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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000274.txt from 1999/04

From: George Kidder <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Selecting an instrument (was Religion vs. Science)
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 13:10:50 -0400

At 12:18 PM 4/4/99 -0500, Dee Hays wrote (Relative to James question about
selecting a clarinet):
>Also use a good mouthpiece. Even though some come with decent mouthpieces,
>others don't and you could overlook the best horn of all just because the
>stock mouthpiece is poor or may not suit you. The mouthpiece can make a
>tremendous difference in playing resistence and intonation.


>Other than the player himself, the most vital elements of the instrument are
>the mouthpiece, reed and proper matching of reed to mouthpiece. The
>instrument has less effect than these elements. Don't knock the student
>instruments too much as so many beginners play them only with the stock
>mouthpiece and often very cheap reeds plus the beginning players generally
>have undeveloped embouchures and breath support. I picked up a Bundy Eb
>clarinet (yes plastic) at a pawn shop for practically nothing. With the
>stock mouthpiece, it was horribly sharp throughout (30 cents on the tuner)
>and I couldn't find appropriate reeds locally either. I bought a Vandoren
>5RV mouthpiece, mail ordered some Vandoren 3 1/2 reeds, and a new ligature
>and now it plays right on the money. My husband loves the sound of that
>little Eb.
I have exactly that setup on my Efer, and it is in tune mostly. But that
wasn't what I wanted to ask.

I am curious about the matching of the mouthpiece to the clarinet, as it
affects one's trials of instruments. One would think that to make the
trials fair, one should use the same mouthpiece on all instruments. Yet one
would also think that the match between mouthpiece and instrument would be
different for instruments of different design. (Same goes for the barrel, I

So my question for those who have played many different instruments against
one another - do you use the same MP, or do you try to "match" the MP to the
instrument, and if you do, how do you decide when the results are due to the
MP or the instrument?


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