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 Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-11-19 21:13

In a single place on the forum, what are all the attributes of a clarinet mouthpiece one can add to this list that comprise the near totality of things that affect how it plays. I'll start what I know must not be an exhaustive list and I'll assume symmetry:

1) the player
2) the tip opening
3) the lay and its curvature
4) the rail thickness
5) the material the mouthpiece is made of
6) something about the internals, I'm sure
7) the mechanism by which it connects to the clarinet, to wit, Brad Behn's multiple rings, versus cork, versus that do hickey piece of hardware being sold that supposedly better transfers energy from the mouthpiece to the clarinet body.
8) something about the beak and its angle

I'd prefer we leave things out like the reed or temperature/humidity.


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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2022-11-19 22:52


"The rail thickness", to me, is slightly ambiguous.

To me, there are actually two distinct "rails" to consider.

1) The side rails
2) The tip rail

To my understanding, thick side and tip rails produce a slow, thuddy response and are usually quite resistant.

Thinner rails "all around" (but not too thin) produce a faster response.

Now, the baffle. Due to my limited understanding, all I know is that its shape has an incredible affect not only on the sound but also on the playability or responsiveness of the mouthpiece.

For all of the internals (like throat size and configuration; the side walls...are they parallel or tilted?; the bore size and configuration, etc.), IMHO, either Brad Behn or someone with a pretty good level of understanding of these parameters would need to comment for the best clarification.

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-11-20 00:08

...ironic on "what it's called" and "how it works" both being referred to as some/being baffle[d] ...... ;)

And yes, let's break #4 into two parts...


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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-11-20 04:25

My sit down with Clark Fobes was quite eye opening for me regarding the baffle. Clark reshaped the facing of one of his mouthpieces that I owned to match another maker's mouthpiece of mine (the facings were pretty close to begin with). When I played the reformed Fobes, the result was quite disappointing. The best description was that it played too "closed." The air would just close off on me. Mr. Fobes pointed out that the mouthpiece from the other maker was a particular type of blank from Zinner knows as their "A Blank." This is not to be confused with A Frame, which is a throat that has a wider top than the bottom. The "A Blank" features a particularly deep baffle (apparently there is an absolute dimension after which the baffle becomes too deep and the mouthpiece will never have focus.....this mouthpiece blank comes right up to that number). To make up for the larger volume leading into the bore, the throat is actually made SMALLER.

We can add baffle and throat to the list.

I used to believe that deep baffles were only meant to make the sound less filled with upper partials. According to Brad Behn (at least at one time he referred to this on his website) the deeper baffle also affects how quickly the mouthpiece responds to articulation. The more shallow the baffle, the quicker the reed will "slap back."

Clark Fobes then put the desired facing on a CWF 10K blank that he currently has available. The CWF features a much deeper baffle and the correspondingly smaller throat. In this instance what I experienced with the deeper baffle was a much freer blowing mouthpiece and the sound held at low volume without collapsing. Now, this is only to say that the way I play NOW, this was a much more compatible blank. Only a few years ago I was playing just fine on a standard CF Fobes facing. But it does help to know that the depth and the shape of the baffle can affect how the mouthpiece plays as much as the facing. Oddly (for me) I am not experiencing any noticeable loss of upper partials with the Fobes CWF mouthpiece, it is quite wonderful for the way I currently play and compatible with my Legere Euro Cut reeds.

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

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2022-11-20 05:01

The comments of Brad Behn on: 1) The Chamber; 2) The Bore; 3) The Facing; 4) The Baffle; 5) The sidewalls; 6) The Throat; 7) Working Resistance; 8) The Window; 9) The Nature and Efficiency of Curves; 10) The Symmetry of Rails


I believe Brad Behn and Tom Ridenour pretty much cover all of the clarinet design structure aspects. There are more articles available, however, to me, they seem to just reiterate what is covered above.

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2022-11-20 05:17
Attachment:  SONO A frame throat.jpg (14k)


When you stated: "This is not to be confused with A Frame, which is a throat that has a wider top than the bottom."

Interesting...I've never seen this type of "A" frame throat before.

The picture is one of Brad Behn's SONO mouthpieces. This is the only type of "A" frame throat that I have ever seen.

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-11-20 06:13

Maybe it depends on what you call the top and what you call the bottom?


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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-11-20 15:02


I believe you've seen the "A Frame" mouthpiece in the Viotto N1. German mouthpieces are all "A Frame."


Unless you are an Italian player from the turn of the century, the top would be the baffle side. Of course then, why is it not called "V Frame?"

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

Post Edited (2022-11-20 15:04)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2022-11-20 18:20

Fobes is big on the backbone size and taper being significant.

Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC

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 Re: Mouthpiece Attributes
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-11-20 19:19

Can you elaborate? I don't understand.

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

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