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I am a noob when it comes to mouthpiece alteration. I've played on unaltered links for 20 years, and have never seen the inside of altered or hand finished mouthpieces. I just bought a Lebayle LR II on tenor, and it sounds great, but I have to ask..... is it standard to have tooling marks inside from the hand finishing?
 

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It depends. I have seen many mouthpieces with some hand finishing evident, including some Vandoren products. There are some makers who will use fine steel wool and other materials to try to remove any marks. It really only matters how it plays.
 

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Exactly as Michael says.
The only thing that bothers me is this "knife & Fork" approach to hand made mouthpieces; no two will be exactly alike.
Those mouthpiece manufacturers, such as SR Technologies & Jody Espina who have adopted ultra accurate CNC technology, can reproduce an internal shape to a milli microblean...there is no need for them to hand finish....each piece is identical. Should they find the need to adjust even to even the smallest degree, they can dial this into their system.

Not for one minute am I suggesting that the traditional methods do not produce superb mouthpieces....they do, but they vary. This is surely the reason why the purchase of a Link, over the telephone or by mail order, is a lottery.
 

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LeBayles tend to have a slightly rough finish compared with a lot of makes- but that's just the way they are. They play nicely though, which is the bottom line...
 

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...who have adopted ultra accurate CNC technology, can reproduce an internal shape to a milli microblean...there is no need for them to hand finish....each piece is identical. Should they find the need to adjust even to even the smallest degree, they can dial this into their system...
Hi, my personal experience is different. A machined mouthpiece always require hand finishing and polishing. Of course they play after the machining process but they play much better after accurate hand finishing. It makes a HUGE difference.
All the best,

Stan
 

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Hi, my personal experience is different. A machined mouthpiece always require hand finishing and polishing. Of course they play after the machining process but they play much better after accurate hand finishing. It makes a HUGE difference.
All the best,

Stan
Stan.
Which begs the question "why not dial the result of the hand finishing into the CNC milling machine? They work, consistently, to very fine tolerances.
We all have particular preferences; hence the plethora of available mouthpieces. Could it be perhaps that you required the profile to be changed slightly, to your requirements, rather than being "hand finishing"?
Also, the expression "machined mouthpiece" is open to question. A mouthpiece made on a hand operated milling machine can be described as machine made, yet all the measurements would be via a depth gauge, callipers etc; a world away from a programmed CNC miller....it is the degree of accuracy & reproduction which makes all the difference.
Kind regards, Bb
 

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Measurements are taken (by hand) in thousandths of an inch. How much more accuracy do you think is necessary to produce a great playing mouthpiece?

Also, I don't see how your Link example illustrates your point.
These measurements are taken at specific points, not covering the whole of the interior dimensions...also time consuming & therefore expensive to produce (& even more expensive to reproduce) compared with a CNC miller....once you have covered the expense of the latter.

Are you telling me that Links are consistent? If so, just apply a search on the subject; their inconsistency has been much discussed here. They keep the refacers in work. Just look on eBay, a Link is not expensive unless it has been worked on by Carlos Fandango.
I have two Links which should be identical, neither has been worked upon & they have identical markings....one is rather good & the other, identical(?) model is un-playable.
 

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These measurements are taken at specific points, not covering the whole of the interior dimensions...also time consuming & therefore expensive to produce (& even more expensive to reproduce) compared with a CNC miller....once you have covered the expense of the latter.
Those CNC pieces (Wanne, Jody, SR Tech, etc.) are some of the more expensive pieces available.

Are you telling me that Links are consistent? If so, just apply a search on the subject; their inconsistency has been much discussed here. They keep the refacers in work. Just look on eBay, a Link is not expensive unless it has been worked on by Carlos Fandango.
I have two Links which should be identical, neither has been worked upon & they have identical markings....one is rather good & the other, identical(?) model is un-playable.
Of course not. I said no such thing. Inconsistencies in Links may have to do with poor finish work but not simply because they are hand finished or use traditional methods. Perhaps I misunderstood your original argument. Also, two nicely hand finished mouthpieces might not be identical, but they would both presumably play well.
 

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Stan.
Which begs the question "why not dial the result of the hand finishing into the CNC milling machine? They work, consistently, to very fine tolerances.
If it were only that simple. Yes, a good machine can hold good tolerances, but a CNC machine isn't a magic box that just spits out whatever you program into it. Somebody has to set it up, cutters wear, cutting can raise burrs around corners, etc. Try and make a bunch of anything on one yourself and you'll see what I mean. Many machined items will need some finishing even if only deburring after machining operations are finished. And different processes leave a different finish. You can't mill anything to the same surface you would have if you ground or lap it, for instance, or to the same tolerances as by grinding.

Manual machining vs CNC, if the design is simple enough (here's an example of Lebayle doing so), a skilled machinist can make a piece every bit as consistently as with a CNC machine, just not quite as fast.

Yes, some do machine very consistent pieces. Others, not so much. Tighter tolerances always cost more money. Sometimes a lot more.


At any rate, to answer the original question, you will see evidence of the manufacturing process in many mouthpieces. I don't think I've ever seen a machined mouthpiece, CNC or otherwise, that didn't have some tooling marks. Some, of course, are more obvious than others.
 

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Try and make a bunch of anything on one yourself and you'll see what I mean.
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I have...that's how I know.

Of course, most that you say is true about setting up etc but, back to the tooling marks, I would prefer to see the tiny precise milling marks on a piece such as the SR Tech rather than totally smooth where someone has finished it empirically with a file, & sandpaper. OK the result may well be fine but the consistency must vary.
 

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Of course, most that you say is true about setting up etc but, back to the tooling marks, I would prefer to see the tiny precise milling marks on a piece such as the SR Tech rather than totally smooth where someone has finished it empirically with a file, & sandpaper. OK the result may well be fine but the consistency must vary.
Looks is a matter of taste I suppose. YMMV but all the best pieces I can remember having played have been hand finished. OTOH, so have many of the worst.
 

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If I can chime in here, after learning how much time and effort it takes to take those marks out and finish internal shapes and angles so that it can actually look like a saxophone mouthpiece ... I can tell you that the results are obvious to the player and the listener. The file work I've seen TK do that lines up perfectly to a CAD design really showed me just how 'consistent' a master craftsman can be. The FocusTone Standard model begins its life as a machined piece of brass that is very well made, and you could probably get by using it as is ... but that's only how it begins its life. Many many hours later, facing, shaping rails, polishing, hours of taking out file marks, lapping and hand plating, putting in the biteplate ... you would assume it was made by a computer. It's all hand work and believe me, the difference is radical.
 

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That may be the case but Lambersons sell for quite a bit. They are excellent mouthpieces and many of them look like they have been hacked at with a screw driver. A number of other makers leave signs of work as well. We can go around and around forever with this but I will strongly suggest that taking out file marks in the floor and bore of a piece has little if any impact on the piece. Careful play testing and measuring is another story. Additionally, I do believe baffle areas should be smoothed out if for no other reason than it looks better and rough areas may lead to moisture buildup near the tip.

Also, no offense Captain BeeFlat: "Precise" and "Milling" generally do not belong in the same sentence. Milling of mouthpieces is a rapid and fairly sloppy production method. It doesnt matter if they are consistent if they all equally suck :twisted:
 

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That may be the case but Lambersons sell for quite a bit. They are excellent mouthpieces and many of them look like they have been hacked at with a screw driver. A number of other makers leave signs of work as well. We can go around and around forever with this but I will strongly suggest that taking out file marks in the floor and bore of a piece has little if any impact on the piece. Careful play testing and measuring is another story. Additionally, I do believe baffle areas should be smoothed out if for no other reason than it looks better and rough areas may lead to moisture buildup near the tip.

Also, no offense Captain BeeFlat: "Precise" and "Milling" generally do not belong in the same sentence. Milling of mouthpieces is a rapid and fairly sloppy production method. It doesnt matter if they are consistent if they all equally suck :twisted:
I do agree with your initial point. I, in the past have made up baffles, sometimes looking quite rough. If they worked well I cleaned them up, polished & smoothed them carefully. Frankly, to my ears it did not matter...the smoothing & removal of tooling marks made no sonic difference. However, it LOOKED better & gave the impression of being made with care.

With regard to CNC milling...it is evident that you are are confusing these ultra accurate, almost zero tolerance pieces of equipment with the coarse hand operated milling machines which we all used at Technical College....different as chalk & cheese. [rolleyes]
 

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... It's all hand work and believe me, the difference is radical.
I absolutely agree, the difference is radical! I spend lot of time in programming my machine to the highest level of accuracy but even the best mouthpiece needs hand finishing to play at a professional level until maybe you have a very expensive 5 axis cnc machine, work only on metal mouthpieces and have a good plating service...

Stan
 

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I absolutely agree, the difference is radical! I spend lot of time in programming my machine to the highest level of accuracy but even the best mouthpiece needs hand finishing to play at a professional level until maybe you have a very expensive 5 axis cnc machine, work only on metal mouthpieces and have a good plating service...

Stan
Stan.
This is what I have been saying from the start....you need a very expensive 5 axis CNC milling machine. :bluewink:
 

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Another thing that occurs to me is the machining marks on the tables of many of my mouthpieces....the result of a surface grinder or milling machine, to ensure flatness.
An unmarked table on a metal mouthpiece could be the results of a really good fitter with files & progressively finer abrasive paper....or the efforts of a second year apprentice.
Frankly I would have more confidence in the table with machine marks. :bluewink:
 
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