New MPC made, based on Cody's experiments

Discussion in 'Tárogató' started by Gheorghe, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    So I finally took into consideration all issues discussed here regarding pitch, timbre, and playability, and made myself a new mouthpiece for my taragot. I wanted to address 2 specific issues:

    1. Pitch. My taragot can play in pitch with a #2 reed, but it takes effort (unnecessary embouchure tightness in my opinion).

    2. [in]ability to play the high written B (sounded A). As Cody will attest, I always struggled with it.

    I had a chunk of ebony left over from another project just big enough to make 1 MPC. So I turned it to the dimensions of my current (only) mouthpiece and started with that. I made the baffle shallow and made the opening wider than my current MPC. Then it was a matter of playing, shaping, playing, and shaping again. Huge success! The thing now plays in pitch effortlessly, exactly 2 octaves, and the high B is a breeze! And all this is done with #1.5 RICO reeds. My goal is to play with #1 reed (preferred by many Romanians). It should be no big deal, because I actually have to remind myself to relax my embouchure, otherwise I'm in 443 or so.

    As a bonus, this MPC produces a bit more direct sound, not as deep, the kind I prefer. This could be partially due to the softer reed as well.

    The high B was a direct result of a larger opening at the very tip. On my original MPC, any reed would close up on that note.

    Anyway, I'm happy. I'll post a picture later.

    George
     
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  2. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Glad that works for you. If you want to lower the pitch without pulling the mpc off the cork at all, you can take some material out at the back of the baffle, say about 1.5 - 2cm back from the tip. This will retain the brightness, but might add a bit of roundness to the sound. My Stowasser mpcs were all very scooped in the back--too much for me, so I narrowed the bore back there. That has helped response a lot, but I now have to pull them about 8mm out. It does not affect tuning. If you like the response of yours, but you are playing high, it is certain not a problem to pull them slightly out--many tárogató players do this.

    One thing is important to understand--the response of reeds of different strength depends directly on the "lay" and openness of the mpc. A mpc with an open tip will take the same embouchure effort with a softer reed as one with a more closed tip using a harder one. So a closed mpc might be comfortable using a 2.5, whereas a more open one might only need a 1 for the same feeling. Using a soft reed on a closed mpc is almost impossible, as the reed will choke with the slightest increase in pressure, whereas using a hard reed on an open mpc will be very difficult, requiring great pressure to respond at all.

    So to say that your goal is playing a #1 reed doesn't really make much sense, unless you know the ratio of reed strength to tip opening. another consideration is the length and curvature of the lay. This is critical to a balanced response of highs to lows, response in general, tone to some extent, and again ideal reed strength for a given player. Very small variations, on the order of thousands of an inch, will have dramatic effects on these parameters. You can map the curvature out with a set of feeler gagues. Most folks will use a mpc that they like as a model and try to reproduce the lay, or make minor variations to a given model, but without knowing your radius and shape of curvature, you are really flying blind. If you were to open just the very tip of your older mpc, you might find that the B would sound.
     
  3. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    That is exactly how I worked my way down to the right pitch.

    ...or unless you're willing to experiment:)

    It's really fine. I should have mentioned this as a 3rd goal, but my full intention is to use 1.0 reeds and have a MPC that is a good match for that. I'm there with this one. I should also mention that I tried this MPC with a 1.5 Rico reed that I shaved down a bit with a scraper, making it even thinner. No problem.

    I flew blind on this one. I made very small changes to the curvature using 400 grit sandpaper.

    I don't want to touch the original MPC. I want to keep it as a backup, to be used with harder reeds (the plastic Legere signature 2.5 works well on it). Now I see clearly that that MPC is mismatched to the instrument (volume-wise), so I might fill it in a little, but no messing around with the opening.
     
  4. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    Pictures. The one on the right (metal ring on the outside) is the new MPC. The one on the left is the original.

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  5. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    Very nice work.
     
  6. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    Thanks John. I'm obviously in the middle of oiling both mpc's, as you can tell from the photo. I use almond oil with a few drops of tea tree oil. The new one soaked up some oil overnight, so I figure it's good to go today.

    I briefly considered boiling it in paraffin wax (liquefied of course). I've done this with other woods in order to seal pores (and almost started a fire). But it seems wrong to do that to a nice piece of ebony, so the oil will do it.

    George
     
  7. kymarto

    kymarto Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I second that motion.
     
  8. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    Thank you Toby. I gotta say, your insight has been instrumental in this. Last night I made a small tweak still, removing some wood about 1.5 cm from the tip of the baffle. I needed to bring down the pitch somewhat. I also opened up the throat a tiny bit more.

    It's amazing how it affected the pitch in a very predictable way! It's so easy to play now, in pitch. For the last 2 years I always wondered: "It has got to be easier than this!" - and it is.

    George

    PS: I'm not sure why I used the word "Cody" in the subject - probably because of an entry in a double bass forum by a luthier named Cody. My apologies.
     

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