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RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hi guys,

Well, as an Industrial Designer, I´m very curious about mouthpieces and their several variables and characteristics.

I want to learn more about them and maybe, who knows, design some of them in the future.

So, I would really appreciate some elucidation about some things.

What´s the relation between the tip opening, facing length and facing curvature shape?

What´s the impact that both the tip opening size and shape of the facing curve have on tone and playability?

What would be, in your opinion, the characteristics of a perfect/ideal mouthpiece?

Thanks in advance,

Raf.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Wow. This is the ultimate king size can of worms.
keep in mind the we have Morgan Fry among us http://morganfrymouthpieces.com/
Many of us are regular customers of Mr Pillinger, that has some Phd on the subject and still questioning any possible aspect of the matter.

Here is a guy from a engineering background and some interesting opinions.
http://sax.mpostma.nl/EN/index.html

On the facing curve... If there was an answer, we wouldn't have so many mouthpieces in our drawers. Check the various threads on the subject, here and on SOTW.
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
there's also a mouthpiece acoustics group in yahoo, probably a mouthpiece design one as well.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Thanks aldevis. :)

This is a great link indeed (http://sax.mpostma.nl/EN/index.html)

It´s nice to know Morgan Fry is among us. I´d love to hear his opinions on this subject. It would be great, actually.

Well, in my opinion, there´s too much mysticism among saxophonists. Mouthpieces are solid, tangible objects and, if we study them properly, we should be able to come up with definitive conclusions.

We have a lot of technological tools and some real innovation in this field is quite possible to achieve.

I´m specially curious to see if someone has successfully established a solid relationship between the several mouthpiece elements.

Personally, I had an old student mouthpiece with a very closed tip, so I did some tests with it. I´ve opened the tip without messing with facing length. It´s projection improved considerably but it was harder to play. So, I started to gradually and slowly increase the facing length until I found a "sweet spot", where it started to become much easier to play.

I didn´t use any special calculations for the new facing curve, but I could conclude that, at least in this specific case, the bigger the tip opening is, the bigger should be the facing length. It makes sense, since it enables the reed to vibrate and bend uniformly, instead of over stressing the reed in a single spot.

Its sound become slightly brighter as well, which also makes sense, since a bigger tip opening enables the reed to vibrate more extensively and, since it requires more air pressure, the vibrations are more intense.


Cheers,

Raf.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Man, there's no correct answer to this post that isn't like Russian novel long, but I'll try to get you started.

the facing curve -- delimits the reed travel.
the baffle (area right behind the tip rail) -- accelerates the air under the reed, increasing the pressure differential between the mouth and instrument, thus closing the reed and starting the vibration.
the chamber (the entire interior up to the sax neck)-- a substitute for the truncated end of the cone (the saxophone).

Everything follows from those three facts and a correct understanding of acoustics.

Read the archives of the yahoo 'mouthpiecework' newsgroup, there is a lot there, also SOTW, also UNSW saxophone acoustics page.
Feel free to ask me any more specific questions.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Man, there's no correct answer to this post that isn't like Russian novel long, but I'll try to get you started.

the facing curve -- delimits the reed travel.
the baffle (area right behind the tip rail) -- accelerates the air under the reed, increasing the pressure differential between the mouth and instrument, thus closing the reed and starting the vibration.
the chamber (the entire interior up to the sax neck)-- a substitute for the truncated end of the cone (the saxophone).

Everything follows from those three facts and a correct understanding of acoustics.

Read the archives of the yahoo 'mouthpiecework' newsgroup, there is a lot there, also SOTW, also UNSW saxophone acoustics page.
Feel free to ask me any more specific questions.
Hey Morgan,

Thanks for the reply! :)

Well, I´m particularly curious about the internal surface of the mouthpieces.

I was just wondering what would happen to the sound if they where internally shaped in a way that would induce the air stream to move spirally, like the internal surface of a rifle´s barrel. At least in theory, it would help to have a smoother and more stable air column.

I was also thinking what would happen if their internal surface area was slotted, in order to increase the internal surface area without increasing their size.

Cheers,

Raf.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Hey Morgan,

Thanks for the reply! :)

Well, I´m particularly curious about the internal surface of the mouthpieces.

I was just wondering what would happen to the sound if they where internally shaped in a way that would induce the air stream to move spirally, like the internal surface of a rifle´s barrel. At least in theory, it would help to have a smoother and more stable air column.

I was also thinking what would happen if their internal surface area was slotted, in order to increase the internal surface area without increasing their size.

Cheers,

Raf.
This has been tried, and as mister Morgan says the only part which accelerates the air is the baffle area.. so any improvements of air speed must be made there, and as this is a right or concave shape it`s quite difficult to do so.

And even more difficult to measure (except from playing) the airstream and see what it does.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
This has been tried, and as mister Morgan says the only part which accelerates the air is the baffle area.. so any improvements of air speed must be made there, and as this is a right or concave shape it`s quite difficult to do so.

And even more difficult to measure (except from playing) the airstream and see what it does.
Hey mate,

Well, I was thinking about measuring the airstream of several mouthpieces using my former university´s wind tunnel. They have a nice one they use to test scaled down car models.

There are software who can simulate the air flow inside any object, but the mouthpieces would have to be 3D modeled or scanned, which would be pretty exhaustive and expensive.

Raf.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Hey mate,

Well, I was thinking about measuring the airstream of several mouthpieces using my former university´s wind tunnel. They have a nice one they use to test scaled down car models.

There are software who can simulate the air flow inside any object, but the mouthpieces would have to be 3D modeled or scanned, which would be pretty exhaustive and expensive.

Raf.
well a wind tunnel would do if you have a translucent mpc. And even if you had a 3d model, you cant trus blindly on a simulation. There are just too many factors. Also this only gives you an idea of the aerodynamics of the mpc and only visual data, no speeds or fluxes, so nothing to calculate with only to look at.

for a validated simulation you'll need hard numbers, measured numbers that is. And if you can compare those to a 3d model simulation you'll know the accuracy of your simulation..

Also different airspeeds at different notes woul add to the allready complex problem...
 
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Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,933
This post has a lot of discussion but post '18' by Phil Barone is something I believe in.

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?23014-Link-Quality-Issues

I have 6 hard rubber links and a couple of Super Tone Masters in front of me now from different era's. Having taken various measurements and studied the baffles, their character from piece to piece follows a pattern described by Phil.
I must state that I don't have means of measuring the 'facing curves' and do happen to believe that the reed selection will compensate anyway but I have collated many other measurements commonly spoken about and I think their relationship with each other obtains predictable results.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Wow! Started reading this thread a few hours ago then took a look at the Marten Postman site, which I've just read in its entirety (not that I understood it all, lol).
I feel like my brains swollen, so im looking around my workshop for some materials and by morning light I should have bashed out some mouthpieces ! LOL.
Seriously, made for a riveting reed.
Having been an engineer for 25 years I wish I had my own laithe as I'd certainly attempt to make a few mouthpieces out of curiosity more than anything, and the fact I like making things.

I've had a good look at the Morgan fry site as well and have to say they look very very nice in rhodium finish! Think I might have just increased my mouthpiece dream-list!

Thanks for the thread, very interesting and has kept me occupied for a few hours.

Rgds Lee.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I've seen the Postma site before. Looks really interesting. One thing put me off - the lack of a table on his pieces. At least one of the big makers made mouthpieces that way, but discontinued it because of leaks. Postma seems to have found a good solution in the cork strip, but I wonder. It would be good to hear from someone who's played one of his pieces, as Wade says.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
I've seen the Postma site before. Looks really interesting. One thing put me off - the lack of a table on his pieces. At least one of the big makers made mouthpieces that way, but discontinued it because of leaks. Postma seems to have found a good solution in the cork strip, but I wonder. It would be good to hear from someone who's played one of his pieces, as Wade says.
A lot of interesting ideas there, and the no table construction is an elegant solution to a tricky manufacturing problem. It should work,

Hey mate,

Well, I was thinking about measuring the airstream of several mouthpieces using my former university´s wind tunnel. They have a nice one they use to test scaled down car models.

There are software who can simulate the air flow inside any object, but the mouthpieces would have to be 3D modeled or scanned, which would be pretty exhaustive and expensive.

Raf.
One of the most popular misconceptions is the role of airflow in the mouthpiece, and indeed in the saxophone itself. Once the air gets past the baffle, it's moving much too slow to matter at all. The acoustics (the standing pressure wave) dominate. OK, airflow matters a little, and the texture of the surface matters as airflow along the surface can affect the way the wave reflects off of the surface. And corners sharp enough to cause turbulence matter. But the mouthpiece is not an airplane. It's not a car. It is an acoustic chamber and probably a waveguide.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
A lot of interesting ideas there, and the no table construction is an elegant solution to a tricky manufacturing problem. It should work,
Yes, I agree.

Was the Meyer Tru-flex I was thinking of: http://www.theowanne.com/knowledge/mouthpiece-museum/meyer
but I guess you knew that already;}. I'm sure I read somewhere it was prone to leaks, but it doesn't say so on the link. Postma's lig appears to solve the problems described in the link.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies. This forum is awesome! :)

Well, I´m still playing around with a cheap mouthpiece; opened the tip a little bit, increased the facing length a little bit, messed with the facing curve...So far, it´s playing better than before, with more projection and easier to play.

Now, I just think it´s still playing a little bit dark. I want add slightly more brightness to it.

I´m thinking about making a small baffle with epoxy putty. What do you think? Would it just increase projection or would it add a little more brightness as well?

Cheers,

Raf.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,148
I think we are extremely fortunate to have someone like Morgan here to de-mystify what could otherwise be fables passed around as fact. My sincere thanks!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Rather than epoxy, use plasticene or other modelling clay. When you get it the way you want, use epoxy for a permanent one.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Hey Morgan,


Thanks for the reply! :)

Well, I´m particularly curious about the internal surface of the mouthpieces.

I was just wondering what would happen to the sound if they where internally shaped in a way that would induce the air stream to move spirally, like the internal surface of a rifle´s barrel. At least in theory, it would help to have a smoother and more stable air column.

I was also thinking what would happen if their internal surface area was slotted, in order to increase the internal surface area without increasing their size.

Cheers,

Raf.
Here's a good example of a slotted MP:
http://doctorsax.biz/Britone_Tenor_Mpc.htm
very bright and chaotic yet wonderfully unpredictable (love it):
http://cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?6191-ROC-Britone-a-quot-baffling-quot-mouthpiece
 
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