Measuring a mouthpiece
Soon it is possible to order on this website your tailored mouthpiece printed in 3D to fix the for years missing part of an ancient clarinet or try a modern mouthpiece on a old c-melody soprano or other exotic woodwind instrument. This article explains how to measure the relevant parameters of your mouthpiece.
The following parameters are relevant to define a standard mouthpiece for single reed instruments like clarinet and saxophone.
Tools needed to measure a mouthpiece
- a caliper
- plate of glass
- piece of flat paper
- graph paper
- feeler gauges
Measuring the first general parameters
|the general parameters|
|1||l_table||length of the table||0.1mm||H|
|2||p_table||angle of the table compared the centerline of the mouthpiece||0.2 degrees||H|
|3||d_barrel_max||maximum diameter of the barrel||0.1 mm||M|
This is easy to measure. Take care to measure the length along the line of the flat part of the table.
P_table can be measured with a bevel. Place the mouthpiece with the bottom of the shank against the arm of a bevel. Hold the other arm along the table and fix the screw on the corner.
A suitable bevel can be easily made:
measuring the shank
|the shank dimensions|
|4||l_shank||Length of the shank||0.5mm||M|
|5||l_cork||lenght of the cork part on the shank (clarinets only)||0.5mm||L|
|6||d_shank_bottom||diameter of the shank||0.1mm||H|
|7||d_shank_top||diameter of the shank on the barrel side (saxophones only)||0.5mm||M|
|8||d_shank_mid||diameter of the shank in the middle (saxophones only)||0.5mm||H|
|9||d_shank_cork||diameter of the cork part of the shank||0.1mm||M|
All the measurements of the shank can be done with a caliper. The value d_shank_mid is measure to define the curve of the saxophone mouthpiece shank.
Measuring table and tip
|the table dimensions|
|10||w_table_tip||width of the table on the tip side||0.1mm||H|
|11||w_table_shank||width of the table on the shank side||0.1mm||M|
|12||h_tip||height op the tip opening||0.5mm||H|
|13||l_facing||length of the facing||0.5mm||H|
|14||r_tip||radius of the tip||1mm||M|
Measuring of the most tip and table values can be done directly using a caliper. The height of the tip opening and the length of the curve of the tip opening have to be measured using a set of feeler gauges and a flat glass plate. The tip opening itself is difficult to measure. I did it with a stack of feeler gauges but it can also be done with special concave gauges to measure the tip opening.
The radius of the tip can be estimated using the following selfmade circle template or any official one (click here to download the pdf version). Find the cirlce that has the best fit to the tip bow and measure the diameter and divide it by 2 to get the radius.
Measuring the beak
|the beak dimensions|
|15||p_beak_outside||angle of the beak compared to the tabke||1 degree||M|
|16||p_beak_inside||angle of the beak compared to the table||1 degree||M|
|17||l_beak||length of the beak measured along the centerline of the mouthpiece||1mm||M|
|18||r_beak||radius of the curvation of the beak (difficult to measure)||1 mm||M|
|19||h_beak_tip||thickness of the beak at the tip||0.1 mm||M|
The angle of the beak can be measured with a bevel. If you don't have that it can also be done with a rod and and piece of paper. Place the rod on the top of the beak and hold the flat part of the table in line with the bottom of the paper. Draw lines parallel with the rod on the paper and measure the angel using a protactor. p_beak is the measured angle decreased with the measure p_table.
The measurement of l_beak and h_beak_tip are quite easy. For the measurement of the radius of the angled top of the beak a perpendicular cross-section anywhere on the beak has to be figured. The width of the beak (value A) and the height of the curve (value B) of the beak have to be measured on the same cross-section location. It is difficult to measure, but it is not a highly critical parameter.
The value r_beak can be derived using the mystereous formula: r_beak =0.5*A / sin(2*atan(2*B/A))
Measuring the window
|the window dimensions|
|20||w_window_tip||width of the window at the tip side|
|21||w_window_barrel||width of the window at the barrel side|
|22||l_window||length of the window|
The figure above shows the measurements needed to define the window.
Measuring the inside
|the bore and chamber dimensions|
|23||d_bore||diameter of the bore at the shank side|
|24||l_bore||length or depth of the bore|
|25||p_baffle||angle of the baffle compared to the centerline of the mouthpiece|
|26||l_baffle||lenght of the baffle measure along the roof|