Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

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  1. #1
    Wilbur's Avatar
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    Default Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I've Googled this alto mouthpiece to find the tip opening and lay, and information on the chamber, etc; there are many, many references but I'm not finding any specifics. Any help?
    Last edited by Wilbur; 06-20-2011 at 07:19 PM. Reason: additional info

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Mouthpiece Maker mfry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Large chamber, bigger than a Link. Alto tip is around .065" IIRC, don't recall facing length. Good hard rubber, little baffle. Makes a better large chamber legit piece than jazz piece IMO.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    There is some use of the tenor and bari models among Rascher school classical people. They don't use the alto pieces. I think their tonal concept is stricter for alto - not just dark, but thick, pushing big air against hard resistance (which the WW pieces don't give, but Rascher and Caravan do).

    I don't think most vintage era mpc makers ever let anyone see their schedules (the charts with numbers for tips, facings, etc.) It was their proprietary data.

    Woodwind did have a sort of guide to selecting a piece based on letter code - I think B, D, G & K were sax models, and C & G for clarinets. Can't remember what the descriptions were, but they were very general and gave nothing away. I believe it was in a Selmer catalog from the 1950s.

    I did my own feeler measures on my WWs awhile back and found most of the alto models in the .060" range and the tenors .065-.070". Strangely enough, the '36 models (named for the year they came out) were backwards - alto .064, tenor .061, both in B5*!
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I have one and they appear to be a classical mouthpiece popular before the C* took off. I use my alto K5* for a C melody.

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    Wilbur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I now have the mouthpiece. It says Steel Ebonite, Woodwind, New York, K5*. I just got it so probably writing too soon, but while it blows freely, I am having a little trouble centering the tone or playing long tones in tune. I'm using Rico 2.5 reeds. I'm just wondering if the Rovner ligature has anything to do with it. Comments?

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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Those WW NY are traditional large chambered mouthpieces -- even the G, K and N chambers. And the 5* is pretty close by modern standards.

    You will need a much harder reed to center up the tone. Personally, I would try a Vandoren Java 3.5 or 4. But generally speaking, long tones are a challenge, especially with a softer reed. That's why we do them! So keep at it. Let us know how you make out.

  9. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Theo used to have an old WW Co. ad on his site. I've had a few of the K models, and whereas the B's were more standard, the K's allegedly were made with more projection for "dance" music.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Theo's ad was the guide I remembered seeing - from a 1956 Selmer Showbook catalog.

    It is no longer on his site, nor is any info about WWCo. They were much better known for their clarinet mpcs, which were used by orchestral players in the days when the big-bore clarinets still had a place in orchestras.

    Here's what I've been able to recap from old SOTW postings and Google searching...

    The Woodwind Company, founded in 1919, was managed early on by Eugene Bercioux, a French native living in New York City. Bercioux' name is on U.S. Patent No. 1,452,953, granted in 1923, for a mouthpiece facing machine. The patent number appears on many WWCo mouthpiece blanks.

    The Steel Ebonite tradename, much like C.G. Conn's Steelay tradename, referred to an extra-hard rubber compound. It is not known whether it contained steel shavings, altho it has been compared to bakelite and may have contained same. Once Leblanc took over the WWCo trademarks it was renamed Steelite Ebonite.

    Types B, C (solo jazz), D, G, and K (section lead) were all available for clarinet. G was the favorite symphonic model, but was also used at least briefly by Benny Goodman.

    Types B, C, D, G, K, and N were available for saxophone. C was the jazz alto model, N the jazz tenor.

    Tip openings ranged from 4 to at least 9 (perhaps 10), including starred numbers 4*, 5*, etc.

    The B series was apparently the working pro favorite in the 1930s, but by the '50s it was the K.

    WWCo also did models like the '36, the Meliphone (straight sidewalls, steel shank band), the Sparkle-aire (brighter sound), and the Educator (student model), as well as "player endorsed" models for Dick Stabile, Chester Hazlett, Robert Marcellus, and Joe Crossman. Stabile's pieces were Meliphone K5s.

    There were also WWCo metal pieces, mostly for tenor apparently. I missed out on purchasing one recently, but they're said to be as good as the others. The blanks were used by other makers as well.

    WWCo facings sometimes appear on other makers' mpcs, too. You could go to their NY shop and have refacing done, and they would stamp the table like one of their own pieces.

    WWCo sold out to Leblanc in 1968.
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

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    Forum Contributor 2011 thadnoland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I just sold a G7 and it was not anywhere close to a large chamber judging from Theo Wanne's description.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Thinking back on it, I seem to recall the way it was put was that the K saxophone facing was for "dance men" not dance music... but as Paul points out above, maybe it was for "lead men" and I wasn't remembering it correctly. Yeah, that seems to jog the old memory. Just for some reason the word "dance" came to mind, but that may have been for another letter.

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    Wilbur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I appreciate reading and learning about my "new" mouthpiece.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2007 Peterogping's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    The advertisement, not any longer on Theo's site, can be seen here:
    http://www.ilsaxofono.it/portale/art...-woodwind.html
    Soprano: Martin Handcraft, ARB HR 5* mpc, Charles Bay lig.
    Alto: King Marigaux, MC Gregory Model A, 5A 16 mpc., Charles Bay ligature / Pierret Super Artiste, Otto Link "Master Link" #3 mpc, Charles Bay soprano lig.
    Tenor: King Zephyr Military 265xxx, Dukoff Hollywood (First version) 5* , Charles Bay soprano ligature / Brilhart Streamline Tonalin (Great Neck) #4, Charles Bay lig.

  15. #13
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Thanks Peter! Now I know where in my head I got that "dance men" thing... it was for the more open B tenor mouthpieces.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    Thinking back on it, I seem to recall the way it was put was that the K saxophone facing was for "dance men" not dance music... but as Paul points out above, maybe it was for "lead men" and I wasn't remembering it correctly.
    "Dance men" don't mean much besides "dance band" players. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly wouldn't have had much use for a mouthpiece.
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

  17. #15
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Quote Originally Posted by paulwl View Post
    "Dance men" don't mean much besides "dance band" players.
    Well, it did say the clarinet C style was for "dance musicians", but the B tenor style was for "dance men". Does that mean it takes a real man to play tenor?

  18. #16
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    Close parsing may not pay off here...
    "80 years passed before we heard the tenor...in the hands of cads with centre partings & co-respondent's shoes. They squeezed syrupy, farting, oleaginous sounds from their cavernous chambers & microscopic tip openings." –Captain Beeflat, 2013

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    Default Re: Woodwind Steel Ebonite K5*

    I just found a J5 in my collection, it came from an estate sale and apparently belonged to Dave Edwards who played on the Lawrence Welk show. It's a nice playing MPC but I don't really use it much

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