Re: Re: Re: Intonation on the 2155

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Posted by Jay Bertolet on July 01, 2002 at 08:07:54:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Intonation on the 2155 posted by js on June 30, 2002 at 23:30:50:

Sorry Joe, but I don't agree with you on this one. When I went through the process of mouthpiece testing after getting my Nirschl, I tried everything I had on the shelf. If you'll remember, I even ordered a Schilke 69C4 from you because of the recommendations of others that a smaller mouthpiece would work best. Because of this (and other mouthpieces that I had here at the time that I also tried), I know that the Laskey 30H that I eventually ended up with was really near the middle of the pack, maybe slightly smaller than the average of all the choices. By no means was it the smallest of the bunch. I'm also convinced that this is no placebo effect. As of now, I'm going on 2.5 years with this setup and no change yet, intonation is still really solid.

I will agree that the sound with the Laskey wasn't the very best sound I could produce with any of the mouthpieces I tried. When I tried the R&S Heavy Helleberg, the low range on the Nirschl was just a bit better. That was generally true of all the larger mouthpieces. Of course, many other things were unworkable with those mouthpieces. As always, every mouthpiece has strengths and weaknesses and the player has to choose the package that best suits his/her playing. I'll trade the 1%-2% of sound for the stable intonation and consistent sound I get with the Laskey in a heartbeat. Without those things, it doesn't matter what the overall sound is like, the horn would be unusable for me. This is where I feel that those before me who tried the horn I bought went wrong. The common comment about my horn was "I can't play any two C's in tune with each other". Using all the other mouthpieces I tried, this was indeed the case. The Laskey was/is clearly different and that's why I use it and why I decided to purchase the Nirschl.

In my conversations with tuba players and mouthpiece makers, I've been convinced (at least to this point) that the backbore is the most important factor in a mouthpiece regarding intonation. Finding the right match for a given horn with a given backbore is more critical than, say, the depth of the cup. I'd love to put that theory to the test but it will have to wait. This would be a great graduate thesis topic because so little critical research has been done (to my knowledge) regarding hard, empirical proof of the relationships between these variables. Wouldn't it be great to actually have formulae that could narrow the search parameters in this respect? I think that would be invaluable information.

We agree completely on the idea of building up a mouthpiece collection rather than trying to make mouthpiece determinations during trial periods, usually in under 14 days. It is really valuable to my teaching to have different mouthpieces on hand that students can check out. Even if I don't particularly use them myself, you never know when a certain mouthpiece will come in handy. As you said, they never go bad and you can always sell them if you want. I took the other route. I installed a couple of wall mounted, wooden mouthpiece racks in my studio and now my mouthpiece collection is also decorative. Whatever works I suppose. ;-)

My opinion for what it's worth...

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