Notes from Brad Behn:
If you aren't familiar with Miller mouthpieces you aren't alone. While Miller's instrument repair shop in Milwaukee was known to area professionals, his small mouthpiece business is actually what lives on in his legacy. Miller, a clarinetist and fine repair tech, was also passionate about mouthpieces. He eventually acquired a large stash of Chedeville blanks from the 1950s and used them as his base for building his mouthpiece business. Robert Marcellus later would use his refacing services on occasion to improve some of his Kaspars which hadn't made service. I remember in lessons with Marcellus his discussing mouthpieces by Miller, stating that they were made from the same Chedeville blanks Kaspar used during the Cicero era. Later, Miller sold his business to Robert Meuller, an instrument repair tech and flutist. Interesting similarities in name! But don't confuse the two. Miller was the mouthpiece man.
Chedeville mouthpieces during the 50s and 60s came in a myriad of configurations. It can be rather confusing—so many facings, different baffle contours, throat shaping, and bore lengths. But generally speaking, there were two types—deep baffle/narrow parallel throated versions and higher baffle/slightly A-framed throated versions. And yes, a third wild-card version was the higher baffle/wider A-framed throated version, which was sort of a German/French hybrid. All the other variations from Chedeville were due to inconsistency in manufacturing or various facing options.
This Miller mouthpiece is in fact a Chedeville sourced blank. It is actually the same blank that Anthony Gigliotti copied to eventually create his own brand of mouthpieces (sourced from Babbitt). It has that famous narrow, parallel throat configured with a deep swooped baffle. It is a sight to behold, a unique piece of history, and a true work of art.
I have restored this mouthpiece to optimum performance. I carefully constructed an original Kaspar 11 facing on it, with traditional narrow rails and elegant tip rail contouring. Its facing has a 1.07mm tip and 18.25mm length. Cicero Kaspar in fact used these blanks as well, and while he did open the exit bore somewhat—for his own ideal—Miller didn't. I actually prefer this narrower bore passageway for its added tonal center, beneficial working resistance, and most importantly, superior intonation. This mouthpiece doesn't stretch-tune in the upper left hand like most Kaspars. And that stretch-tuning is a result of his bore flare at the exit. Note the cork is composite cork/rubber which lasts a long time. It was also used in O'brien glass mouthpieces.
This mouthpiece is in nearly flawless condition. Yes there is a surface scratch on the body near the table. However that blemish is meaningless to its performance. It plays great! It is free, super resonant, highly responsive, and rich with overtones, as was the case during the height of the American mouthpiece tradition. This mouthpiece could serve all types of players, from jazz to classical and everything between. Why? Because it is so resonant, it centers beautifully, and it holds the sound in such a way as to require minimal embouchure contortions to hold the sound in place. It does the work for you. Simply put your reed on it, blow, and let it do the rest for you. You won't be disappointed. And to add to that, our 1-week trial allows you to return it risk free.
This is a beautiful example of a post-war era Chedeville blank, in the American classic tradition. Its voice is pure resonance. And of particular interest to Gigliotti fans, this mouthpiece's internals are in fact the design inspiration to what would become the Gigliotti mouthpiece!
Miller Bb clarinet mouthpiece
Try it—if you like it, you can keep it. If not, send it back for a refund. Returned merchandise will only be accepted if postmarked within 7 days of the delivery date. All returned mouthpieces must be in original condition and packaging. Upon completion of inspection, your refund will be processed within one week of receipt. Any merchandise returned late or damaged will be considered sold and will be returned at your expense. Please contact us if you have special concerns.
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