Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Morse Taper for Flugelhorns??

After numerous posts on trumpet forums, we have decided to address the issue of mouthpiece shank tapers for flugelhorns. Many posters are stating that a certain shank has a Morse taper. Well, GR has this to say:

There is no Morse Taper for Flugelhorn.
Morse Tapers
Large end = .3561"
Small end = .2520"
Length = 2.00"
Taper/foot = .6246"
Taper per inch = .0521"
Angle from Center = 1.4908

Large end = .4750"
Small end = .3690"
Length = 2.13"
Taper/foot = .5986"
Taper per inch = .0499"
Angle from Center = 1.4287

#0 Morse taper is long and not the correct taper.  It's large end is about the same size as the Bach small end.
#1 Morse taper is not the exact taper per inch.  The small end is not small enough to reach to .355".
What you really need to see is dimensions as Bach has listed below in an old Mouthpiece manual.  

Below is the Bach Fluegelhorn Standard Taper

Large end = .405"
Small end = .355"  
Taper per inch = .0500"
Taper per mm = 1mm per 20mm 
Taper per foot = .6000"
Angle from Center = 1.4321
Engagement = 1"

Go to a local Tool and Die shop and ask them to put a small Morse taper on a shank.  What will you get?  Probably a strange look or #0 Morse taper.  Ok ask for a #1 Morse taper, will it fit in your horn…no.  You need some specific dimensions.
1-Taper rate
2-Small diameter
4-large diameter
Every taper needs a rate of Taper.  Ask for a .0500” per 1.000”inch.
Every taper needs a starting dimension. Ask for .355” that is the small Bach
Then you need an engagement or length.  That is 1.000”
The end diameter is .405” just as in the Bach drawing.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Equipment Mismatch Volume 1

GR took some time to put this together. More info will come when we can get him away from the lathe. Right now he is about 1000 mouthpieces behind so I usually keep him at the lathe and just throw him raw meat from time to time.

GR has seen that many players are confused regarding equipment mismatches and rightly so. There are no standards in the industry and even if there were, many times there are errors in manufacturing. So, here goes from GR. The quotes you see are from a thread on The Trumpet Herald:

Nkolisnyk wrote:  “They don't bottom out and appear the same length (which may be hard to measure between brands - for example in the cornet world, Wick 4B's are much shorter than Curry 3BBC) 
This is a good statement.  Shank length has nothing to do with bottoming out or a poor fit.  Short or long overall length mouthpiece it doesn’t matter regarding the receiver.  The mouthpiece taper shank lives in the receiver taper and that is the mating area.  Beginning taper diameter is the key.  At GR we make trumpet shanks from a beginning taper dimension of .375 for a few really old horns to .395” for players that have a worn receiver or had the misfortune to overuse a $29 reamer off the internet.  
The old Bach printed material stated a beginning dimension of .382” with 1” engagement and a taper of .050” per inch or 50mm per1 meter.  That was used for years by Bach and Schilke.  From my measuring Schilke may use this dimension of .382” today and match it to their receivers.  You can call them to verify.
In 1999, GR called some of the major manufactures to start a Manufacturing Organizations for the purpose of setting standards like the auto industry (SAE) and others.  One laughed at him….GR said are you laughing because you don’t have a tolerance or your process can’t hold the tolerance….the engineer laughed harder.  Your answer, you must chase the manufactures tolerances or quality in order to get a good match.  
Note every .001” on the shank diameter and the gap or engagement will vary .02”.  
Let’s say you have a dialed in CNC machine to make the shank of the blank that will hold +/- .0001”.  You have it right?  Not so fast!  Next in the process is your polishing.  The mouthpiece buffer is feeling strong and there are some machining likes they want to remove….ok the takes off .002” on one .003” or more.  The next buffer only takes off .001” what do you have?  You have a variation of .003” or more to be kind or a change in gap of .06” about 1/16th of an inch between parts.  You are scratching your head yet?  Ok we introduce plating.  Some platers will put on .0002” or 200 micro inches of silver for a total shank increase of .0004”, your tolerance stack up could put you pretty darn close to the target dimension or .0025 to .003” small.  There are other platers that put on .002 to .004” of Silver for a total dimension change of .006” or more adding .120” plus to the gap.  Holy Bat measuring this is becoming a nightmare.  Oh, now add the tolerance stack up with the receiver and you have introduced even more, not to mention wear with age, and the guy the likes to tinker with a receiver reamer for those of you buying used horns.
If your mouthpiece bottoms out.  Don’t cut the shank!  Stop, and figure out what is going on.  Measure shank and receiver, do it several times and take an average.  If your numbers don’t repeat send it to someone like Charlie Melk.  If you are not qualified stop and get help before your make a mistake or remove metal you can’t put back.  Often these fixes are not real complicated for a repair person that is prepared to deal with them.  
Measuring the shank.  It’s pretty hard to do with a digital calipers because the end of the shank is often rounded or it could have a dent.  
One way to get a good fit on an older mouthpiece is to have Plating added to the shank OD only.  It you add too much it can be carefully buffed to proper fit.
Nkolisnyk wrote:  “It's like the tip of the shank is slightly wider on the Bachs than they are on the Yamahas. If I give the Bach a little twist, it snugs in (but I don't like doing that - I feel it will hurt the receiver over time). Interestingly, my Curry 3C. does the same thing (though to a lesser degree) but it fits just fine in my Bach Strad.”
We have seen this condition.  Often from buffing or putting something down the backbore that has flared the end of the shank.  The shank may have had a dent in manufacturing and they flared it removing the dent.  It would be slightly bell mouthed and would rattle.  Mouthpiece and receiver fit is the biggest area of mismatch we see today.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Not Just About A Mouthpiece.

From GR Player Dustin McKinney.

Dustin exclusively plays GR Mouthpieces. Visit his website www.dustinmckinney.com

"When traveling to Wisconsin to visit Gary, my intention was to find mouthpieces that would improve my set up. Instead of just a mouthpiece, Gary worked with me to find a solution that has resulted in profound improvements in my playing.
Prior to meeting Gary, I thought that choosing a rim was only for comfort. Gary explained that the lips must be supple and free to vibrate without unnatural impingement or manipulation. Once a rim was matched to me (a subtle change from a 66Q to a G66), the rest of the process was easy.
The stock G66*** ended up being a great all purpose match for my Yamaha Chicago Bb. Efficient, vibrant, and clear.
62 P-M with a #41 adapter made playing the opening to Bach's Magnificat nearly effortless.
Gary made something special for my Yamaha Chicago C. He used a G66 rim, #3 backbore and some killer math to make the most flexible and comfortable mouthpiece I've ever used on C trumpet. From fortissimo to pianissimo, this mouthpiece sings!
Spending time with Gary showed me that his knowledge, skill, and experience are unmatched. Gary's process gave me the confidence that all of my equipment was matched to me and that now all I have to do is play. No more worrying about mouthpieces!"

Left to right, all playing GR Mouthpieces:
Jon Lewis, Dustin McKinney, Miles McAllister

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Commercial Side of Symphonic Playing

Hi Fellow Trumpeters,

I just wanted to share how GR saved my life once again :-).  This is my latest experience working with Gary and I hope that some of you can benefit from it.

This December I was invited once again to play principal trumpet for Classical/Pops Barbados ( check out the link at http://classicalpops.com/all-star-orchestra/).  This turned out to be a great gig (in paradise) and a good time was had by all, but there was some stress involved for the trumpets.  Here is this year's program for the first night of the festival, “Film Night”: 

John Williams (b. 1932) Superman March

Max Steiner (1888-1971 ) King Kong Overture

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) Mambo from West Side Story

Alex North (1910-1991 ) Suite from Streetcar Named Desire

(arr. McGurty)

Henry Mancini (1924-1994) Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's

John Barry (1933-201 ) The Best of Bond

(arr. Tyzik)


Rlchard Strauss (1864-1949( Fanfare from Also Sprach Zarathustra

(2001: A Space Odyssey)

Main Theme from Star Wars

John Williams

(arr. Burden)

John Williams

Miklos Rozsa (1907-1995) Parade of the Charioteers from Ben Hur

James Homer ('1953-2015) Main Title and End Credits from Braveheart

Traditional Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (no orchestra)

Yoda's Theme torn Star Wars


Mighty Gabby

Hans Zfmmer (b. 1957) Suite tom Pirates of the Caribbean

And of course then there was an encore; “E.T. Adventures on Earth.”  

Now that looks like a pretty typical pops program, until you check out the actual sheet music and see what three players with no assistant have to do.  Very fortunately for me, this year I was joined by Billy Hunter, a principal player from the Met and Larry Larson, principal in Kitchener-Waterloo (a fellow GR guy) so we had a great team.

Steve, Billy, Larry

Once I saw the program and received the music (and realized that my regular orchestral equipment would not cut it for this show) I was trying to find a mouthpiece to get that terrific sound that the LA recording guys do on the movie scores.
Of course since I am a GR dealer and consultant, I do have a few mouthpieces available to try :-).  The closest match I had handy was a 67 M with a #3 backbore; great on C trumpet!  Unfortunately, not being the brightest bulb on the tree I went blasting through the program (on an unfamiliar mouthpiece that was not my normal rim) until I eventually hurt myself.  

Now, in big trouble, with the gig a week away I called Gary and got the piece made in my custom rim. (Don’t be like me. Please plan ahead. Kindly do not do this last minute thing to Gary.)  Soon I was feeling better and by the time the concerts and rehearsals rolled around I am happy to say that the trumpet section got the job done in style and are looking forward to meeting next year in paradise.
I guess the moral of the story is… be prepared!  So if any of you orchestra guys have to play those face busting movie music programs (with no assistant!) it would be a very smart idea to put something like the “Emery M #3BB” in your kit.  Try it. You’ll like it!

Steven Emery
Professor of Trumpet,
New England Conservatory
The Boston Conservatory
The Longy School of Music of Bard College

"It was such an incredible treat to be able to join Steve and Billy in Barbados this year for this wonderful all-star orchestra weekend.  It was fun to be able to chat with Steve about his GR setup, and how much his work with Gary has really been a god-send for his playing.  Having been through a full-fledged fitting session with Brian Scriver about 15 months ago, I can honestly say that my GR pieces have helped me play to a higher and higher level with each passing month.  I now have 5 in rotation for my big horns (C, Bb, Eb) as well as my piccolo, cornet, and flugelhorn pieces.  

For the type of playing that we had to do with the Classical Pops Orchestra of Barbados, going to my 66M was a natural to give me just the right amount of brilliance and sizzle, but still keep the big fat sound that I strive for, both for the Film Music night as well as our Broadway Night  It was fun to hear from Steve that he was basically on something close to a 66M, with his own rim.  As Steve said, I think we did a terrific job of giving the audience that LA Studio sound that they’re used to hearing when heading out to the movies.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival in fantasyland!”


Larry Larson
Principal Trumpet, Kitchener - Waterloo Symphony

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Copy-cat, copy-cat, and Freddy the Forger.

Copy-cat, copy-cat, and Freddy the Forger.

Do you remember in elementary school when it came to test time? You did your homework and were well prepared; however, the annoying kid who sat next to you was not prepared at all. Next thing you know he is looking over his shoulder copying your test answers. We at GR Technologies have felt that annoying kid’s breath on our necks. I will explain that later.
From time to time we will receive a request from a customer to copy his existing mouthpiece. Our standard answer is, “We can, but we won’t”. This often makes the customer question our ability, integrity, and life itself. But, here are the reasons why we never copy another manufacturer’s mouthpiece designs:

1)      Copying is theft. Plain and simple.
Copying is stealing another person’s intellectual property. In some countries, theft can be punishable by death. In the mouthpiece industry, it is done every day.

2)      Why copy inferior designs?
Early manufacturers like Vincent Bach were innovators. Their ground breaking designs changed the trumpet world. Mr. Bach did the best he could with the technology of the day. We now know that his designs are full of discontinuities. A discontinuity is a design flaw or manufacturing error which disrupts the SOUND WAVE, similar to a speed bump on a highway would make you spill your morning coffee.

Today we see a number of manufacturers copying these ancient designs using modern equipment. This is like building a Model T Ford using modern robotics. It certainly can be done, but why? You will just have a new car which drives like a Model T.

It is easy to detect a player on these “new antiques”, as the articulations are generally slow and dull, sound is diffused, and player manipulation is required to play down the center of the horn.
GR Technologies Mouthpieces do not contain discontinuities. Our “Compu-Balanced” design and superior manufacturing techniques ensure that every GR Mouthpiece is free of “speed bumps”.

So, what do we do if a customer really wants the same feeling he or she has experienced for years, but wants the design efficiency of a GR?

Two words – Reverse Engineering.

GR has reverse engineered a number of custom mouthpieces to give customers the feel they are familiar with, but the enhanced performance of a GR No-Discontinuity Design. Basically the original is digitized and then Gary Radtke utilizes our design program to remove the bad design elements. The new design is then blended with a GR backbore to match the player and horn.

Check out GR Player Carl Fischer talking about his Signature Series GR Mouthpieces. The first design GR made Carl was a reverse engineered mouthpiece. The Series has moved ahead from there with numerous design improvements:

Now, a little about the annoying “copy-cat kid”.

1)      We have been the victims of intellectual property theft.
Yes, we have had information which is Gary Radtke’s intellectual material, taken and used as the thief’s own material. We know who did it and how it was done. Our lawyers are chomping at the bit on this one.

2)      We discovered that an individual had been selling COUNTERFEIT GR Mouthpieces!
The fakes were so poorly made that the cup and backbore design in no way resembled a GR design. What the fraudsters did do was copy the GR outside shape, and even our mouthpiece packaging in order to dupe customers into thinking they had purchased a GR. As a side note, we had one customer who purchased a counterfeit, send it to us for inspection, and we replaced it with an original GR of his choice.

3)      We have had other manufacturer’s “spies” contact us and try to get inside information. Usually it is painfully obvious which calls are the undercover calls. Usually quite comical as well.

Yes, we use spies too!
Our spies don’t try to get inside info from other companies due to the fact that we don’t need to know how to build a Model T. Our spies find out just how far other copy-cat companies will go.
We have discovered one company out there whose owner has been heard saying he is going to copy the entire GR line and sell it as his own.
Another company was contacted and asked if they would copy a GR. They were quite happy to do it and even copy the outside shape of the mouthpiece! By the way, the outside shape of a GR Mouthpiece is patent protected.

Bottom Line:
1)      We are not copy-cats.
We are innovators who take brass instrument mouthpiece design to the next level. Don’t believe us. Talk to players like Wayne Bergeron, Jon Lewis, Dan Fornero, Carl Fischer, Chuck Lazarus…etc. (Space does not permit a complete list.)

2)      Only purchase GR Mouthpieces directly from our shopping cart or a genuine GR Mouthpiece
Purchasing a used mouthpiece means a roll of the dice. The mouthpiece could be counterfeit, or highly altered. Any alteration and it is no longer a Compu-Balanced GR Design. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it ain’t!

4)      Copies of GR will never play like a genuine GR!
The copy-cats simply don’t have the design ability or manufacturing finesse to make their copies play like a GR. Even if they attempt to copy the outside shape, there are proprietary manufacturing techniques that are specific to GR which prohibit any other manufacturer from getting it right. Theirs will contain discontinuities.
Even Harry Potter doesn’t have the magic up his sleeve to pull that off.

Brian Scriver

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Drill Size Questions...Stop the insanity!

What drill size is preferred by lead players? Similar questions to this seem to get asked often. So, here goes: GR always says....depends on the length of the throat (as far as the resistance one would feel). 30 can feel free blowing compared to others with a 27. Actually GR would tell you to grab a fluid dynamics formula book.

You can't just look at the throat hole size, it's length as well. Therefore a 28 hole and 19 hole can have the same resistance given the length of the 19 is very long and 28 .05". So what else happens! Open your thinking.

As the throat gets bigger it gets longer.....backbore gets shorter, and cup volume is reduced. You need to look at the total resistance of backbore and throat. We have a reverse engineering program written for calculating this for any mouthpiece and any leadpipe. We have a few, over 1000 on file. Remember each is going to be different due to any alterations, age, or manufacturing.

 Monette C12 Throat .166", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 12.1303, Throat resistance 5.7945 Backbore resistance 6.3358

 #1-Bach #10 BB Throat .144 (#27), Total resistance of backbore and throat = 12.86225619, Throat resistance .84856 Backbore resistance 12.01369

 #2-Bach #10 BB Throat .144 (#27), Total resistance of backbore and throat = 13.9536, Throat resistance 2.4244 Backbore resistance 16.37833 (Longer throat shallower cup and longer backbore)

This is an older BB that was suppose to be so great an old 3C that was suppose to play awesome similar to Charlie Davis 3CBB Bach 87 BB Throat .157", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 6.62019, Throat resistance .6373 Backbore resistance 5.9828511

 Reeves 6924 Throat .143", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 20.1828122, Throat resistance 6.11957 Backbore resistance 14.06323

 Maynard very old Throat .1516", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 14.80962, Throat resistance 4.343244 Backbore resistance 10.46638

 Kanstul 117 Throat .1456", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 14.29828, Throat resistance 3.524625 Backbore resistance 10.77366

 Callet DT-10, Throat .1415", Total resistance of backbore and throat = 26.44187, Throat resistance 10.66559944 Backbore resistance 15.77628

 Brian Scriver www.grmouthpieces.com

Friday, May 9, 2014

Resistance questions on a trumpet forum.

James Hatfield asks, "What size mouthpiece throat pairs best with a resistant horn?" http://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=129305

 GR: Finding the right match is frustrating, it can make your head hurt, make you doubt yourself, the walls seem to be coming in on you in the practice room, it feels like you are in a fight with your trumpet (all components included), it sucks energy, time and money. Some players want a solution. They find a set-up, stick to it, and try to keep consistent. Others love to try different things, play around, acquiring new and old equipment as a hobby. For this group of people they seem to like constant change. That change will cause them to spend money to correct the match, get frustrated, or devise a system such as the playing tests and start making mouthpieces.

 "Who's going to seize this opportunity and when?" There is a lot of technology and acoustic research going on.

 About 20 years ago GR was messing around with a high speed camera and fiber optic camera @ 8000 fps. The mouthpiece was machined for the camera and a mini microphone. While watching the lip oscillate, and the sound wave set up, sound spectrum and pitch change led him to using the device to measure cup volume in the dynamic state, pressure, etc. GR has made a ton of acoustical test equipment over the past 20 years and worked with leading physicists. Watching the lips in the dynamic vs static makes a big difference. Similar to the way the medical profession goes into the body to check out the heart. Anything you come up with will be perfect until you hang a human on the end of it. Most humans are not consistent enough to be as accurate as a machine, therefore, each day we are different depending on sleep, hydration, etc. We age, get tired, have demands that change, and it all makes a difference. An organized approach is the key to solving issues.

 Tweaking? How many nights did you look down where you empty your water key and see brass shavings or dust? About 40 years ago GR played a gig with a top call older trumpet player. He started the show each week with a brand new Bach 11EW. His sandpaper, drills, and scraper were always working and at the end of the week he would toss the mouthpiece away. The next week it started all over again, Bach mouthpieces were about $7.50 back then. GR has never taken a drill, reamer, or any other tool to open a mouthpiece throat in the past 15 years. He just writes a new program so the mouthpiece is designed as one entity.

 razeontherock “Now that I've found it I'm skittish about changing anything, even though I know my gap is way off.”

 GR: Why do you say your gap is way off? It might not be the gap. If the system is working you will be vibrant and accurate. If not, don’t assume it’s the gap. In general, people focus on the throat hole, the gap, or mouthpiece. They especially seem to focus on anything they can physically alter using tools in their garage.

 Bri: I call this “The Local Hero Syndrome”. The Local Hero is the self-proclaimed expert who plays in his local concert or big band and is constantly altering mouthpieces. I know. I used to be one! GR has over 20 parameters for the mouthpiece not to mention the gap, leadpipe, horn, and bell. 

Remember this is a system that allows for the mouthpiece (Helmholtz resonator), gap or no gap, leadpipe, cylindrical tubing, and bell to set up a pressure or standing wave. Intonation, slotting, overtones series has to do with acoustics of an air column. Other areas are affected by fluid dynamics.
If we had the perfect trumpet and the perfect mouthpiece would everybody like it? No, you might get 1 in 10 that like the set up depending on how much thought was put into the design (if designed for middle of the road vs a specialist). If you took players that fit in the middle of the bell curve statically with the amount of cup volume being close after the lip engagement it would work for about 60 to 70%, just might need a different rim or alpha angle to allow the lip to vibrate freely all else being the same. Like the GR, Blue, Red, and Yellow mpc test kit. One will work best. That is GR Rule #1. 


 GordonH Wrote: “I have often thought about measuring the input resistance on different set ups and working out which is my optimum. There must be as there has to be the right pressure on each side of the lip to allow it to vibrate freely. Too much back pressure and it won't move.”

 GR: Gordon, you are close there must be a drop in pressure for the pressure wave to set up. The Fluid Dynamics are like a shuttle valve that is set into vibration. Now add the acoustics and trumpet air column and it gets complicated. That is not the tough part. Hang a human on the end that is constantly changing and you have no way to quantify.

 We do playing tests and troubleshoot the entire system. Don’t believe us; ask Wayne Bergeron, Jon Lewis, Dan Fornero, Chris Still, Chuck Lazarus, Carl Fischer, Jens Lindemann, Rashawn Ross, Yaure Muniz what the process is like.

 We apologize for leaving players out. We don’t have room to list them all! You can do the homework and derive your own conclusions.