SELECTED PERSONAL ANECDOTESJoe Allard often told his students stories of his life and professional experiences. The following are selected anecdotes in Allard's own words.
An early experience
I started playing solo clarinet [in ninth grade] ... I had rubber bands all over the clarinet and ... played a little clarinet solo at assembly - Two Little Bullfinches or some stupid thing. The boy that sat next to me, his father was the president of one of the banks, and he had a brand new clarinet. The bandleader saw me trade my clarinet with his as I stood up to play this solo - he almost bad a heart attack. It played so much better than mine, no rubber bands.167
Allard's deviated septum
When I was a baby, my mother put me to bed, and she went to close the door. She turned around to take a look, and there I was with my mouth open. She closed my lips and she went to the door and turned around, and it was open again. She did it a second time ... then she realized that I was born with a deviated septum as she was. It's a crack right down the bone.... I even had an operation when I was nineteen. I went to the hospital; it was plastic surgery in those days. After the operation, the nose was worse than it was before. It cost me three hundred dollars to have that operation. and it was worse than before.... The way they learned, as we do, was by making mistakes. Now they do some remarkable things with plastic surgery, but in 1919 they didn't know much about it.168
Lesson with Rudy Wiedoeft
I went to my lesson [with Duques] and he wasn't there. So I was hanging around for the bus about six or seven hours later to take me back home, because it only ran once going in and once coming back. It was the Selmer shop on 48th Street. So I was sitting around, not knowing what in the world to do, and these two kids came in and then this man came in after them. And they said, "Hey, that's Rudy Wiedoeft." I said, "Rudy Wiedoeft, wow.... Gee, Mr. Rudy Wiedoeft. He said, "Yea?' I said, "I'm Joe Allard. I come from Lowell, Mass." "Lowell, Mass. - what are you doing in New York?" "I came in to take a clarinet lesson from Duques and he didn't show up." He said, "Oh, Gus is like that." "Well, it's the first time its ever happened. It's a 250-mile one way and 250-mile the other way bus trip from Lowell to here. Without a lesson, it's pretty sad" He said, "Gee, that's a damn shame." I said, "But if I could only have a bit of your time; if I could take a saxophone lesson even though I don't have my saxophone. I see you have yours. Maybe if you'd just let me play a couple notes or so, you could give me a lesson." He said, "Sure. We got to go downstairs into the cellar. And if any kid walks in the shop, don't you dare walk down those steps until I'm down there. I don't want anybody to see me because I hate teaching. I'll do it because you've traveled so far."
So we went down in the cellar with all kinds of crates and boxes and everything and he took his horn out, put a mouthpiece on, and he says, "Here, lets hear you play that." I [only] brought the mouthpiece within a foot of me; I don't think he'd ever cleaned his mouthpiece in the past six months. And he'd been drinking; I'd never took a drink ... but I wanted to take a saxophone lesson. He said, "When you can go from middle D to a half-step lower, to open C# and make that sound legato, you'll know how to play saxophone. That's the toughest thing to play on a saxophone." That was my lesson. But he did play for me and it was magnificent.169
The Red Nichols band
My mother got a phone call at 2:00 in the morning. Nobody ever called anybody at 2:00 in the morning in those days. "Joe, somebody wants to talk to you." "Joe this is Red." "Red who?" "Red Nichols. Can you join the band tonight." "Where?" "Flint, Michigan." "There's no way I can get to Flint Michigan. First of all. I can't afford the bus trip, I'm broke." "You just get a ride to Boston airport ... it'll be all fixed up, your ticket and everything. Then you'll go to Newark. My manager will meet you, make sure everything is all right. You'll get on the plane to Chicago and we'll meet you in Chicago." And that first night, when I got there, they picked me up, and we went to this big ballroom in Flint, Michigan, and we had air shots ... in other words, we were playing on the radio from the ballroom.
... The first man was fired and so Red thought maybe the guy [playing second] that knew the book would go on the air and would be a little bit safer. And he said, "No, I don't want to go on the air. I know my parts, but I don't know the first [part]. I don't want to make a damn fool out of myself. Joe, how about you; why don't you do it?"... I read the first book on the air and that's how I made a hit with Red.
Red Nichols liked me immediately because there was a rumba on clarinet and nobody had ever been able to play it. The first time I ever played it at sight, he reached in his pocket and had a fistful of change and threw it on my stand. It went all over the place, I didn't know what in the world he was doing. He said, "You know, I've heard everybody play that thing [and] no matter how many times they played it, they never played it well. You read it the first time and you played it the best of any of them."170
Lessons with Lyle Bowen
I had just recorded Pennies from Heaven [with Red Nichols] where the saxes had sixteen measures of a very legato melody. When I heard it, I just felt it was the most miserable thing that I'd ever heard in my life. I didn't think I ever played saxophone so badly; I was really ashamed. So I went to Eddie Powell in New York and said to him, "Eddie, is there someone you know in radio who plays a good melody on the saxophone? I just made a recording with Red and it sounded awful and I'd love to have a little gab with someone who can play a beautiful melody." He said, "Lyle Bowen has no technique but he plays a beautiful melody. I'd love to have you meet him."
So we went to his studio and Eddie introduced me as being the lead alto man with Red Nichols. "I heard the [Nichols] band from Cleveland just last week and the saxophone sounded fine." "What did you hear, the jump tune or the ballad? If it sounded good, we must have been playing the jump tune; it couldn't have been the ballad because I sounded terrible on the ballad."
He was told by Eddie Powell that I played good legitimate clarinet. Lyle had studied to try and improve his clarinet playing, but any time he ever took a clarinet lesson, all the fellows would say, "Lyle you've taken another clarinet lesson, your saxophone sounds terrible!" He was interested in how I could play both legitimate clarinet and saxophone. So I agreed to give him clarinet lessons if he gave me saxophone lessons.
At our first lesson, he said, "Lets hear you play something on saxophone." So I picked up my horn and I just played a little bit. He said, "I'd give my right arm to have that facility on the horn." "Well, you can have that facility, because I still can't play saxophone in a way that pleases me at all; it sounds terrible." "Joe, I just play melodies: I can't play exercises out of books." "Whenever I pick up the horn, I play chords and scales and finger patterns. I never play melodies." So I decided there must be some medium ground here, so I started playing melodies in all keys. I found that I learned more about how to play my saxophone by playing melodies in all different keys than I ever learned by playing exercises.171
Meeting Chester Hazlett
I came to Boston and Whiteman was there. I'd heard that the lead alto man, who was Chet Hazlett, had the most beautiful sound on the saxophone ... and so I wanted to hear this guy. I had [just] taken a clarinet lesson from Hamelin, and I had my double case and my orchestral excerpts, and so I went to hear the guy. I couldn't believe how beautiful his saxophone sound [was]. I went backstage, and I knocked, and the stage man came and he said, "Who do you want to see?" I said, "I'd like to see that lead alto man, Chet Hazlett. And he yelled, "Chet, some kid wants to see you." He came out, and he saw me with my double clarinet case, and before I had a chance to say anything, he said, "Isn't that a double clarinet case? .s..You know, I haven't played any legit clarinet since I left the San Francisco Symphony. Come on in, we'll play some duets. Do you have any duets?" I said, "Well, I have some Richard Strauss." He said, "I know those ...we can play those." I started to play with him, and I met every guy in the band."172
Subbing for Chester Hazlett
Andy Senella was a saxophone soloist on the radio, just like Chet [Hazlett], in those days. He played beautiful saxophone_ Chet was the busiest guy in New York and if he had a date that was going to pay more money, he'd do it and try to get a substitute [for other jobs]. He sent me to substitute on this [Ferde] Grofe thing and I came in, and Andy said, "Who're you?" I said "I'm Joe Allard." "What are you doing here?" "Chet sent me to substitute for him." "What? ... Have you ever played the Ferde Grofe Suite?' "No." "Never played it? That's one of the toughest things we've gotten all year! Wait 'till I see that Chet - I'll kill him." And I picked it up, played it, and he was very, very pleased. Everything was O.K. He said, "Look, the next time Chet has to send a substitute, make sure he sends you, kid."173
I was called by NBC for five, six years to play bass clarinet and I figured, why should I play bass clarinet for Toscanini? He fired every bass clarinetist he ever hired, why should I be the very next one to be fired? So I refused it. And one time I was ... at the club where I used to belong and I hit a golf ball on the first tee, which was very near the clubhouse. And then, "Allard, a New York call." So, I said to the guy "can you wait?" "Sure, sure." So I went. "This is NBC. Joe, this is the fifth time we've called you. There's a record date" - they called Toscanini the old man - "there's a record date with the old man. It'd be a wonderful introduction and if you don't take it this time. we'll never call you again." So I said, "Well, I'll do the record date, so I'll be the next one fired. So big deal. It'll be interesting just to have the record date and take it from there, see what happens." There was nothing particularly important in the record date; he was just wonderful. No tantrums, no nothing; just very, very nice.
And after that, naturally my first performance was Till Eulenspiegel's [lusitige Streiche]. I had never played it, so I bought a score, and I bought the Boston Symphony recording of it. When it comes to that first run of the bass clarinet, you can't hear a note of the run, so I said why should I practice that run? You can't even hear it. But I did practice it anyway, but not as whole-heartedly as if I had heard it and I thought it was going to be important ... And so we get on the stage - a hundred men on the stage for the first rehearsal, and he's talking in Italian, and he's saying in Italian "I heard the Boston Symphony recording of Till Eulenspiegel ... you can't hear a single note in the bass clarinet run in that Boston Symphony recording. In my recording, I want to hear every note of the cladion. Cladion, la scala." So he wanted me to play the scale. I said. "What scale?" "That first scale." I said, "Oh no, not that damn thing." So I played it and I managed to get all the notes in there. And he said like this, "Chic, Chic, Chic," calling me a chicken. "Bravura, bravura Cladion, la scala." Bravura means play with courage. So I thought I was really going to blow the daylights out of this next time. I did it. He says "chic, chic," but a little bit softer than the first time. And then he went like this, "everybody vacations in America," with his coattails, meaning that possibly I hadn't practiced it enough or something like that, and then "Cladion, la scala." So I did it the third time, and then he left me alone.
After that, he never said boo, except one thing. If I play something that's very legato and very melodic I tend to drag a little bit. And I've been told this by the conductors, but they never scolded me, but they said "Joe, don't lag behind." But one time, he said "Cladion, don't drag, don't drag." But he didn't say it with a nasty voice this time, just said "don't drag, don't drag." Now when [Toscanini] played the last performance that he had; it was Wagner; it had this long bass clarinet thing, and he went like this with his hands, gave me the downbeat and dropped his hands, and closed his eyes. I thought he was having a heart attack or something. [He] never conducted it ... and it was going through my mind "don't drag, don't drag." Because without the conductor it's kind of scary, and I almost left it out. He said something to the fiddles after it, and
the minute the record date was over, all the guys wanted to find out what he said. And so they said, "Joe, aren't you interested? It had to be about you, it was right after you played your solo where he didn't conduct." Well, how do I know if he was talking about me, maybe he wanted to tell the strings something that was coming, I don't know. So they went, and you know what he said? That was the only compliment I ever got from [Toscanini]. He said, "Non c'e male, non c'e male." With a very nice little voice, "not bad. not bad."174
Everybody knows that Toscanini got a little bit hard of hearing. I remember one time we had an organ on one of the pieces and he wanted the organ to play so loudly that we couldn't even hear ourselves play in the orchestra. It was the first time that I realized the reason why he wanted all of the low sounding instruments to play so loudly. I think that he had lost his sensitivity for hearing the low sounding instruments. I played bass clarinet. And when I played the low notes on that bass clarinet, he wanted me to play so loud - I didn't know how to play loud enough for him.175
Recommending his student to Glenn Miller
Glenn [Miller] said, "Joe do you know anybody who could play lead clarinet. I don't like the soprano. I need somebody to play the lead, the top alto and clarinet, but with a good little saxophone concept." I said, "Yea I've got a kid ... Woody Schwartz. ... I'll send him up to you." So Woody came in to take his lesson and I said, "Woody you're not taking a lesson. I recommended you to Glenn Miller.... He said, "I'm not going there and making a damn fool of myself, Joe. No way." I said, "Supposing I go with you?"' He said, "You come with me and I'll go." So I walked with him into the studio, and he turned out to be the lead clarinet with Glenn Miller all those years Woody Schwartz.176
Reflections on jazz artists
I went to Birdland, and Coltrane was playing. I've got some recordings of his at home and they're superb, magnificent. But this night, all he did was play up and down the soprano for a half hour. Now I understand he says he's searching for new meaning, but I don't want to listen to him until he finds what he's looking for. He's not musically saying anything and it's very hard to take. Eric Dolphy was also playing that night. Eric studied bass clarinet with me. He tries to play the bass clarinet like Harry Carney plays the baritone saxophone. Carney plays the loudest saxophone I've ever heard; he too studied bass clarinet with me. I didn't enjoy Eric that night, either. I don't understand what they're trying to do. Maybe I will eventually.
I also heard Thelonious Monk once. He's written some marvelous tunes. His group that I heard was extremely inventive. Thelonious does not repeat his little rhythmic patterns. He starts off and he never repeats; he's very resourceful, very fruitful in ideas. And every other member of that little group was equally resourceful; they just had tremendous imagination. I really enjoyed listening to them.
One time I was at Birdland and heard Gerry Mulligan's big band. And they played the most marvelous arrangements. They were like symphonic compositions. The color that he got from all these different instruments would make anything else seem like it was a thousand years old. After I heard all this color, whenever I heard any of the older bands, like Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey, they were dull. Because the arrangements were much more highly developed artistically than anything I'd ever heard before.177
I remember the time I went to Birdland and heard Stan Getz. He was squeaking like mad. When he got through playing the set, he looked around ... and spotted me. He said, "Hey Joe, help me." So I asked to try his horn I couldn't get a note from F down. The reed was so hard, I couldn't get anything. So I said, "Gee Stan, why don't you let me make you a reed that's softer."
Now it's a very funny thing, I happened to have my reed knife in my pocket. I was on my way home for a couple of days and thought I would work [on reeds]. It was the only time I ever went to Birdland with a reed knife in my pocket. So I whittled the reed and he went out to play the next set and it was too soft. He didn't squeak, but he didn't enjoy [playing], he couldn't really blow into [it]. So I said, "Now let me make you [a reed] that is in-between this reed that is too soft and your reed that is too hard." I did and he was crazy about it.
The next day he came over to the studio, and the day after that, and the day after that. I got him a reed knife_ One day he came over with two Selmer saxophones, twelve necks, and about fifteen mouthpieces.... He wanted me to help him select a neck.178
Rhapsody in Blue on the air
I remember doing Rhapsody in Blue once with the Bell Telephone Orchestra. At the dress rehearsal, [Paul] Whiteman brought the orchestra in when I was only halfway up the gliss instead of waiting for me to finish. Whiteman didn't listen - he counted_ So he counted to ten and then brought the orchestra in. But I played the gliss slower this time, and he brought the orchestra in before I was anywhere near the end of the gliss. I thought, "What in the world is going to happen if he does this on the air?" It's not a good feeling, especially since you know that the camera is going to be on you and taking shots from the bell up the horn as you go up the gliss. until they have the full shot and you're the only one in the picture. If you goof, or your fingers shake, the camera's going to see it.179
SELECTED CONCEPTUAL ANECDOTES
The following are selected anecdotes and descriptions related to pedagogical concepts or principles, in Allard's own words.
Covering and Uncovering
I remember when [clarinetist] Ronnie Phillips came from Seattle to New York to play with the Boston Symphony. He sent me a telegram to ask if he could take a couple of saxophone lessons with me when he was in New York. The reason he came to me was that when the orchestra played Pictures at an Exhibition or the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances he played saxophone and they rearranged the clarinet section.
And he said when he played Pictures, he was very dissatisfied with the pitch in the low register, and he was very dissatisfied with his ability to soften the volume. He wanted to know what to do. And I told him that when you play clarinet you uncover considerably and if you're going to play saxophone, uncovering as much as you do on clarinet is going to sound terrible. On the clarinet, you are forced to uncover to get enough projection. But on a saxophone it [projection] is easy to get. It's so easy to get the metal to vibrate - you can get a tremendous amount of projection on the saxophone. You can get too much, so on the saxophone you have to learn to cover and on the clarinet you have to learn to uncover. The one who plays a lot of clarinet and doesn't play much saxophone; if he uncovers as much on the saxophone as he does on the clarinet, the saxophone is going to sound awful and vice versa. If you cover as much on the clarinet as on the saxophone, you're not going to get much out of the clarinet.180
Initial problems with teeth
When I was fourteen years old, I had a pool table in my attic. I was playing pool with this kid who picked up the rack and turned around quickly and hit me right in the teeth. It broke three front teeth three-quarters of the way up. The next morning they were green.... I went to the dentist and he took out four teeth and put a bridge on it from the eyeteeth straight across. My front teeth were almost like a straight line.... [With my teeth this way] I could not roll my "r's." I could never flutter tongue. Now that I have these ridiculous teeth [dentures], I can flutter. But then the tongue was so tense because there was no arch to my teeth. I remember Hamelin would say, "What is the matter with your tongue?" I could never get any information on what to do with my tongue. Hamelin had a beautiful set of upper teeth. Bonade had a very wide arch to his upper teeth ... so naturally, they didn't know what the problem with my tongue was ... I had to investigate so much about the tongue because of my need. My teeth were so ridiculous in my mouth that I had to know more than the average person who has a good denture. I feel that I've succeeding many times in helping somebody with a tonguing problem because of my own teeth.181
First experiments with overtones
I started experimenting with the overtones on the saxophone after having learned about the importance of the overtones on the flute. I studied flute about thirty years ago. I bought a flute, studied for about three or four weeks and then sold the flute. But I did study some flute with Eddie Powell and one of the things that impressed me was the overtones on the flute. I thought they were so interesting that I started fooling around with the overtones on the saxophone. I had never heard anybody play with them. Then I heard Bernie Ladd. Bernie Ladd played a sweet potato - he had a mill where he made these things, and he could get the most wonderful sounds out of this sweet potato. He played tenor saxophone on the Kostelanetz program. One day I caught him clowning around on a record date, playing the overtones on the tenor. This was supposed to be all a big joke. And I said to myself, "I'll be darned, this is the first time I've ever heard anyone playing overtones on the saxophone." He made a big joke of it ... but I took it seriously. I did a lot of experimenting with the overtones on saxophone and I was very serious about it.182
I don't think the reeds are any worse today than they were - the difference is the price. I used to pay two cents a reed for Vandoren reeds when I was 1$ years old. Now, I don't recommend Vandoren reeds to my pupils at all. I think anyone who's going to school can't afford them now - I recommend Rico. With Rico reeds, in order to get a good one, you have to get a strong one, with a greater intensity of fiber. The main difference in Rico reed and Vandoren is [that] there's a greater intensity of fibers in the Vandoren reeds... .
I'm used to feeling with my thumb the resistance of the reed. I've measured after feeling, so I know what the resistance is of 5000's, 6 and 7. A strong Rico reed is thicker for the first 16th's of the reed than Vandoren. You can get a very strong Vandoren and have the first 16th's of the reed quite thin, a 3 V2 thousandths of an inch tip, where the Rico would be 5 1/2. The Vandoren tip is thinner than any other reed I've ever measured. I think the tip of the Vandoren is the thinnest made. You can take a very hard Rico reed, and restore a Vandoren tip to the reed. You'd have a reed that would pretty closely resemble the feeling of the Vandoren.
When a reed responds badly, you have to distort your embouchure, and you can fall into bad habits. On the other hand, you can be too fussy about reeds. You don't find too many tremendous reeds. You could spend all of your lifetime on reeds.183
I've never had the patience to do much [preparatory] work on the reed. If you have a good reed, you can wet it and play it and you know it's good. If you have a bad reed, you wet it, you treat it, you baby it, you roast it, you fry it, and it will still be a bad reed. Somebody once told me. .. "Joe we found out if you dip your reed in olive oil and you put it in the oven at 350 degrees for forty minutes, the reed will last forever." I looked at this guy and he had a straight face. The poor guy meant it. I don't know, maybe he's right and I'm wrong - I've never roasted my reeds.184
Now if you have a reed that's not well-balanced, one side is somewhat fuzzy and dead. It doesn't have the same resonance.... There's always some confusion about balancing the reed. If I put pressure on the left side of the reed, then my embouchure is pinching the left side of that reed. I feel the left side. But don't shave that side; shave the opposite side. Your embouchure is putting a pressure on the left side of the reed. The tip and the right side are vibrating. When I blow, the left side of that reed cannot vibrate. The right side and the tip are vibrating. So if I want to vibrate the right side, I press the left side, so the left side cannot move. If I want to vibrate the left side. I put pressure on the right. Now, after I vibrate both sides, the one that is harder to blow, the one that is not set in motion as easily, is the harder one. That's the one you shave.185
When you first play a reed, it may be what you like ... but within three minutes it will not play as well as it did in the beginning. The reason is because the fibers become absorbed. The reed is made up of fibers and spaces. The moisture ... will get into those fibers and spaces and [they] will become uneven and the reed leaks. And you think, ah the reed is no good. The reed is good, but it plays poorly because the fibers and spaces are not even. Instead of making a flat surface against the facing [of the mouthpiece]. it's warped. So you take a piece of white paper against a window or glass.... It should be white. This one time I didn't have white paper and there was just a little bit of ink on the inside of it and with the heat generated from the pressure of my finger. all of the ink absorbed into the reed. I get a letter from Juilliard . . . the Juilliard paper is beautiful white paper, and I cut it off and put it in my wallet for when I need it. You take the reed and you put your fourth and middle finger on the reed. I put the fourth finger. . [on] the thickest point of the shaved part of the reed, and my middle finger where the bark [begins]. Then with a certain pressure, I use a hundred strokes. That hundred strokes generates heat, absorbs all the moisture and flattens the swollen fibers until the reed is flat. With a new reed, after about twenty minutes, you do that again. For the first two or three days, I just do it with the paper.... After two or three days, instead of just swollen fibers, now you are gathering fungus - that grows upon any wooden object that stays moist. That's its nature. Then I'll take my scraping knife very lightly over the swollen part until it becomes perfectly flat. That goes on through the playing life of the reed.186
Reference to Spencer's description of inhalation process
I don't think there is an art to blowing. The art is in playing.... I'd like to just simply give something which is factual about breathing first. Air flows into the lungs because of an enlargement of the chest cavity due to the motion of the ribs and to the lowering of the diaphragm. Herbert Spencer - one of the great minds of England - he wrote a book called First Principles and in it he's bringing about an analogy of the product of thought and the process of thought. And to explain this, he goes into saying something about the process of inhalation and exhalation.
He refers to the ribs as "bony hoops" - that's very cute; I love the [old] English dialect. So he said that these bony hoops though attached to the spine can move little around their points of attachment. And he said they can move from an acute angle, toward a right angle, which is very true. Now then, by the time the nibs have moved as far toward this right angle as possible, the only thing remaining for further inhalation is for the diaphragm to lower. So that complete inhalation is a result of the only two ways that air can flow into the lungs - due to the raising of the ribs and the lowering of the diaphragm. Once the nibs have raised it makes it very easy for the diaphragm to lower.
Now once the nibs are raised and the diaphragm lowers, it exerts a pressure on the abdominal organs. As it exerts the pressure on the abdominal organs, the abdominal wall, being relaxed is naturally protruded ... and in expiration, the diaphragm is raised and the pressure on the abdominal organs is decreased.187
Placement of the upper lip
Hardly anybody uses his upper lip and upper teeth intelligently. The only two people I've met who ever did so consciously were [Ralph] McLean and [oboist] Bob Bloom. At lunch one time, Bob Bloom said, "Anytime anyone talks about the embouchure, they always talk about the lower lip, but the upper Up is equally important." Well of course it is on oboe, because of the double reed....
McLean did explain something about the upper lip. He played double-lip, but when McLean played double-lip, he had very little of his upper lip that covered the teeth. It was as if any woman were to put on lipstick. The lip was just masked over the teeth. He had the most beautiful upper lip you could ever imagine. And when he played double-lip, he purposely laid the lip [lightly on the mouthpiece]. Not like many of the [other] double-lip clarinet players; most of them take the upper lip and push it down. That's the worst thing that you can do with the upper lip.
The muscles that you have attached to the upper lip are attached to parts of the nose or in the direction of the ears. It's the contraction of these muscles that pulls the lip down, and that constricts.... Anybody can put his finger on his [upper] teeth [in imitation of a mouthpiece] and push down against the finger with the upper lip and you'll feel the constriction that comes as a result of it.188
On clarinet, I use a Selmer B*. I've tried them all, and the B* is the median in length and it also is the median in tip opening. On saxophone, I like a Brillhardt 3*. The main reason I like the Brillhardt is that the facing, where the curve starts, is short and abrupt. It starts abruptly. On saxophone I lice to cover as close to the end of the reed [as possible]. When the facing is short you can do this very well. I don't have to go far from the edge [tip] of the reed to find a great point of resistance. On the Selmer [mouthpieces], I find the curve is longer and in order to find resistance opposite the reed, I have to go much further away from the edge. I cannot cover as close to the edge of the reed with the Selmer.189