Copying mouthpieces

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Tbarh
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Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:21 am

I know that the general concensus is that it is impossible to make an identical performing copy of an excisting mouthpiece, but if the original mouthpiece is not in Your posession or needs to be replaced, what are the forums opinion about copying a mouthpiece?.. Worth it or should I go hunting for another?
I have a fairly good Bach 2G of newer origin. I recently borrowed a Mount Vernon 2G from a friend.. A piece i Originally owned and sold (i know: stupid!!) and am fairly familiar with.. The superiority of the MV piece is unquestionable but i cant help thinking that my own 2G piece can be modified to specs closer to the MV.. Visual inspection shows me that the differences are far from subtle.. The rim contours are different, the angel between
The rim and entrance to the Cup( and a bit down) are different (sharper in the MV), the Cup are more bowl shaped(MV) and the throat bore and backbore are bigger.. To modify with these specs in minds is the big question.. Worth the gamble?

Trond
islander
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by islander » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:31 am

Trond,

This is something I know a little about as I have copied one of Chris Stearn's MV 1.5s, really in order to experiment with the use of different metals for mouthpiece manufacture. The simple idea was to scan a very good mouthpiece as faithfully as possible, then produce examples in brass to test the similarity to the original. Then finally to try reproducing that design out of other materials - like zirconium, for instance - and see where that goes.

All this I have done with the help and enthusiasm of an engineering company in London that has the scanning equipment, CNC lathes and, crucially, engineers who care about the quality of the output. It is an expensive process and there has been a good deal of trial and error to make it more costly yet.

But I do have some really good 1.5s now. Do the results match the original mouthpiece? Yes and no. In some ways the results surpass the parent mouthpiece - but who knows whether that is because we used a different grade of brass, for instance.

But you can turn a mouthpiece that is so close to identical as to make no difference - but material has to come into the picture. Plating probably has some bearing on it too. Doug Elliott may have a view about plating thickness.

Bill
islander
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by islander » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:33 am

So, probably go hunt for another! Madness lies down the other road. :eek:
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:07 am

We do not want to go mad, do we?.. :-) In my case its about modifying an excisting piece to get closer to the original, not actually copy. I should have been more clear in my original posting.. How ever, if You can make a blueprint copy at a reasonable Price, its a no - brainer..

Trond
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:40 am

BTW, Islander!, what an exciting endeavor.. I can see that the prototype face is a very costly matter, but with cnc mass production it would be another matter.. Have You tested phosfor bronze btw?.. I see that some makes are testing it with Great succes..

Trond
islander
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by islander » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:48 am

No, not yet...too like brass for this stage of the game. I'm building on the work that my father started making flute stoppers out of various metals, and used my many professional players. I've tried tungsten composites and zirconium...and humble brass...so far.
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:04 am

How are the zirconium ones working out?... Almost as hard as diamonds, right?
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JohnL
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by JohnL » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:38 am

Tbarh wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:04 am
How are the zirconium ones working out?... Almost as hard as diamonds, right?
I suspect he's using metallic zirconium (probably an alloy) rather than cubic zirconia.
Leisesturm
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Leisesturm » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:53 am

JohnL wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:38 am
Tbarh wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:04 am
How are the zirconium ones working out?... Almost as hard as diamonds, right?
I suspect he's using metallic zirconium (probably an alloy) rather than cubic zirconia.
I choose to believe that he is experimenting with the cubic zirconium. Man, I can just imagine it. Can't you? A 6-1/2 AL gleaming under the spotlights when you take the stage. There wouldn't be a dry seat in the house ...
islander
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by islander » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:50 am

I've been using sintered, annealed metallic zirconium bars. They need to be annealed just to make them "soft" enough to be turned.

The Zr mouthpieces play very nicely indeed. Compared to the identical MV 1.5s in brass they play with a lighter sound, but with more overtones. So the character is different from brass, and rather a matter of personal taste, I guess. They warm up almost instantly when you start playing, and stay warm for much longer than brass. They are notably lighter than brass mouthpieces, and are extremely durable as they are impervious to acid, and are very difficult to mark in any way.

The tungsten derived mouthpieces play with fewer overtones, but a very big core sound. Pedal notes pop out more easily than brass. Very heavy mouthpieces too!
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JohnL
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by JohnL » Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:37 pm

I had some copying work done at Kanstul a few years back; I was quite happy with the result. Unfortunately, I do not know if they even offer that service any more. The person who was doing it (James New) has moved on. He's got his own business (or at least a website) now, but it doesn't say anything about duplication.
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ssking2b
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by ssking2b » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:58 pm

Get a Greg Black 2G. It's based on the MV 2G, and is supposed to be very close.
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blast
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by blast » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:39 pm

Well, well.... how interesting.
First, years ago I ordered a 2G from Greg Black.... what I got was the same as his 1 1/2G. Waste of time. In the Black Hill days he did make a 2G.
Bill's copies of my MV 1 1/2G.... they didn't come out the same as the original.... guess what I am playing on...

Chris
fwbassbone
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by fwbassbone » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:28 pm

I know that Schilke has a drawer full of great old mouthpieces that they will copy. I'm tempted to have them make me a Swan like Mr. Kleinhammer played when I studied with him. As we were looking through them there were several MV's but I can't remember exactly which ones.
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:11 am

blast wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:39 pm
Well, well.... how interesting.
First, years ago I ordered a 2G from Greg Black.... what I got was the same as his 1 1/2G. Waste of time. In the Black Hill days he did make a 2G.
Bill's copies of my MV 1 1/2G.... they didn't come out the same as the original.... guess what I am playing on...

Chris
I am guessing You play on one of Bill's copies.. Just because You can ofcourse, but also because You like it.
I think that if You can copy some of the more important features and strike the right balance of a Mount Vernon piece, You will have a good mouthpiece
Whether or not You have managed to make an exact copy... At least thats what I hope for.. :-)
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ssking2b
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by ssking2b » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:56 am

I am surprised Greg Black would screw up like that. He was really concise about all of that when he was in Orange, NJ. I guess things change!

BTW I use a Marcinkiewcz 107 now on bass bone. Huge, but works for me.
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Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:36 am

ssking2b wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:56 am
I am surprised Greg Black would screw up like that. He was really concise about all of that when he was in Orange, NJ. I guess things change!

BTW I use a Marcinkiewcz 107 now on bass bone. Huge, but works for me.
The blanks Greg Black uses are much too different from the Bach to call it a copy anyway.. The Shires classic 2G (which also are suppose to be a MV copy) are Even more different and performs very different than You would expect from a MV.. Rim shape and blanks matter!

Trond
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LeTromboniste
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:03 am

Tbarh wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:07 am
We do not want to go mad, do we?.. :-) In my case its about modifying an excisting piece to get closer to the original, not actually copy. I should have been more clear in my original posting.. How ever, if You can make a blueprint copy at a reasonable Price, its a no - brainer..

Trond
I'm not sure it makes much sense to try to modify an existing mouthpiece to get closer to the original. It might not be possible to adapt the existing mouthpiece - if it's generally smaller and you only need to open it up, or starting with a wider/flatter rim that can be rounded, maybe, but as soon as the required change is in the opposite direction, you're kinda screwed...Depending on how close the two mouthpiece are, I would think it might be easier and faster (and thus cheaper) to just start from scratch with a blank and carefully try to replicate the original. Short of scanning and CNC, you won't get an exactly identical copy (although a skilled maker can certainly come extremely close), but at least starting from scratch you have control over everything.
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Leisesturm
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Leisesturm » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:57 am

Maybe there will be a point revealed as I get on with this or no, but perhaps my musings will be found germane to this discussion. One of the (French) Horn bloggers was observing measurable differences in the exact same model of mouthpiece in the samples measured. According to their research findings, the Laskey company produced the most consistent duplication of mp parameters as judged against competitors. Bottom line: chances are good that any two mouthpieces carrying the same make and model name will be 'different' from one another. It kind of makes the angst over whether a Blessing 6-1/2AL is a faithful copy of a Bach 6-1/2AL moot because even two Bach 6-1/2AL's aren't faithful copies of the master template. Pretty depressing, right? Maybe. Read on, please.

The late Phillip Farkas (Hornist) had a lot to say about mouthpieces during his career. Mouthpieces are the very first thing he talks about in his "The Art of French Horn Playing" (he also wrote a "The Art of Brass Playing") even before discussing the actual instrument. After some discussion about mouthpiece extremes and a number of cross section photographs of several models of (horn) mouthpieces and all the stuff we all know about them (mouthpieces in general) he gives this summation, which is basically to compromise, pick a mouthpiece that does nothing well (high notes?) but nothing badly, I've gotten my copy out so I don't have to paraphrase: "the best advice about mouthpieces stated in capsule form, would be this: get a mouthpiece which is generally accepted as 'normal' (five models named) ... be sure the one you choose has no obvious bad qualities; make sure it is comfortable on the lips (shouldn't be an issue for trombone); then stick with it until it is mastered. There is more, but the capper of the mouthpiece discussion is this: "if only to preserve sanity, all of us must return to this fundamental fact: we must stay with one mouthpiece, good or bad, and achieve our results by conscientious and correct practice with a correctly formed embouchure." FWIW.
Last edited by Leisesturm on Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:32 am

Good points, leisesturm..
The thing with the Mount Vernon i currently use is that it "does" nothing for me... It does not neccesarily makes playing easier per se.. I still have to do everything right to get the sound where i want it.. But the mouthpiece inspires me because of how it tends to respond when i blow it.. And when the mouthpiece respond like that i tend to get along better with the horn also.. Mount Vernon Bachs are special.!
walldaja
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by walldaja » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:08 pm

You may want to check out the vocational schools near you that train machinists. Often they are looking for challenging things for their students to work on. You may only be out of the cost of material and could build a great relationship with a school / student body. Doing prototypes in Delrin could give you an opportunity to "A" / "B" some samples and then put the "final" in a metal of choice.
Dave

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blast
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by blast » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:35 am

Well, I am playing Bill's copies of my MV.
Reasons...... I was able to model my favourite MV rim shape onto my favourite sounding MV piece. The resulting CNC copy Is not exactly the same as the MV, but overall it's a better mouthpiece ! It is easier to play... more open in the low register with a rich dark quality easily available if you know how to get it.
The company seem to be able to reproduce these mouthpieces consistently in brass and copper. Zirconium is harder to polish, so there is more chance of variation at the final stage of manufacture. We will have to see how they manage.

Chris
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:12 am

blast wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:35 am
Well, I am playing Bill's copies of my MV.
Reasons...... I was able to model my favourite MV rim shape onto my favourite sounding MV piece. The resulting CNC copy Is not exactly the same as the MV, but overall it's a better mouthpiece ! It is easier to play... more open in the low register with a rich dark quality easily available if you know how to get it.
The company seem to be able to reproduce these mouthpieces consistently in brass and copper. Zirconium is harder to polish, so there is more chance of variation at the final stage of manufacture. We will have to see how they manage.

Chris
I am curious, did You choose that rim because it was more comfortable or did You think it would improve the sound of Your favourite Cup?.. My new 2G is more comfortable than the MV, but i wouldnt dare NOT to change it (if i Were to modify) in case it would be important for the sound..
BTW!, i got a feeling i have been having this discussion before, but with rediscovering the 2G once again, it suddenly got important again.. I feel for the first time that i can have a shot at doubling bass and Tenor without sacrificing a real bass sound.. :-)

Trond
blast
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by blast » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:26 am

Tbarh wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:12 am
blast wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:35 am
Well, I am playing Bill's copies of my MV.
Reasons...... I was able to model my favourite MV rim shape onto my favourite sounding MV piece. The resulting CNC copy Is not exactly the same as the MV, but overall it's a better mouthpiece ! It is easier to play... more open in the low register with a rich dark quality easily available if you know how to get it.
The company seem to be able to reproduce these mouthpieces consistently in brass and copper. Zirconium is harder to polish, so there is more chance of variation at the final stage of manufacture. We will have to see how they manage.

Chris
I am curious, did You choose that rim because it was more comfortable or did You think it would improve the sound of Your favourite Cup?.. My new 2G is more comfortable than the MV, but i wouldnt dare NOT to change it (if i Were to modify) in case it would be important for the sound..
BTW!, i got a feeling i have been having this discussion before, but with rediscovering the 2G once again, it suddenly got important again.. I feel for the first time that i can have a shot at doubling bass and Tenor without sacrificing a real bass sound.. :-)

Trond
The rim was simply about comfort. You are right... every variable has an effect and I would say that what Bill has ended up with is really a happy accident. I wouldn't call it a MV copy but more MV inspired. You would have to make a mouthpiece using exactly the same processes as Bach did back then to even stand a chance of getting a real copy.

Chris
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:14 am

Note to self : Never, ever sell a good mouthpiece only because i dont use it! Thats why they dont Come soldered to the horn!
Chris : an " MV inspired mouthpiece" is probably what i Will be aiming for.. (Unless i can convince the owner that his MV suits me better than him).. The "donor" piece are a fraction deeper than the MV which i suppose can be a good thing as the MV are on the small side.. As I said, the Cup shape, rim/Cup angel and the throat/backbore are what i am thinking of modifying, but i also considered to copy rim shape (if i do it at all)
Dave : that was a very good idea which i might persue.. There is an engineering university half an hour drive from where i live..

Trond
bcschipper
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by bcschipper » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:10 pm

Werner Ch. Schmidt in Markneukirchen copies mouthpieces.

https://www.schmidt-brass.de/englisch/index.htm
Tbarh
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Re: Copying mouthpieces

Post by Tbarh » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:20 am

bcschipper wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:10 pm
Werner Ch. Schmidt in Markneukirchen copies mouthpieces.

https://www.schmidt-brass.de/englisch/index.htm
Probably, but i could not find out from looking at their website.. Interestingly , they die cast mouthpieces!!.. And i suppose a copy will be rather expensive.. Check out the instrument Section,.. Copy of old Piering Bb/Tenor and now also Tenorbass... Trond
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