CURRENT KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE BY DECELLE VIDEOS…actual working instrument…

HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE BY DECELLE

UPDATED BLOG ON LATEST ON KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE DEVELOPMENT:

LATEST NEWS…

10/17/17

There are 2 learning curves when one begins the study of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle:
 
– The first is to reset your neuromuscular memory; as your body adjusts to the new feel and ergonomics of the Frictionless Mouthpiece. You experiment with ease of movement left and right, and landing squarely on new note hole positions. Your first two days will feel like you are attempting to play a cello. You will seek a comfort in play. This phase lasts from 3 days to a couple of weeks, and you’ll find your progress rapid, improvement is noticeable day to day. At the conclusion of this time period, you pretty much have the same skill level you had prior, but are now enjoying the ease of movement to new note hole positions, the more relaxed embouchure position, and a cleaner harp as saliva is no longer dribbling into your instrument…you play it dry. These things I fully expected with the Frictionless Mouthpiece.
 
– The second learning curve is quite different from the first, and will go on for a much longer time period (years)…for you are now pushing into the world of what the conventional chromatic harmonica mouthpiece cannot do…developing NEW skills and articulations not available to you before. You learn how the clearer attack on the note (facilitated by the Frictionless Mouthpiece) affects phrasing, and you find that the improved accuracy translates into more than the clarity of one note…to an ability to craft phrases more precisely…which your listeners interpret as “more fluid phrasing.” Learning to control that precision to what you consider optimal effect is a new thing. You learn the new ease of the glissando, and your ear begins to guide you regarding what you choose to do with it. You experiment with larger intervallic leaps, and ponder what that means to how you will choose to play a given piece.
Your body learns to relax more in play.
 
The overall pattern you come to understand is what was said clearly by Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci…
 
“There is no question based on David’s reports and videos that the Frictionless Mouthpiece represents a major step forward for the instrument, providing a different and better sound, which opens the door to styles of play not available to players of chromatic harmonica before. It is an improvement on par with the shoulder rest for violin…significant in history.”
 
Andrea suggests that the invention of the Frictionless Mouthpiece will result in more acceptance of the instrument by academia, and more composers interested in composing for chromatic harmonica…that the instrument has taken an irreversible quantum step forward to the high levels of design and performance evidenced by the flute, oboe, and clarinet.
 
From my experience playing the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle, I can say that all the above is true…and more.
 
I believe it will take one generation for the majority of players worldwide to utilize the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, which is about the same time it took for the shoulder rest for violin to find full acceptance.
(Photo: Seydel Saxony with Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle)
 
  Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece

10/08/17

From a scientific, experimenter’s point of view…the principal part of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece is the interface of the upper portion (or Slider) to the lower portion (or Base).

For it is here that the force of compressed air or breath, is transferred to the portion of the harmonica holding the reeds, creating sound.

It matters not if the Slider runs upon bearings, or fits tightly, or not, on its sides…it is only important that the air pressure transfer without loss…and that the interface of Slider to Base be friction free, so it may move freely left and right.

So while shape of the Slider to the player’s mouth is of interest, and the physical form of the Base is again of interest…it is the interface of Slider to Base which is of greatest importance.

The genius of Brian Decelle​’s design is apparent when we see that it works quite well, perhaps even in a superior fashion, even when some of it’s elements are removed.

When the Frictionless Mouthpiece design was taken off the Psardo harp (the Psardo having a bigger, fatter mouthpiece in the lateral dimension…up and down on top surface) and placed upon the Seydel Saxony…the unit functioned well even though the side-to-side stabilizing forces (or strictures) applied by sprung bearings in the Slider running in channels in the modified mouthpiece no longer touched the Base, which was in this case a modified mouthpiece. Even though the
Base’s dimensions at the interface of Slider and Base were smaller than with the Psardo, the Slider unit still worked on the Seydel Saxony.

Why?

Because the light down-pressure of the lips upon the Slider was sufficient to hold the air seal between Slider and Base, (which I’d projected in the first written description of the invention back in January of 2017.)

While not stable in an absolute sense, the Frictionless Mouthpiece as tested today is absolutely stable in everyday play…and the slop of fit of the Slider laterally upon the Base actually is a plus as the lips can move about a bit, and this lessens any possible muscular fatigue due to repetitive ergonomics.

10/02/17

MORE ON HOW THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE affects style of play…
 
I had a lengthy conversation with Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci yesterday, who is also a professional mathematician, and we discussed in great detail how the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece will likely change the game in the years ahead…
 
Our conclusions:
 
– Because movement to new note hole positions is easier, players can make larger intervallic movements to new notes more easily. Andrea projected changes in the style of improvisation, and what composers write for chromatic harmonica.
 
– The attack on the note (start of the note) of a Frictionless Mouthpiece is much crisper when the player moves from one note hole position to another contiguous hole with no change of breath…the clip being controlled by mechanical means: the Slider against the Base, not the player’s soft lips forming at the next hole. This new sound was rather unexpected, but I like it and feel it puts the instrument on par with clarinet and oboe or flute…more precise. How will various classical, jazz and popular players feel about this aspect? Andrea feels it will improve the instrument’s status in academia, and will lead in time to greater acceptance of the instrument.
 
– As the player does not wet the lips, the instrument plays much drier, and needs much less cleaning…the lips pretty much stay on the Slider in the same position. (Salivary response lessened…I will add an observation that the fact the player’s lips are not moving directly on the mouthpiece back and forth, and shaping, decreases the body’s salivary response. In other words, you make less saliva.)
 
– Historically, chromatic harmonica players tend to play notes of smaller intervallic jumps…often contiguous holes…due to the ergonomic challenges with conventional mouthpieces. This will likely no longer remain true, and that means potentially…a new voice to the instrument.
 
– It is my impression that players new to the instrument will adapt to the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle naturally and quickly. Intermediate and Advanced players face the truth that it requires development of new body memory.
 
Having played the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece for about a month now, I can say that the invention brings a surprising number of changes to the instrument in play.
 
We are still exploring this area, and I am very grateful to Andrea and the many other friends who have helped me think all this through.

9/24/17

WHY STEVIE WONDER PLAYS THE PSARDO ELITE HARP…THE SAME MODEL I PLAY…

First, I have to say that I have never met Stevie Wonder, and my comments are based on my own personal experiences playing the Psardo Elite harp, which is the same model Stevie plays, although Stevie wanted the Gold plated covers, and mine are the Nickel plated.

So my comments are based on the time I’ve played the Psardo Elite harp, which is 3 weeks now, plus the small amount of information which has come to me in dribbles regarding Stevie and the harp.

– The first point I want to make, and I hope you will understand my drift, is that the Psardo harps are underpriced at the present time, and I do not expect this to remain the case. Hint hint.

The Psardo Elite runs $2200 while the Gold Bar runs $2800, and one will add another $275 or thereabouts for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle. (Go to Philharmonicas.com) I think the harps are worth about twice that, but the inventor Phil Sardo is not dependent on monies from sale of harps as he owns many successful businesses in LA California, and seems to have little interest in making money from his inventions. He drives a dream car, as in THE dream car, and I’ll leave it at that. Waaaay too much of what I’m told these days has to stay secret…after all, what good does a secret do anybody, and they’re heavy to carry.

– There are 3 patents involved in the Psardo harps which Phil holds: the cover design with sealed resonance chambers for each 2-reed set which turns each comb chamber and resonance chamber into a mini-oboe or clarinet…the screw on reed platelets each holding 2 reeds which allow easy replacement of naughty reeds by removing 2 tiny screws which hold the reed platelets on. If you don’t like repairing reeds, just order a replacement 2 reed set. Easy…and finally, the interlocking of the cover to the comb for a total seal.

The Psardo Elite (pronounced Pea Sardo) model has a nickel plated aluminum comb and stainless steel reeds from a top European supplier who I will not reveal, and nickel plated covers, while the Gold Bar model has a gold plated all brass comb, brass reeds from a top European supplier who I will not reveal, and gold plated covers.

I chose the Elite, while Stevie (that’s Stevie Wonder) chose the Elite model with Gold cover set. Stevie’s instrument is marked in braille on the covers, which Stevie really appreciated.

There is a long list of things Stevie has asked Phil to make, and they are working on all. Some may go into production.

Aside from Phil’s inventions which resulted in 3 patents, the unusual quality of the instruments comes from the design and hand workmanship and CNC tool and die skills of Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California.

These instruments are made one by one by Brian, he puts them in his CNC cabinet (he has 3 total) and water squirts everywhere in the cabinet like a car wash, and the bits chew away at the combs, then Brian takes them into the bathroom and cleans them, then they are put on the simple white plastic work table and puts all the reed platelets on and puts everything in order. The mouthpieces of pure brass are cut by CNC and then driven to a nearby plater for Gold plating (yes, I met the plater) then inspected, some pass, some don’t. Then Brian takes out his little set of gauges and measures the gap between the mouthpiece and slide at every note hole position to be sure they are all the same. Then they go to get a final reed tuning, then they go into this massive plated harmonica box which is gold or nickel plated cast aluminum, and are shipped out to the LUCKY few around the world who get them. They can only make so many, so fast.

There are about 33 early prototypes which sit on a shelf and Brian has threatened to destroy them all, as he doesn’t want anyone to know they exist. I asked for an early cover set to be shipped with my Elite and he and Phil…both developed short term deafness.

So these are one off hand made instruments, done with great precision as a computer program controls all the cuts. Quick…name another instrument which is hand built in this price range…I’M WAITING!…you can’t because there are none.

I first met Phil Sardo and his wife Ginny when they came to my home in Ohio to have me play their harps, this was early summer.

I said, “In a very short time, these will be the top instruments in the world.” I will mention I was right, as Stevie Wonder ain’t no dummy.

But I had help, because Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci knew of their design and said, “David, these will have the best sound you’ve ever heard.” It’s easy to know stuff, just quote Andrea. He is not wrong on choice of wines to go with various dishes, or instruments.

Phil invited me to see them being made in California, and give my input on secret stuff, so I went to see them and entered the inner sanctum to meet Brian.

The day before I left California, Brian showed me the engineering design he had for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece…the Slider suspended on 4 sprung ball bearings and Delrin.

It was a lot more sophisticated than my simple sleeve, but I was afraid he’d hit me, and said they looked great and to proceed.

The Psardo instruments are unlike any others I’ve played, they are a bit bigger in the hand, I call mine THE BEAST, but habit forming as the tone is so beautiful.

The Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle worked perfectly from day one, and his first cut worked fine. Brian is now fitting it to the Seydel Saxony instrument (actually my first Seydel Saxony with some new parts thanks to a company I’m supposed to keep secret) and I should have it in a few weeks. Brian is also trying new Slider ideas including sandblasting, anodizing in Sapphire blue, and new hole patterns: the 3 + 1, and single hole, in addition to the original 5 hole, and there will be more extra room on both ends for my lips. I think this harp will sell for $795…mid price range.

My suggestion is that you place an order now for the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps before prices go up…it’s worth twice the asking price…and somebody, someday is going to figure that out.

All of the information above is secret, chew and swallow your computer or smartphone after reading.

Stevie Wonder is a wonderful man and he knows his harps, so there you go.

Soon I will have to decide between playing the Seydel Saxony with Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle…or the Psardo Elite with Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle which is like my having to choose between dating Ellen or Kathy in high school, but in this case I think I can get away with enjoying time with both.

 Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece

9/20/17

THE SIGNATURE SOUND OF THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE BY DECELLE…CHANGING THE PERCEPTION OF THE INSTRUMENT- ACCORDING TO ITALIAN COMPOSER Andrea Antonello Nacci
 
One of the signature characteristics of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle is the unusually clear initial attack on the note it delivers, demonstrated in the video below.
 
By this, I mean the start of the note is crisp and precise…especially where you are moving to a contiguous hole using the same breath direction, be that a blow-blow, or a draw-draw.
 
There’s a reason for this: the movement to the new hole position is facilitated by the Slider…it crisply cuts off the former note and crisply introduces the new note (not soft lips sliding lubricated by saliva).
 
The timber and attack on the note in a phrase thus needs much less adjustment and correction (done with very slight tongue taps) as the conventional chromatic harmonica mouthpiece requires of the professional player.
 
This is not a small matter, for it affects how we craft musical phrases, and how they sound.
 
I spoke today for about half an hour with Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci in Italy, and he heard this very thing- the crisp attack on the note- in the recording below, and talked about it at great length.
 
Nacci said, “Please tell people I feel the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece offers the optimal start to the note on chromatic harmonica.”
 
As a composer with many advanced music degrees, I think Nacci is in a position to speak on these matters accurately.
 
INTERPRETATION OF HIS QUOTE…
 
I think what he was saying was not so much that this attack on the note is definitively the best in ALL instances, but more that it moves the instrument one step closer to professional orchestra instrument status.
 
If you do not already know it, the chromatic harmonica is not listed as an instrument in musicology…rather, it is thrown in with a variety of sound making devices in a category called “Miscellaneous.”
 
It has been a goal of Andrea’s for some time to have the chromatic harmonica fully recognized as a mainline instrument by musicologists, music schools, and top composers worldwide. It is one of his favorite topics to talk about. The chromatic harmonica is his preferred solo instrument and he composes music for it.
 
So, he is not saying that this attack on the note is ONLY way to go, or the BEST in all instances, or that it is DEFINITIVELY superior to the attack on the note delivered by the conventional harmonica mouthpiece…but rather, that in his opinion, it moves the chromatic harmonica ONE STEP CLOSER to full acceptance in the world of academia and composers worldwide.
 
For that reason, he sees this as an important improvement to the instrument.
 
I am clear that the attack on the note is different…and I can picture some preferring one sound, and one the other…and this is as it should be because music is a personal matter.
 
I can say that from my perspective, as the inventor and first in the world to play the instrument daily, the attack on the note is certainly singular, and precise, and I have grown very partial to it in the 2 weeks I’ve played it.
 
Putting things in perspective…I have not played a conventional mouthpiece chromatic harmonica since receiving it, although my stable of conventional harps is considerable.
 
We knew going into this project that we would learn things about the conventional mouthpiece and chromatic harmonica which would only be obvious when there was something different to compare it to. This is one such instance.
 
To those who are critics of this entire endeavor, and invention, I ask, “How do you think the silver mechanical flute was created, replacing the wooden flute? Or the piano? Or the modern trumpet? All went through this change as we are experiencing now in chromatic harmonica.
 
Progress involves change, by definition.
 
It is my opinion and the opinion of many world class professionals that the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece of various designs will be the dominant form of the instrument in one generation, just as happened with the invention of the shoulder rest for violin, or the replacement of the harpsichord by the pianoforte (modern piano).
 
For that, we shall have to wait and see!
 
(The Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle is available on the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps- the instruments played now by Stevie Wonder- and is now being fitted to the Seydel Saxony.)
 
I will add that the true price to pay for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle is not money, but practice!
You will see if and when you try one.
 
On Maurice Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess, Psardo Elite chromatic harmonica.
 
Sorry about the dark video, it was late.
 

9/17/17

PRESS RELEASE GOING OUT TO TV, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAGAZINES on the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle NOW…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 
NEW HARMONICA INVENTION REVOLUTIONIZES INSTRUMENT
 
Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle Changes The Music Game
 
 
The lowly harmonica, called the tin sandwich, axe of the bluesman, voice the rock group, played on Beatles hits by John Lennon, along with popular, classical, and jazz performers such as Stevie Wonder now has its own revolution.
 
The bane of harmonica over the years has been the fact that the lips must move over a metal or wood surface to find new notes, lubricated by saliva. The saliva on the mouthpiece dries as one plays, and the mouthpiece gets sticky and sluggish, and that affects style of play.
 
A new invention by Akron, Ohio, USA native David Kettlewell eliminates this problem by use of a simple mechanical device where the player’s lips rest gently upon a moveable Slider, with the Slider moving back and forth effortlessly on a Base connected to the harmonica.
 
Kettlewell, a skilled player of chromatic harmonica, music scholar, and TV show guest, donated the idea to the public domain, so more people could benefit more quickly.
 
“The problem came to my attention when a player in Asia wrote to me saying he suffered blisters from practicing his chromatic harmonica 2 hours a day, given the constant movement of the mouthpiece on the lips, and he asked if there might not be some solution,” said Kettlewell.
 
“The problem from a design perspective was daunting…a frictionless mouthpiece has to be both airtight and frictionless…but those are two opposing engineering design values. Most things that are airtight are so because they’re screwed down tightly one upon another, but in this case the Slider had to be airtight AND slide effortlessly left and right to new note hole positions.”
 
The designer/builder who figured it all out was an American, Brian DeCelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California, who suspended the Slider (part touching the lips gently) on Delrin and ball bearings…resulting in a precision fit mechanical device which is airtight and moves without friction.
 
Leading composer for chromatic harmonica, Andrea Antonello Nacci of Italy, said, “The creation of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle is a development of historical proportions to the music world, and of course to the harmonica world. In my opinion it will become the dominant form of the instrument within a generation, or less.”
 
Nacci says the concept is every bit as significant as the development of the pianoforte (piano) from harpsichord, or the chin rest for violin and viola, created by Yehudi Menuhin.”
 
According to Kettlewell, the invention does more than make the harmonica more comfortable and relaxing to play…it opens the door to new styles of play, as fast note changes are much easier, and the instrument never slows due to saliva lubrication problems with conventional mouthpieces.
 
The first harmonica to be fitted with the frictionless mouthpiece was a professional 16 hole Psardo Elite model chromatic harmonica (has all the sharps and flats) but other models of harp, such as the 12 hole German Seydel Saxony model are being retrofitted now.
 
It’s not really a business for Kettlewell, who requires no payments from builders who use his idea, or contracts of any sort…but more of a public service.
 
“The truth is, I’m older and like other players around the world, I want to enjoy it while I’m still young enough to do so. Giving it away to all seemed the best way to get multiple models at various price points to market quickly. I believe it’s fair for those who take on the risk of designing and building it, as Brian DeCelle has done, to benefit financially. That’s only right. After all, we musicians serve the love of music.”
 
Kettlewell says it took 8 months from the release of his concept to the working model by DeCelle, and projects that a total of 5 manufacturers here and overseas will be making various designs within the coming 12 months.
 
“I was offered an exclusive deal by a very large firm, but turned it down. It’s really better for players and audiences is every maker around the world has the freedom to make the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece with the design they choose, at the price point they choose, and that all are best served by that approach.”
 
Photo: Psardo Elite chromatic harmonica with Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle
 
(David Kettlewell wrote the 678 page book, LOVE OF CHROMATIC HARMONICA…TECNNIQUES AND ADVICE FROM THE WORLD’S BEST! His website is MASTERS OF CHROMATIC HARMONICA, and his Facebook Group is LOVE OF CHROMATIC HARMONICA.)
 
 
end
 
 
 
(Editors: for more information contact Mr. Kettlewell through the CONTACT link on his website, MASTERSOFHARMONICA.COM. Interviews with designer/builder Brian DeCelle and Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci, or inventor David Kettlewell, can be arranged by sending an email message.)

9/14/17

History in the making. Brian DeCelle’s…Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle is fully operational and works well.

Now being fitted to the Seydel Saxony.

A historic time, as Brian’s DeCelle’s design and build out was fully successful. The instrument can do some things others cannot…very crisp grace notes and fast passages, relaxation in play, harp plays dry and stays clean, lovely tone and comfort to the player.

Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci and David Kettlewell are now defining the Method for the instrument and will publish same soon.

 Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece

9/13/17

Harmonica icon STEVIE WONDER played the Psardo Elite chromatic harmonica last night in hurricane fundraiser…
 
This is the same harp Mr. Kettlewell plays, and the first harp in history to be fitted with the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle.
 
(Harp and frictionless mouthpiece designed and built by Brian DeCelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California.)
To see the video go to Youtube and enter….Stevie Wonder Lean On Me Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief

9/3/17/

How will the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle affect the world of chromatic harmonica and players worldwide?

1- It will make the instrument easier to play, and more comfortable to play

2- It will facilitate a more fluid style of play

3- If will allow faster changes to new note hole positions

4- Other harmonica inventions are in the wind, so this may be a time of rennaisance

9/1/17

TESTING OF KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE TO BEGIN..
 
Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California, who designed and constructed the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle (KFMBD) has shipped me a Psardo Elite harp fitted with the frictionless mouthpiece for testing.
 
I will play it, write my impressions for you, and shoot and post many videos, including videos on its construction and playing music, testing for:
 
– Is the KFMBD airtight and frictionless?
 
– Does the mouthpiece in fact improve the harmonica in play? How do a conventional mouthpiece and Frictionless Mouthpiece COMPARE in play? Which do I prefer, and why?
 
– Is it easier to move to new note hole positions, as it was designed it to do? How does that affect playing music? Does it change or affect in any meaningful way what the chromatic harmonica can do for players worldwide?
 
– Is the combination of Delrin-lined Slider and 4 bearings to effect easy movement of the Slider, as Brian designed, a winner?
 
– Is the KFMBD quiet as it slides left and right? Is it airtight playing all 5 holes? How does it function using tongue block embouchure and corner switching? How does it do with pucker embouchure?
 
– Impressions of the Psardo Elite harp…its tone and response to breath?
 
– How do the stainless steel reeds of the Psardo Elite perform? How does the harp feel to the hand in play?
 
– Does the KFMBD have an impact on quality of tone or volume one way or the other?
 
– Is the Slider comfortable to the lips?
 
– Does it make a real contribution to the harmonica instrument?
 
– Is the mouthpiece ready to design and fit to other harps, with the Seydel Saxony next up for retrofitting?
 
– Is it approved for sale to players?
 
The Psardo Elite is no common instrument, it has many patented innovations…sealed resonance chambers for each 4 reed grouping- creating a rich tone (Phil Sardo and his wife Ginny brought the harp to my home to try in July) mini reed platelets allowing easy replacement of 2 reeds at a time. It was my impression the Psardo harps (Elite and Gold Bar) would be the finest harps in the world in a short time, and I am very excited about having a chance to practice and play the Psardo Elite on a daily basis.
 
Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci​ has said the Psardo harps will have the finest tone in the world based on their design, and Andrea with 3 advanced degrees in music and as an active composer of music for chromatic harmonica, is not wrong on these things from my experience. What he says about music is pretty much true.
 

8/31/17

Which harps will have the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece retrofitted by Brian DeCelle of MTD Consulting?

Brian…the models of harp we may want to retrofit the KFMBD to…first, the top choices as the following require no customization to the comb/reedplate assembly, are airtight, and quality instruments…

1) Seydel Saxony…very fine harp in price range, aluminum comb, very sensitive to breath, wide trapezoidal mouthpiece (means your design will work only with sizing modification), stainless steel reeds. I am sending one of mine to you in 3 weeks so you have one to retrofit, and me to test and play upon return.

2) New Seydel Symphony ALU 16 holer.

3) Easttop brass combed harp 12 or 16…high end harp from Asia’s largest manufacturer of harps. Reeds are not ideal.

4) We may want to approach Cremona…high end custom harps from Asia, they customize many brands in various ways, usually replacing stock combs.

THE FOLLOWING HARPS ARE NOT PERFECT CHOICES AS THEY HAVE ABS COMBS, NOT TOTALLY FLAT FROM FACTORY….requiring some sanding to make right, but they are quality harps and you may elect to customize and retrofit them…

5) Suzuki Sirius 12, 14 or 16.
A friend will send us one to retrofit, and test for us.

6) Suzuki SCX 12, 14, or 16…similar to Sirius, but less than half the price. Very popular. This will be a very affordable model w. KFMBD.

6) Hohner Super 64x…clear acrylic comb, used by many pros.

It’s a start.

8/28/17

HISTORY OF THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE

This is an abridged version of a full history now being written.

On August 27, 2017, Brian DeCelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California, chief designer and cutter on the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harp project, successfully handcrafted the first functional Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

The path to this was not fast or easy.

The concept for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece was first put to paper in November of 2016 by David Kettlewell in response to an email he received from a young man who played chromatic harmonica in Asia, who complained of persistent lip irritation including nasty blisters. “Can’t something be made which eliminates this problem for us players?” the young man asked.

David thought about it and concluded that the conventional design for a mouthpiece was obsolete and due for reinvention…the idea of moving to new note hole positions on an instrument by sliding the lips on a metal piece, lubricated by saliva (which dissipates quickly…making movement difficult) seemed less than ideal.

The initial concept came to David quickly over the next two days…a sleeve which the lips rest upon (Slider) having 5 holes, running friction-free left and right on a lower portion (Base), most easily made by the Base being a slightly modified conventional mouthpiece.

The biggest decision to be made was whether the mouthpiece design would be patented, or not.

“I concluded the greatest good would be done if all players could enjoy the frictionless mouthpiece as quickly as possible, and at the lowest cost possible, and the best way to do that was to make the idea available for free to any and all who choose to make it, worldwide,” said Mr. Kettlewell.

David continued, “I was concerned that if I held a patent, I’d have to sign a binding contract with one manufacturer for up to 3 years, and if they sat on the invention, which they might do because it could impact their cash flow on conventional mouthpiece instruments, nothing might happen for years. I wanted to enjoy the mouthpiece quickly, and for others to do so. The best way to accomplish that was to give it away to all.”

This decision was not well received by some. Mr. Kettlewell was criticized by close friends for throwing a great financial opportunity away, others criticized him for gifting it, saying it was a worthless idea.

An early supporter was Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci, who said from the outset that the mouthpiece was the future of the instrument. Another strong supporter was and is Rocky Lok of King’s Harmonica Quintet, considered the finest classical player in the world today.

In order to stop patent applications, the idea with drawings was made publicly known through a formal process called Donation To The Public Domain, done by Mr. Kettlewell in January of 2017.

The first firm to attempt the build out was a respected maker of custom instruments in Holland, The deQuelery Instrument Company. They opted to deviate from Mr. Kettlewell’s original design and use a flat bar Lower. Mr. Kettlewell felt that the design would not hold its shape under load of mouthpiece screws due to the instability of flat bar brass, and would leak air. The design, although noteworthy in many regards and certainly beautiful, did not prove successful in prototype form. But DeQuelery was first with drawings and it is to their credit, and they released their drawings quickly…just a few days after Mr. Kettlewell donated the invention to the public domain.

 Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece

5 months later, on July 20, 2017, Mr. Kettlewell flew to the San Fernando Valley, California, to visit MTD Consulting, a design/cutting shop owned by Brian DeCelle. DeCelle was the lead designer to bring inventor Phil Sardo’s innovations on chromatic harmonica to life in the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar Harps.

The day before Mr. Kettlewell left California, Brian DeCelle presented his engineering drawings to Phil Sardo and David Kettlewell for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

The basic idea of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece is simple, the lips rest on a 5 hole Slider which can slide easily left and right on a slightly modified conventional mouthpiece held on the instrument by a small lip at bottom of the Slider sides, and stops either end.

Brian DeCelle took a new and revolutionary approach….A Delrin lined Slider and 4 ball bearings at bottom of the slider to provide frictionless but precise movement. As the unit wears, the bearings can be adjusted with a small screwdriver to effect perfect tolerances.

This original design was then modified by Brian to include slightly curved sides on the Slider which meant the only areas the Slider would touch were at the very top of the prepared conventional mouthpiece where the holes are, and the 4 adjustable bearings at bottom of the slider running on side channels cut in the conventional mouthpiece.

Brian’s design exceeded Mr. Kettlewell’s expectations, and the concept was approved immediately for build out.

 Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece

Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci has said that the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece will revolutionize the instrument in the same way that the shoulder rest did for violin, or the pianoforte for harpsichord.

Other manufacturers are now in the process of early stage development of their own versions of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, but Brian DeCelle was first, and Mr. Kettlewell will be playing Brian’s version in practice and performance on a Psardo Elite 16 hole harp with stainless steel reeds, and custom button.

Approximately 8 months elapsed from the gifting of Mr. Kettlewell’s idea to the public domain to a working prototype.

Credit is due to Brian DeCelle, Phil Sardo, Andrea Antonello Nacci and Rocky Lok for their strong support of this endeavor, to the benefit of players of the chromatic instrument worldwide.

Said Mr. Kettlewell, “It is difficult to accurately project how the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece will impact and affect play of the chromatic harmonica in the decades and centuries ahead. Why? Because all the chromatic harmonicas we’ve played for over a century have had the conventional mouthpiece, so it’s hard to wrap our heads fully around the impact this invention will have. I believe that the ease of movement to new note hole positions will make the instrument far less cumbersome to play, more enjoyable to play, enhance the popularity of the instrument, and open the door to new styles of play. The impact of truly effortless movement to new note hole positions is hard to fathom, for all of us. It is worth remembering that none of it would have happened without the struggles of all those having a hand in this great task. Those who contributed to the effort are mentioned in the history above. Yes, I had the idea, but others brought the idea to fruition (such as Brian DeCelle) and of course, they carried the risk. Modern machinery helped, but in fact machines can do no better than the imagination of the designer, and of this Brian DeCelle proved the master. It is my hope that those who met this task head-on, and succeeded will prosper as a result; I will assist them in this as I am able.”

8/21/17

Brian DeCelle will be making his first cuts today of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece. He will send photos and videos, which I’ll post.

Updated 8/20/17

A video posted on Youtube entitled “Half-valved chromatic with interactive reed bending” channel Novel Harmonica by David Pearce, was of interest to me because the customizer (Pearce) of the half-valved harp with unique flexible polymer mouthpiece and modified slide mechanism utilizes the pressure of the players lips upon the mouthpiece to provide the airtightness of mouthpiece assembly components.

In the same manner, in my original design for a sleeve type frictionless mouthpiece (which no one has created to date) relied on a simple sleeve placed over a slightly modified conventional mouthpiece, which depended on slight lip pressure to create the airtight fit of parts.

The sleeve does have a lip at bottom of each side which runs in a small channels cut in the lower portion of the conventional mouthpiece, and a stop screw on one side so the Slider won’t fall off.

At some point, I hope someone makes this minimalist design, as I feel it will work well, and be very inexpensive to produce.

If not, I may contract the work myself, just to test it.

Updated 8/16/17

Cutting of the first prototype of the sleeve type KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE by designer/cutter Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California…will begin as soon as he returns from SPAH…I’m thinking this Friday.
 
We should have a working prototype with Delrin coated Slider with ball bearings to provide frictionless, precise movement of the Slider in a week from Friday.
First, Brian will create a frictionless mouthpiece for the Psardo Elite, which will be sent to me, then I think it will be the new 12 hold Psardo, then a Seydel Saxony.
Brian said he will send me videos and photos of his cutting and creating the mouthpiece which I will post for you.
.

Updated 8/9/17

UPDATE ON KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE BUILDOUT…
 
WHEN WILL WE HAVE IT…WHO WILL DISTRIBUTE IT…AND WHAT MANUFACTURERS’ HARPS WILL IT BE AVAILABLE NEW OR AS A RETROFIT FOR?…
 
As you know, Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California (a fine design and metal cutting firm) is now engaged in building out the mouthpiece. (In the last few days he’s been preparing Psardo harps for SPAH 2017 starting the 15th)
 
Once back from SPAH, Brian said he will send some photos and videos of his work creating the frictionless mouthpiece…which I will post for you to enjoy. Again, he’s using Delrin on the underside of the Slider for quiet and frictionless operation, and 4 bearings at bottom of the Slider to ensure precise alignment of all in play. Solid ideas to my thinking! My design was much simpler…just a sleeve of metal or plastic, of course, placed over a slightly modified (flattened a bit on top for perfect fit to Slider) stock mouthpiece.
 
The first mouthpiece will be fitted to a Psardo Elite 16 holer to be sent to me to test and play, but Phil has just released a new 12 holer in C solo tuning and I may receive a 12 holer with the frictionless mouthpiece as well at some point.
 
The plan is that after Brian is satisfied with the frictionless mouthpiece prototype, and I’ve tested it, it will be offered for sale.
 
What harps will it be for sale on? Good question.
 
Phil Sardo of PSardo harmonicas has said he will offer the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece as an accessory to his Elite and Gold Bar models, and my guess is it will soon be available for the new Psardo 12 holer, which I’m interested in playing in orchestra tuning, as well. The two work together daily.
 
The next step will be to send Brian a Seydel Saxony (my current daily player) for fitting of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece to that harp, and Brian plans to offer the mouthpiece for a grouping of harmonicas now on the market. I do not know that he has decided which these will be, but I’m guessing we’ll talk about it once the prototype goes into production on the Psardo harps. Once he and I approve the prototype, it’s good to go for manufacturing to fit the Psardo harps.
 
It is my opinion that the frictionless mouthpiece will work best on metal combed harps, as they are so stable and generally very airtight which I prefer, and tolerances can be ideal…but it would work on an ABS or Acrylic comb harp.
 
I do not know yet whether retrofits of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece to harps other than Psardo and Seydel Saxony will require the harp to be sent to Brian for fitting, and slight flattening/sanding of comb top faces to ensure airtightness, or not. Likely, it could be done either way. Note that some customization can improve the airtightness of many intermediate quality harps.
 
How the various companies now manufacturing harps will integrate Brian’s design into their instruments (whether they will stock Brian’s design or ship to him for fitting) I do not know.
 
I know that early conversations I’ve had with respected harmonica makers indicate that at present, they would prefer to simply buy the finished Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece from Brian and offer it as an option/accessory to their harps, rather than engineer and manufacture their own vesions.
 
I’m guessing that in most instances, buyers will want both a conventional mouthpiece AND a Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, which makes sense, as one can test them back- to-back.
 
One of the things I like about Brian is that he is a perfectionist, with the same outlook on quality I have.
 
Of course, Brian designed and built out the new Psardo (pronounced P-Sardo) harps, based on the phenomenal inventions of Phil Sardo, which Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci says are very significant improvements to the instrument.
 
If you go to SPAH, be sure to visit both Phil Sardo and Brian DeCelle, as both will be at the Psardo booth.
 
I will clarify as best I can on all in the weeks ahead.
 
SEE VIDEOS AT TOP OF PAGE TO SEE THE PSARDO ELITE HARP…THE FIRST TO BE FITTED WITH THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE by Brian Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, CA

Updated 8/3/17

It looks like the second chromatic harmonica model to be fitted with the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece by DeCelle (designer/cutter of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California, Brian DeCelle) will be the Seydel Saxony orchestra tuned, which has been Mr. Kettlewell’s daily player for some time.

This instrument is a good choice as its aluminum comb and solid construction with large trapezoidal mouthpiece make it a very stable platform for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

Brian’s approach involves utilization of a Delrin layer on the underside of the SLIDER, with small bearings on the bottom edge of same, to provide quiet, airtight, and precise friction-free movement to new note hole positions.

The first prototype built on the Psardo 16 hole Elite model, with aluminum comb and stainless steel reeds should be to Mr. Kettlewell in about 14 days.

Updated 8/1/17

A NEW LEONARDO DA VINCI OF HARMONICA DESIGN…
 
I think the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had relating to chromatic harmonica design improvements was one I had last night with Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting in Valencia, California.
 
Brian and I spoke for about an hour, as he SHARED ONE IDEA AFTER THE OTHER he has to improve the chromatic harmonica, I liked them all and saw promise in all.
 
These were some of the best ideas relating to chromatic harmonica design I’ve been exposed to, and we are lucky a talented designer and cutter like Brian and his partner are focusing their talents on this instrument…to the benefit of players worldwide.
 
I told him I would be happy to test any prototypes he wants to send me, and he plans to do just that. Should make for an interesting year ahead.
 
BACKGROUND: Brian did much of the work to create the new Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps (based on Phil Sardo’s remarkable concepts) and Brian both designed and is building out his version of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece to fit those same two harps, but we will also be working on making the mouthpiece to fit a Seydel Saxony (my current player) soon.
 
Of course I saw his shop and watched him cutting brass during my recent visit to his CNC design and cutting firm in California… and saw some new prototypes which must remain a secret for now.
 
Brian’s approach to the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece was very different from- and I would say more sophisticated than mine- where I envisioned a simple metal sleeve placed over a standard mouthpiece, with metal running on metal lubricated by slide oil….Brian’s design uses a SLIDER with a layer of Delrin on the underside to ensure quietness in play, and side bearings on the SLIDER to ensure proper alignment of parts at all times.
 
Brian verifies he is about 2-3 weeks from shipping a prototype of the mouthpiece for me to test.
 
I believe Brian’s ideas will lead the way to superior chromatic harmonica instruments into the next decade and century, and I plan to assist him in what ways I can in that mission.
 
I am very glad I met him.

Updated 7/30/17

This from Brian Decelle, the designer of his concept for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, Valencia, California, MTD Consulting:
 
Brian Decelle: “I feel this (the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece) will be a great addition to any harmonica, I think you are correct, David, that the sliding mouthpiece will make for better playing with ease of use.”
 
It was Brian Decelle‘s idea to use Delrin on the underside of the SLIDER to provide silent, airtight movement to new note hole postions, and tiny bearings on the sides of the SLIDER to ensure correct alignment and friction-free movement of the SLIDER.
 
Brian’s design will be first be placed on a modified Psardo Elite mouthpiece. Brian has played a major role in the creation of the Psardo instruments.
 
It is Brian’s intention to provide his new design for the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece for harps by Seydel, Hohner, Suzuki, and Easttop.
 
After his design has made it through the prototype phase, I will send him a Seydel Saxony for build out of a Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece for that instrument, which is currently my daily player.
 
Brian is a creative individual with a superb sense of design and finely developed skills on his 3 CNC Tool & Die Machines. He is highly recommended for any harmonica fabrication work you need.
 
When he showed me his technical drawings in California for the mouthpiece, I felt like I was viewing early story boards for Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, so revolutionary were his concepts.
 
Of course I understand what an “unusual” journey we are shooting for nothing less than the remaking of the chromatic harmonica for today in the centuries ahead.
 
Some think me a fool, some think me a hero…it reminds me of the main character in the 1964 musical, Man Of La Mancha, Don Quixote; perhaps a bit of both.
 
As Brian’s machines twist and skew the metal, according to his plan, his hands shaping the Delrin and installing the bearings…this mouthpiece will come to life. New. Unlike any other. A creation in every sense of the word.
 
As Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci has said, “The Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece will change the chromatic harmonica for the better-in the same way that the chin rest for violin changed the violin, or the invention of the pianoforte changed the harpsichord. It is the beginning of a new beginning.”
 
It is history in the making…
 

Updated 7/29/17

One of the big plusses of building the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece on a pre existing standard mouthpiece, as designer Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting Services is doing on the Psardo Elite harp, is that the issue of the slide spring is already taken care of.
 
Brian’s solution will be to slightly reshape the stock mouthpiece and fit an Upper or Slider to that, in his case having Delrin on the underside of the Slider and small ball bearings to allow easy movement of the Slider Left and Right.
 
I feel that the use of the pre existing mouthpiece used as the Lower or Base is an astute decision on Brian’s part.
 
Brian is unique in that he is equally skilled at design AND cutting with his 3 CNC tool and die machines.
 
We’re about 2 weeks or so away from a prototype sporting Brian’s approach to the design of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

Updated 7/26/17

UPDATE ON BRIAN DECELLE’S DESIGN FOR THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE…
 
I’m back from Los Angeles, and the designer of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece to be fit on the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps, Brian Decelle of MTD Consulting Services in Valencia, California, is now building out his design for same.
 
He wants to use Delrin on the underside of the SLIDER, and tiny bearings on the sides of the SLIDER which he says will make all totally airtight and friction free, over a modified and plated Psardo mouthpiece.
 
This is very different from my original plan for a simple sleeve and so were are going to do it his way, because he says his idea is better than mine and he’s bigger than me.
 
I should have my prototypes to play in 3 weeks or thereabouts.
 
I also plan to send him a Seydel Saxony to have it fit with his design of the mouthpiece.
Brian plans on providing the mouthpiece to various manufacturers to fit their harps including HOHNER, SEYDEL, SUZUKI, EASTTOP, and any others interested in making it available to you. If a manufacturer chooses not to carry the mouthpiece, Brian may design to fit that harp and sell them personally to you.
Brian’s idea was better than mine in that it should be totally quiet, where I doubt my metal-on-metal simple sleeve would be.
Of course one could make the SLIDER entirely of Delrin, and even shape it new ways comfortable to the lips.
Brian has 3 CNC machines and is an expert at both design and cutting metal, of course I will be fascinated to see what his vision plays like.
It is my advice that harps with metal combs will do better with the Kettlewell Frictionless mouthpiece as they are more stable.
I will provide you ways to contact him when he provides approval for me to do this, as I’m guessing you want a Kettlewell Frictionless Moutpiece for the harp you play.
As I do!

Updated 7/19/17

The time is now at hand.

I have my Colgate regular flavor toothpaste with diCalcium Phosphate (very mild abrasive, perfect for lapping high precision metal parts) to lapp the Upper and Lower of the new Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, my slide oil, a couple of shirts and 3 pairs of socks, sandals, a new toothbrush, shaver and enthusiasm for the task at hand in my carry bag (a worn Time Warner shoulder bag given me)…TOMORROW…I fly to Los Angeles, California to work with the Psardo Harmonica team to produce the world first Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece to fit both the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps. 5 days to do the job, 5 days to bring that mouthpiece into the world.

I know what needs to be done and how to do, now…it’s just the doing.

Keep me in your thoughts….

I’ll post photos, videos, and explanations of all as I am able.

The last time I heard the Psardo harps they were the best sounding in the world…here I come.

The time is at hand.

Updated 7/16/17 at 6:26PM

The entity developing the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece on what will likely be a new signature model harp with many of David’s inventions and improvements just left Shanghai after meeting with Chinese firms to discuss fabrication of the instrument. If possible, much of production will be hand done in India. Expected price point $375 for harp with Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

7/16/17

David is gathering various tools (Hetman’s slide oil, custom buttons, etc., and packing to prepare for trip to Los Angeles, California to work with Phil and his team at Psardo harmonicas.

He shot a new video this morning on the Problem with today’s mouthpieces which is freshly posted above, right now it is the second video in the grouping. The Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece should be fairly straightforward to fabricate, but will likely require lapping with fine compound to seat correctly. Fortunately, only the topmost surface of the mouthpiece and the underside of the slide must have an airtight fit. The sides of the trapezoidal mouthpiece and the undersides of the Slider can have a bit of slack, which should help as saliva builds up to keep all moving smoothly.

David will post photos and videos of the process here as he is able.

– David Kettlewell flies to Los Angeles, California on July 20th to work with Psardo Harmonica engineering team to build the first prototype of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece. This will be fit to the Psardo Elite and Gold Bar harps, and offered as an option on these, what Kettlewell considers the finest instruments tonally in production today. The Psardo Elite currently sells for $2199, the Gold Bar for $2799, the cost of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece fitted to the Psardo harps is not known right now. It is expected that a quality and functioning Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece will be ready for production at the time Kettlewell leaves California.

– A lower cost chromatic harmonica having the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece and some of David’s other design innovations including the ERGO button is slated for manufacture in India and perhaps China soon. It is projected this instrument will sell for $375.

As Kettlewell donated the idea of the frictionless mouthpiece to the public domain at the time it was invented, all manufacturers may make the mouthpiece at will.

Firms may apply for patents, but they are not enforceable, per the Patent Office.

DETAILED HISTORY OF THE KETTLEWELL FRICTIONLESS MOUTHPIECE

“David Kettlewell’s idea to introduce a frictionless mouthpiece on the harmonica, is not only fascinating, it’s just brilliant.”

deQuelery Music Instrument Company, Holland
February 20, 2017

The first company in the world to attempt creation of the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece was a Holland-based firm, deQuelery Music Instrument Company based in Holland which in early 2017 attempted to build the “articulated” type of mouthpiece designed by Kettlewell, where the Lower and Upper portions are totally new designs, not related to existing harmonica mouthpiece design.

deQuelery’s approach deviated from the original specifications for the Articulated type of frictionless mouthpiece which called for a carbon steel, modified H-bar BASE, which Kettlewell believed was necessary for optimal rigidity- a characteristic required for precision fit of parts and airtightness.

deQuelery’s prototypes, which you can find photos of at their link at the bottom of this post, had a very fashionable flat brass BASE, with slits cut in the side, which the Upper ran upon. It was certainly a beautiful design.

While Mr. Kettlewell never held nor played their prototype, this version proved to have insufficient airtightness and not articulate left and right as smoothly and effortlessly as hoped.

Of course it must be said that they attempted to create the more complex type of Kettlewell frictionless Mouthpiece, the “articulated” type and thanks and congratulations are due them for their fine efforts.

(While firms may apply for patents on the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece designs, they are unenforceable as Kettlewell released and donated the designs to the Public Domain at the time of creation so all manufacturers would be free to build and sell versions over time. Kettlewell felt this would result in lower cost versions being made readily available to players worldwide as quickly as practicable.)

The second company to attempt to build the Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece is Psardo in California, makers of the Elite and Gold Bar harps, which to David’s mind are the finest instruments in the world at the present time.

Psardo is a well-funded company run by a true lover of the instrument, Phil Sardo, having a passion to make the world’s best harp. The day Kettlewell released the concept to the Public Domain, Psardo owner Phil Sardo called and said, “David, we have the world’s best harmonica, and I feel your mouthpiece design is the best in the world. We want it for our harps.”

Phil and his wife Ginny flew to Kettlewell’s home about 2 months ago to visit and show him their harps. He was astounded at the beauty of tone, and will fly to Los Angeles on July 20, 2017 to personally work with their team to build the first Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece.

At the same time, another firm producing instruments at a much lower price point is developing the mouthpiece, and Mr. Kettlewell is helping them as best he can.

According to David, the Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece is the right place to start…it’s simple, has very low friction, and is inexpensive to produce…and is based on existing trapezoidal mouthpiece designs.

Basically, what you do is take a standard trapezoidal mouthpiece and make the topmost surface of the mouthpiece (where the holes are) flat by shaving down perhaps 20/10,000ths of an inch. Then a Sleeve is fitted to that Lower or so called Base portion, which is absolutely flat on its underside where the holes are. The tolerance between the SIDES of the Sleeve and trapezoidal mouthpiece are left a bit slack. Thus there is only a very small portion of the assembly creating friction…the topmost portion of the Lower or Base to the underside of the Upper or Slider…where the holes are. It’s a small area of metal, mostly made up of holes. With use of slide oil, the interface should be essentially frictionless, and the gentle pressure of the lips to Upper Portion, or Slider, will provide all the downpressure needed to ensure airtightness of this simple design. This design also has the advantage that slight saliva buildup will not impinge ease of movement of parts. Very simple, very effective.

Put a slight groove in the base portion of the mouthpiece Base on both sides for a little lip at the bottom of the Upper or Slider to fit into, and little screws at either end of the mouthpiece, and it won’t come off in play.

Upper or Sliders (likely Silver or Delrin plastic) be made for testing by Kettlewel in both 1 and 5 hole versions. The 1 hole will provide what Kettlewell calls a relaxed pucker embouchure…the effect of pucker embouchure without the need to pucker the lips. The 5 hole may be played with pucker embouchure, or with tongue block corner switch embouchure, commonly used by classical musicians.

In the future, Kettlewell believes success will be found with the more complex Articulated type of Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece, but while they will have a wonderful action, Kettlewell does not believe they will significantly outperform the simpler Sleeve type.

It is expected that Sleeve type Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece designs will be applied to diatonic harps in the next year. Of course, that is a larger market segment.

The impact of this invention on the harmonica world has been defined by Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci​, one of the few composers composing music for the chromatic harmonica today…

“The Kettlewell Frictionless Mouthpiece is the most significant development and improvement to the instrument in its history. It is revolutionary concept that will change the landscape of harmonica for the better. The ease of movement on the harp left and right with no friction, ending the sliding of the lips on metal lubricated by saliva…and the problems associated with saliva drying…the will result in much greater comfort in play, and development of new styles of play. Kettlewell’s invention is on par with the development of the shoulder rest for violin in the mid 20th Century, or pianoforte to replace harpsichord. We are witnessing history in the making.”

Italian composer Andrea Antonello Nacci

David will post photos and shoot videos of the work in California for you to enjoy.

LINK TO THE ENTIRE POSTING ON THE DESIGN BY deQuelery in Holland

http://dequelery.nl/dequelery/design-study-david-kettlewells-frictionless-mouth-piece/?lang=en

Mr. Kettlewell would like to express his gratitude to all who have assisted in this effort.

DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION FOR DAVID?

.