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Discussion Starter #1
I just wanted to make this post to say a few words about my new Caravan.

Firstly, I love the name as it makes me think I'm going on holiday :)

Past the pun now.

I think this might be about my fifth tenor mouthpiece and I have to say it would be my favourite. Started out on the regular Yamaha mouthpieces and I've tried Jody Jazz (7), moved to a Phil Tone Edge (6) (which I still have) and more recently a Phil Barone metal Jazz (6*). I really like the latter but it was just wasn't right for my only public gig - a concert band scene. I did a bit of a hunt on SOTW and came up with the Caravan mouthpiece as a possible option. I was a bit hesitant as a number of the posts seem to suggest that the Caravan wasn't all that consistent in its playability. (BTW, I'm playing a Phil Barone Vintage tenor - beautiful horn, great value)

I emailed Dr Caravan to ask him about the mouthpiece and concerns about consistency. (I've pasted his response below). Anyways, I got the mouthpiece, and excellent value at about $145 AUD (with postage) and I love it. Absolutely well suited to my playing situation. It's intonation is also spot on. With both my Barone and Edge I have to back them right off the cork to get them in tune. With the Caravan I can slip it on to a comfortable position and it is right in the groove. It is a fairly quite mouthpiece but this suits both my concert band and practice at home. Al I can say is that if you are thinking about getting one - go for it!

Email response from Dr Caravan:

"
(2) Because Caravan mouthpieces are designed with larger tone chambers (just as Adolphe Sax designed the original mouthpieces for "classical" use and symphonic sound), they may play a bit lower in pitch than most modern designs, which have constricted tone chambers as influenced by jazz performance standards and naive "classical" tonal concepts. I know of only one specific application where the mouthpiece is practically unplayable--certain modern baritone saxophones (specifically the Yamaha with low A) which cannot be brought up to pitch with the larger-chamber mouthpiece (short of using a hack-saw to remove some of the end, which is rather drastic and perhaps not entirely successful). Otherwise, my only other personal experience with distinctively lower pitch is with modern Selmer instruments (Series II, III) my students have brought in; we have to push the large-chamber alto mouthpiece all the way in to start, then after they have warmed up some we can pull it back out a little. Also, sometimes due to the density of the sound those modern Selmer altos often produce (rather dull, really), we sometimes use the medium-chamber alto model rather than the large-chamber (which has the darker sound and really works best, in my opinion, on most instruments). Regarding the tenor model, which evidently interests you, I know of no situation where someone had pitch problems with it.

(3) It would be interesting to know the specifics and origin of comments on internet forums regarding consistency of my mouthpieces, or any other brand, for that matter. Having prepared and sold clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces for over 35 years, I learned long ago that mouthpieces are like snowflakes--no two seem to be exactly alike in blowing characteristics and harmonic spectrum (key word: "exactly"). Many people do not realize that the finishing work on hard-rubber mouthpieces is all done by hand at the factory, so there will certainly be some cosmetic variation, and occasionally this may also be manifest in subtle ways in acoustical variation, but only subtle--usually so subtle that variations reed to reed more than make up for these differences mouthpiece to mouthpiece. Most importantly, I personally measure and play-test every mouthpiece that arrives from the factory (and hand adjust if necessary) before they are placed into stock for sale to customers. Hence, there is a high degree of consistency among these mouthpieces where the most important factor is concerned--how the mouthpiece plays and sounds."
 

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Hmm, never tried the tenor moutpieces. I had/have a Alto Caravan and a soprano one around here somewhere.

The one mouthpiece of his I still use daily is his clarinet mouthpiece. Great mouthpiece.
 

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I have spent a good bit of time with Dr. Caravan (although never his official student)over the last 18 years or so. He really does test play each and every mouthpiece. I recently purchase one of his Alto Large chamber pieces and he specifically selected one based on my playing preference. Dr. Caravan is THE REAL DEAL in playing, composing, and mouthpiece design & adjusting. The comment about mouthpiece being 'snowflakes' is perfect. Good luck with the new piece.
 
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