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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had planned my visit for over a year, but again and again some things stood in the way. After phoning Francois, I had decided to have both my silver mouthpieces (alto and tenor) serviced by the master who had made them about 25 years ago. I had also made up my mind to get one of the new silver plated bronze mouthpieces that follow the design of the much acclaimed silver pieces that are so hard to find.
After a 3 hour day I arrived at the workshop and was warmly greeted by a very friendly Francois. I felt at home right from the start and we went straight to the workshop. First of all I chose the tip opening for the new mouthpiece. You can choose between 0.110 or 0.130 as the basic model, and Francois is ready to work on the mouthpiece and have you playtest it until you are sure you've found what you are looking for. After the final treatment, the mouthpiece is silver-plated and ready to go.
In my case, I felt at home with a 0.110 that was available, and so there was no need to do extra work.
More time and work was needed for the two silver pieces that had been played a lot over the years. The tenor piece just needed about 45 minutes, but the alto piece had a problem because rails and facing weren't even. Moreover, the table was not really what Francois was expecting from one of his mouthpieces. So that took about two hours and a lot of work. After that, it responded much better, was easier to blow and offered a more balanced sound.
What I like about all metal pieces by Francois is their balanced sound. I do like my old Link Floridas and my Slant, my Dukoff Stubby and more pieces, but Francois' mouthpieces are neutral in a very positive way: they don't lead you in any direction but pick up your sound.
Meeting Francois was a rewarding experience: in the lunch break, we sat in his living-room, shared good music and philosophy, and I was offered a lot of welcome anecdotes.

I'm adding a couple of pics to compare the sterling silver tenor and the new tenor. When you hold the new mouthpiece against the light at a certain angle, you will find a very subtle baffle.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Even if it may seem hard to get through to Francois: he is a very nice and friendly guy, and it may be better to phone him instead of writing e-mails. The new silver plated bronze mouthpieces are not distributed. As far as I know, you will have to contact Francois to order and get one. This video by the great Italian player Emanuele Cisi contrasts several models of FL mouthpieces, among them the sterling silver (2) and new bronze model (1):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t__0mqeIGs

Nice sounds, and a free Italian lesson on top.
 
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