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

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