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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2013-2016
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious...which companies make mouthpiece blanks? Obviously there's Babbitt, and I believe that Zinner still makes some, but who else? It seems like there are some that have higher rubber content than others and I'm interested to see which ones people prefer.
 

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what exactly is a "blank" and why would you want one?
 

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It's a mouthpiece that doesn't have a facing yet. Anyone that makes their own mouthpieces would want blanks to start off with. Easier than making the whole mouthpiece yourself.

fm
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They also don't have defined baffles or chambers...I'm just curious about who uses what. Most custom "boutique" mouthpiece (Morgan, Phil Barone, Peter Ponzol, etc.) makers use pre-made blanks and I've never seen any discussion about who makes the best ones.
 

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Zinner has a list of some of their customers on their website, mostly clarinet mouthpiece makers. Of course you know that the short-lived Hawkins/Sinta mouthpiece was a Zinner blank.

http://www.hans-zinner.de/html/references.html

I see the retail price of the clarinet blanks is pretty steep.

If I were making mouthpieces (no need to worry, I'm not!), I'd start with the Geo. M. Bundy round-chambered pieces. I just discovered that they are still available. They aren't sold as blanks but at $40 a pop they'd do. They used to have great rubber, I hope they still do. I assume Babbitt makes them.
 

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The old Geo Bundy pieces are good blanks but they are only avaliable a old vintage mouthpieces that can then be reworked. RPC and a bunch of others are made from various Babbit blanks. Jody Jazz were made by Runyon except for his hard rubber. I dont know for sure about the new DV piece. Only a few guys start from scratch. It takes a great deal of machining and/or expense for molds and the like. Managing alloys and resin products is an art in itself.
 

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I make wood blanks for myself, it is not a so difficult task but requires time...

Stan
 

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It depends on what you value in a blank. "Best" is equal to good material, good dimensions, and low cost in some combination.

I do not think material is that important for sound, but I do usually like working on vintage hard rubber that has a low plastic content. The exception is that some vintage hard rubber is "punky" (soft) in a non-homogeneous way. But I do not know if anyone is making hard rubber sax mouthpieces like the old pieces.

Then there is Brad Behn who is making hard rubber clarinet mouthpieces in the US from scratch. I do not think he sells blanks but his web site shows his hard rubber process which is aimed at reproducing the HR used in vintage Chedville mouthpieces.

There is some good info here on how hard rubber has changed since the 1930's:

http://clarinetmouthpiece.com/faq.asp
 

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Sigmund451 said:
The old Geo Bundy pieces are good blanks but they are only avaliable a old vintage mouthpieces that can then be reworked. RPC and a bunch of others are made from various Babbit blanks. Jody Jazz were made by Runyon except for his hard rubber. I dont know for sure about the new DV piece. Only a few guys start from scratch. It takes a great deal of machining and/or expense for molds and the like. Managing alloys and resin products is an art in itself.
That's what I always assumed, but now I'm not so sure. Check this out:

http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Bundy_Bundy_BR402_3_Alto_Sax_Mouthpiece,__7632912

You can expand the photo. I have an alto piece identical to that (double pairs of shank rings, silkscreened sig) that Mojo turned into a killer for me. Maybe he did it despite the rubber being no good, or maybe even though it looks the same the rubber is not the same. I haven't actually bought one yet to check.
 

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That is a totally different mouthpiece than the vintage Geo Bundy pieces that can be gotten for a pretty decent price and then opened and worked on. The old ones are great HR but again, as Mojo stated, the material matters more to the refacer than to actual performance. Nice hard rubber is a joy to work on.
 

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Sigmund451 said:
That is a totally different mouthpiece than the vintage Geo Bundy pieces that can be gotten for a pretty decent price and then opened and worked on. The old ones are great HR but again, as Mojo stated, the material matters more to the refacer than to actual performance. Nice hard rubber is a joy to work on.
I have three different Geo M Bundy engraved signature mouthpieces.

1) (Left in photo) Huge round chamber with scooped sidewalls, looks similar to an old Conn.

2) (Center) Flat, angled sidewalls, marked France.

3) (Right) Medium round chambered with scooped sidewalls and the double pair of shank rings, similar (actually identical I believe) to the one in the link above except that the signature is engraved rather than silkscreened.



Sigmund, which one of these three are you comparing the link above to? Have you actually worked on the type in the link above? If so, what was the rubber llike?

Mojobari, if you see this and remember the silk-screened sig Bundy you worked on for me - can you recall what your impressions of the rubber were?
 

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That first one is the spitting image of an old Babbitt, and the description fits the chamber too.
 

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I also noted that the left one was similar to an old King MP Chitown sent me to look at. The Bundy had thicker side rails so someone may have finished the King a little better.

The left one did have superb hard rubber. Opened up to .085", it played as good as any vintage Meyer Bros I've played.

I have another Bundy 3 here that is similar to the right two but has a different shank. The sig is lower like the one on the right but it has the 3 on the bacl like the middle one. The shank is straight like the one on the right but it has no rings. Instead it has some lathe-like chamfering.

The one have has an "A" chamber and straight sidewalls. It was probably made 10-20 years ago.
 

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MojoBari said:
I also noted that the left one was similar to an old King MP Chitown sent me to look at. The Bundy had thicker side rails so someone may have finished the King a little better.

The left one did have superb hard rubber. Opened up to .085", it played as good as any vintage Meyer Bros I've played.

...
Mojo, thanks for commenting. The one you refinished for me was almost identical to the one on the right, not the one on the left, except it had a silkscreened rather than engraved sig, which has since worn off entirely, so a few years down the road people will really be in the dark about it. You commented at the time that it was very similar to the King "MO" mouthpiece that I had sent you at the same time. The one on the left, as noted above, has a much larger chamber, more like the old Conn Eagles.

I've never played a Meyer Bros., so I can't comment on that aspect, but the mouthpiece does play exceedingly nicely. It is almost eerily (airily? ;)) free-blowing for a tip opening of that size.

I need to see if my wife can help me improve my photos of mouthpiece innards so I can illustrate what I'm talking about.
 

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Ive worked one like in the middle. I have not messed with the new ones. I can tell you that the old HR from the one in the middle is nicer to work than current babbitt material. The new stuff isnt bad...its just a little tougher...but still, not bad.
 

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OK, thanks for the comments Sigmund and Mojo. I've been wondering about this topic for a while and am glad it finally got a good going over in this thread.

[Edit] And hope J.Max doesn't mind the slight hijacking of his thread.
 

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I keep some measurements and comments on each piece I work on, but no photos. I probably should, but it is one more thing to slow me down.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
chitownjazz said:
OK, thanks for the comments Sigmund and Mojo. I've been wondering about this topic for a while and am glad it finally got a good going over in this thread.

[Edit] And hope J.Max doesn't mind the slight hijacking of his thread.
Nah. This discussion is pretty interesting...
 

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There is a rubber company in Germany that makes blanks for Bari, Vandoren & others.

" New-York Hamburger Gummi-Waaren Compagnie AG
We are manufacturer of hard and soft rubber compounds, hard rubber dust, composites for capacitor caps, parts made of hard or soft rubber such as hoses, bends, mouthpieces for saxophones, rods, tubes and much more.

New-York Hamburger Gummi-Waaren Compagnie AG
Hamburg Hamburg
Germany "

I cant find their website again, but I remember seeing pictures of Vandoren mpcs, combs, feet, wheels & other industrial rubber stuff on it.
 
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