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Discussion Starter #1
I have a nice Link STM with a 9* tip opening.
When I can find a suitable reed for it, it is a great piece.
Other times it is very resistant and a chore to play for any length of time.
The facing is quite even left to right and it is right where I like it in terms of tone.
But the table is quite concaved (which I’m assuming is where the problem lays).
If the table were to be flattened and the tip opening reduced to a 9 or 8* tip, would It be likely to affect its tone significantly if baffle is left relatively untouched.
Alternatively would it be wiser to keep it around a 9* opening and just flatten the table and have facing adjusted back to its current specs?
I’m really hesitant to have any work done as it is a great piece with the right reed, but trying to find the right reed is painfully hard and once found they don’t last long at all.
Possibly due to the concave table?
Although it probably makes no difference, this is a tenor piece.
 

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The concavity is there for a reason and there are many facers who use it. It is likely not your problem. If it is an excessive concavity you could have it reduced a bit and the facing put back on it without having to alter the tip or baffle at all, so the sound will remain relatively the same. Either way, just having it cleaned up and finished a bit would help it become a bit more reed friendly. Taking a lot of concavity out will most likely drop the tip opening .001 or .002, maybe even less, so not a big deal.


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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I have a nice Link STM with a 9* tip opening.
When I can find a suitable reed for it, it is a great piece.
Other times it is very resistant and a chore to play for any length of time.
The facing is quite even left to right and it is right where I like it in terms of tone.
But the table is quite concaved (which I’m assuming is where the problem lays).
If the table were to be flattened and the tip opening reduced to a 9 or 8* tip, would It be likely to affect its tone significantly if baffle is left relatively untouched.
Alternatively would it be wiser to keep it around a 9* opening and just flatten the table and have facing adjusted back to its current specs?
I’m really hesitant to have any work done as it is a great piece with the right reed, but trying to find the right reed is painfully hard and once found they don’t last long at all.
Possibly due to the concave table?
Although it probably makes no difference, this is a tenor piece.
I would suggest having a mouthpiece person measure the facing curve and look at the table and tell you what they think. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the unique imperfections of a piece that might give it what you love about it. You get rid of those and it's no longer the same piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would suggest having a mouthpiece person measure the facing curve and look at the table and tell you what they think. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the unique imperfections of a piece that might give it what you love about it. You get rid of those and it's no longer the same piece.
Yes this is what I’m afraid of.
 

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That is a real fear, unfortunately. Love the change or hate the change, it will change.


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I have a nice Link STM with a 9* tip opening.
When I can find a suitable reed for it, it is a great piece.
Other times it is very resistant and a chore to play for any length of time.
The facing is quite even left to right and it is right where I like it in terms of tone.
But the table is quite concaved (which I’m assuming is where the problem lays).
If the table were to be flattened and the tip opening reduced to a 9 or 8* tip, would It be likely to affect its tone significantly if baffle is left relatively untouched.
Alternatively would it be wiser to keep it around a 9* opening and just flatten the table and have facing adjusted back to its current specs?
I’m really hesitant to have any work done as it is a great piece with the right reed, but trying to find the right reed is painfully hard and once found they don’t last long at all.
Possibly due to the concave table?
Although it probably makes no difference, this is a tenor piece.
The tables on Links are pretty flat and some mouthpiece makers, especially on clarinet, intently make the tables with a dip in them in case the reed swells. I doubt closing it will make much of a difference. Five or ten thousands isn’t enough to matter and it’s definitely not going to make it more reed friendly. If you like it leave it alone. Phil Barone
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The concavity is there for a reason and there are many facers who use it. It is likely not your problem. If it is an excessive concavity you could have it reduced a bit and the facing put back on it without having to alter the tip or baffle at all, so the sound will remain relatively the same. Either way, just having it cleaned up and finished a bit would help it become a bit more reed friendly. Taking a lot of concavity out will most likely drop the tip opening .001 or .002, maybe even less, so not a big deal.


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Thanks.
Is the concavity there to allow for the swelling of reeds once they are wet?
As this is when I often experience issues of resistance.
After 10-15 mins play time, a reed that was performing well will suddenly feel like a much stiffer reed that feels as though it’s leaking.
It’s also at this point that it won’t pass a pop test unless I put additional thumb pressure higher up on the reed.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I have a nice Link STM with a 9* tip opening.
When I can find a suitable reed for it, it is a great piece.
Other times it is very resistant and a chore to play for any length of time.
The facing is quite even left to right and it is right where I like it in terms of tone.
But the table is quite concaved (which I’m assuming is where the problem lays).
If the table were to be flattened and the tip opening reduced to a 9 or 8* tip, would It be likely to affect its tone significantly if baffle is left relatively untouched.
Alternatively would it be wiser to keep it around a 9* opening and just flatten the table and have facing adjusted back to its current specs?
I’m really hesitant to have any work done as it is a great piece with the right reed, but trying to find the right reed is painfully hard and once found they don’t last long at all.
Possibly due to the concave table?
Although it probably makes no difference, this is a tenor piece.
When you say reeds don't work and reeds that do do not for long, is it because the mouthpiece no longer gets suction? I have had some mouthpieces with concave table where they would be fine at first but as I played the moisture would find a way to leak from underneath the swelling and changing reed. Then the mouthpiece doesn't get suction and it doesn't play well.
 

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Yeah, that sounds like standard reed warpage. It could also have a bit too much concavity behind the window, or too much in the wrong spots elsewhere that are causing a weird leak as the reed swells. What reeds are you using? What ligature?


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Thanks.
Is the concavity there to allow for the swelling of reeds once they are wet?
As this is when I often experience issues of resistance.
After 10-15 mins play time, a reed that was performing well will suddenly feel like a much stiffer reed that feels as though it’s leaking.
It’s also at this point that it won’t pass a pop test unless I put additional thumb pressure higher up on the reed.
Never mind, you wrote this as I was writing my question.......
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The tables on Links are pretty flat and some mouthpiece makers, especially on clarinet, intently make the tables with a dip in them in case the reed swells. I doubt closing it will make much of a difference. Five or ten thousands isn’t enough to matter and it’s definitely not going to make it more reed friendly. If you like it leave it alone. Phil Barone
Thanks Phil.
My other links are as you say quite flat on the table, but this one is noticeably concave in comparison.
Leaving it as is will likely be what I do unless I can be convinced that another course of action will significantly improve its playability.
I will look into different reed cuts/strengths and brands etc more before doing anything more drastic.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Thanks.
Is the concavity there to allow for the swelling of reeds once they are wet?
As this is when I often experience issues of resistance.
After 10-15 mins play time, a reed that was performing well will suddenly feel like a much stiffer reed that feels as though it’s leaking.
It’s also at this point that it won’t pass a pop test unless I put additional thumb pressure higher up on the reed.
Since this is the case, I again would suggest a refacer look at it and diagnose what's going on with the table. Maybe they can flatten the table where it is leaking or where it isn't great about the concavity and still leave it concave so it is close to what it is now. My fear would be that to totally flatten it, might change it too much perhaps?? But see what the expert says and go from there. What I said about losing what you love earlier.........when applied to a situation where a mouthpiece stops sealing I would go for the change just because of the fact that in the current situation you are losing what you love anyways when it stops sealing. I had a Ponzol ML at one point that was one of the most amazing pieces I had played BUT it would do what you are describing. I'd get on a gig and the piece would play amazingly. After a break, I would pick it up again and it wouldn't play at all. I sent it to Ponzol who fixed it and when I got it back the problem was gone BUT so was what I loved about the piece! Totally gone. I don't what it was that I loved so much about it but it was gone. So.........
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, that sounds like standard reed warpage. It could also have a bit too much concavity behind the window, or too much in the wrong spots elsewhere that are causing a weird leak as the reed swells. What reeds are you using? What ligature?


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I have used Rigotti Gold with some success and Vandoren green also.
Currently I have a Hemke that is playing quite well.
Ligature at present is a vandoren optimum, but have used original,Selmer 404/and Francois Louis with limited success.
 

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Sounds like you’re fine on the reed and lig front.


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Discussion Starter #16
I was considering doing something similar.
My thought was to color the table with a marker and then swipe the table on plain paper.
Not sure if that would show high spots but it is less invasive.
 

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I think your problem is you are trying to play a mouthpiece that is too open for you. Someone else who normally plays mouthpieces of that size might love it, so finding another mouthpiece that suits you and then selling the other one is what most reasonable people would do. The risk in modifying the mouthpiece is it could end up being of no use to anybody.
 

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I think your problem is you are trying to play a mouthpiece that is too open for you. Someone else who normally plays mouthpieces of that size might love it, so finding another mouthpiece that suits you and then selling the other one is what most reasonable people would do. The risk in modifying the mouthpiece is it could end up being of no use to anybody.
I agree. I find I have the same symptoms when I'm trying to play a reed that is too hard. Or rather I'm playing a reed that still hasn't been broken in enough yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
This is where I don’t agree.
My normal piece prior to this is a STM 10 which measures true.
The 9* also measures true and as stated earlier, plays really well until the reed wets up, then its downhill.
If I change reeds at that point, it’s great again until the seal is broken.
My USA 10 on the other hand is perfectly fine for as long as I wish to play without reed changes.
 

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I bought an oldish tone edge in a fairly close facing that did exactly what you're describing with reeds crapping out after 10-15 min play time. The table was standard babbitt wavy-concave. I opened it up to a 7 with a flat table and it works great now. No variation in reed from start to finish practicing.
 
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