Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently bought several secondhand ebonite soprano mouthpieces on eBay and have noticed that just a few of them tend to give off an unpleasant taste and smell after being played for ten minutes or so. I've never experienced this with brand new mouthpieces and wonder what causes it.
I've cleaned and brushed them thoroughly and soaked them in antiseptic solution several times but the problem still tends to return. The taste/smell is the same on all the offending mouthpieces which suggests it's caused by the ebonite. Is this a common problem? Why don't I find it with brand-new pieces?
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,236 Posts
Yeah, where is Carbs?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
Let's see if I can offer a helpful answer, just to be different. :) I know exactly what you are referring to. Many older hard rubber mouthpieces turn a brownish green color and sometimes develop an offending smell or taste. Paradoxically washing the mouthpiece in hot soapy water tends to accelerate this aging effect. Cool water and a medium soft brush works the best for cleaning, but does not remove the odor or the taste.

The best (and only) solution I have found that works on some older mouthpieces (but not all) is to soak the mouthpiece in Clorox Bleach diluted 1/2 strength with tap water. After soaking for 1 - 2 hours, I take the mouthpiece out and rinse thoroughly and then dry with a paper towel. Then the mouthpiece is buffed using a high speed buffing wheel once very lightly with Tripoli compound followed up by a more thorough buffing using Nuwhite compound.

Most instrument repair shops have the buffing equipment necessary, and hopefully the expertise to avoid buffing anywhere on the face or rails of the mouthpiece. The charge should be nominal to have this done.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,017 Posts
Often the sulfur separates out of the hard rubber in older pieces which yields an awful taste. Try soaking them in a baking powder solution for 12-24 hours. It worked for me.
 

·
Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
·
9,813 Posts
MM said:
Often the sulfur separates out of the hard rubber in older pieces which yields an awful taste. Try soaking them in a baking powder solution for 12-24 hours. It worked for me.
I agree with the assessment of the problem and the solution, pun intended. Is is a sour/bitter taste? That's sulfuric acid. Good for the digestion.

Somewhere on the web I read to soak in distilled water, but I believe MM's approach neutralizes the acid with the basic baking powder.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,596 Posts
It doesn't happen on new pieces because the hard rubber is not as pure as it once was.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
465 Posts
jbtsax said:
Let's see if I can offer a helpful answer, just to be different. :) I know exactly what you are referring to. Many older hard rubber mouthpieces turn a brownish green color and sometimes develop an offending smell or taste. Paradoxically washing the mouthpiece in hot soapy water tends to accelerate this aging effect. Cool water and a medium soft brush works the best for cleaning, but does not remove the odor or the taste.

The best (and only) solution I have found that works on some older mouthpieces (but not all) is to soak the mouthpiece in Clorox Bleach diluted 1/2 strength with tap water. After soaking for 1 - 2 hours, I take the mouthpiece out and rinse thoroughly and then dry with a paper towel. Then the mouthpiece is buffed using a high speed buffing wheel once very lightly with Tripoli compound followed up by a more thorough buffing using Nuwhite compound.

Most instrument repair shops have the buffing equipment necessary, and hopefully the expertise to avoid buffing anywhere on the face or rails of the mouthpiece. The charge should be nominal to have this done.

John
Buffing will get rid of the oxidization, and maybe some or all of the bad taste, but the risk of running over a rail or the table is pretty high. Especially on soprano pieces.

The baking soda solution sounds interesting...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
Baking soda solution seems to work for me, been doing it for years now. However I add an element to it. I used baking soda and water with a hint of cheap mouth wash. Be careful with mouthwash though, expensive stuff like Listerine has a ton of alcohol in it and can be inherently bad, I use cheap organic crap from New Leaf Market...helps with the smell and the taste..=)
-Pat
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,528 Posts
Ah, nothing takes me back to the days of my misspent youth like the smell of old musty rubber.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top