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 Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2020-10-29 23:18

Nick Kuckmeier plays some models of his own Playnick mouthpeices with Sliverstein reeds and ligature (on German clarinet)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT028iVzgyE



Post Edited (2020-10-29 23:32)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2020-10-30 08:52

I've listened to quite a few Vandoren's on Youtube, and, to my ears, the 2nd one Nick played (I believe it had a longer window and a wider tip end window opening) just sounded so superior in comparison to me. The lower Chalemeau sounded so full, so dark, so mellow, that it was a real joy for me to listen to him. I've never heard a Vandoren even come close to the sound he was playing. (I realize that many factors could have influenced his sound such as his microphone, the amplifier system used, etc.)

I went to Nick's website and was surprised to learn that he's producing his own mouthpiece blanks for Eb to Bass clarinets. http://www.playnick.com/

It's nice to know that there's a 3rd source of quality blanks. (Perhaps there are more that I simply don't know about.)



Post Edited (2020-10-30 09:14)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-10-30 23:38

What I found interesting was the basic review of HOW to play German and Viennese mouthpieces. Nick mentions at one point that the longer facing of the German mouthpiece requires placing your embouchure...........closer to the tip! He even says something about bending the reed, but does say that you use a softer reed (ie 2 1/2 strength).



Is there anyone out there from Germany or really familiar with the German approach to clarinet who can verify playing CLOSER to the tip with a long facing?



This sounds a bit counter intuitive to me since the best advice that I've gotten on French mouthpieces is to play as close to where reed and mouthpiece meet (at least that works for me). So what would happen in this scenario is that you play closer to the tip of a short lay mouthpiece because that's where the separation occurs opposed to playing further down for a long lay mouthpiece.


To add to my confusion, I had abandoned the Oehler system after about twelve years of exclusive playing due to unsatisfactory results. I naturally took a "close to tip" stance because I just gravitate that way naturally (and normally use a short facing French mouthpiece on Boehm). Of course I was also playing on reeds that were far too hard (Vandoren White Master 4 and 5).



Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.





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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2020-10-31 00:30

Yes, Paul, that remark by Nick about playing closer to the tip on a long facing really caught me by surprise.

However, I do remember someone mentioning on this BB about an adjacent player "moving their mouthpiece in and out of their mouth" as they played, but, unfortunately, I can't remember exactly who said that.

This also goes counter to the embouchure advice from Tom Ridenour whose saying is: "Just set it and forget it".

I look forward to hearing from others.

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-10-31 02:49

Well, Herr Kuckmeier did not advocate "moving" the embouchure. He was demonstrating a wide variety of mouthpieces and reeds (both cane and Silverstein Ambipoly). So he was trying to explain how each mouthpiece's silhouette and facing effected the sound. As a consequence he mentioned the "spot" for German and Viennese facings. Oddly the Viennese facing requires a harder reed.


This only makes me feel better about abandoning my own experiment all those years ago. Things would have been different I am sure if I had studied in Berlin.




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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2020-10-31 11:06

Playing a long lay with embouchure closer to the tip has a point: just now i am using K├╝ckmeier's Nommos M mouthpiece (french) with Legere European Signatures. And I have noticed a tendency to move to that direction in my playing.

Nommos M has a well over 20 mm opening that starts very shallow and begins to bend "normally" somewhere normal mps do, about 18 mm and has a huge tip, about 1,30 mm.

The "Verdi Traviata", aimed at cane reeds, is similar but with less tip opening.

Therefore the embouchure is sort of twofolded. Your lower lip is well above the starting point of the lay and you have a basic pressure with which you bend the reed facing to the first few mm:s of the lay producing an extra tension to the reed, which a syntethic reed desperately needs compared with cane reeds. This makes the actual tip opening back to normal measures.

After that you are in the area of normal embouchure pressure control.

Jarmo Hyvakko, Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-10-31 16:08

Thank you Jarmo.



Would the same approach apply to say a Wurlitzer mouthpiece with an M3+ facing?






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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2020-11-01 02:42

Hi All:

I play a Vandoren M15. For my hobbyist level it's a pretty good mouthpiece but tends to play Legere reeds flat for me in various parts of the instrument's range.

Perhaps one of the things that I find interesting about Nick Kuckmeier's offerings is his seemingly relentless effort to design mouthpieces that are reed friendly to all reed types.

Unfortunately, little appears available on his website on some basic mouthpiece metrics like tip opening and facing length. Clearly these are just two albeit important mouthpiece characteristics, but I was wondering if anyone with knowledge of Mr. Kuckmeier's and Vandoren's mouthpiece offerings could discuss, or cite others who have discussed what each of his Bb clarinet mouthpiece offerings are most like in the Vandoren space, somewhat like how a Legere reed chart might compare its strengths and brands to a strength and brand from Vandoren.

Thanks.

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-02 22:52

SecondTry, at Thomann.de you can find the tip openings of the Nick mouthpieces - supposedly measured by them.

Another Austrian mouthpiece maker told me that the Nick Brahms is 1,15mm open and 22mm long, which he says also the Vandoren M30 is. I have both, but nevertheless they play very differently and the M30 also takes a little bit stiffer reeds. The Vandoren B40 may be a little bit closer to the Brahms in sound, but is still also very different. Also tuning is different.

Also I was surprised by the idea of taking in less of a mouthpiece with a longer facing. I played for about two years on a Playeasy A' with a long, Viennese facing, and though I thought I was already taking quite a lot of mouthpiece a French system player at a masterclass advised me to take even more. I did that and my tone got better, most notably in the first register.

After the A' I changed to the Brahms, but just recently I found the Leitner & Kraus SZ to suite me even better. Tuning is definitely better, but also the sound in the first register. I play Reform Boehm clarinets.



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-03 05:50

So I don't know if I don't believe the Thomann website, or I don't believe Nick Kuckmeier.



Traditional German facings are usually no more that 1.00mm. For example, the popular Wurlitzer M3+ is only 0.90mm (accurately annotated on the Thomann site) and the facing length is 24.8mm (as listed on Herbert Wurlitzer's site).





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

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2020-11-03 06:20

Excellent!


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2020-11-03 06:38

Johannes Gleichweit makes mouthpeices for many orchestral players in Austria and Germany and usually lists the basic facing measurements. For the Germanic ones, most are traditionally very close and long. For the French Boehm ones, most are very open and long.

A few examples for the Germanic ones: Daniel Ottensamer 34 mm, 0.87 mm.

Alexander Neubauer 35 mm 0.81 mm Andrea Gotsch 31 mm. 0.96 mm.

Gleichweit's personal facing is 23 mm 0.87 mm.

https://www.gleichweit-mundstuecke.com.

Here's Andrea Gotsch playing the Kovacs Homage to Strauss:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKug1fVqwwo I can't imagine why she--most recently a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra--would want a more open facing.

Andrea in the Grgin Capriccio 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP6qeJNV1Q8



Post Edited (2020-11-03 08:42)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-03 08:06

I liked the sound of her approach and clarinet more in the earlier recording.........should have kept that horn.






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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-08 14:32

Paul, just to clarify for me, what was the contradiction between the video and the tip opening measurements of the Nick mouthpeices at Thomann? Perhaps I missed out something in the video, but only the Nommos Alpha and the KV622 Mozart (the Viennese version, also another "special edition" with a French B2 facing exists) have a very close Viennese facing (both probably around 0.80mm, with the Nommos just a tad more open than the Mozart).

All the German and French ones are from 1.15mm and up, including the Nommos B2 and M French versions (don't know for sure about the German versions of the latter, but probably they are the same as the French ones - as are the versions for wooden reeds).

In my experience, the long and closed Viennese facings requires a lot harder reeds compared to both German and French facings. Also the strength numbers on Viennese cut reeds are not compatible with German or French cut reeds. A #3.0 Viennese reed would typically be the equivalent of about a #4.0 German or a #5.0 or more French cut reed (with variations between different reed brands).



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-08 15:10

I do not claim that Kuckmeier contradicts himself (stated tip openings such as they are......which he doesn't) but rather that traditional German facings are NOT more than 1.00mm. If you look at Wurlitzer's website


https://wurlitzerklarinetten.de/shop/?lang=en
(click on mouthpieces, then details.....oddly tip opening and facing length got reversed in translation a lot but that should be obvious)


you will see what German mouthpiece dimensions have always been.........up through the tendency to marry them with French mouthpiece dimensions. A tip opening of 1.15mm doesn't exist prior to the most modern mash-ups.




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






P.S. ALL Wurlitzer mouthpieces are made of acrylic (since at least the 1980s) and they don't seem have any resonance problems with plastic



Post Edited (2020-11-08 19:21)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-09 23:16

Personally I've been very sceptic about acrylic mouthpieces and thought hard rubber was superior until I got an opportunity to try out basically the same mouthpiece where one was acrylic and the other one from hard rubber. In a tone by tone comparison from recordings of the chromatic scale I was greatly surprised not to detect any but random differences. The mouthpieces involved was the Maxton Schorn-Klinser and the Gerold G03, where the former was acrylic and the latter from hard rubber - but with the same facing and as I understand also otherwise the same design.

This doesn't of course rule out that other mouthpieces could perform better when made from one or the other material, or that also the ones I tried out could have performed differently on either other clarinets than mine or played by another player. Anyway, after this experience I'm no longer just assuming that acrylic is inherently inferior. Still, when it comes to Maxton I've found their current mouthpiece material to sound better than their previous. I don't know what that new material is, but at least it doesn't feel acrylic but rather something more or less in between hard rubber and acrylic.

When it comes to feeling, I've never liked how an acrylic mouthpiece feels in my mouth or against my teeth, but that's apart from sound.

By the way Paul, my Wurlitzers from 2002 came still with rubber mouthpieces and I ordered also some a couple of years later - but at least nowadays and for some years they are making only acrylic ones.



Post Edited (2020-11-09 23:22)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-10 01:22

Wow.......that is odd to hear regarding hard rubber from Wurlitzer. Where yours Oehlers or reform Boehm? My Oehler 100Cs came with two acrylics in 1984. When I went to ask about hard rubber and order further mouthpieces, I was told that acrylic was the only material and wound up with four more (of various colors and facings.......they come in clear, smoke, and black).




Zinner may have made some hard rubber mouthpieces for Wurlitzer at one time. I recall when the Chicago Symphony clarinet section actually used Oehlers for some Mozart and Mahler many years ago (can't remember exact regime), they wound up finding most luck with a really heavy, dark orange colored hard rubber mouthpieces that I think may have been stamped by Wurlitzer.......not sure about the provenance.






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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Nelson 
Date:   2020-11-19 09:18

Please excuse a question slightly off topic but could someone let me know the excerpt Nick Kuckmeier touches on at 16.00 to 16.07 in his demonstration...just 4 bars I think with lead-in note. I've played it decades ago but can't place it

Cheers

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2020-11-19 14:14

Mozart K452 quintet for piano and winds, last movement.

Tony

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2020-11-20 00:45

Micke/Paul: I recently bought a Wurlitzer-branded mouthpiece for Oehler-system bass clarinet, was on the infamous auction site but probably came from Thomann. It is acrylic, not hard rubber, which makes me wonder if it is of Chinese manufacture?

The facing was awful, the mouthpiece was unplayable as received. I had to do extensive refacing and baffle work to get it where I wanted it. But as with several acrylic soprano clarinet mouthpieces I've refaced in the past, the end result sounded every bit as good as (indistinguishable from) hard rubber. I have no qualms about playing on acrylic. As for the feel in the mouth, I use mouthpiece patches on everything I play so can't tell the difference.

As for orange Oehler-system mouthpieces, my old F. Arthur Uebel Oehler-system bass (acquired years ago from our friend Ben H.) came to me with its original Uebel mouthpiece, made of the orange-ish hard rubber. It appears they often made mouthpieces back then/over there out of hard rubber mixed without carbon black, not sure why. Any chemists in the audience that can explain? The orange-ish material seems softer than the 'industry-standard' black material, making it more difficult to reface accurately and less resistant to scratches/dents.

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-20 06:49

I might assume that IS a Wurlitzer mouthpiece.



Good to know about the orangish hard rubber. The CSO section back a few years swore by them.





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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-21 13:12





Post Edited (2020-11-21 13:24)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-21 13:19
Attachment:  Wurlitzer mouthpieces.jpg (598k)

David, Thomann has one Wurlitzer bass clarinet mouthpiece with the M4* facing for sale, for 327,- Euro. If yours was sold new and not used and for a similar price, I would believe it was original - but if it was a lot cheaper, maybe not. At Thomann the material is stated as plastic (and also as "highly tensioned plastic", whatever that is).

Paul, interesting to hear about the Chicago Symphony and the orange colored hard rubber mouthpieces. Originally I also chose one of those with my Reform Boehm's, with the M4 facing. It's indeed hard rubber, but another black one with the same facing I got at the same time is acrylic. A couple of years later I purchased a black hard rubber M5+ mouthpiece, but after that only acrylic ones has been available.

As I remember, when I tried out the orange one, Bernd Wurlitzer said that he thinks there is also some metal in it. So, apparently he wasn't sure but if that was correct, I for my part have no idea about where or in which form that metal is positioned inside the mouthpiece.

Currently I have five Wurlitzer mouthpieces and interestingly the weight of the orange one is 36.87 g, the black hard rubber one is 25.51 g and the rest all acrylic ones are 26.36-26.89 g (including a N1 and 3CS facing). I didn't expect the "pure" hard rubber one to be lighter than the acrylic ones, so this was a surprise.

Unlike my experience with no detectable tonal difference between the Maxton acrylic and Gerold hard rubber mouthpieces related above, the orange M4 always felt superior to its acrylic counterpart - but can't say if it's the rubber, the supposed metal or what.

The attachment shows my "collection" of Wurlitzer mouthpieces, including the orange/reddish one.



Post Edited (2020-11-25 23:01)

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-21 16:59

The metal maybe in the hard rubber the way it is in the acrylic ESM mouthpieces.



https://woodwindboutique.com/clarinet-mouthpieces/30-esm-mouthpiece-jp7-heaven.html


If you click on the image showing the table facing 'up' you'll kinda make out the flecks of metal throughout the material. I have a "Blue Heaven" mouthpiece, and it is a bit more "sturdy" or "serious" sounding than the pure acrylic versions. Why they insist on making it just in this blue material is beyond me.




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



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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2020-11-23 05:00

Not to further confuse the (tangential) issue, but back in the 1920s/30s, many mouthpieces (mostly for sax but some for clarinet too) were made of a reddish-brown early plastic which was phenol resin, known to most by the inventor's trade name of "Bakelite", and which usually were at least internally lined with metal (usually cupronickel a.k.a. "nickel silver" or "German silver"), and sometimes additionally the table and facing also of the same metal molded into the plastic body. They were very heavy.

I'm not aware of any plastic mouthpieces with metal flecks or powder mixed into the resin, I doubt it would have any acoustic effect if it were, most likely it would be an esthetic thing like metalflake paint on cars.

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 Re: Nick Kuckmeier Playing His Own Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-23 07:57

The ESM is in fact "filled" with metal particles. It may just slightly "deaden" the resonance characteristics of the pure acrylic. An added factor is the brass tenon terminus. All the "Blue Heaven" mouthpieces already come with the brass ended tenon but I also have some acrylics that are either all acrylic or acrylic with the brass tenon. That addition of brass contributes to the more sober (less brilliant) sound.


I was told the orange Wurlitzer mouthpieces were indeed heavier but it was not mentioned that they had metal linings. At any rate these were produced significantly later than the 1930s.






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



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