Evolution of a Morgan Mouthpiece - Wow!
Author: David Hoskins
Evolution of a Morgan Mouthpiece
Here are photos of a Morgan Jazz Tenor Mouthpiece as it goes through the different stages of production. This is the same process as used on our Classical and Jazz Clarinet, Classical Alto and Tenor, Jazz Alto and Tenor, and Excalibur Alto and Tenor Saxophone Mouthpieces. Ralph Morgan worked for several companies which produced mouthpieces and he developed his process from studying and working with master craftsmen. At age 9, he was an apprentice with the Babbitt Company, and in 1980, retired as Chief Woodwind Designer from the Selmer Company. He started the Morgan Mouthpiece Company in 1980 and developed this molding process in the late 1980s.
The Morgan Mouthpiece Company uses a proprietary rubber formula which is essentially a pure rubber formula used by mouthpiece manufacturers from the 1920s - 1950s. After the ingredients of our rubber formula are mixed, raw rubber sheets are produced and dried.
Rubber sheets are cut into small sections…enough to make 1-4 mouthpiece castings.
Hot out of the mold. Our mold produces a very good mouthpiece shaped object, but obviously a long way from playing condition. From this point on, all work is done by hand using hand tools, files, sandpaper, and measuring tools.
After much of the excess is trimmed and before the curing process. The casting is still a soft rubber piece that will bend and flex easily. Note excess in the interior chamber. Normally this casting is black; however, this one has been sitting around in the workshop for about 30 years and has discolored.
Post-cure blank. The hardness of rubber is measured on a scale of units referred to as Shore D. By using a series of long curing bakes, the casting is hardened to our specified Shore D hardness.
All excess is sanded. Interior excess is removed, and initial work is done on the table.
Initial facing is cut…all by hand using sandpaper and files. No machines are used to cut our facings or shape the chamber and baffle. All of the work is done by hand.
Interior baffle and chamber are formed and finished. Tip is shaped. Facing rails thinned and facing curve finalized. Initial polishing is done. All work is done by hand using paper and files.
Final product after fine adjustments, polish and engraving.
Well, that's all there is to it! Ha! We will have pictures and videos of our craftsmen in action soon.