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sax.co.uk

Mouthpiece facing curve length.

Messages
9
Location
Cardiff
#1
Hi all!

Can anyone tell me, if there is a discrepancy of 2mm, between the two sides of the facing curve lengths of a mouthpiece, how this would manifest itself, in the playing of the mouthpiece?

Thank you very kindly.
 

spike

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,380
Location
Half way up a hill
#2
A difference of 2mm is an awful lot - Never experienced such a discrepancy . . . but . . . I honestly don't know how it would manifest itself . . . I think it might probably squeak.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,882
Location
Victoria BC Canada
#4
if it is just the starting point and most of the curve is the same probably noticeable but if it were continuing on I think a mpce would be pretty much unplayable 2mm is a lot.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Cafe Moderator
Messages
20,550
Location
Just north of Munich
#8
Which mouthpiece is it? Guessing it's one of 3 things - badly made/damaged modern, well worn old, custom old.

If you Google asymmetric mouthpiece facing curve you'll find quite a few links, but most say it was done for tone, made things harder to play. And some say it made no difference to sound. Other explanations were tooth/uneven mouth/teeth.
 
Last edited:

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
454
Location
London
#9
Asymmetry in a mouthpiece facing will increase resistance - you will feel like using a softer reed, or the tone might be warmer, or stuffier. Articulation may be less free, the piece could be sluggish in feel.

It is true that some makers made facings asymmetrical deliberately. If, say, a player is a very strong blower but wants a very dark tone, a maker might deliberately introduce some asymmetry to give that player more resistance, if other methods have not sufficed. (I hazard a guess that this is one of the things that made Stan Getz squeak).

AFAIK good makers don't tend to do it nowadays because it's become undesirable; modern players ask for mouthpieces to be very resonant (in terms of the feel of the mouthpiece, let's not start a discussion about whether a mouthpiece can actually resonate, please) and free blowing.

However, there is often a slight asymmetry in even very well made pieces; if the piece has been faced by hand rather than by CNC, it's inevitable. But a slight asymmetry is of no consequence. I've successfully played mouthpieces that had quite a pronounced asymmetry e.g. Berg Larsens, Selmers pre:Concept, and the real objection is that it can make a mouthpiece very reed-picky which gets tedious over time. A sever asymmetry can make a reed become unplayably resistant once it has bedded into the facing.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Location
Leeds
#11
2mm where? At the last feeler gauge only? Doesn't matter, a bit of wear can do this and the piece will still play fine. Any wider than this wants fixing. The closer you get to the tip the more asymmetry matters. Dead sound, more resistant, reed picky, squeaky is what you get.

I have read that some guys will do it on purpose but for the life of me I don't get it. Whatever response or sound you're trying to get that way there's a way to do it without the drawbacks.
 
Messages
14
#15
Asymmetry in a mouthpiece facing will increase resistance - you will feel like using a softer reed, or the tone might be warmer, or stuffier. Articulation may be less free, the piece could be sluggish in feel.

It is true that some makers made facings asymmetrical deliberately. If, say, a player is a very strong blower but wants a very dark tone, a maker might deliberately introduce some asymmetry to give that player more resistance, if other methods have not sufficed. (I hazard a guess that this is one of the things that made Stan Getz squeak).

AFAIK good makers don't tend to do it nowadays because it's become undesirable; modern players ask for mouthpieces to be very resonant (in terms of the feel of the mouthpiece, let's not start a discussion about whether a mouthpiece can actually resonate, please) and free blowing.

However, there is often a slight asymmetry in even very well made pieces; if the piece has been faced by hand rather than by CNC, it's inevitable. But a slight asymmetry is of no consequence. I've successfully played mouthpieces that had quite a pronounced asymmetry e.g. Berg Larsens, Selmers pre:Concept, and the real objection is that it can make a mouthpiece very reed-picky which gets tedious over time. A sever asymmetry can make a reed become unplayably resistant once it has bedded into the facing.
Each persons lip pressure will vary from one side to the other in the mouth. In these cases variations from one rail to the other needs to be made differently to adjust for the change in overall shape of the mouth and the upper and lower teeth pressures. This also explains the reason that some people play well on one mouthpiece where another person overall mouth structure would not allow the same mouthpiece to play as well. A huge number of variables come into play. The majority of all mouthpiece makers are not aware of these huge variations. To technically create the correct mouthpiece for each person some type of form for measuring these variations needs to be developed like a dentist doing impressions.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
Messages
454
Location
London
#16
Each persons lip pressure will vary from one side to the other in the mouth. In these cases variations from one rail to the other needs to be made differently to adjust for the change in overall shape of the mouth and the upper and lower teeth pressures. This also explains the reason that some people play well on one mouthpiece where another person overall mouth structure would not allow the same mouthpiece to play as well. A huge number of variables come into play. The majority of all mouthpiece makers are not aware of these huge variations. To technically create the correct mouthpiece for each person some type of form for measuring these variations needs to be developed like a dentist doing impressions.
I think this would be a step too far. I find that 'a good mouthpiece' is pretty much always 'a good mouthpiece' when compared by experienced, adept players. Of course a 7* that may float my boat is not going to entirely satisfy my friend who likes a 9 facing, but he will be able to appreciate that my 7* is 'a good mouthpiece'.
In my experience, the more symmetrical a mouthpiece is, the better a reed will vibrate. If one were to build in eccentricities they would hinder the clear and full vibration of the reed - bearing in mind that the lip-and-jaw part of the embouchure should merely create a seal and apply enough pressure to enable the reed to vibrate in the air column, and no more.
I don't wish to appear to deliberately contradict @oldtoneholes , but I believe, from my experience, that it is the nature of a symmetrical curve or curves and the design and integrity of the internal space of a mouthpiece that dictate whether a mouthpiece plays well or not.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
5,714
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#17
Each persons lip pressure will vary from one side to the other in the mouth. In these cases variations from one rail to the other needs to be made differently to adjust for the change in overall shape of the mouth and the upper and lower teeth pressures. This also explains the reason that some people play well on one mouthpiece where another person overall mouth structure would not allow the same mouthpiece to play as well. A huge number of variables come into play. The majority of all mouthpiece makers are not aware of these huge variations. To technically create the correct mouthpiece for each person some type of form for measuring these variations needs to be developed like a dentist doing impressions.
An interesting theory and one I have not heard before. In my experience when the lower teeth are uneven causing an "uneven" bite, it is a simple matter to tilt the head (or the mouthpiece) to even things out. In my case, the upper teeth are uneven causing the mouthpiece to tilt a bit to one side. On new mouthpieces I like to use a thick soft patch to compensate. On my older mouthpieces I have played for years, the teeth grooves in the mouthpiece even things out.
 
Messages
14
#18
I think this would be a step too far. I find that 'a good mouthpiece' is pretty much always 'a good mouthpiece' when compared by experienced, adept players. Of course a 7* that may float my boat is not going to entirely satisfy my friend who likes a 9 facing, but he will be able to appreciate that my 7* is 'a good mouthpiece'.
In my experience, the more symmetrical a mouthpiece is, the better a reed will vibrate. If one were to build in eccentricities they would hinder the clear and full vibration of the reed - bearing in mind that the lip-and-jaw part of the embouchure should merely create a seal and apply enough pressure to enable the reed to vibrate in the air column, and no more.
I don't wish to appear to deliberately contradict @oldtoneholes , but I believe, from my experience, that it is the nature of a symmetrical curve or curves and the design and integrity of the internal space of a mouthpiece that dictate whether a mouthpiece plays well or not.
I certainly respect your thoughts in every aspect. I am sure this is not always the case but everybody's mouth structure, teeth, lips, and embouchure are entirely different from the other person. I have seen a lot of great players that actually did not have the mouthpiece centered in their mouth. Not every internal part of developing the internal muscles is the same. One side of the mouth can be stronger than the other side and the variables go on and on beyond what I can imagine. Thanks so much.