Disclaimer: As to formula, cure, manufacturing process, rubber acoustics and sound propagation, BEHN™ Proprietary Rod Rubber is scientifically verified, and it is a true and authentic copy of the finest Henri Chedeville rubber of the 1920s. There is no rubber presently manufactured with the same hand-made, non-extruded and painstaking process, and there is no other material manufactured which possesses the authentic resonance and responsive prowess of BEHN™ rubber. We are neither presently nor have we been in the past, affiliated in any way, with any other person, company, or entity that claims to have replicated rubber, sound or designs.
*BEHN™ Proprietary Rod Rubber is currently used exclusively in EPIC™ mouthpieces. Its acoustics, material formulation, and compound are an AUTHENTIC recreation of 1920s Henri Chedeville rod rubber.
**EPIC™’s material and design authentically replicates this mouthpiece.
Designed and manufactured
exclusively by BEHN™
in the USA!
100% Made in America, we manufacture our proprietary rubber material in a laboratory to ensure purity, consistency, and exclusivity; we mill our mouthpieces with state of the art CNC machines, treating the output as super-blanks, ready for BEHN™’s precise handcrafting. No other maker produces mouthpieces as comprehensively. And when you try an EPIC™, we believe you too will find that our efforts were well worth it. You’ll experience the sweet, ringing tone of our proprietary hard rubber, and our beautiful quality of manufacturing will deliver sublime performance standards that will inspire for a lifetime.
The "EPIC" Story:
Bringing 1920s "Golden Era" Chedeville mouthpieces back!
It is impossible to talk about EPIC™'s history without talking about rubber. Old rubber from the early 1900s was elegant in its simplicity and glorious for its wonderful sound, but it required a long and costly manufacturing process. Unfortunately, the rubber industry changed in favor of lower cost production techniques. The elegant recipes of the past were replaced with formulations which included accelerants and fillers. These additional compounds quickened the process and lowered costs, but they unfortunately changed the acoustics as well. Plastics and quicker curing rubbers eventually became the norm, and the clarinet community was left with material that lacked the ring, depth and resonance of the great rubber of the pre-WWII "Golden Era."
Our odyssey to bring back the world's finest clarinet mouthpieces started with the material. Since the best vintage mouthpieces had special resonance and tonal qualities, we set out to reproduce the hard rubber from which they were made. We determined that in order to authentically reproduce the finest pre-war Golden Era rod rubber ever made, we had to revert back to the original extrusion-free manufacturing process. We had to make our rubber in an authentic way, just like they used to do it!
It all started in 2003 with a beautiful sounding 1920s Henri Chedeville clarinet mouthpiece. This is the same make as EPIC™’s source of inspiration in design; however, this particular mouthpiece’s throat was a little too wide for our preference, probably from having been refaced too many times in its many years of service in the Philadelphia Orchestra. It sounded great, though, and indeed it was an oldie and a goodie! It certainly was well played, as you can see by its brown patina (see photo above). Its previous owner, who generously gifted it to us for our project, cherished it. But he was fond of the idea that this special mouthpiece’s rubber material would be reverse engineered. Its beautiful acoustics would be reproduced for the world to experience.
This very special clarinet mouthpiece was resonant, focused, and deep sounding with a special effervescence that gave it a unique personality. It was worthy of the very best ensembles and the beautiful artistry of those who played it. It was a mouthpiece that inspired the very best in its partner.
And then the courageous part...
...We had to destroy it to uncover the composition, cure and acoustics of its hard rubber. This involved spectroscopic analysis, repeated acoustical testing, and an extensive multi-year compound development program.
From ashes came a new life! By submitting our new material to an exhaustive series of tests, we were able to confirm that BEHN™ Proprietary Rod Rubber is indeed an accurate reproduction of our amazing Henri Chedeville clarinet mouthpiece's material and acoustics! From this material, Behn VINTAGE™ Collection mouthpieces were born in 2005. And now, we continue to produce this material in rod rubber form to manufacture Behn EPIC™ mouthpieces.
To learn more and view photos, please visit our page on Rubber Production.
"EPIC" In Design:
From glorious Philadelphia tradition, EPIC™ was born.
The ideal 1920s Henri Chedeville mouthpieces tended to have narrower windows, very gentle baffle contours, and bores which were voiced for size of sound with a concentrated tonal core. During the 1920s, Henri Chedeville developed an influential clientele of the best American clarinetists of the era. Today, those elite handmade mouthpiece masterpieces are extremely rare and highly sought after works of art. They easily command $2500 at auction!
In December 2014, we were very fortunate to acquire the perfect specimen—an original, antique, untouched, unaltered Henri Chedeville mouthpiece! It was perfect in every dimension, and it played beautifully. (See slide show below). We were so impressed that we felt compelled to reproduce it.
To the collector who gifted us this wonderful mouthpiece, we made a special commitment to faithfully recreate its amazing response, stunning sound, and beautiful design for the world to experience. We would bring back the masterpiece of the 20th century. The EPIC™ mouthpiece was born!
EPIC ™ Clarinet Mouthpieces
Level 3: Designed for Connoisseurs and Artists
Your musicianship requires the best. You demand the highest standards of your equipment. Your mouthpiece must not only serve the demands of your technical execution, but it must inspire. EPIC™ clarinet mouthpieces will help you achieve an artistic level that is greater than you had imagined.
EPIC™'s demanding standards of execution come from the culmination of everything we have learned from our 25-year history. EPIC™’s marvelous voice is available to clarinetists of all genres. Whether it is in a classical, jazz, or concert band setting, there is a perfect EPIC™ for you.
EPIC™ clarinet mouthpieces are available for Bb, Eb, and Bass Clarinet.
Made from our very special recreation of 1920s "Golden Era" Henri Chedeville rod rubber*, EPIC™ authentically replicates the most highly sought after clarinet mouthpiece ever made** (Please read The "EPIC" Story: Bringing 1920s "Golden Era" Henri Chedeville Mouthpieces Back!" —see right.) Now you can experience the truly amazing sound, feel, and response of the greatest mouthpiece of our time!
The EPIC™ clarinet mouthpiece has a unique depth of sound. Its rich voice is full with life and inspiration. And EPIC™’s response is quick, nimble and reliable, so you can expand your repertoire of expression with confidence.
Small or Large Chamber?
Calibrate your EPIC™ clarinet mouthpiece to your tonal perspective! Some people like a broader tone, with a large footprint on the ensemble, and others prefer a more focused voice for ease of projection. Closer facing options create a more concentrated tonal center. Large facings offer a broader body of sound. Every EPIC™ is available with four facing options.
With small or large chambers to select from, you can match your EPIC™ clarinet mouthpiece to your unique and distinct way of playing. Larger chambers tend to have more freedom and smaller chambers tend to add a little more working resistance.
EPIC™ HCV (Small Chamber)
EPIC™ HCV’s uncanny ringing tone combined with its depth and response will be a new experience to those unfamiliar with the tradition of golden-era mouthpieces. We expect you’ll come to appreciate its amazing resonance. HCV is our golden era copy. It is made with traditional geometry. Internals feature a slightly A-framed throat and small sized chamber for great projection, power, and tonal density.
Available for: Bb, Eb, and Bass Clarinet
EPIC™ G+4 (Large Chamber)
EPIC™ G+4 is our Large Chamber version of the above HCV. It combines a wide throat with a moderately deep baffle to produce a resonant, colorful sound that is larger, while still maintaining proper center. It is a great option for players seeking a slightly freer blowing alternative.
Available for Bb Clarinet
EPIC ™ G-Series
Two EPIC™ models feature our patented modern geometry designs that invite you to hold your clarinet closer to your body. If you tend to hold your clarinet out too much, or if you tend to hold your head downward when playing, we have invented a new design meant to help. EPIC™’s two patented “G-Series" options are specially designed to allow you to hold your head up straight, yet maintain an ergonomically comfortable relationship of your instrument with your body.
EPIC™ G-0 is made with our patented 0 degree geometry, making the facing set at an angle that is 4 degrees steeper than traditional facings. This means that you will hold your clarinet 4 degrees more vertically, your upper arms will be more inline with your upper body, and the weight of your instrument will be more on your shoulders instead of your elbows—you will be more comfortable, you can hold your head up, and neckstraps function much better too!
G-0 combines an A-framed throat with our signature S-curve baffle contouring to produce a sound that is highly responsive, tonally concentrated, and projects with beauty and ease.
EPIC™ G-4 is made with our patented -4 degree geometry, making the facing set at an angle that is 8 degrees steeper than traditional facings.
G-4’s internals are closely based on HCV. Its chamber however is slightly larger being medium in size. Its gentle A-framed orientation, combined with its patented geometric inclination, amazingly reduces tonal inclusions (sizzle and unwanted reed noise). You’ll find lots of tonal depth and power in your sound.