, Andreas Ottensamer, for instance, does not play soft reeds like the White Master 2 1/2 on his large bore Johanna and Otto Kronthaler clarinets. In the following interview he says he plays both cane and "plastic" (Legere) reeds in a strong strength: "I use very strong reeds which takes time to get used to but in the end allows you a greater spectrum of sound. Lighter reeds play easier of course but they come with limitations and a certain dynamic range. You would lose the quality of sound if you open up too much on a lighter reeds."

See "Andreas Ottensamer on the Viennese Clarinet Tradition"

https://bachtrack.com/interview-andreas-ottensamer-clarinet-vienna-berlin-mozart-May-2018



Post Edited (2019-01-09 23:30)

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-09 22:58

Micke,


Thanks so much! All that information is very enlightening.




Seabreeze,


I am not linking to that article (timed out somehow?)


It would be a MUCH more teachable moment if Ottensamer gave a more specific description such as brand, model strength, or at least just the strength. Leaving "really strong," up to imagination is not good for those students who choose the "death spiral" of harder and harder reeds.


Also, I had not found limitations to dynamics with the German closed opening (0.90mm), longer facing (around 20mm) and soft reeds (White Master Traditional 2 1/2).


He is speaking to a specific preference to approach and not an example of "this works, and that doesn't."





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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-01-09 23:02

Dorjepismo,

The only advice I can give is to take in more of the Kuckmeier mouthpieces than you may be used to. As I wrote earlier, that was my experience also with my Boehm Solist M. I myself didn't realize this at first, but when I did this one became my mouthpiece to go until I changed to the Austrian facings - which has to be taken in still deeper. When making such an adjustment, also a little bit softer reeds may be needed than what felt suitable with less intake.

With the correct intake I don't find the Solist M to be at all more resistant than say a Vandoren B40. Of the previous five Austrian facings provided by Kuckmeier all but two were way too resistant and also dynamically restricted to me (= too small tip opening), which were the A' and A. The A apparently with a shorter facing didn't have the fullness in sound as the others, so the A' was just right for me.

My first A' I picked from 4 or 5 specimens, which all were surprisingly different - even to the naked eye considering the width of the rails, the shape of the window, etc (considering the marketing talk about computer controlled machinery this was even more suprising). One was even totally unplayable though I couldn't detect any visible flaws on it. Also resistance was different, but happily to me the least resistant one was also the best sounding one. My second A' was custom made with a German bore, but its resistance was equal to the first one - though the sound of the first one is a tad better.



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-09 23:20

I found the same "hand finished" aspect to the Viotto mouthpieces. This is not a bad thing if you take into consideration that many machines are not calibrated close enough to get the right results. This is where the artistry of mouthpiece making comes into play. The mouthpiece maker either play tests or listens to the player (when the player and maker are in the same room at the same time) and makes adjustments accordingly.



If you want a REALLY good CNC mouthpiece experience, then you need to try the ESM mouthpieces. Once you find a facing that works for you, you can try any number of them and they will all pretty much play exactly the same !!!!! There are NO variations from one to another that the naked eye could ever pick up. It does seem (oddly enough) that the bore is slightly hand adjusted from mouthpiece to mouthpiece!


http://www.esm-mouthpiece.com/image/klarinette.pdf

(Scroll down to second page for facing chart)





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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2019-01-09 23:41

I found a better link for the Ottensamer interview:

https://bachtrack.com/interview-andreas-ottensamer-clarinet-vienna-berlin-mozart-May-2018

Personally I find what he said about his preference for strong reeds to be an opportune teaching moment. Evidently, like Ricardo Morales, Stephen Williamson, and some other pros, he likes some resistance to blow against to assist in his own concept of tonal shape and density and chooses reeds accordingly. This is not the first time that someone from a Viennese background has indicated that they tend to use rather stiff reeds. I can recall American players who studied with Leopold Wlach saying the same thing about him. Victor Polatschek reportedly asked other players in the US to send their too-hard reeds to him 'cause that's what he liked. None of that destroys the validity of Paul's observation that the German clarinet and mouthpiece can be played easily and well with a soft reed. It merely shows the reality of "different strokes for different folks." Some of the Viennese, at least, do it differently.



Post Edited (2019-01-09 23:44)

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-10 00:43

Ah, thanks for the working link! Great article, great imbedded musical moments.


Bottom line is that I agree wholeheartedly with a quote from the article, "there is more than one correct way to play."


However


There is still just the implication that harder and harder reeds is somehow an answer in and of itself. I am a bit sensitive to that because harder reeds and more open tip openings can often lead to very self destructive paths if the "habit" is established without a clear, objective self analysis at each step.


I also re-submit this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0BmXMoPFHs


At 00:53 Ricardo Morales refers to the strength of reeds he uses. I have understood from other such sources that he uses (or has) a Backun C which comes in at a 0.99mm tip opening and roughly 18 mm length facing. Nothing about this in combination with the video stated strength reeds says REALLY STRONG to me.




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



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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-01-10 06:08

Paul I think in that video he uses a Backun CG mouthpiece. The crystal is definetly open, and 3.75 European Cut would be an appropriate reed strength. If anything, in the more resistant side.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour G1, Mouthpiece: Vandoren BD5 Reed: Legere Europeans Cut 4, Ligature: BG Duo silver

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 Re: Viennese facings on Boehm mouthpieces?
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-01-10 21:40

Paul, thanks for the information on ESM. They're sold here by woodwindboutique, which has one of the 24 mm facing length models--they seem to have SWA but not SWB, whatever the difference might be. Seems worth a try, which is the only way you can actually know how they work.



Post Edited (2019-01-10 21:42)

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