The Art and Craft of Saxophone Mouthpiece Design (2019-2020)

The primary goal of this Bass Connections project was to digitally archive the dimensional and material property differences between nominally similar vintage and reproduction mouthpieces to document the differences in playability and tonal character of these mouthpieces. A secondary goal of the project was to evaluate the effectiveness of modern low-cost manufacturing techniques in faithfully reproducing a vintage saxophone mouthpiece.

The team digitally archived the dimensional and material property differences between nominally similar vintage and reproduction mouthpieces to document the differences in playability and tonal character of these mouthpieces.

The team studied 11 mouthpieces and recorded eight musicians. They rated each on a scale of 1 to 10 for brightness, resistance, tuning, register transitions and projection. Mouthpiece groupings showed a positive correlation between musician-ranked brightness and recorded spectral centroid. Vintage 3D copies were more similar to their originals than modern replicas for both brightness and centroid.

Timing

Summer 2019 – Spring 2020

Team Outputs

Archiving Saxophone Mouthpiece Designs (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

The Art and Craft of Saxophone Mouthpiece Design (poster by Giavanna Jadick, Maxwell Bartlett, Matthew Busch, Joshua Socolar; runner up, Bass Connections 2020 poster competition)

This Team in the News

Bass Connections Teams Share Research Highlights in a Virtual Showcase

 

Image: Sax Magic, by Alam Levine, public domain

Sax Magic by Alan Levine.

Team Leaders

  • Matthew Busch, Arts & Sciences-Physics
  • Joshua Socolar, Arts & Sciences-Physics

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Maxwell Bartlett, Computer Science (BS)
  • Ethan Cheung, Mechanical Engineering (BSE), Biomedical Engineering (BSE2)
  • Giavanna Jadick, Physics (BS), Political Science (AB2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Justin Gladman, Shared Materials Instrumentation Facilty (SMIF Lab)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Durham Jazz Workshop
  • Brian Curry, getasax.com