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Discussion Starter #1
An apology if this is repeating any previous posts, though I couldn't find this info when I searched.

A few questions about mouthpiece symmetry:

I am curious to know at what point it becomes pointless to pursue absolutely perfect symmetry when refacing. HR pieces seem to be harder to get perfectly symmetrical, maybe because of the softness of HR compared to metal, and the unforgiving ease with which HR changes. But anyway, I am just wondering what differences marginal non-symmetricalness actually makes. I can understand that the tip and tip rails need to be as close to perfect as humanly possible, given that this is the part of the mouthpiece that interacts with the reed, but what difference does, for instance, a slightly non-symmetrical window bottom curve have on how the mouthpiece performs?

Cheers guys –
Christian Watson
 

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Almost nothing. You can test this yourself if you have the skills to make a mouthpiece ultra symmetric. Any one area you then make non-symmentric will not be noticeable on a play test. After you make a bunch of changes, they may add up to being significant. But this will most likely be due to the fact that you made the chamber volume a little larger with all your changes.

Now the facing curve on the side rails is another story. The window can be off-center so the the side rail thickness is not the same. This mostly a cosmetic thing. But the piece will play its best if the facing curve is a good shape and symmetric on both side rails.

Natural selection dictates that we prefer symmetry. It is a perceived sign of quality even if it does not effect the function.
 

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MojoBari said:
Almost nothing. You can test this yourself if you have the skills to make a mouthpiece ultra symmetric. Any one area you then make non-symmentric will not be noticeable on a play test. After you make a bunch of changes, they may add up to being significant. But this will most likely be due to the fact that you made the chamber volume a little larger with all your changes.

Now the facing curve on the side rails is another story. The window can be off-center so the the side rail thickness is not the same. This mostly a cosmetic thing. But the piece will play its best if the facing curve is a good shape and symmetric on both side rails.

Natural selection dictates that we prefer symmetry. It is a perceived sign of quality even if it does not effect the function.
I totally agree!!!
Just finished a piece which is unfortunately not symmetric (inside) but plays as well as the others... maybe a little better ;)

Stan
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks Mojo - that all makes sense now. An alto piece I play that has marginally unsymmetrical side rails only at opposite points in the bottom of the window curve plays great. It has a perfect facing curve and facing tip rails. Your info now explains why. Thanks...
 

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reeds...

Isn't the whole reason you would have a mouthpiece be symmetrical is that when a symmetrical reed, (which you might have to work on) is placed on the piece, it would match up...
 

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I have a older Babbit Link 6* tenor mouthpiece that was dropped by the previous owner and has a slight dip on one edge of the tip. It is probably the best playing Link I've owned (and I've probably had at least thirty or so of every vintage from Master Link to current models). Try to explain that!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
hi daddywagsmusic - yes, that is what we are saying, but I think the point is, what needs to be perfectly symmetrical are only the parts of the mouthpiece that interact with the moving parts of the reed (i.e. the tip and the side rails of the facing curve), as well as those parts that deal with the air stream (chamber and baffle).

please correct me if I am wrong on this anyone...

and also, the other thing to remember is that I am only talking about slight imperfections in symmetry, not major imbalances like you find on some mouthpieces.

The reason for my initial question was that I noticed that a lot of refacers go to extraordinary lengths to make their pieces absolutely symmetrical in all aspects, but I was wondering why many pieces that have slight non-symmetrical aspects play just as well if not better than other pieces, that for instance, have a more perfectly symmetrical window curve or perfect side rails at the furthest point away from the tip. From my most recent experiences I am learning that what is most important is the facing curve, facing rails, and facing tip, as well as the balance between these and the baffle and chamber.

anyway, just my thoughts.

thanks guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
and one other thing - of course, assuming that the facing curve, facing rails, baffle and chamber are all good and the table is flat - then a bit of good looking symmetry in the other aspects of the mouthpiece never hurt anyone!
 
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