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The Mouthpiece Review - reviewing a wide variety of mpcs

Discussion in 'Mouthpieces' started by Steve, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I thought I would give an insight into my mouthpiece testing, or swapping as it may be. I'll be play testing a ton of my mpcs - picking which ones to sell in the near future; customers mouthpieces; or trials, so I thought would give an idea of what I thought of them

    My 3 primary clarinets are
    [1] Selmer Centered Tone
    [2] Leblanc LL, and
    [3] BUffet R13 - 1955 models

    Primary ligatures: Rovner dark, BG Revelation, Vandoren Optimum w/top and bottom traversing ridges

    I should also mention, when optional I always tend to get the traditional pitched mpcs - tuned to 440

    There are days when everything sounds the same. And other days when it's a clear black & white difference. So, I guess I have to be in the right mood to interprete mpc tonal characteristics. So, my definitions may change day to day, and my "best" mpc may change. Maybe it's the humidity ? or the wind?

    WHAT TONAL QUALITIES AM I AFTER ?
    my Selmer CT is my jazz clarinet. I'm normally after a nice clear tone that can cut through a jazz ensemble. It must be able to handle a wide variety of dynamics and alot of air pressure without feeling like it has too much resistance (ie, can't shove a tone of air into it).

    On mY Leblanc LL, this is my most variable instrument. I don't have a particular tonal quality I prefer from it but I prefer more of the complex tonal qualities from better mouthpieces. On more symphonic mouthpieces I'll tend to migrate towards the harder Vandorens, like traditional 4s or 3.5s as the harder reed helps in intonation and a good full, woody tone.

    Buffet R-13. Here I'm looking for that certain R-13 ring that is mostly accustomed to the mid 1960s R13s. Okay, mine is a 1955 model so I'm looking for a nice ring and an elegant and smooth tonal quality.

    RATING
    I'l put a ranking of each mouthpiece per my taste of A, B or C for each of my instruments.

    A being top pick. Good complex tone, ease of range on the clarinet, good response, player friendly. Though a clear tone may be needed/wanted in certain settings.

    B - a good pick - nearly the same as A except lacking in a complex tone. So more clear of a tone. maybe the response is not as fast, but easily overcomeable by practice. Basically, a very good mpc just a minor lacking in one or two areas.

    C - it doesn't match well to that particular instrument (or me). Maybe be deficit in a few areas

    D - off to the drawer

    CATEGORIES
    We understand that mouthpieces may not be best suitable for a particular genre. Thus in my ratings I will also provide a category of the general type of music that a mouthpiece may be suited for.
    S - Soloist (Classical type)
    O - Orchestra, or large group
    C - Chamber or small ensemble
    G - General playing, concert bands etc
    J - Jazz

    MOUTHPIECE CATAGORY - I may rank a Student Mouthpiece differently than a Professional mpc. based on tonal qualities and price and the overall value received.
    Student - student mouthpiece (NOTE: an A in the Student category isn't an A in Professional)
    Professional - professional mouthpieces

    DEFINITIONS
    LH - Left Hand

    RH - Right Hand

    mpc - mouthpiece

    Response - does the mpc respond well, allow notes to change quickly.

    Dynamics - the ability to easily crescendo without too much resistance.
    Resistance - the "push" back a mouthpiece gives are you blow air into it. As you increase dynamics on a small tip it becomes increasingly more difficult to push more and more air through. As some point your eyes may pop out.

    H Frame - This is in reference to the design of the throat. If you look into the round end you will see the throat. A "H" frame is simply parallel walls.

    A Frame - (see H frame for more info) Throat walls that are not parallel. Usually the top is closer than the bottom which may span out. The more it spans the less centered the tone is (more spread) and the core tone gets more washed out as it spreads more.

    Reeds
    I don't use very many types of reeds. I use 3 primary reed types:
    [1] Vandoren purple box. These are not made anymore and are from the 1970s- 1980s. I'm not sure when the Blue box (Traditionals) came out but I have plenty of purple box reeds. They come in Medium, Medium Hard, Hard categories. But for simplicity I'll use the 3, 3.5, 4 etc numbering system
    [2] Vandoren Traditional (Blue Box) reeds. These are the standard current production reeds from Vandoren.
    [3] Mitchell Lauries Reeds. These are a Rico brand. They are sometimes considered a premium student line of reeds. They tend to be on the soft side and (for me) are good to pick up and play. After they start retaining moisture they tend to lose their tone and get thin sounding. But overall a very nice reed.

    I have a few other reeds laying around - Superials, Vandoren 56s etc and will only use these to find a better response or tone reed for a particular mouthpiece.

    I'll use "Vandy" for Vandoren and "ML" for Mitchell Laurie in my writeups.

    MOUTHPIECES
    I try to make sure the mpc is an original facing mpc. No alterations or other modifications. For vintage mpcs, that is quite hard. Luckily alot of my mpcs were obtained years ago but over the years you never know if a good refacer did an exceptional job at making it look like a factory job.


    RANGES OF THE CLARINET
    Chalumeau - this is the lowest range, from low E to mid Bb. It contains what is called the "throat" tones or the two top keys, the Ab/G# and A keys, which are often quite weak sounding on the clarinet (some teachers also includes everything from F# on up as throat tones). These keys normally are also called the "break" area as it take quite some practice to be good going up and down the break.

    Clarion - This is the midrange of the clarinet, from mid B to 2 lines above the staff to high C.

    Altissimo - starts at high C# and goes on up as much as you can stand it.

    for a good fingering chart go to here
    http://www.wfg.woodwind.org/clarinet/
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Currently on my Buffet R13 my favorite mouthpieces are
    [1] an early Selmer crystal, B facing. This mpc provides my tone a velvety and smooth quality. Very early Chedeville 1920-30s like. You would swear it was a HR piece but it's not, it is missing some depth to the tone, thus a little clearer but it is a fabulous piece.

    [2] Vandoren M13 lyre. with the M13 lyre I was looking for the early american sound, yes, we're talking the 1920s-30s Chedeville sound. This mouthpiece is close and allows for greater expressionism due to a larger tip. This is definitely my current favorite for my R13 and also my LL. It does not have that "velvety" tone that I mentioned with the [1] Selmer B crystal but is a very nice HR piece.
    used with a Vandoren 3 to 3.5

    The M13 lyre replaced a [3] WC Sumner Accousticut 3 mpc. This was a very, very nice mpc. Easy playing in all registers, good response, etc. It sounded really good too when matched with the R13 or LL. It was just lacking more depth in tonal quality that I am striving for and not projecting that woody sound as well as other mpcs. Even when matched to a harder reed the tonal quality just was not there (as much as I wanted it to be), it was very good, very nice BUT just not as full and not pushing that R13 ringing tonal characteristics that it is known for. I would definitely use this for other clarinets (definitely in the class where if i'm not feeling well to use this mpc. It makes playing easy) and it may stay with my LL case.

    I've recently bought a [4] Vandoren M13 (non-lyre). Vandoren presents this mpc as the mpc for a 1920-30s American sound. So we will see. In intial testing it takes about a Vandoren 3.5 minimum. It likes harder reeds due to the closer tip and Medium facing. Good expressionism though different resistance than it's slightly larger tipped cousin the M13 lyre.

    After I play test it some more ill give more of my insight into it.

    fyi,
    I plan on play testing vintage Woodwind NY, vintage & somewhat modern Selmer mpc, Chedevilles, Kaspers, early Buffets, OBriens, vintage Links, and a slew of others including some rare mpcs.

    for pictures of these and more mpcs please see :
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/CLgallerympc.HTM

    R-13
    [1] Selmer B crystal - "A" it actually is more off a complex tone, and a silky smooth tone.
    [3] WC Sumner Accousticut 3 - a very clear tone mpc - "B"
    [2] Vandoren M13 lyre - "A"

    LL
    Selmer crystal - A
    WC Sumner - "A" - clear but a good match to the LL
    [2] Vandoren M13 lyre = "A"

    CT
    Selmer crystal - B
    WC Sumner - B
    [2] Vandoren M13 lyre - did not test
     
    TrueTone likes this.
  3. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    The Sumner jazz pieces for sax have a similar look to the table but the chamber opens differently.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    rare Wells Keyhole design

    rare Wells keyhole

    These are interesting mouthpieces. I believe their initial design intent was to provide a mouthpiece that the player not only can play subtlely quite passages with but also extremely loud fortissimmos with.

    The keyhole design is the visual appearance one sees when looking upon the window and sees the standard tip window opening, which, when moving towards the end of the facing - to the sqaured off part of the window - it immediately takes a large taper into the window. The width greately decreases in the middle section. This is a fast tapering to the throat.

    This mouthpiece takes practice to make smooth transitions between ppp and fff. Its quite easy to get too loud with when blending in with a band/orchestra. it seems to be more directed towards a lead or solo part, possibly for the jazz player.

    As mentioned, it takes alot of practice to make nice smoooth crescendos as it wants to "jump" from a mf to a ff quite quickly. Somewhat like a car that either likes to go slow, or fast. You really have to learn how to use the accelerator.

    The mouthpiece has exceptional response, like alot of high quality mouthpieces. It does favor the higher partials though so some of the depth is lost as with good Ched based designs. It still maintains some good centering but not as centered as many other mpcs out there. The throat is more A type and it has that moderate spread tone that a moderate A throat has.

    You can really make your LJ and bell rattle with this mpc quite easily. Tone is pretty good as you can get with a hard reed on it. 3.5 to 4 Vandoren for me. The only negative I can come up with is that for some reason i can barely hear some really high partials which most would not prefer when you get above G. A different reed may make a difference.

    But overall, I prefer the OBrien solution for making a loud mpc, crecendos are much more easily controlled - more natural. More about that particular mouthpiece in a later writeup.

    tested on my 1955 R-13
    pictures can be see at
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/clmpcWells.htm

    CATEGORY - Soloist, Orchestra, Chamber, General, Jazz
    RATING
    CT - "B"
    R13 - B
    LL - B
    the even flexibility (or lack of) of the mpc is the kicker here for me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2008
  5. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Otto Link - Reso Chamber 5*

    So why are the old Otto Link clarinet mpcs not in the selection of your symphony players.

    Quite simple answer actually:

    I slapped a Vandoren Traditional 3.5 on this 5* and I got nothing but a headache and the swoosh of air. Down to a 3 .. much better

    On my Leblanc LL this mouthpiece roared. It roared too much. It made every thing rattle, not really rattle but shake and roar was more like it. The tonal quality was not so good for the medium sized bore no matter how much I held back. LH tones were weak and thin, RH were very full and robust and spread.

    So out I pull a large bore Selmer CT clarinet.

    This mpc made that Selmer CT an absolute joy to play There seemed to be no limit on how loud one could get. Push more air and it simply got louder pull back to a nice whisper. Perfect for the lead in a Big Band. Very responsive, very excellent tone top to bottom.

    On the Chalumeau register there was almost a sweetness to the tone that I have not heard before from my CT. That sweetness went through the Clarion and stopped dead in it's tracks as I simply could not change my airflow enough to get above altissimmo D due to the large tip opening. I'm sure with more practice I could have kept going.

    This certainly brought the sweetness out of the CT that I've only heard in those "sweet" mid 1960s R13s. Quite a match to the CT. maybe I should go on a search for a 3-4* mpc and something that I could tame more for the altissimmo

    If you own a large bore clarinet - CT, Series 9, RC ? B&H 1010, Leblanc Dynamic H this certainly would be one to search out for it. Quite a nice match.
    If I can find a smaller tip, and master the altissimo some more it could certainly transform my CT into a fine symphony clarinet.

    Luckly, as a sax and clarinet player my embouchure is quite well defined otherwise keeping a good embouchure would have been hard. But my CT certainly wanted vibrato and sounded excellent with it. What a joy to play.

    Quite a surprise to this mouthpiece test. One certainly to put on your list if you play a big bore clarinet.

    RATING
    R13 - C
    LL - C

    CATEGORY - SOJCG (I'm not sure where to place it, just a very flexible and great sounding mpc. Would take some time to get used to it but i'm sure it would be well worth the time)
    CT - A
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Otto Link - slant sig 6

    What else can follow that Reso Chamber than a Slant Lig. A holy grail in the tenor saxophone world !!

    So I slapped a Vandoren Traditional 3 on this 6 tip (learned my lesson on the ResoChamber) and the tone was .... well ... "clear" comes to mind. Very clear, very crisp unlike the covered sweetness of the ResoChamber.

    The tone was more reserved throughout, but boy was it clear compared to the ResoChamber. Not as equally dynamic, a tad more resistance. You could still belt out some notes, but nothing like that Reso Chamber. The tone is fabulous, nice and woody, full and spread. But .. I know .. but going back to that Reso Chamber .. if there is an Otto Link Holy Grail for clarinet it would be that Reso Chamber so far.

    Altissimmo was an ease with this mouthpiece. Nice and clear altissimmo notes. You can certain sing above the band with this mouthpiece. You would certainly cut through a band too with those clear notes. Very well balanced tone throughout the range of the clarinet.

    This is a very nice mouthpiece for the jazz player looking for a mouthpiece that cuts through the band that is well articulated and holds itself well throughout the entire clarinet range.

    It also played slightly reserved thus losing some of the extreme dynamic range that the ResoChamber had. A very nice mouth piece in it's own right.

    CATEGORY - Jazz

    RATING
    CT - "A" but in a different way than the ResoTone. A very clear tone but great response all over.
    LL & R13 - not tested
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    1930s Buffet Evettine

    Reed selection seems so important in getting a certain tonal quality.

    I use Vandoren purple boxes (vintage) or Traditional 3.5 and 4s
    I also use Mitchell Lauries (ML) Premium 3.5 and 4. The ML 3.5 would be a Vandoren 3, and the 4 a Vandy 3.75. I also use clipped or sandpapered Vandoren 3.5 or 4 to get a 3.75 Vandoren.

    But if the reed is slightly too soft the response is nice rght away, but the tone is often slightly brittle and thin. And, normally, later on the reed starts losing it's tone even more as it starts getting water logged, especially with the ML reeds.

    Of course the facing length and tip opening (assuming both are correct) have a lot to do with reed selection.

    This particular mouthpiece, a 1930s Buffet Evettine was slightly hard to find a good reed for. I actually noticed my playing suffering alot depending upon the reed. I finally settled on a Vandoren 3.5 Traditional (4 too airy, ML 3.5 too thin). This reed gave good response, good tone, and my playing was nice too

    the tip opening on this was 1.13mm with a 16.5mm facing length

    The early Chedeville and guarantie superiore "blanks" seem to give clarinets a really good "ring" and excellent projection. This is supposedly a blank from that era.

    I obtained this mpc from ebay years ago on a description that read "old 1930s Buffet mpc" and a fuzzy picture. It went fairly cheaply, I think I was the only one that bid on it. It was one of my more favorite mpcs until my collection grew more, then it got regulated to the "B" box.

    Now my M13 is very close to this mpc, except the Buffet has a more complex tone. Some may say this particular complexity is "muddy" with this mpc. Either way, it plays nicely, has a nice vintage sound with a nice ring to it. It matched nicely to my R13.

    Unfortunately, at least today, it just doesn't "inspire one". Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice mouthpiece, just good for my B box. I would certainly like to try this mouthpiece with a pre R-13 Buffet just to see, but that will have to happen some other day.

    Until then, this Buffet Evettine is a very nice mpc. Good solid & full tone top to bottom, good response, complex tone (on the edge of muddy). Maybe it's that ... being on the edge of muddy that makes this a really nice and not a great mpc. Back to the B box for now.

    CATEGORY - Orchestra, Chamber, General

    RATING
    R13 - B
    LL - B
    CT - did not test
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Selmer HS* 0 lower Logo table HS*

    So I've realized I have too many mouthpieces. And too many mouthpieces that I simply have not played in a while. Some that I thought were good, others not so good just to change my mind.

    I pulled out one of my early Selmer table HS* with the lower logo (below the lower ligature lines). I played it for the first time on my R13. I was expecting it to make the R13 play elegantly, precise and very fluid. One perception of expectations can be greatly tarnished when actually comparing a wide variety of mouthpieces.

    The lower logo, table HS* simply did nothing with the R13. It was drab, not much response and a good amount of resistance. So I put it on my Leblanc LL; same problem. Maybe it was a reed match

    the tip opening is 1.13 and the facing lenth is 21mm. Yes a VERY LONG facing.
    go here and scroll down a bit for tip opening and facing length comparisons
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/CLgallerympc.HTM

    So I pulled out a ML 4 and slapped it on the mpc.

    I haven't really analyzed reeds any time lately but the Vandoren seem to be consistently thick even on the sides and the MLs are thinner on the sides. Thus the MLs seems to flex better than the Vandorens even though the cane itself has the same shoulder and middle heights, and everything thing else (put up against a light) seems the same. but the Mitchell Lauries reeds simply work with this mouthpiece whereas the Vandorens do not. I also had to clip a ML 4 to get rid of some of the tinny tone.

    But back to the mouthpiece now that I have a reed for it. It plays very nicely, good response top to bottom. Now a long facing mouthpiece requires a bit of a different style playing than a shorter facing (assuming ones' embouchure takes into account the longer facing). The response is slightly delayed thus you have to be "on top" on the mpc a bit more than a shorter facing. Once you get over this hurdle you are on your way.

    The mouthpiece plays very nicely. The tone was more on the clear side - not a overly complex tone. It played nicely top to bottom, good response, responded to articulation very well once you learned to play the mpc correctly. What I mean by "playing correctly" is it seems you have to play your articulation slightly ahead of when you actually play it.

    Unfortunately there's not much to say here. The journey was finding a reed brand that matched well. The mouthpiece is nice. It belongs in my A-/B+ box mpc (if I had one).

    < more to come >
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Yamaha Custom 5CM

    Everyone knows about Yamaha Custom saxophones. They also make a very nice line of Custom clarinets, though few professionals play them. In addition to the clarinets there's a line of Yamaha Custom mouthpieces. I have not seen very many of them but I happen to have one from a trade several years ago. It used to be in my A box but disappeared. I found it in bubble wrap in my lathe tool drawer ..... but i degress

    First off, the mouthpiece seems to be reed sensitive. I have not put it up to my mouthpiece refacing kit to see if there is a rail adjustment needed or anything. On a Vandoren 4 it was all resistance, on a Vandy 3.5 it was very tough, a ML 4 reed it was a little tough. On ML 3.5 reed it played nicely though I could easily scretch the tone up into the stratosphere .. like over shooting an octave. Strange. wrong cut for the facing.

    So I rummaged through my reeds and found a Vandoren 56. Stabilized the mouthpiece tone and kept it from going Maynard Ferguson but the tone was a tad lacking. Found a Traditional 3 and wow .. nice deep full tone, a bit resistant from a larger opening thus needing a good amount of air support. If Vandoren made a Traditional 2.75 it would probably be perfect for this mpc.

    The mouthpiece and reed combination made my LL and R13 sing very nicely. Good full tones down low, and nice accurate full tones all the way up to altissimo G#. I always forget the fingerings past that .. note to myself - practice altissimo.

    But the tone on this was very very nice on the LL and a bit better on the R13 especially the Chalumeau register. other registeres were just as full and easily controlled. I love the tonal quality of good clarinets in the Chalumeau register.

    Notes clearly and easily popped out. Not quite as easy to play as my M13lyre but it allowed a bit more dynamics. I have a piece that I play that goes from pp to ff constantly and this was a nice mpc for that. This piece was in a book I just found which I bought back in the 1980s called 30 caprices by Ernesto Cavallini, #28, page 58 .. a popular book from what I recall. I used to practice it all the time in High School. A good student book.

    If one is on a budget I highly recommend this mouthpiece. They go for cheap. Might make a choice to move up to something significantly more expensive a tonal challenge.

    CATEGORY - Solo, Orchestra, Chamber, General, maybe Jazz (a smaller tip would limit it more to SOCG)

    RATING
    R13 - A
    LL - A
    CT - did not test

    This mpc is going back to my A box and maybe one of my cases.

    FYI - Maynard Ferguson was a professional trumpet player. Most known in the 1970s and 80s. He loved playing peashooter mouthpieces which allowed him to play in the stratosphere for trumpets.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Vandoren M13

    Vandoren defined the M13 as "Offers many of the characteristics of older American mouthpieces which are so widely sought after. The M13 permits easy blowing with harder reeds and produces a rich, dark, centered sound. Response is particularly sensitive"

    I would have to agree to Vandorens definition of this mouthpiece. But also add that the mouthpiece, though liking harder reeds is thus a bit resistant (due to the harder reeds). But the harder reed provides that rich and dark sound. The response is sensitive and requires a bit more control so this mouthpiece may not be for the beginner.

    Though the tone is centered and rich and dark it does have it's negatives. It seems the mpc is designed for an orchestrial setting. basically, good in a section not in a small ensemble or as a soloist piece. Why ? The closed tip just does not allow enough air passage to provide the reed stimulation to get excessive dynamics. A good "balanced" and "tamed" mpc, perfect for the orchestral setting

    To me the M13 lyre is a much more flexible mouthpiece while still having many of the characteristics of the M13. This mpc is easily an A if you were going to use it for strictly orchestra settings. But for me it falls into the B category simply due to my necessity for improved dynamic capabilities.

    CATEGORY - Orchestra
    LL - A
    R13- A

    CATEGORY - Solo, Chamber
    RATING
    LL - B
    R13 - B
    CT - not tested
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Woodwind NY K9

    For years my main piece on my Normandy 4 and Noblet 45 was a vintage Woodwind K9 mpc. The Normandy 4 was my first clarinet, handpicked for my by the local music store owner Mr Herb Couf. Mr. Couf used to be the principal clarinet of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra until 1957 under Paul Paray (?) until they had financial distress and the DSO cut all the 1st chair players. He then started his own music store and worked with Keilwerth to brand his own line of student and professional saxophones. Back in the day, he was just Mr. Couf to me. A very nice older gentleman who loved to hear me play during my sessions at his store. I heard later from the lady that did the sheet music that the studio room I was in was clearly audible in the entire store. Fancy that ... an early version of elevator music.

    Of course, the Normandy 4 it just a high-end student instrument. But tonally, not much different from the Noblet 45 I also later added, both being larger bore clarinets.

    The K9 fit well to the large bore clarinet. But for some reason I put it aside years ago when I went to Leblanc professional clarinets (medum bore) and haven't really played it much since.

    In an old Woodwind ad
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/CLgal ... M#Woodwind
    The K series was used mostly by symphony men.

    This mouthpiece provides a nice full dark and deep tone. And surprisingly on my LL a very nice ring to the tone, maybe slightly better than on the R13.

    The tone is that particular tone of a hollow, full and woody tone you get in the Chamuleau register. Very seductive in a sense. These mpcs were very highly wanted back in the day and still draw their admirers of people that know of the mpc. I'm certainly glad that I've kept mine. I'll need to compare the K9 to a K8*, K8, K7 etc that I also have. Though I would think the main (and hopefully only difference) is the tip opening. The K9 allows pretty good expressve dynamics. Great for solo and small ensembles and orchestras too. It's not as open as one would think with a "9" and thus as you increase dynamics it can get to be a bit resistance, a K10 would be better which does exist per the ad. I played this reed with a 3 Vandy Traditional. 3.5 was a bit too hard. But this mouthpiece works equally well on a small bore and a large bore clarinet.

    If I had an A+ rating this mpc might very well get that rating. This is going back into my case as a primary mpc ... though with the LL or R13 !?!?

    CATEGORIES - Soloist, Orchestra, Chamber, General

    RATING
    R13 - A
    LL - A
    CT - A
     
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  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    For the longest time, I thought Herbert Couf was James Houlik because of the ubiquitous H-Couf sax ads.

    (Herbert Couf became the president of WT Armstrong, Corp.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  13. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Yes, Mr Couf retired in 1989. sold his music store to employees and retired from WT Armstrong. he then tried to create a line of his own instruments all with the H Couf insignia. But he apparently also signed away the rights to his name and could not produce instruments with his own name on them !!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Hmmm.

    After the H-Couf horns from Keilwerth -- essentially Toneking and New King stencils -- Armstrong put out the A3200/T3200 horns that were labeled "H-Couf". While Keilwerth has said that they do some further cooperation with Armstrong after the "famous" H-Couf models, no one has been able to tell me if the 3200 was actually a Keilwerth body with Armstrong keywork or whatever.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  15. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    The Armstrong Heritage horns were made by JK but I haven't seen the 3200's in person to say for sure. Some people have contended that they copied the JK design but I'm not sure if the 3200 was the horn that was purported to be the copy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  16. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Keep in mind that the Couf Royalist II alto and tenor was a copy of the JK Royalist horns. They were reverse engineered/designed in the Detroit office of WT Armstrong (built in Elkhart). This was in order to try and provide a more affordable entry level horn than the german built JK Royalist and Royalist I at the time.

    So Armstrong already designed an instrument from the JK horns. I would think the 3200 is simply an evolution of that Royalist II which was designed and built in the W.T. Armstrong era

    matter of fact, you can thank that same Detroit office for providing the design of the modern keywork layout of the RH side F# and high F# for the JK german horns during the Couf era.

    <sarcastically> and each came supplied with a clarinet mpc such as the Vandoren 2RV and predecessor 2V which I'll be reviewing in one of these writeups soon ...... trying to get back on topic
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    You have the powah to use offtopic code, you know. :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  18. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Beechler

    I'm not sure what model this Beechler was as I'm actually going back to some notes to write about this mpc. This mpc was a refacing job as a customer had issues with it playing. The back of the table actually ramped up like a ski ramp. And the facing curve had a nice bump on it which prevented the reed from actually closing on one side. So, in essense, it played horribly down to not playing at all unless you used a really soft reed.

    After the back part of the table and facing curve was corrected this mpc played fairly effortlessly. It is a rather open mpc with a short facing; large throat. It has a very distinct rollover baffle. Tonally, it was very bright and can be pushed quite effortlessly. This is clearly a sax/clarinet doublers mpc for jazz playing.

    If you played this in an orchestra they would tonally promptly place you in the trumpet section. It might be too much for a general concert band too. But boy can you make a clarinet wail with this mpc. great for jazz, little blowing resistance and fairly inexpensive.

    CATEGORY - Jazz (doubler's embouchure)

    RATING
    LL - A
    CT- A
    R13 - not tested
     
  19. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    vintage Buffet C

    Slightly reseved, soft, somewhat velvety, woody tone. That's the definition I give to this vintage Buffet C, close cousin to the C crown mpcs. These vintage mpcs come from a Chedeville blank back in the 1950s through 70s (?).

    These are more commonly identified by the ligature lines. 1 line up (1 line at the top of the mpc) and 3 lines down (3 lower ligature lines). Though, with a lathe one can make as many lines as one wants. I think many people see these ligature lines on mpcs and think if they have 3 lower ligature lines they are identfied as a Chedeville blank.

    This mpc gave a very nice ring to the Chalumeau range and a nice smooth tone throughout the instruments' range. I recently purchased this and then put it aside. I also have 2 different vintage C Crowns which I 'll be testing.

    The C is certainly a nice mpc. easily a daily player for most players. Though it may be lacking in the more extreme dynamics that I prefer for solo work, it certainly is a very nice playing piece. Played with a Vandoren Traditional 3. Good all around dynamics, very nice tone and these can be purchased for a song and a dance or so.

    This mouthpiece does seem like it was slightly refaced at one time then polished up, then the lig lines recut over the table to look original. I have not seen enough original Cs to compare. But it could be original. Either way, the mouthpiece is very nice to play.

    CATEGORY - Orchestra, Chamber, General

    RATING
    LL - A
    R13 - A
     
  20. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    vintage BUffet C Crown

    Once in a while you notice things that you haven't noticed before. Or maybe it is a new occurence ... how do you know ?

    While playing the 1974 Buffet C Crown I noticed that the air flow through the tones holes as a little more than usually on both my LL and R13. But, that when my fingers rolled down to close the toneholes on the LL they sounded like a soft leather making a squishing sound as the air tries to escape around it .. kind of like a "whoosh, thwap" sound for each finger. I have a very smooth action on the toneholes with enough finger height to provide optimal sound dispersion (no flailing fingers here) and quick finger movement to make the note transition smooth from note to note, so my fingers don't just mash down on each tonehole, I guess this technique brings out that weirdness every so often. I'm sure that would not be heard by anyone further than a few feet away. But an interesting, if albeit slight annoying sound.

    The C crown sounded very nice on a Vandy Traditional 3, and slightly darker with a 3.5 though I would prefer a 3.25!! It has slightly more ability for ease of expressionism as compared to the C (non Crown) and a nice full woody tone through the Chalumeau register and a nice full tone throughout the entire clarinet range, just like the C.

    It has the standard visual characteristics of the 1 line up and 3 lines down ligature lines on the body. These mpcs have had rave reviews in the past and would make an excellent mpc even if this was the only one in the case.

    These mouthpieces are very nice to have and wonderful to play with the same characteristics of the C. A good primary mouthpiece for most players.

    CATEGORY - Solo, Orchestra, Chamber, General

    RATING
    LL - A
    R13 - A
     
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