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But the material on the walls of the room also have an effect. Sometimes it's absorbed in the walls and sometimes it passes through the walls. Sometimes the material absorbs/transmits certain frequencies better than other.
True, but totally irrelevant to woodwind acoustics.
I'm not so sure it is. Imagine an extreme example -- a sax made of foam. Will it sound the same as one made of brass (of identical dimensions, of course), or will the vibrations of the air column be dampened by the foam? If something can dampen the resonance column, then everything can.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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how about a Chinese mouthpiece made of REAL jade then (not the fake stuff Pete has
No, mine are Onyx(ite). I have considered a jade composite (Jadeite). But the would want to discontinue them so I could then reintroduce a sequel:

Return of the Jadeite.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I'm not so sure it is. Imagine an extreme example -- a sax made of foam. Will it sound the same as one made of brass (of identical dimensions, of course),
I don't believe it would be the same dimensions. Foam has lots of little holes, so the internal dimensions would have to take account of that and so be totally different.
 

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I'm not so sure it is. Imagine an extreme example -- a sax made of foam. Will it sound the same as one made of brass (of identical dimensions, of course), or will the vibrations of the air column be dampened by the foam? If something can dampen the resonance column, then everything can.
Do we really need to add 'material of similar rigidity'?
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I have spoken to Ed about this in great length, as we collaborate on the PPT mouthpieces which were originally made in Ed's normal resin, then we offered a Bronzite alternative. I now only make them in Onyxite.

Ed believes that the material makes a difference in any part of the mouthpiece tha vibrates. Most of the mouthpiece does not vibrate, but if the tip is this enough, then it would vibrate and act almost like a double reed.

What this means in real terms of mouthpieces out there is that if the tip is thin enough it will possibly vibrate, so having an effect on the sound. Most HR mouthpieces have a lot of material at the tip, too much to vibrate. A metal mouthpiece can have more or less material there. It can have less because metal is stringer, possibly it can be thin enough to vibrate in a way that an HR couldn't because if you made it that thin, it would not be strong enough.

My belief goes along with this. If you can make a mouthpiece with really thin material at the tip that won't break, then yes, that material might affect the sound. However it's unlikely anyone could ever conduct a conclusive experiment to prove or disprove this theory. Until then I make mouthpieces using a material that looks good, is easy to shape into the best sounding shape, and does not poison you.
Also from Ed Pillengers site:

'His interest in mouthpiece making gradually assumed a more important role and led him to undertake several years of doctoral research. He is now widely recognised as one of the world's leading experts in the field of mouthpiece design and acoustics, speaking regularly at international conferences.'


I don't know Ed well, but I did a gig with him whilst he was doing research for his degree and we talked quite a bit about mouthpieces! He must be one of the few people in the world who has done the kind of level of research into mouthpiece acoustics that he has. My feeling is that if anyone should know about this, he should! I found him to be an extremely knowledgeable and down to earth guy. Very nice man to boot!
 

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I don't believe it would be the same dimensions. Foam has lots of little holes, so the internal dimensions would have to take account of that and so be totally different.
The holes are still a couple orders smaller than the waverlengths we're dealing with. Doesn't matter anyway, maybe a bad example. All I'm suggesting is that acoustic damping can occur in a wind instrument. Do you disagree?
 

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"He is now widely recognised as one of the world's leading experts in the field of mouthpiece design and acoustics, speaking regularly at international conferences."
What are the international conferences of mouthpiece design and acoustics?

What of the physical damping properties of the rails as they interact with the reed?
 

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The holes are still a couple orders smaller than the waverlengths we're dealing with. Doesn't matter anyway, maybe a bad example. All I'm suggesting is that acoustic damping can occur in a wind instrument. Do you disagree?
I'm not an acoustics expert but it seems to me that the chamber is too small for dampening to have any effect.
 

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Somebody called me cynical earlier in this thread (wouldn't be the first time), but I wasn't implying that some mouthpiece makers don't actually believe their promotional press (no doubt some of them do believe it), or that they were trying to cheat anyone. Just that they need to sell their product.

What Pete says here is pretty close to where the truth lies, imo:

....I make mouthpieces using a material that looks good, is easy to shape into the best sounding shape, and does not poison you.
This is why there is more than one type of material used for mpcs. The material obviously needs to be rigid and durable, yet workable into a desirable design, and it helps if it's attractive in some way, both in terms of how it looks and how it feels to the player. More than one type of material will fulfill these requirements and tastes (no pun intended) will vary on the part of players.

To go beyond that and claim certain sound characteristics for each material is understandable, but not provable or necessarily correct.

I also am swayed by shiny things. I think my silver-plated horns have a 'sparkle' to the sound and I know it's true! And I am probably just fooled by the shiny silver. I know that too...
 

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Ice and chocolate both seem to be poor choices for mouthpiece designs, but if you wish to argue the point send me all of the chocolate ones you have for testing. I'll have to do the comparison from memory though. I left my ice mouthpiece on my tenor sitting in the practice room and when I came back it was gone...

too bad, it was pretty cool.
 

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I'm not an acoustics expert but it seems to me that the chamber is too small for dampening to have any effect.
If you mean too short, there is a pressure antinode at the tip for every frequency, and another one within the mouthpiece somewhere for modes above about 2.5kHz (on tenor at least, higher for shorter horns). If you mean too narrow, the air bouncing against the walls of the tube happens.
 

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it still a some sort of mystery to me, I have seen uneven finished and manufactured pieces both metal and HR which played very well and pieces which were finished perfectly ( or were said to have been by the manufacturer) and played rather dull or mediocre. Too many variables to tell which really make the difference. Since there's a difference in how metal or HR feels to a player I'd say there is at least a small, subjective difference in material. but design makes a bigger difference.
\
 

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I think that the "foam mouthpiece" would answer the issue. If it was injection molded, it would have a smooth interior and exterior surface and only the sound absorbtion properties would affect the output. But, like the chocolate mouthpiece, the material wouldn't be durable enough to make it worth pursuing, other than to answer this thread. To get to the point where the mouthpiece material has a dampening effect that cannot be denied (even the "unbelievers" in this thread) would likely be a material that could be chewed in half.
 

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If you're interested in durability, believe the more expensive the better, looks great and appreciates in value consider GOLD.
 

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the air bouncing against the walls of the tube happens.
I think you mean sound waves. It happens but not enough for the human ear to perceive it. I know from my recording experience that the smaller the room, the less reverb. At the size of a mouthpiece, it can't possibly matter. That is my opinion and I am sticking to it!
 

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You've no doubt seen this article. I suppose it's possible that the mouthpiece makers make these sorts of statements because it helps to sell more mouthpieces.
I would say this is more accurate than anything I've seen before. I've made mouthpieces from seven materials including wood and sterling silver and when the mouthpieces have the same inner dimensions they sound and play exactly the same. Phil Barone
 

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I don't think this "Myth" will ever truly be solved. It is impossible to make the EXACT same mouthpiece out of two different materials. A measurement SOMEWHERE will be different, and could affect the playing experience.

- Saxaholic
I've done it on a CNC machine. Well, anyway the tolerances were within one ten thousandth of an inch; that's as close as you're going to get. I made my NY tenor model out of brass, solid silver, copper and black ebony. You'd never know which was which if you heard them blindfolded. They all sounded exactly the same. Charlie Parker's recording of him playing the plastic sax is a pretty good example though. It sounded just like any sax. Like I've said a thousand times, there's a book of theory, Fundimentals of Musicals Acoustics by Bonade in which he says it right in there. Phil
 

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I'll take your word for it, Phil, you'd know better than me. There's probably more of a psychological difference in the players mind; we all know the audience doesn't hear the difference anyway.

- Saxaholic
 
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