The Author's Own
Bach/Schilke Mouthpiece Equivalency Chart

Model

Bach stated measurement in mm (decimal)

Curry measurement
(in decimal)

Laskey measurement
(in decimal)

Schilke equivalent mouthpiece

Schilke measurement
(in decimal)

1C

17.00 (.670)

.680

.680

17

.682

1.5 C

17.00 (.670)

.670

.668

14

.670

3C

16.30 (.642)

.665

.665

13C4

.665

5C

16.25 (.640)

.659

.660

12

.657

7C

16.20 (.638)

.652

.650

11

.650

10.5

15.90 (.625)

.625

.640

5A4

.624

Everybody's got their own chart for mouthpiece cup diameter equivalents, and now you have mine. Because of Bach's longevity in the marketplace, their early domination of the market, and the proclivity of other makers to copy what appears to be a labeling system, Bach mouthpiece sizes, even if you haven't played a Bach mouthpiece in years, are those to which we compare all others.

This should be easier, but Bach makes it hard. The Bach published measurements, in millimeters above, are taken from the Bach Mouthpiece Handbook, issued annually with a catalog of Bach/Selmer accessories. It is universally acknowledged that those measurements are all wrong. In the olden days, as the machine tools wore out, the mouthpieces would get bigger, and then revert to the smaller sizes when new tooling was installed. It apparently reached the point where the more common sizes were the worn out ones, rather than the specified ones, and the tooling for the mouthpiece was actually changed to reflect the more common larger cuttings, rendering the original specifications useless. Perversely, Bach refuses to remeasure the pieces now to publish accurate information and refuses to eliminate the obsolete specifications from their product information. No specs would be better than wrong specs, you'd think.

Then there is Bach's legendary inconsistency....

Both Mark Curry and Scott Laskey make and sell what they describe as precision copies of classic (early 60's) Bach mouthpieces. Please compare the Bach published measurements with those of Curry and Laskey, and then at least feign outrage at the continued inaccuracies of the Bach specifications. What I have done is taken published measurements of the Curry and Laskey copies of classic Bach mouthpieces and then match those with the Schilke mouthpiece with the closest cup diameter measurement. The last column is Schilke's published measurement for the Schilke mouthpiece that is the Bach equivalent in the adjacent column.

This is, in all likelihood, as precise as one is going to get in a Bach/Schilke equivalency chart because:

So, even though we attempt to measure in the thousandths of an inch or the hundredths of a millimeter, other variables limit how precise and valuable a purely numerical comparison can be.

Go play on the mouthpieces!


 

The Schilke Loyalist

 

© 1999 by James F. Donaldson
All rights reserved