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Discussion Starter #1
For years the only alto mpc I played regularly was my old Selmer Super Session D. It's a truly great piece. But I have others that I've bought over the years just because they were there (LOL) and now that I'm back into playing alto a lot I have started playing them interchangeably with the SS. One I like is a this Riffault because it complements the tonal qualities of my True Tone Alto quite well. Anyone else play one of these old pieces by any chance? Or am I an anachronism?
 

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Hi,
I have one for tenor here that was refaced to a 7* tip and it blows excellent.Havent checked out the altos in quite sometime.
Very nice pieces. The tenors are like the Selmer Soloists.

Hope you are doing well, my friend.
 

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Hi Mark, Happy Holidays to you. I hope you and yours are all well. And thanks for your reply. Nice to know someone else knows about them....but then again you are a mouthpiece maven so it figures cause I gather that they're not too common anymore.

I'm good. Back playing again....at home only....after not doing anything saxophonic for almost a year and a half. I had gone back to jamming in clubs after I initially recovered from my HA and operation, but it was the law of diminishing returns. Took a couple of painful experiences to realize that the body can't ever be the same after a heart attack, especially when you're already older. So I got kind of disoriented and lost the thread. However, my love for sax playing has finally returned and I'm in fact practicing a ton and just free playing what I hear in my head...inventions of all kinds....on S,A, & T.

Re: Tenor, I want to tell you how happy I am to have the HR Personaline you sold me as well as your own Black Widow. Two really great mpcs that I simply love playing. They sound great on the Comm III, which I know you know is one of the most mpc-friendly saxes there is. I really love trying different reeds with them too to hear the variety of sound I can get with different setups. I find that that helps my ideas when playing in that sounds have a life of their own above and beyond any music theory and any sound can lead to the creation of a succession of others by itself because of its multifaceted qualities. I don't know if that makes sense but it's the best I can explain it.

Anyway, have a wonderful New Year's holiday and a healthy and happy 2020. Maybe if we're lucky we'll all suddenly have perfect vision next year. LOL
 

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I’m SOOOOO glad you are doing better! I didn’t want to share any of your health scares, but I am so happy to hear that you are back playing! That is really phenomenal news.
I am also glad that you are enjoying the mouthpieces so much. I know you like to play a lot of different things and I’m glad something of mine fits in your arsenal.

I wish you a year of great health and lots of happiness!!!!

Will you be back in the states again this summer?
 

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I’ve got a couple of no-name hard rubber alto pieces that I’m pretty sure were made Riffault - both have small round chambers / moderate rollover baffle / close tip. Who knows who actually applied the facing. Both have some nicks on the rails that make them chirpy and unpredictable, but otherwise they get a good sound with surprising volume. I’ve thought about having the facings cleaned up, but I don’t like the somewhat chunky old-fashioned beak profile they have.

I think Riffault supplied “The Woodwind Co. NY” with blanks to which they applied their own facings. I’ve had several of those at various times and they were all good players.
 

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Another good “sleeper” are the old Buffet mouthpieces. I think they’re Chedevilles. They play nice and bright even in the smaller tips.
 

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Yes, indeed. I do use a Riffault Steel Ebonite alto mpc.

I would note that these are one of the few older mpcs that I do not seem to get refaced very often.

They mostly work as they are, although I must be careful to get one with a tip opening I like.

In addition, they can have markedly differing insides, tho the outsides might look identical.

Higher or lower floors.

Differing size and shape of chambers.

And so on.

The mpc refacers to whom I have sent old Riffaults in for modifications seem to like to work on them, too.

They make good legit and straight ahead pieces for me.

I have found them to be a good bargain.

Chu is the axe.









For years the only alto mpc I played regularly was my old Selmer Super Session D. It's a truly great piece. But I have others that I've bought over the years just because they were there (LOL) and now that I'm back into playing alto a lot I have started playing them interchangeably with the SS. One I like is a this Riffault because it complements the tonal qualities of my True Tone Alto quite well. Anyone else play one of these old pieces by any chance? Or am I an anachronism?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I found this interesting blog by a guy who went to France on a pilgrimage of sorts to all places to do with Riffault mouthpieces to gather info about the company and its products. It's interesting but quite long so I have to admit to having only scanned the latter pages of it because I was tired and really trying to find the official tip measurements that R4 and R5 correlate to. However there is quite a bit of interesting info that answers some of the questions about this company and the mpcs they manufactured that you other guys here have wondered about, so I recommend it. When I get a chance to read it at my leisure I plan to read it again more throughly.

http://stuffsax.blogspot.com/2017/12/riffault-woodwind-mouthpieces-you-have.html
 

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Not really a pilgrimage, I also did some boating on the canals and visited some caves with prehistoric paintings. And ate pastries. Oh, and drank wine.

I've owned lots of Riffault mouthpieces (some people call them Chedeville mouthpieces). I would guess that between 1928 and 2001, when Riffault sold out (although the Riffault tradename continued), Riffault probably produced 20 different tenor mouthpiece styles. So saying "I play a Riffault" is like saying "I drive a Ford." Not really enough information. Could be a sports car or could be a tractor. My experience is that Riffaults can be modified to perform sporty, although that wasn't their business model. Lots of other businesses did that with Riffault blanks.

For alto and tenor, the #3 mouthpieces are the most common. For tenor, R4 was .070" and R5 was .076". Their largest tenor tip was R7 at .088. I've owned an R7 alto but have never even seen an R7 tenor. Too bad. Although the stock facings are good, openings above .090 are where they become interesting to me. The models, chambers, and facings that Riffault produced exclusively for others (Noblet, Leblanc, Yanagisawa, etc.) don't seem to interest me as much. Odd because I can only assume that the well respected instrument producers had some input into the design of those models.

Mark
 

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I used a Riffault R4 which was refaced on my soprano.
It was a great piece.
I have some Riffault made Baritone pieces that I’ve refaced and made into great players also.
 

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Riffault was the European equal to Babbitt. They made tons of pieces, tons of blanks and custom pieces for other companies.

It does not require a small amount to mold and vulcanize hard rubber.

A lot of pieces are made by Riffault that get credited to other makers.


As I have mentioned elsewhere, Meyer Bros non NY pieces were made from French blanks. I have no evidence in either direction to suggest Riffault made them but they were made by someone other than Meyer Bros...yet players pay insane prices for them.
 

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Jazz is All - First of all, its great to see you back on these pages and to know that you are playing again!

Your thread reminded me that I have a Riffault piece for Alto, an R4 branded with the "Ideal" name. I bought it a few years ago from Joe Giardullo, who had touched it up. Not sure what the tip opening is, but it seems pretty close to my Drake "Phil Woods" 5. It seems to be a really good match to my Buescher "New Aristocrat".

I also have a couple of Riffault soprano pieces which Joe refaced for me and which are terrific players.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not really a pilgrimage, I also did some boating on the canals and visited some caves with prehistoric paintings. And ate pastries. Oh, and drank wine.

I've owned lots of Riffault mouthpieces (some people call them Chedeville mouthpieces). I would guess that between 1928 and 2001, when Riffault sold out (although the Riffault tradename continued), Riffault probably produced 20 different tenor mouthpiece styles. So saying "I play a Riffault" is like saying "I drive a Ford." Not really enough information. Could be a sports car or could be a tractor. My experience is that Riffaults can be modified to perform sporty, although that wasn't their business model. Lots of other businesses did that with Riffault blanks.

For alto and tenor, the #3 mouthpieces are the most common. For tenor, R4 was .070" and R5 was .076". Their largest tenor tip was R7 at .088. I've owned an R7 alto but have never even seen an R7 tenor. Too bad. Although the stock facings are good, openings above .090 are where they become interesting to me. The models, chambers, and facings that Riffault produced exclusively for others (Noblet, Leblanc, Yanagisawa, etc.) don't seem to interest me as much. Odd because I can only assume that the well respected instrument producers had some input into the design of those models.

Mark
I had no idea that was you Mark. And glad to know that you partook of the edible and drinkable joys of France and not just the mouthpieces. I definitely will reread the article completely once the holidays die down as just like the history of other vintage sax and mouthpiece manufacturers this one is extremely complex. It's real detective work to sort it out for sure. Every time I googled for Riffault mouthpieces I got hits for SML as well as Chedeville so I know they were selling blanks to others as well as stamping the names of others on theirs, kind of like the stencil sax business I guess.


Jazz is All - First of all, its great to see you back on these pages and to know that you are playing again!

Your thread reminded me that I have a Riffault piece for Alto, an R4 branded with the "Ideal" name. I bought it a few years ago from Joe Giardullo, who had touched it up. Not sure what the tip opening is, but it seems pretty close to my Drake "Phil Woods" 5. It seems to be a really good match to my Buescher "New Aristocrat".

I also have a couple of Riffault soprano pieces which Joe refaced for me and which are terrific players.
Thank you Bob. That's very nice of you to say and much appreciated.
 

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I was going through a box of miscellaneous old mouthpieces this week and thanks to Mark’s website I’m guessing maybe a third of them are built on Riffault blanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not really a pilgrimage, I also did some boating on the canals and visited some caves with prehistoric paintings. And ate pastries. Oh, and drank wine.

I've owned lots of Riffault mouthpieces (some people call them Chedeville mouthpieces). I would guess that between 1928 and 2001, when Riffault sold out (although the Riffault tradename continued), Riffault probably produced 20 different tenor mouthpiece styles. So saying "I play a Riffault" is like saying "I drive a Ford." Not really enough information. Could be a sports car or could be a tractor. My experience is that Riffaults can be modified to perform sporty, although that wasn't their business model. Lots of other businesses did that with Riffault blanks.

For alto and tenor, the #3 mouthpieces are the most common. For tenor, R4 was .070" and R5 was .076". Their largest tenor tip was R7 at .088. I've owned an R7 alto but have never even seen an R7 tenor. Too bad. Although the stock facings are good, openings above .090 are where they become interesting to me. The models, chambers, and facings that Riffault produced exclusively for others (Noblet, Leblanc, Yanagisawa, etc.) don't seem to interest me as much. Odd because I can only assume that the well respected instrument producers had some input into the design of those models.

Mark
Would you mind saying which ones they are? It would be helpful for others.
 

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I was going through a box of miscellaneous old mouthpieces this week and thanks to Mark’s website I’m guessing maybe a third of them are built on Riffault blanks.
No matter what the name is on old vintage mouthpieces, it is likely that 40% were made by Babbitt, 40% by Riffault, and 20% who knows? The name on the mouthpiece might be WWCo or Penzel Mueller or whatever, but the blank is likely a Babbitt or Riffault. That troubles some who claim that vintage mouthpieces were handmade using secret recipes. I suppose it's the same people who believe that their cookies are handmade by the Keebler elves. There is presently a revival of the (never ending) post about whether to give these haggard old beauty queens a tune-up or even change the tip opening.

I say give them a tune-up. First, the "original" lay isn't. Ebonite, like all rubber, deteriorates over time. The surface oxidizes, creating a soft layer that rubs off. A 1930's mp does not have exactly the same lay it had originally (unless unused, hermetically sealed, and stored in the dark). If used enough, it can still be black and shiney because the oxidation is regularly worn off. But an old hard rubber mouthpiece is no more "original" that the "original" rubber tires still on a 1930's car. The tires are junk. The old tires might be okay to look at. They might even hold air. Some may even claim to use them. A 1930 "original" sax mouthpiece is similar. The mouthpiece is likely useable but, like the tires, not likely suited for optimal performance. No matter for some as the incorrect claim of "it's original" is more important.

Second, the claim of original can almost never be supported. I thought my WWCo Meliphone Special was original. It was odd that it came in a Meyer Brothers box and even had a Meyer Brothers brass ligature. One day I noticed a faint stamp on the table. "Meyer Bros. 6". Oh no! Somebody had ruined my Meliphone Special by taking it to the Meyer brothers and having a different facing put on it. I never played it again. I'm kidding but the never ending post is by players who have no idea whether their "original" pieces are original. Clearly, back in the day it was okay for a player to have a "classic" mouthpiece altered to suit the player. You know, for playing. What a concept.

Third, if you want the vintage sound from a modern mouthpiece, I have developed a solution. Fold a Q-Tip in half and insert it into the mouthpiece. Problem solved. It works particularly well with cheap student mouthpieces. That information should keep those seeking a vintage sound from whining about players altering vintage mouthpieces.

Mark
 

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I have a Riffault France S3 for Alto, which Joe Giardullo refaced. For me this piece has a smooth, mellow tone and a West Coast vibe. It is not a paint peeler. More Desmond, less Cannonball.
 

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FWIW this is the cleanest old mouthpiece I ever found, with an equally clean cap and lig, in the case with a '20s Buescher tenor. Not hermetically sealed, but definitely in the dark:


I saw no sign that this mouthpiece ever got played which makes sense because it's a '20s Buescher tenor mouthpiece. I tried - I can make the '20s alto 'pieces work - but all I got was foghorn. I suppose somebody could have polished it up, but the horn hadn't been played for at least fifty or sixty years, and they didn't bother cleaning that. The facing's sharp and unworn but kind of crudely applied. Sides of the window rough, etc. It could only benefit from getting cleaned up.

[ . . . ]

I say give them a tune-up. First, the "original" lay isn't. Ebonite, like all rubber, deteriorates over time. The surface oxidizes, creating a soft layer that rubs off. A 1930's mp does not have exactly the same lay it had originally (unless unused, hermetically sealed, and stored in the dark). If used enough, it can still be black and shiney because the oxidation is regularly worn off. But an old hard rubber mouthpiece is no more "original" that the "original" rubber tires still on a 1930's car. [ . . . ]
 

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No matter what the name is on old vintage mouthpieces, it is likely that 40% were made by Babbitt, 40% by Riffault, and 20% who knows? The name on the mouthpiece might be WWCo or Penzel Mueller or whatever, but the blank is likely a Babbitt or Riffault. That troubles some who claim that vintage mouthpieces were handmade using secret recipes. I suppose it's the same people who believe that their cookies are handmade by the Keebler elves. There is presently a revival of the (never ending) post about whether to give these haggard old beauty queens a tune-up or even change the tip opening.

I say give them a tune-up. First, the "original" lay isn't. Ebonite, like all rubber, deteriorates over time. The surface oxidizes, creating a soft layer that rubs off. A 1930's mp does not have exactly the same lay it had originally (unless unused, hermetically sealed, and stored in the dark). If used enough, it can still be black and shiney because the oxidation is regularly worn off. But an old hard rubber mouthpiece is no more "original" that the "original" rubber tires still on a 1930's car. The tires are junk. The old tires might be okay to look at. They might even hold air. Some may even claim to use them. A 1930 "original" sax mouthpiece is similar. The mouthpiece is likely useable but, like the tires, not likely suited for optimal performance. No matter for some as the incorrect claim of "it's original" is more important.

Second, the claim of original can almost never be supported. I thought my WWCo Meliphone Special was original. It was odd that it came in a Meyer Brothers box and even had a Meyer Brothers brass ligature. One day I noticed a faint stamp on the table. "Meyer Bros. 6". Oh no! Somebody had ruined my Meliphone Special by taking it to the Meyer brothers and having a different facing put on it. I never played it again. I'm kidding but the never ending post is by players who have no idea whether their "original" pieces are original. Clearly, back in the day it was okay for a player to have a "classic" mouthpiece altered to suit the player. You know, for playing. What a concept.

Yep!

Third, if you want the vintage sound from a modern mouthpiece, I have developed a solution. Fold a Q-Tip in half and insert it into the mouthpiece. Problem solved. It works particularly well with cheap student mouthpieces. That information should keep those seeking a vintage sound from whining about players altering vintage mouthpieces.

Mark
ROFLOL I have used a piece of folded toilet paper but I like the Q-Tip idea!
 

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FWIW this is the cleanest old mouthpiece I ever found, with an equally clean cap and lig, in the case with a '20s Buescher tenor. Not hermetically sealed, but definitely in the dark:


I saw no sign that this mouthpiece ever got played which makes sense because it's a '20s Buescher tenor mouthpiece. I tried - I can make the '20s alto 'pieces work - but all I got was foghorn. I suppose somebody could have polished it up, but the horn hadn't been played for at least fifty or sixty years, and they didn't bother cleaning that. The facing's sharp and unworn but kind of crudely applied. Sides of the window rough, etc. It could only benefit from getting cleaned up.
I have the exact same MPC but in alto flavor. Mint condition as well and I can relate to the "why". You just don't want to play that thing. And then I have two original Buescher c-sop MPCs and I've always wondered why they made such great horns when their mouthpieces were made to retain maiden status for decades :)
 
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