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I just saw a YouTube video about a Chinese metal tenor piece https://youtu.be/RkSicH9BnRk
It looks good and it seems to play fantastic.
Price tag: 45 dollars. Including a ligature and a cap.

The Chinese seem to be catching up really well.
The only question is, what alloy are these pieces made of? How (un)safe is it putting it in your mouth?
Any daredevils out there?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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There are many different mouthpieces brands (or non-brands) from China so its impossible to generalise.g. Kanee make extremely good mouthpieces and is a reputable company.

Regarding the one in the video, I didn't watch enough to see the actual brand, but unless you get it forensically examined or can get an answer to your question from the manufacturer there is no way to know the exact alloy or whether it's safe to put in your mouth.

As it appears plated, the alloy would not be as relevant initially as the plating (unless/until the plating wears out)

Plenty of people would say, purely because it is Chinese, that it is unsafe. I don't subscribe to that kind of bias but if there is no reputable brand involved you can communicate with how can anyone answer for sure?

I doubt anyone here can actually know the exact alloy but if you have any doubts don't buy one and put it in your mouth.
 

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Bias aside, I have not read positive reviews of these pieces...back when they were 35 dollars.

People have stated that they need refacing yet dont want to put four or five times the value of a piece into a reface.

Im as suspicious of a 45 dollar metal mouthpiece as I am a 250 dollar tenor.

Labor in China is not THAT cheap...labor plus cheap materials and production might be. Id spend it on dinner instead.

BTW: You cant buy a quality hard rubber unfinished blank for that price...Here we are talking about a "Finished" metal piece....and no, Im not sure about its level of safety.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Labor in China is not THAT cheap...labor plus cheap materials and production might be. Id spend it on dinner instead.
I would agree regarding something like that, but I do remember trying the brand Huastar and they were actually quite good.

Labour in China is costing more and more. As with anywhere there are different rates for unskilled semiskilled and skilled. Mouthpiece production can be to a large extent unskilled (as in having the basic skills to put someone in a machine and turn it on) but what would add considerably is skilled work (e.g. hand finishing and playtesting). I doubt for $45 there can be much or any of that.

And I would bet that these are not made in a mouthpiece factory or a musical instrument factory. It could be a huge plant that manufactures whatever they are asked for whether it's a hammer, a tap, a gun or a nuts and bolts.

Having said that, there is a chance, even without hand finishing and QC, that you buy a mouthpiece that works well for you.
 

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I just saw a YouTube video about a Chinese metal tenor piece https://youtu.be/RkSicH9BnRk
It looks good and it seems to play fantastic.
Price tag: 45 dollars. Including a ligature and a cap.

The Chinese seem to be catching up really well.
The only question is, what alloy are these pieces made of? How (un)safe is it putting it in your mouth?
Any daredevils out there?
I do quite a bit of research and with what I know about products coming out of China; I would be a little leary of their 'metal' products (actually, even the "food"), especially at that low price. Anyway; China is known for manufacturing products with heavy metals...lead, mercury; etc.. This is NOT theory!
I realize that the following article focuses on "food"; although, most people are oblivious to this fact - and many others. I've also read of heavy metals in all kinds of 'home' products. I don't believe that mouthpieces would be any different. People can purchase whatever they choose. Speaking for myself; I would not purchase that item.
http://www.seattleorganicrestaurant...oods-superfoods-herbs-imported-from-china.php
 

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I took a chance on a couple over a decade ago, some of the first Jazz copies. They played. They sounded differently, so I gather there was a lot of variation in the facing. Not great pieces, and not very loud. But they looked cool! I gave one away, still have the other as a reminder to keep expectations realistic.
 

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Not totally pertinent, but...I bought a Taiwan soprano from WW&BW around 1998. It was made to be an LA Sax but I guess WW&BW bought some of them before they were branded and had 'Woodwind' put on them. The horn was really good (tipped-bell style) but the mouthpiece was beyond awful. Fast forward to last year when I bought another tipped-bell soprano directly from China - the mouthpiece was actually good, but I already had a Soprano Planet so I used that. I decided to give the first soprano to my son so I included the new mouthpiece with it, knowing he did not have a sop piece. He's crazy about that set-up.
So in the intervening 20 years, I have seen a tremendous improvement in mouthpieces from China and I assume the same from Taiwan. I don't think the brass alloy in any modern mouthpiece is going to be a harm to your health. If you think about it, the reed cap and ligature that comes with it is worth as much as the mouthpiece if you have a similar sized piece. I would gamble $50 or less on a metal mouthpiece from China if I were looking for a piece even if it only served as a blank for modification. Try to buy a brass/bronze metal mouthpiece blank - you can't make one for $50 and pay yourself minimum wage.
Let's say it does play although possibly lacks a certain artistic edge - refacing is $100 to $150 by most well-known guys. Now you have a blowing mouthpiece for $200 that can be replaced for the same amount.
 

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Just don't eat them and you'll be fine.
 

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Bias aside, I have not read positive reviews of these pieces...back when they were 35 dollars.

People have stated that they need refacing yet dont want to put four or five times the value of a piece into a reface.

Im as suspicious of a 45 dollar metal mouthpiece as I am a 250 dollar tenor.

Labor in China is not THAT cheap...labor plus cheap materials and production might be. Id spend it on dinner instead.

BTW: You cant buy a quality hard rubber unfinished blank for that price...Here we are talking about a "Finished" metal piece....and no, Im not sure about its level of safety.
I bought one of those on a whim last year since it was cheap and curiosity got the better of me. The facing on it made Blackwoodjoe's work look like artistry. No way it came in at a 7 tip opening, it was far too open. No facing curve just a straight line like someone just dragged it across rough sandpaper and stupid long facing. It could not be saved, not enough table depth. It met with a hammer and the trash bin. Rolling the dice did not work for me in this case. Money is better spent on a piece that actually has a brand name associated with it. Lesson learned for me.
 

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Just don't eat them and you'll be fine.
+1 Also remember that you are supposed to blow into the MPC rather than sucking on it. Just the fact that there is lead in something does not necessarily make it completely unsafe. Plumbosolvency depends on many factors but the mouthpieces are not solid lead like the ominous lead pipes and yes, you get mechanical vibrations that might shake out some lead (similar to what happens in water hammering) but the dose is not going to be anywhere near toxic levels. And if you are concerned, don't buy one. And if you are into science experiments, buy one, take a shaving off the shank and boil it in HCl and then chill it down, if you see pretty white needles crystallizing, then there is lead leaching out.

As to the quality of these pieces, I bought one on Amazon for $59 and it was a great MPC but you just don't know what you are going to get. But then, the same is true for many other MPCs unless you go high end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the replies!
So, it’s a gamble that could turn out well. Maybe due to poor or no quality control. Which also explains the pricing.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Thanks for all the replies!
So, it’s a gamble that could turn out well.
All gambles should have the potential to turn out well, that's the nature of gambling. It's fine as long as you are aware it's a gamble and can afford to lose, and don't get addicted to it.
 

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From what I've seen in the video, the mouthpiece probably has zero hand finishing. So it is a gamble, depending on how the machine feels that day. I don't thing the trace amount of material from the mouthpiece that you will consume when playing is going to cause health issues. Allergy however is a different problem.

btw it's perhaps not the most accurate thing in the world to equate Chinese mouthpieces with the $45 ones. Though it maybe 95% of mouthpieces exported from China, it doesn't do justice to the independent mpc makers like Liu Shizhao and Li Jianxing, who are actual craftsmen with skill and dedication.
 

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I wouldn't put anything in my mouth from China. Having said that, I avoid buying anything that is made in China. That's not that easy to do, however, because many products have MIC (Made In China) components in them. Unless someone specifically asks why, I'll leave it at that.
 

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The Chinese seem to be catching up really well.
Uh... no. They're not. They're just pumping out junk, the design of which often stolen from the cost-cutting manufacturers that have their products made there for the cheap labor. Yeah, send your product there to have them make it cheaper, and then they move a good portion of it out the back door to sell at a lower cost to compete with you. Yeah, thanks China. Catching up really, really well.

As for the plating, China manufacturers have been known to plate jewelry made for children with Cadmium. Yeah, Cadmium. How'd you like that covering your mouthpiece? With no brand name, no company to hold legally liable... you order stuff directly from some unknown Chinese distributor and you... or your heirs... have no legal recourse should things go terribly wrong.
 

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All gambles should have the potential to turn out well, that's the nature of gambling. It's fine as long as you are aware it's a gamble and can afford to lose, and don't get addicted to it.
I gamble every day and am not addicted....

I bet you $50 I can quit anytime I want...

It'd be nice if you waited until after my 2021 Vegas trip though...I already booked my flight.

Assuming FlyBMI reopens in time. I got a great deal on the tickets.

Bit of a gamble that...

You may have to spot me the $50
 

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And then, crank in the fact that some of these Chinese pieces have brands on them like Dukoff and Yanagisawa and the pictures look gorgeous. So, that might make people think they could go back to a manufacturer for satisfaction...not likely.
 

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Stuff made in America does not guarantee quality either. I bought a soprano Dukoff D7 from a reputable distributor for good money, but the finish and playing quality were way below expectations. Finally sent it to SopranoPlanet and Joe converted it into a gem, regarding finish and playing. Yet another form of lesson ....
 

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I have yet to see one of those ebay pieces that actually have the name written on them. They are beautiful pictures (probably stolen images) of the actual mouthpiece. When you get the piece its not what is in the picture.

Yes there are plenty of other brands that are substandard that sell for lots of cash. My concern is the safety of what is in some of these pieces (as has been discussed).

I still dont know why someone spends a thousand or two (or more) on a horn yet they want to put a 30 dollar mouthpiece on it.

A mouthpiece is not an accessory, it is part of the instrument.

Your better off with a cheaper horn than a good horn and a crap mouthpiece.

Im all for saving a few buck but there are better places to try to save them. If you insist on going cheap you may as well buy some of those asian Integra reeds that barely play and make your setup complete :twisted:
 
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