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Clocking The Mouthpiece


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Arjuna
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:58 pm    Post subject: Clocking The Mouthpiece Reply with quote

One of the easiest ways of optimizing your equipment is a simple practice called clocking the mouthpiece.
This allows a player to find the "sweet spot" that has all of the desirable qualities of clarity, response, resonance and freedom of expression.
To clock the mouthpiece simply start at 12 o'clock and rotate clockwise playing each position on the clock until you find the most optimal setting for your playing.
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jaysonr
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I clock (sort of). I always have to have the model number facing me. I was at a fellow THer's house yesterday and he was putting in mouthpieces any which way and playing them. I contained myself, but I was screaming inside.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One can try clocking the mouthpiece counter-clockwise, too.

On flugelhorn, there are infinitely more clocking variations as one can clock the mouthpiece as well as the leadpipe.

For all brass instruments, one can try clocking mouthpiece AND mutes.

For those lucky to have Amado keys, these can be clocked as well.

For student trumpets with permanently embedded mouthpieces, one usually clocks the entire instrument, often around the third valve slide ring. But that is another story.
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ejweiss
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why should this even make a difference with modern mouthpiece makers using such close tolerances? Like GR, Monette, ACB, etc...
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ejweiss wrote:
Why should this even make a difference with modern mouthpiece makers using such close tolerances? Like GR, Monette, ACB, etc...


If the mouthpiece is symmetrical, obviously it makes no difference. But a surprising number of mouthpieces, even from top manufacturers are not completely symmetrical.
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y-o-y
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a clock ring on every one of my mouthpieces that helps ensure I get the right position every time, increasing the odds of hitting the sweet spot.
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starkadder
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
ejweiss wrote:
Why should this even make a difference with modern mouthpiece makers using such close tolerances? Like GR, Monette, ACB, etc...


If the mouthpiece is symmetrical, obviously it makes no difference. But a surprising number of mouthpieces, even from top manufacturers are not completely symmetrical.


It's surprisingly hard to find a lathe that rotates.
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't believe it makes a difference. That being said, when tried, it seemed to.
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bundah
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:39 pm    Post subject: Clocking the Mouthpiece Reply with quote

I find for me it makes a big difference!
I always assumed that moving the bottom caps around was rubbish but that also makes a big difference too....
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Dan O'Donnell
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

During my 40 years of playing the Trumpet I never understood this concept. When a typical MP is manufactured on a lathe, (and I can assume this hold true for a CNC) the diameters are concentric to each other meaning that they all are centered or share the same centerline. What am I missing with this logic?
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trumpetchops
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only thing I can think of is that stamping the make and size could change something.
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a.kemp
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, it can make a difference. I do clock my piccolo lead pipe. Makes a big difference on my Yamaha 9835
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jaysonr
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...well, hopefully the optimal position for my pieces is with the model number facing me, because that's the way they all go.
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Richard III
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always put my left sock on first. Also my left shoe. Yup. Left foot in the pants. Fill the left pocket first. Grab the horn with my left hand. Put the mouthpiece in with my right hand. No twist. No idea which way it's oriented. Put the mouthpiece to lips. Which one hits the rim first? Not sure. You guys are nuts.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard III wrote:
I always put my left sock on first. Also my left shoe. Yup. Left foot in the pants. Fill the left pocket first. Grab the horn with my left hand. Put the mouthpiece in with my right hand. No twist. No idea which way it's oriented. Put the mouthpiece to lips. Which one hits the rim first? Not sure. You guys are nuts.




For the record, the only mouthpieces I "clock" are a few screw rim setups of mine (none of them are Reeves but are screw rim conversions of other mouthpieces) where due to a slight lack of symmetry of the rim and/or the underpart, there is a tiny bit of overlap in part of the cup with the rim but not the rest of the cup. I do not like having the overlap part coming into contact with my upper lip as I can feel it and I don't like the idea of my lip vibrating against that slightly sharp spot. I set such mouthpieces in the horn such that this overlap area is at the bottom of the cup, as my lower lip doesn't seem to then contact it.

That said, I am nuts in my own special ways...
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Nonsense Eliminator
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaysonr wrote:
...well, hopefully the optimal position for my pieces is with the model number facing me, because that's the way they all go.

What a coincidence, your mouthpieces must be exactly the same as mine!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan O'Donnell wrote:
During my 40 years of playing the Trumpet I never understood this concept. When a typical MP is manufactured on a lathe, (and I can assume this hold true for a CNC) the diameters are concentric to each other meaning that they all are centered or share the same centerline. What am I missing with this logic?


Dan,

The clocking effect is likely due to:

1) tolerances within which on a given lathe would the mouthpiece be manufactured as truly concentric (these become an issue when comparing the relative position of inner and outer shank walls and of the throat);

2) elastic deformation of brass which manifests foremost when cutting the thinnest element - the shank (or in case of piccolo and flugelhorn, the leadpipe). As brass is not perfectly rigid, it continuously deforms when worked on and the final shape of the shank (inner and outer shape as well as their relative position) depends on the "history" of cutting - which side was done first, what was the angle and speed of approach of the cutting tool, etc.

As an example of when the tolerances (not in concentric, but in longitudinal sense) become important, I have two Bobby Shew Yamaha flugelhorn mouthpieces with visibly (ca. 1.5x) different thicknesses of the shank wall at the furthermost, from the throat, end. They play quite differently.
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this thread

In the 19th century the song "The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo" was about a real life man who broke the bank in a casino in Monte Carlo by recording every number at roulette that came up for a month.

He was an engineer and reasoned that minute eccentricities and differences in the wheel would favour some numbers, and he was right.

Brass when it is made is not guaranteed to be totally uniform but its pretty uniform. They cant mix it with a wooden spoon when is molten, so there is bound to be some minute zonal variance in concentrations of copper, zinc and other elements throughout the alloy.

I would suggest that this variance might contribute to this clocking experience, in addition to the other factors already postulated.

Empirical testing has revealed some credence for this effect and I for one love the idea that it is real and will insist however illogically that I perceive it as well whether I do or not.
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Trumpetmannj
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both of my college teachers dismissed a sweet spot but said they insert the mouthpiece in the same place for consistency which I also have done in the decades since then.
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Louise Finch
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

As obsessive as I might be on a lot of elements of my equipment, I've never clocked a mouthpiece.

I'm not disputing that there could be something in this, just that this is something I've never done, and probably won't do.

Take care

Lou
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