US 3712113 A
The source of vacuum is connected to a fitting having a configuration complementary to the internal dimensions of a musical instrument mouthpiece having a double reed secured thereto. Suitable gauge and regulating means may be provided in the vacuum line and upon gradually lowering the mouthpiece over the fitting the reed will begin to vibrate and cease vibrating at specific readings on the gauge. Likewise, upon lifting the mouthpiece off the fitting, the double reed will again begin to vibrate and cease vibrating at specific readings on the gauge. The readings on the gauge are indicative of the vacuum range over which the double reed will vibrate. Thus, it is possible to grade each reed as to hardness.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent m1v Roscoe [111 3,712,113 Jan. 23, 1973  Inventor: William A. Roscoe, 162 Halpine Road, Rockville, Md. 29852 22 Filed: March 23, 1971 211 App]. No.: 127,295
 US. Cl ..73/37  lnt. Cl. ..G0lm 3/02  Field of Search ..73/37, 100
['56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,390,569 7/1968 McMeekin ..73/37 Primary Examiner-Donald O. Woodiel Attorney-Sughrue, Rothwell, Mion, Zinn & Macpeak  ABSTRACT The source of vacuum is connected to a fitting having a configuration complementary to the internal dimensions of a musical instrument mouthpiece having a double reed secured thereto. Suitable gauge and regulating means may be.provided in the vacuum line and upon gradually lowering the mouthpiece over the fitting the reed will begin to vibrate and cease vibrating at specific readings on the gauge. Likewise, upon lifting the mouthpiece off the fitting, the double reed will again begin to vibrate and cease vibrating at specific readings on the gauge. The readings on the gauge are indicative of the vacuum range over which the double reed will vibrate. Thus, it is'possible to grade each reed as to hardness.
5 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures VACUUM SOURCE PATENTEUJAH 23 191a 3.712.113
' INVENTOR WILLIAM A. ROSCOE BY 5 1m, Wjfi M120, M,
Mk 4 MT KK,
ATTORNEYS METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR GRADING DOUBLE REEDS FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates broadly to the testing of double reeds for musical instruments and more specifically to the method and apparatus for accomplishing such a testing. A
2. Prior Art Most manufacturers of double reeds which are mounted on a-mouthpiece suitable for use with certain wind instruments such as an oboe or a bassoon, do not even attempt to grade the reeds with respect to hardness. However, the hardness of a particular reed is extremely critical to a musician, especially an experienced or professional musician, since the wind force required to vibrate a double reed is directly proportional to the hardness of the reed. Some reeds, as sold by these manufacturers, have been found to be either so soft or so hard that they are in effect, completely inoperative for the desired purpose.
There are many different parameters which contribute to the hardness of a reed such as the nature of the raw material, the moisture content, and the dimensions to which the reed has been cut. Some manufacturers have attempted to provide a rough grading of the finished double reed mouthpiece solely on the basis of the physical dimensions which they imparted to the reeds during processing. However, since the other parameters were not taken into consideration, such a grading is at best, very rough and unreliable.
One manufacturer of double reeds has provided a graded reed with each double reed sold being accurately classified into one of five categories of hardness. This particular grading was accomplished by having an experienced musician actually play each double reed on a musical instrument and classify the reed depending upon how hard the musician had to blow into the reed to achieve the desired vibrating characteristics. It is obvious that such a process is laborious, time consuming and very subjective.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION I The present invention provides a semi-automatic testing method and apparatus for grading double reeds for wind type musical instruments.
The present method and apparatus for testing double reeds and grading the double reeds into five different hardness categories is extremely rapid, efficient and ac curate.
The apparatus, according to the present invention, is comprised of a suitable tapered fitting having an external configuration complementary to the internal configuration of a standard mouthpiece. The fitting is connected to the end of a vacuum line and a suitable vacuum gauge and vacuum adjusting means are provided in the line intermediate the fitting and the vacuum adjusting means are provided in the line intermediate the fitting and the vacuum source.
The method according to the present invention, involves adjusting the vacuum at the fitting to a preselected setting on the vacuum gauge with the opening in the fitting temporarily closed. With the fitting open, the gauge will register zero and as the mouthpiece is gradually lowered over the fitting, the subsequent ing upon the hardness of the reed, the vibrating sound produced by the double reed will stop at a certain number of inches mercury of vacuum. As the mouthpiece is gradually lifted off the fitting, the sound caused by the vibration of the air passing through the double reed, will begin again at a lower number of inches mercury of vacuum. Therefore, by noting at what point on the vacuum gauge the double reed closes and opens, it is possible to classify the reed with respect to hardness.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view of a conventional double reed mouthpiece for a musical instrument.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partly schematic, of the apparatus for grading the double reed.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The use of double reeds on the mouthpiece of musical instruments is old and well known in the art. The reed itself comes from the Arondo Donax reed which is indigenous to France. A flat elongated strip is cut from the reed and trimmed to predetermined dimensions. The center portion of the reed is scraped to provide an extremely thin section of reed which is translucent. The elongated strip is then cut in half at the thin portion and the two pieces of reed 10 and 12 are secured to the end of a tube 14 in a conventional manner by a wrapped thread 16. The tube 14, is generally of a soft metallic material, such ascopper, brass or aluminum. The hollow tube tapers from a small internal diameter of 0.038 inch at the end to which the double reed is secured to a large internal diameter of 0.186 inch at the other end. The tube 14, is approximately 47mm. in length and is provided with a cork sleeve 18 about the larger half thereof. The cork covered endof the tube is adapted to be inserted into the opening in the musical instrument to be played.
The grading apparatus as shown in FIG. 2, is comprised of a vacuum pump 20, driven by any suitable motor means 22, such as an electric motor or the like. A conduit 24, is connected between the vacuum pump and a conventional vacuum gauge 26 having vacuum adjusting means 28 associated therewith. The vacuum adjusting means 28 may be combined with the vacuum gauge or may be a separate device inserted into the vacuum line 24. A second vacuum conduit 30 is operatively connected between the vacuum gauge 26 and a hollow tubular fitting 32. The fitting for the tube may be secured to a support 34 by any suitable means such as the bracket 36. The external surface of the fitting 32 is provided with a taper which is complementaryto the internal surface of the mouthpiece described above. The aperture extending through the fitting 32 need not be tapered. Thus, the fitting 32 may be formed from a constant diameter hollow tube which is machined to the proper external configurations by grinding or swaging. When the vacuum pump is running and the aperture 38 is completely open, that is without a mouthpiece disposed over the fitting 32, the vacuum gauge 26 will read zero inches of mercury.
In order to grade double reeds according to the present invention, the following procedure is followed.
The aperture 38 in the fitting 32 is completely closed and the means 28 are adjusted to provide a reading of l 1 inches mercury on the vacuum gauge 26. The aperture 38 is then uncovered and the gauge 26 returns to zero. A completed double reed mouthpiece is gradually placed over the fitting 32 and moved in the direction to gradually bring the external surface of the fitting 32 into engagement with the internal surface of the mouthpiece tube 14. During this gradual movement, the double reed will begin vibrating to give off an audible sound which will increase until the vacuum reaches a point where the two portions of the reed l and 12 will be closed tightly against each other. Depending upon the softness or hardness of the reed, the gauge 26 will register a reading somewhere in the range between and 7 inches of mercury vacuum.
After the reeds l0 and 12 have closed against each other and the sound has terminated, the mouthpiece is then gradually moved off the fitting 32 until the reed again opens and begins vibrating to produce an audible sound. The reading on the gauge at this point taken in conjunction with the reading on the gauge at the time the reed closed, will provide a range which is accurately indicative of the degree of hardness of the double reed.
Since the moisture of the reed is critical to the operational characteristics of the reed, each double reed should be momentarily dipped in water prior to bringing the mouthpiece into operative relation with the vacuum fitting 32. This is similar to the moistening of the reed by the musician in his mouth, prior to playing the musical instrument.
The following table shows the five classifications for the double reed and the vacuum readings in inches mercury at which a reed falling into a particular category, will open and close.
Grade 1 Open Close Soft 4 5 M. Soft 4 ,5 5 5 Medium 5 6 M. Hard 5 A 6 Hard 6 7 ln the above table, the two most critical values are the point at which a soft double reed will close and the point at which a hard double reed will open. lfa double reed closes at a vacuum gauge reading lower than 5 inches mercury, then the double reed is generally too soft to be acceptable by any musicians. Likewise, if a double reed opens at a vacuum gauge reading higher than 6 inches mercury, then the double reed is generally too hard for use by any musician. Furthermore, although it is possible to grade a reed solely upon the value at which it closes, it has been determined that a greater degree of accuracy can be achieved by examining the range between the opening and closing values. The range for most medium grade double reeds falls very close to the 5 -6 range indicated in the table. Most soft grade reeds will have a range smaller than the 4-5 range in the table and most hard grade reeds will have a range equal to or slightly larger than the 6 7 range in the table.
The grading method and apparatus for double reeds as described above is extremely accurate and the grading can be done by relatively unskilled personnel. A
knowledge of music is not necessary and the person grading ouble reeds according to the above method,
can grade three or four times as many double reeds per hour as a person grading them by placing them on the musical instrument and blowing into them.
Although it was previously indicated that the gauge would register zero when a mouthpiece was not disposed in proximity to the opening 38 of the fitting 32 it is possible that a very small reading might be indicated on the gauge depending on the size of the opening 38 relative to the setting of the adjustment means 28. However, this in no way affects the accuracy of the grading method and apparatus.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A device for grading a double reed secured to the mouthpiece of a musical instrument comprising vacuum source means, conduit means, gauge means for indicating the degree of vacuum in said conduit means and fitting means having an aperture therethrough connected to said conduit means, said fitting means having a smooth frusto-conical external surface complementary to the frusto-conical internal surface of a conventional mouthpiece for a musical instrument of the double reed type whereby upon movement of said mouthpiece into and out of telescopic relation with said fitting means the double reed will close and commence vibrating at different vacuum readings on said gauge means to define a range of values indicative of the hardness of the double reed.
2. A method for grading double reeds secured to the mouthpiece of a musical instrument comprising applying a predetermined vacuum to an aperture in a fitting having an external configuration complementary to the internal configuration of said mouthpiece, bringing said mouthpiece into telescopic relation with said fitting until the vibration of the double reed ceases upon closing of the double reed, measuring the vacuum applied to the fitting when the vibration ceases, removing said mouthpiece out of telescopic relation with said fitting until said double reed commences to vibrate again and measuring the vacuum applied to the fitting when the vibration recommenccs whereby a range of values will be obtained indicative of the hardness of said double reed.
3. A method as set forth in claim 2 further comprising providing the double reed with a suitable degree of moisture prior to initiating the testing.
4. A method as set forth in claim 2 wherein said predetermined vacuum is approximately 11 inches Hg.
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