It was a logical purchase or so I keep telling myself. What made me specify a 9* from Pete when only a lazy, late beginner/semi-intermediate player? Everyone was advising a Yamaha 4 when the supplied plastic beginner’s mouthpiece was replaced on a whim. As the only Yamaha in stock was a 6, guess what temporally cured the GAS? So from the start I’m two tips up on the recommended size. Next was a Java T75 and meeting Griff who wanted a go at the ST-8 and fixed the hard to blow low notes.
GAS again and this time RPC. Took around six months for Ron’s piece to arrive but ordered a 105 as that matched the Java. Like Tom, prefer unusual items as my melodeon confirms. It is the funny bi-sonoric squeezebox used frequently by Morris musicians but how many have a half row of flattened thirds, fifths and sevenths to make the blues more playable? Manufactured in the late thirties, internally restored and fettled but showing its age externally, it is mine and unmistakeable. Making the blues more playable but not perfect as African scales contain some 4:7 intervals that do not occur in equal temperament. Guess we should only play blues on non-fretted strings, resophonic guitars, slide brass and Swanee Whistles.
Anyway this PPT 9* turns up in seven to eight weeks, short time compared with Ron’s timetable and what to make of it. Physical examination of the four mouthpieces show physical differences obvious even to twits like me. The beginner’s is nice and shiny everywhere with a barely discernible baffle leading to a horseshoe shaped chamber that steps down via a ninety degree edge into the tuning bore. The Java shows its stylish Parisian origin by its smoother outline. Much more obvious baffle further in the the unbranded plastic with lots of handwork in the lip to the bore area via a slight step. No wonder the prices escalated, The RPC is all handwork, as you would expect. The baffle is crescent shaped, the centre closer to the tip leading via ledges at the sides to a slightly offset round chamber smoothing into the tuning bore. The PPT9* is a different colour and immediately the much slimmer rails and a tip that shares the same profile as the various brands of reeds tried so far are obvious. The baffle is much more crescent shaped and prominent and full width, leading to a complex shaped entrance to the tuning bore.
How do they sound? How do I know, I’m standing at the wrong end, telling myself that each change was worth it. Brilliant as I am, I cannot possibly make a mistake, can I?
Impressions then. PPT seems to be a little more reed sensitive as it managed to squeak on a RJS but probably a one off incident. Felt bigger than the 105s, needed to find the correct bite but one needs to find that on all ‘pieces, very surprised to find that quiet playing was easier than on the others but do not know about maximum volume as surrounded by wrinkly neighbours. Seems easier to bend notes but not owning suitable measuring equipment, possibly due to a longer lay. Like it, like it a lot but only fair to suggest three possible improvements:-
Owing to the similarity of colours, find lining the reed slightly more difficult but could be the cataracts
My ST-8 is silver and gold plated bling, so why just a brass ring? Might be okay for the unlacquered amongst you but not suitable for us blingers.
As Pete play tests them all, his DNA is on all samples. Do you think I could sue for my hypertension?
Buy a PPT now for two reasons, they are good and the charities that benefit.
What about the mystery missing Yamaha 6? Flogged to Pauly T but the post lost it, so gave Paul his money back. Well, he does own a Harley.
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