Thursday, September 26, 2013

Headjoint Recutting

We stopped in to the repair shop this week and had a chat with Rachel (our technician) about "headjoint recutting."  What exactly is that?  Well, it's pretty much exactly what it sounds like.  Often times, older headjoints may not have the same overcutting and undercutting as a modern headjoint, and the shape of the embouchure hole is different.  An older headjoint usually has a rounder embouchure hole that the modern headjoint.  That being said, owners of older headjoints may ask to have them "recut" to give them a more modern shape.  The shape and cutting of the modern heajdoint may offer better projection and make the headjoint easier to play in general.  It is also not a very costly modification -- it runs about $75 to $80 for silver headjoints (gold is a bit more because it is a harder material).  However, only Powell headjoints may be sent to Powell for recutting.

Older headjoint on the left, newer on the right. 
So, what would be involved in the headjoint recutting?  First, the headjoint must be sent to Powell for evaluation.  If an older headjoint already has an embouchure hole that is too big to be reshaped and modernized, recutting would not be possible.  Why is this?  Well, if an embouchure hole is very large, recutting it could result in one's sound getting out of control and really losing focus.  Therefore, the evaluation by headjoint cutters is critical.  If the headjoint is able to be recut, the customer will be able to provide the headjoint cutters details about how they would like the headjoint to play.  The headjoint cutters at Powell have plenty of experience, and as Rachel says, "They have a very good idea of what the headjoint should sound like, and they know what to do.  They wouldn't make extreme changes, but rather very modest ones."  Rachel tells us that is is a very careful process.  The headjoint cutters listen, then make very subtle changes, then listen again, make more subtle changes, and the cycle continues until the headjoint is exactly where the customer would want it.  The turnaround time for headjoint recutting is about a week.  Like most repairs and modifications, it takes time and care to complete the process.

You may wonder what types of customers may request to have their headjoints recut.  Rachel tell us that sometimes, people who own older headjoints may feel that their headjoint is no longer working for them and purchase a new headjoint.  Obviously, the new headjoint will have the modern shaoe, overcutting, and undercutting -- so it is a good point of comparison for the older headjoint.  If you are considering having an older headjoint recut or have additional questions, you may contact Rachel Baker at

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