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Discussion Starter #1
I have an M.C. Gregory Model A mpc on trial. It seems to play very well, has great intonation and I'm inclined to keep it. I noticed, however, that it's asymmetric when viewed from above or below (i.e., perpendicular to the table). It has a slight bulge on one side of the beak, about halfway between the tip and the back of the beak, while the other side is straighter. The facing and tip rail seem unaffected. Is this unusual for this mpc, and is it anything to be concerned about? Is it an indication that it has been worked on inappropriately or is this a possible manufacturing defect? The serial number (low 01XX) and tip opening stamp on the table are sharp, but the logo and Model A stamp on the body are very faint, suggesting some wear. Also missing is any stamp indicating the chamber size. The bite area shows very little wear, with minor tooth scratches.
 

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Replay said:
I have an M.C. Gregory Model A mpc on trial. It seems to play very well, has great intonation and I'm inclined to keep it. I noticed, however, that it's asymmetric when viewed from above or below (i.e., perpendicular to the table). It has a slight bulge on one side of the beak, about halfway between the tip and the back of the beak, while the other side is straighter. The facing and tip rail seem unaffected. Is this unusual for this mpc, and is it anything to be concerned about? Is it an indication that it has been worked on inappropriately or is this a possible manufacturing defect? The serial number (low 01XX) and tip opening stamp on the table are sharp, but the logo and Model A stamp on the body are very faint, suggesting some wear. Also missing is any stamp indicating the chamber size. The bite area shows very little wear, with minor tooth scratches.
I am looking at the same Model A. It's not symetrical. I never noticed it. It should not make any difference as long as the table and facing are ok. It must be the mold and they are probably all that way, even Paul Desmond's. The tip opening and chamber stamp on mine are on the side toward the back. I think mine says 4A16. It's very faint.
Martin
 

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Thanks very much for the quick on-point reply. Very interesting that yours has the same asymmetry. It plays great for me (a relative beginner), and that's what counts. I have searched for the chamber size with a magnifier, and there's no sign of it. Since the "Model A" behind the beak is extremely faint, I assumed it might have been worn off, but the serial # is sharp as new. Also, the ring around the end of the shank is squarer than the photos I've seen of the early Model A's, and looks more like the pictures of the later Master model. It definitely says Model A, though. I like the piece. Thanks again!
 

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I have a MC Gregory Model A 4A 18 for tenor. I never noticed any assymetry.

It's not unusual to have worn places, after all the mouthpiece is pre-1940. Does yours have 'Rico products' on it?
 

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I've played many pieces that have some asymmetry - some worked, others didn't. Sometimes a piece's table might be machined slightly off-perpendicular and then faced relative to the table. I doubt that the asymmetry was introduced during rework.

If it plays well, that's all that matters.
 

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hakukani said:
I have a MC Gregory Model A 4A 18 for tenor. I never noticed any assymetry.

It's not unusual to have worn places, after all the mouthpiece is pre-1940. Does yours have 'Rico products' on it?
If the thesis above -- that the assymetry is in the mold -- then there's no reason that it would appear in a tenor piece, right? Unless the asymmetry is functional somehow, but that seems unlikely.

When they made you, they broke the mold.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
If the thesis above -- that the assymetry is in the mold -- then there's no reason that it would appear in a tenor piece, right? Unless the asymmetry is functional somehow, but that seems unlikely.

When they made you, they broke the mold.
They broke the mold, then they made you.;):D:D:D:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
hakukani said:
It's not unusual to have worn places, after all the mouthpiece is pre-1940. Does yours have 'Rico products' on it?
Thanks all for the feedback (Hakukani, Dr. G, Martin, Reedsplinter). The piece doesn't appear to have "Rico Products' on it, but as I said above, the logo in the middle of the body and "Model A" designation just behind the beak are very faint (especially the Model A). I'm wondering if the piece might have been buffed to remove oxidation, since some discoloration is still present on the rubber surface. I don't think normal wear could account for the amount of asymmetry in the beak, and any reworking would have been pretty rough to do that to a mpc, I think. Since it plays well, I'd be surprised if someone had so abused it, but maybe so.

With a magnifier, bright light, and some imagination, I think I could just see traces of part of the word "Distributors" or "Distributed" on the body closer to the shank (I don't have the piece in front of me now) and possibly a remnant of the chamber size stamp (letter A) on the side near the table. I noted that the ring at the base of the shank is more squared off than photos of the early Model A (at Theo Wanne's mpc museum), which are more rounded, and looks more like the pictures of the later "Master" model. Did the Master model still say "Model A" behind the beak? I'm beginning to think it might be a Master, despite the faint "Model A" designation. Maybe it's just a variation of the Model A, though.
 

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The 'distributed' is where it said Rico. I don't have mine here at work, but I'll take a look at it. The idea of it being buffed is probably a good one. The 'mold' shouldn't be off, as there are plenty of MC Gregorys around, and I know that Desmond played one for most of his career.

The piece has VERY thick rails compared to modern pieces. The 4A designates the tip opening and facing length, the other number the size of the chamber, 18 and the smaller 16 being the most common.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hakukani said:
The 'distributed' is where it said Rico. I don't have mine here at work, but I'll take a look at it. The idea of it being buffed is probably a good one. The 'mold' shouldn't be off, as there are plenty of MC Gregorys around, and I know that Desmond played one for most of his career.

The piece has VERY thick rails compared to modern pieces. The 4A designates the tip opening and facing length, the other number the size of the chamber, 18 and the smaller 16 being the most common.
There is a number "6" stamped very clearly on the table, at the heel. It's interesting that it would also use a 4A to designate tip opening and facing length.

Although Desmond is often cited as playing this mpc on alto, the one I'm looking at is for tenor, which used a different mold, I assume. I'm not really trying to emulate Desmond's sound on my tenor. As a beginner, I like this mpc because it's easy to play over the whole range of the tenor, with a relatively even tone (middle D isn't too muddy) and good intonation. I'm curious what others think of the sound of it on tenor, and also what's the range of prices on this piece. Theo Wanne's site suggests $275, but I understand this isn't intended to be the gospel. Thanks for your observations, Hakukani and others.
 

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I bought my tenor piece several years ago to play in a community band. The music store had a box of old mouthpieces, and I just tried them until I found one I thought was appropriate, and it happened to be the MC Gregory.
I knew nothing of mouthpieces at the time, other than selmer, Rousseau, link, and Bergs.

The guy in the store said it was just an old mouthpiece, and since he had just repaired the selmer signet tenor that I had bought at a local flea market, he threw it in for somewhere between 15 and 35 bucks.

A decade later, I was marching with the Hawaii County Band, and one of the clarinet players saw the piece on the bundy tenor I was playing at that time (I bought the bundy so I would not have to march with my MkVI alto) and got really excited--and told me the history of the piece.

It's one of the easiest playing, dark sounding tenor pieces I've ever played--a bit too dark for the kind of playing I usually do now.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hakukani said:
The guy in the store said it was just an old mouthpiece, and since he had just repaired the selmer signet tenor that I had bought at a local flea market, he threw it in for somewhere between 15 and 35 bucks.
$15-$35, eh? This one's for 10x $35. I should've started playing when I was younger . Actually I did, but I put it down for too many years, and what I was playing on was a Dukoff D7 that had a corkscrewed facing, really! Maybe that contributed to my discouragement. Is it me, or are all mouthpieces wacked (no need to answer that).

Thanks for your observations on the Gregory tone characteristics. It does play very easy, but I'm not sure if I should make the investment, if this one's iffy. I might want to resell it after playing for a while, and the price is very steep. Maybe I should look for another one--any offers?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Dr G said:
I've played many pieces that have some asymmetry - some worked, others didn't. Sometimes a piece's table might be machined slightly off-perpendicular and then faced relative to the table. I doubt that the asymmetry was introduced during rework.

If it plays well, that's all that matters.
That makes a lot of sense to me, and I think it's very likely what happened in this case. Thanks, Dr. G.
 
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