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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jody Espina wanted to market classical saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces, but understandably didn't think they would fit under his "JodyJazz" brand. So he purchased the once-famous Chedeville mouthpiece company. (I don't think the company was entirely inactive, but certainly it's had a low profile in recent years.) It appears that this was more than just the acquisition of a trademark; Espina claims to have obtained valuable facing-curve data and know-how, as well as a formula for "proprietary" hard rubber than he has attempted to recreate. Here's an interview from NAMM 2019:



This article also provides some background: http://www.musicincmag.com/News/2018/031418/031418_JodyJazz.html

You can find information about, and demos of, the mouthpieces themselves on Chedeville's excellent new website: https://chedeville.com/. Everything looks very promising, except the prices. The mouthpieces list at $450 for alto or soprano, $475 for tenor, and $495 for baritone. Slight discounts probably will be available from the usual retailers, but there's no question that these will be among the costliest classical mouthpieces around. Will classical players pay these prices for "artisan" pieces? I wouldn't, but I'm just an amateur. (Well, I might try a used alto model if one ever became available.) Excellent options from Vandoren, Selmer, and now D'Addario are available for one-half to one-third of Chedeville's prices. Most classical guys seem satisfied with one of those, perhaps with a bit of custom facing touch-up for another hundred bucks or so.

The Chedeville RC mouthpiece is priced between the Dahlke RC at $350 (another RC -- confusing) and the Dahlke RS at $675. I still have never run into an account from someone who's tried a Dahlke piece. I would assume that JodyJazz's superior marketing will prevent the Chedeville mouthpiece from being similarly ignored, but someone still has to go out there and actually buy one.

Has anyone here tried a new Chedeville RC mp?
 

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I played the Chedeville mouthpiece in various tip openings for alto a Texas Music Educators Association conference. I also bought a Behn Sonos clarinet mouthpiece later that day. (More on this soon)
Behn makes the rubber for the Dahlke mouthpieces. So after falling in love with my Behn clarinet mouthpiece, I tried to see if e made a sax mouthpiece and learned about Dahlke mouthpieces. I purchased and play tested three RS and one RC by Dahlke. I tested the Dahlke pieces for a week at home and only tested the Chedeville for like half an hour at the conference. I absolutely loved the Chedeville, but was so surprised by the price. Having never seen a classical alto mouthpiece for that price, I couldn’t justify a purchase.
I later talked to Jody about it and he said the Chedeville rubber is extremely expensive. Behn also makes “Chedeville rubber” and his costs even more, around $700.

So yeah. That’s that. Amazing mouthpiece, but for $450? It did get me to stop playing horshehoe chamber pieces and am now playing around with round chamber pieces.

Dr. Paul Haar at thesaxophonist.org is doing a review on it the Chedeville mouthpieces and I am really looking forward to.
 

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.... the Chedeville rubber is extremely expensive ....
Am I allowed to laugh out loud? Certainly the cost for the rubber blank is the least cost factor at a price of around 500 €. Having a bit of chemical education I wonder what would make Chedeville rubber so much more expensive? I guess it is about compensation of the costs to acquire the Chedevile brand and nothing else. Sorry if that sounds brash, but that argumentation is just some kind of marketing speak. I don't know the pieces and they certainly can be great coming from Jody Espina. It just sounds as if there is again a "new" brand that claims to be the end it all solution. Harking back to famous pieces of the past is just no doing justice to all the new alternatives out there.

Alphorn
 

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Am I allowed to laugh out loud? Certainly the cost for the rubber blank is the least cost factor at a price of around 500 €.
Alphorn
Remember that I mentioned Behn and Jody claim to use Chedeville rubber? Apparently the original materials cost significantly more and the process of rolling the rubber take a lot longer.
So if you have a chemical background, surely you know that not all core materials cost the same amount. Maybe don’t think of it as rubber as you know it and it would make sense.
Yes, I agree the price point sounds like nonsense, but the logic that the materials cost more is not. Now, the whole “does the material matter” is a different argument and I wish jody would make the mouthpieces out of his “hr” jazz mouthpiece rubber for comparison.
 

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I have been wondering for a while why there is a market segment for HR jazz MPCs around 150$ (Selmer, Vandoren, D'Addario, Babbitt, etc.) and one around 300-400$ (handmade boutique MPCs) (and hardly anything in between, by the way), but no significant boutique segment for classical MPCs. Put differently: Why is the 150$ segment apparently good enough for most classical players?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We can always buy a Bill Evans tenor m.p.to go with it and really get spending .
The new Chedeville pieces are expensive by classical mp standards, but they are well within the normal price range for "premium," hand-finished jazz mouthpieces. There is really no Evans equivalent for classical players. Even the Dahlke RS is far less money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been wondering for a while why there is a market segment for HR jazz MPCs around 150$ (Selmer, Vandoren, D'Addario, Babbitt, etc.) and one around 300-400$ (handmade boutique MPCs) (and hardly anything in between, by the way), but no significant boutique segment for classical MPCs. Put differently: Why is the 150$ segment apparently good enough for most classical players?
I'm tempted to say that perhaps classical players are less likely to be suckers, :) but actually I think that term really applies only to buyers of ultra-expensive mouthpieces, like the $1.7k Bill Evans model mentioned above. Otherwise, the "boutique" price range seems fair for people who prefer boutique products rather than mass-market ones.

As to why, until now, there have been few boutique classical saxophone mouthpieces, we have to consider both demand and supply. Your question about why inexpensive pieces are deemed "good enough" addresses demand. Why are classical players largely satisfied with Vandoren, Selmer, D'Addario, et al.? Well, I think that the performance target is smaller, i.e., more uniformly agreed upon, and thus easier (paradoxically) to hit. The tonal and response characteristics of a classical mouthpiece tend to fall within narrower parameters than those applicable to jazz or commercial mouthpieces, so standardization becomes more feasible. This supports mass-market production. Also, as noted above, many professional classical players probably find that any customization they do require can be accomplished with some simple "tweaks" by a good refacer. The cost of a mass-market classical piece plus some tweaking is still probably less than the price of a typical boutique mouthpiece.

On the supply side, the question is why boutique/premium mouthpiece makers have largely ignored the classical market. Well, we have some such makers here as SOTW members; perhaps they can answer for themselves. I would guess that they think the classical sax market is too small and/or too stable; i.e., it's tougher to sell the "next big thing" because classical players often prefer the old thing, if it works right. Also, I suppose it can be difficult to achieve market penetration with Chedeville/Dahlke price points when customers are used to the traditional mass-market prices. In other words, tradition is the bane of boutique makers.

We have to see how these new models sell. If they succeed, perhaps other makers will emulate Jody Espina.
 

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Thank you very much, LostConn, for that great explanation. I figure the boutique segment for jazz MPCs has grown recently and that's why some makers feel that the classical market could be ripe for a similar development. I mean, how much of a coincidence is it that Jody Espina brings back Chedeville and Theo Wanne comes up with a classical MPC model, too, at about the same time? It will be interesting to see how that turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you very much, LostConn, for that great explanation. I figure the boutique segment for jazz MPCs has grown recently and that's why some makers feel that the classical market could be ripe for a similar development. I mean, how much of a coincidence is it that Jody Espina brings back Chedeville and Theo Wanne comes up with a classical MPC model, too, at about the same time? It will be interesting to see how that turns out.
I've mentioned this before, but it's worth noting that at the same time these new classical saxophone mouthpieces are appearing, horn manufacturers that previously focused on big-sounding jazz models have been coming out with saxophones explicitly geared toward classical players. In the last few years, classical horns have been introduced by P. Mauriat (first alto, then tenor), Eastman, Rampone & Cazzani, and even Cannonball. It's like an "untapped market!" realization has swept certain portions of the industry.
 

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I've mentioned this before, but it's worth noting that at the same time these new classical saxophone mouthpieces are appearing, horn manufacturers that previously focused on big-sounding jazz models have been coming out with saxophones explicitly geared toward classical players. In the last few years, classical horns have been introduced by P. Mauriat (first alto, then tenor), Eastman, Rampone & Cazzani, and even Cannonball. It's like an "untapped market!" realization has swept certain portions of the industry.
The "classical saxophone" is a very versatile instrument that needs to be capable of doing everything. Take for instance the Mark VI, a great allrounder, as are the later Selmer models. Whisper, shout, scream, extreme altissmo range, flutter, slaps, multiphonics you name it, the classical sax (and mpc) has to deliver it all, so on the contrary I think that the spectrum is at least as wide on the "classical" world as in the jazz/commercial dito where you can basically choose to sound as either Coltrane, Dexter, Getz or Brecker. (Slightly simplified...)
What I think has happened is that the price development of Selmer saxes has opened up a market for good allround horns in the price range where Selmer used to be.

I also think Selmer and Vandoren are doing a great job providing mouthpieces that perform good enough for a third or a quarter of a boutique price. 99% the mouthpiece for 25% the price. And I think that a "jazzer" is more interested in paying for sounding like some dead master while a classical musician is more into sounding like themselves (even though an outsider will not notice the difference between one and the other).
 

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So he purchased the once-famous Chedeville mouthpiece company. (I don't think the company was entirely inactive, but certainly it's had a low profile in recent years.) It appears that this was more than just the acquisition of a trademark; Espina claims to have obtained valuable facing-curve data and know-how, as well as a formula for "proprietary" hard rubber than he has attempted to recreate.
Omar Henderson, who previously owned this company made an effort to create a copy of the vintage rubber used back in the day. He also trademarked the Chedeville and Kaspar names, which led to a scramble among other makers who referenced these legendary names in their branding and marketing and had been threatened with lawsuits. The company is not the same Chedeville that had been around previously for generations. You can read some information here:

https://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/henri-chedeville-mouthpieces

I am not saying that they may not end up making decent mouthpieces, but the history and background is somewhat complex. It is somewhat like the instrument makers who have bought an old name and the rights, but which are not the same business as had been previously known.
 

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I found the price point interesting myself, but as above posters have mentioned, its a normal price range for a boutique jazz mouthpiece.

Wonder who will pick it up as a jazz piece?

- Saxaholic
 

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I have been wondering for a while why there is a market segment for HR jazz MPCs around 150$ (Selmer, Vandoren, D'Addario, Babbitt, etc.) and one around 300-400$ (handmade boutique MPCs) (and hardly anything in between, by the way), but no significant boutique segment for classical MPCs. Put differently: Why is the 150$ segment apparently good enough for most classical players?
There’s another factor at play. None of the big name professors are using these. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing...you have to get the leaders to play these, otherwise their students won’t play them. Even if you get one of the big name guys to do it, it takes a long, long time for larger adoption.

Another thing is that the majority of classical mouthpieces are sold to younger students. They (or their parents) won’t spend $400 on a mouthpiece for band, especially when their private teachers tell them to buy an AL3 (or S90).

I think a lot of the more serious players buy a stock piece, like a Concept, and have it refaced or perfected. Still less than $400.
 

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The brand "Chedeville" still exists like a producer of pads for woodwinds. He still supply most of "consumables" for reparimen (springs, felt, corks... some tools, etc etc.).
It's a small company.
Somebody probably still had the rights for using the name and Jody bought them...

In France, Riffault still has its own hard rubber, as well as Selmer and Vandoren: everyone with its own material.

Even in the classical word, there's a kind of "emulation thing". But there are much less products...
I mean... the mouthpieces you can buy new for classical stuff, you can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

But... I've never seen problems for any classical saxophone player to spend big money if the thing really works.


On "mass produced" classical pieces almost every effort in terms of design is to give you less upper partials with progressively thicker tip and rails.
After the Concept came out, Selmer messes up all the tip openings and the facing and many people got disoriented with the new products. (For the Italian Saxophone Forum I compiled a conversion table for the older and the newer Selmer pieces... and many thing came out).

When I have a look to a Jody's Chedville or a Dahlke (or a Fred Rast mouthpiece) I see much more attention to the detail. And all the tip/rails design is genuinely done to improve the articulation and the eveness.
So the point, then, is that even if these boutique classical design may work great (on the chart at least), most of classical players (top names included) has no reference with these different designs.

Price tag wise... the new Claude Delange Signature mouthpiece, even if it's a mess to produce because it's made of two materials etc etc... will be less then €200 MSRP.
And it's much more open the regular Selmer Concept.

I guess at $450/500:
1) they won't sell thousands because they don't need to sell thousands.
2) the whole business model is to recoup the initial investment without focusing on making thousands pieces.


Ferrari makes 10000 cars every year... and it's a solid company, despite being unlucky in F1.
Horacio Pagani makes around 40 cars every year... and they make a lot of money of profit.
Just different business models.



 

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On "mass produced" classical pieces almost every effort in terms of design is to give you less upper partials with progressively thicker tip and rails.
After the Concept came out, Selmer messes up all the tip openings and the facing and many people got disoriented with the new products. (For the Italian Saxophone Forum I compiled a conversion table for the older and the newer Selmer pieces... and many thing came out).
That is very interesting. Would you kindly post a link? It would be very nice to have a better overview on what's what in the segment. Like, Vandoren's overview only tells about the different facings (which is already kinda helpful), but not, for instance, that the AL4 has a lot thinner tip rails compared to the AL3 and AL5. It sounded very different to me in comparison. Also, I recently tried an old S80 C*, which was nicely responsive but too bright for my taste. Looking at advertising photos, the new model seems to have thicker rails, which probably means it trades some of that responsiveness for a darker sound, like you said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Many of these new classical pieces (Chedeville, Theo Wanne, Selmer Delangle Signature) seem to be moving in the same direction: greater projection, "richness," and responsiveness added to the existing preference for a darker, rounder tone. This movement seems like a small course correction after the mini-revolution over the last 15-20 years fomented by the Vandoren Optimum and the Selmer Concept. It's like, "OK, we've gotten the type of sound we want, but now we have to replace some of the muscle we removed from this category of mouthpieces."

Personally, I don't feel like experimenting with the $400+ range, but I can imagine trying out the TW Water alto mouthpiece ($275) or the Delangle Signature ($200-$300?). These could probably be resold without too much difficulty if I didn't like them. I wasn't previously aware of the Delangle model, so thanks for the tip, Tzadik.
 

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Vandoren has a new card up its sleeve as well. A response to the Concept named "Profile". As a start it comes in one opening for alto and soprano, respectively. Well worth a try!
 
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