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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentMouthpieces(Moderators: BGuttman, Doug Elliott) Preliminary MV and NY mouthpiece scan results
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octavposaune

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« Reply #40 on: Jan 28, 2012, 06:18PM »

Thanks You John,

You sucinctly put down what I was thinking and not clearly putting down.  Raw data is more of what I am after.  As it turns out my theory going into this little self funded study was to find out if the alloys in those mouthpieces are something entirely different from modern C360 leaded brass.  I was shocked when Bruce sent me the original scans.  Most of them were in fact simply slightly polluted leaded brass.

I think most of the posters here are familiar with the fact MV and NY pieces sound different from modern pieces.  I want to take the "Magic" out of the equation. 

To respond to actikid, no I don't think you can make economical super precise copies in various materials, but that isn't the point of this thread, the point has essentially been disproven.  That the difference is in the material, in this case the metals are very close.  So were do we stand??

Faxx makes a copy of some MV pieces.  They are fine mouthpieces but they don't sound like a MV, in fact I wager to say nothing sounds like a MV except another MV.  Specs and materials can be measured, unless there really is some pixie dust in the mix I am not certain where we are going to find the difference.  Although Bruce's remark about hardness might be worth exploring as well.  Hardness could certainly effect player audible tone quality, whether that is noticable in the audience or not is another question.

My personal experience with MVs is that they are simply more effecient, producing a louder while at the same time more pleasant sound.  My opinion on this is shared by the people who were playing them.  We did some blind tests with 6 different 11/2Gs and the MV won every time.  The faxx sounded similar but wasn't as effecient.

This doesn't make too much difference to me as a player, I play all Doug's stuff with the occassional Bach piece as a back up piece in my cases, or as a tester at work.

Does anyone else have a constructive way in which to figure out some of these differencesS???  Maybe we should start a new thread?

Benn
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #41 on: Jan 28, 2012, 06:33PM »

I suggest a hardness test on the inside surface of a mouthpiece, although that might require destroying it.  "Machining" as it was done then is nothing like it is done now.  I think the process then, most likely with shaped cutting tools,  would probably have left a harder surface due to friction than the single point tools used in CNC machining.

I have no idea if that would make the difference in sound, but it might be worth looking at.
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« Reply #42 on: Jan 28, 2012, 06:36PM »

Does anybody know the tooling that was used at MV?  I wonder if there is any substantial difference in the speed of cuts / heat compared with all the other mouthpieces that don't have the "magic".  Work hardening and annealing are certainly real factors any time metal is involved.

(I see Doug posted a similar thought at the same time I was typing.  I would definitely be interested in those answers.)
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #43 on: Jan 28, 2012, 06:50PM »

There may not be anybody left who really knows about the tooling, other than speculation.  Factors like the amount and type of coolant that may or may not have been used, and therefore the friction and heat generated during the cutting process, could explain differences.  Also the possible effects of decades of aging afterward... were they as good then as they are now?
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« Reply #44 on: Jan 28, 2012, 07:00PM »

Hi All,

Doug just touched on a point I was thinking about myself.  Metal ages, it both weakens and destresses a bit as it ages, eventually the metal becomes brittle with decades and or centuries of age behing it.

The way in which it the old MV pieces are machined is also a good point to consider.  Bach only went to CNC about 10 years ago, many older small letter mouthpieces vary more than newer CNC'd ones (althought the new Bachs are more consistent, they still have an occassional goof in the mix, ask me how I know!)

Peppy left some info behind, but he also mentioned people not centering mouthpieces well, and I have certainly seen off center drilling on Elkhart Bach pieces, in fact really centered shanks are more of an oddity than a norm.

I think we can come up with some old beater MV pieces to destroy in the name of science.  There are a lot of 7C trumpet, 12C trombone, various other beat to heck pieces that could be donated to the common knowledge base.  I just replated my NY and MV cornet mouthpieces, so those aren't going to die. 

Anyone got any MV paperweights????

Benn
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« Reply #45 on: Jan 28, 2012, 07:01PM »

FWIW, there is a local company running ads for manufacturing businesses to do cryogenic treatment on their tools.  They are claiming it will triple the life of the tools.  Probably not a factor with the MV mouthpieces.
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« Reply #46 on: Jan 28, 2012, 09:30PM »

I have a few beat up and split NY and MV pieces I'll donate to the cause  Good! Way cool
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« Reply #47 on: Jan 28, 2012, 09:33PM »

There may not be anybody left who really knows about the tooling, other than speculation.
Bach tooling, maybe not. But Robb Stewart does have a toolbox full of mouthpiece tooling that used to belong to Roe Plimpton, the mouthpiece maker at Olds during a significant part of the Los Angeles era. As you hypothesized, there's lots of shaped cutters for both the inside and outside of mouthpieces.

It's also possible that some of the work was done using single point cutters on a tracer lathe.
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« Reply #48 on: Jan 29, 2012, 04:35AM »

I have a Knoop hardness gauge at my disposal.  Let me know.  It works best with flat surfaces, but I'd bet a mouthpiece cut in half longitudinally would work OK too.  Not sure what I'll have to charge, but our normal lab fees are $125 an hour and I can probably do a dozen in the hour.  Once I get a Knoop value it can be converted to Rockwell or any other scale of interest.  I'll also see if I can do this as a training exercise (i.e. donate the work).
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« Reply #49 on: Jan 29, 2012, 08:27AM »

We would only need comparisons bewteen different samples, not actual values.
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« Reply #50 on: Jan 29, 2012, 08:34AM »

If hardness is an important factor, I wonder if there would be any practical way to do ceramic mouthpieces.
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« Reply #51 on: Jan 29, 2012, 08:43AM »

I shoulda thought of this earlier. I mentioned a tracer lathe in my last post, but it's also possible that they used a screw machine (cam-controlled automatic lathe) for cutting the blank - maybe even some of the interior dimensions.

If hardness is an important factor, I wonder if there would be any practical way to do ceramic mouthpieces.
Hardness in and of itself isn't really a factor - we're looking for what hardness might tell us about other properties. For something like that, a hardness comparison would only be valid if it were on mouthpieces made of similar materials (brass vs. brass would be OK; brass vs. stainless, not really).

We need an materials engineering student who also plays trombone.
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« Reply #52 on: Jan 29, 2012, 08:52AM »

If hardness is an important factor, I wonder if there would be any practical way to do ceramic mouthpieces.

Ceramic is an odd duck.  About the only thing we could do would be a scratch test, which is a lot less quantitative than a true hardness test like Rockwell or Knoop or Brinnell.  I certainly couldn't do a ceramic on my Knoop tester; it would either not indent or shatter.

We've tried a whole raft of different materials for mouthpieces.

When I got my Olds TIS in 1964 it had some shards from an Ivory mouthpiece.  I own a Benterfa in wood.  There was the DEG in Nylon and Kelly in polycarbonate.  There are aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, and brass.

Incidentally, while talking about brass, I would think there would be a big concern about using an alloy with beryllium on a part that touches ones mouth.  Beryllium is extremely poisonous.  You don't spend a lot of time holding or eating the bell so it's OK there.  But for something you put on your lips, I worry.  Even with a barrier layer like silver or gold/nickel.

In one respect there is probably a major difference between very old mouthpieces and, say, 1975 and later mouthpieces.  The early mouthpieces were made by folks who would test and tweak.  Later we developed "hardened processes" (i.e. ones where you controlled the methods as well as possible) and it became more the practice to follow the process and see what comes out.  This latter is the policy behind things like ISO-9001, which seeks to minimize process variability.

One other point about hardening and age.  When the cryo treatment first became the fad (in the 1990s) Osmun determined that a horn that was 20 years old or older did not benefit from cryo treatment.  Apparently simply being used for 20 years would achieve the same end as the cryo treatment -- but it takes longer ;-)
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« Reply #53 on: Jan 29, 2012, 09:02AM »

Or just make them yourself with Makerbot.

They make one that is big enough to print a piccolo trombone.
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« Reply #54 on: Jan 29, 2012, 09:11AM »

I've used parts made with one of those 3D printer machines.  While it's amazing that you can go from drawing to a physical part in one step, the parts are kinda brittle.  Also, I'm not sure what they are made from exactly and the plastic may not be good to keep against your skin.  Some of these plastics have residual hardener which can be an irritant.
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« Reply #55 on: Feb 02, 2012, 09:55AM »

Here are some more mouthpieces, these were provided by DJ Kennedy.  I've already scanned them and they were in the alloy comparison above.

Left to right: Mt. Vernon 12C, Elkhart "Corp." 6.5AL, Conn Clark (no E), Blessing 12C, Benge 12C.

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« Reply #56 on: Feb 08, 2012, 10:45PM »

Regarding gold content in brass...

As Benn mentioned, gold and copper (and silver, for that matter) deposits are sometimes found in close proximity to one another; there were copper mines in the Mother Lode region of California (there's actually a town called Copperopolis; the guy who found the copper was working a gold claim). I would be rather surprised if copper ore from those mines didn't have traces of gold in it.

As for the idea of the gold being there as a result of recycling scrap mouthpieces? I have my doubts. They would have tossed 'em in the scrap bin, and they would have eventually found their way back to someplace that would remelt them, but it's far from certain that any of the brass so produced would end up back at the Bach shop - and it would have been a tiny bit of gold going into a lot of brass.
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« Reply #57 on: Feb 09, 2012, 04:12AM »

I doubt gold in brass would be a result of recycling as well.

I do know that the gold can interdiffuse into the brass, so a mouthpiece gold plated in 1940 with no barrier layer (possibly an aftermarket job) might wind up with very little gold on the surface and gold appearing to be part of the brass.  This is what happened to the rhodium I had plated on the "heavy blank" mouthpiece.  When it was done in 1963 it looked "silver".  Now it just looks like brass; even after a clean and polish with Wright's silver polish.  I didn't see any rhodium in the alloy probably because the plating was "decorative" thickness of maybe only a few micro-inches.
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