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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000755.txt from 2001/05

From: "Tony Wakefield" <>
Subj: [kl] New mouthpiece
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 18:00:24 -0400

I`ve changed my set up. Which means I`m going to have to do some regular
practising. The last time I did some of that was nearly 3 years ago. I had
been quite used to the Vandoren B45 spot. I liked my sound. It was dark. I
tried the Vandoren Profile M/P`s last Friday, and felt quite comfortable. I
<was> conscious of my mouth not opening quite so far as before, but thru`
the morning session I began to feel quite at home using them. Except one, of
which I`m told is designed for the Philadelphia "school", which I have to
say I don`t know anything about, except that it`s students must have jaws
built like Odd Job, the Bond movie guy - steel teeth? This was the Vandoren
M15, and I found that this M/P made me sound like a beginner. Using a 2 1/2
Vandoren, I sounded as tho` I was playing on a 1. They are designed to be
used with very hard reeds, and quite why some clarinettists are able to blow
on harder reeds, I fail to comprehend. I`m talking about strength 3 1/2, 4,
and 5. I have never blown on anything harder than a 2 1/2.

I was then introduced to the Anton Weinberg/Windcraft range of M/P`s, -
there are four, (one of which is designed for jazz, which I didn`t try) by
the gentleman who has the mouthpiece workshop within Dawkes Music. His name
is Anton Weinberg too. He explained all the differences which the
AW/Windcraft M/P is able to offer, which Vandoren can`t. Well he would
wouldn`t he - - - The material is a denser "ebonite" stuff, whereas the
Vandoren is more "powdery". They are designed by A.W. specifically to obtain
a large sound with a softer reed. They are also the same price as the
Vandoren, which to me was an attraction enough to persuade me to try them. I
couldn`t make them work fluently with my 2 1/2 reed, let alone get a fast
enough, or even plain and simply <get> a staccato. Anton heard me blow and
suggested a softer breathing approach. I eventually put a strength 2 on, and
gave it what Anton suggested, and after 1/2 - 3/4 hour I was feeling ever
more comfortable, with staccato coming more fluently. Intonation was a dream
and quite soon afterwards I said "Yes Anton I`ll have it". I settled for
the M1 Gold
Mk11. The only slight problem which turned out to be not a problem, was that
it was not the
profile shape of beak. Anton took a further 15 squid off me to do this
re-shaping, (and to also undercut a little of the M/P bore to suit the Opus
And now that I`ve had it at home for 2 1/2 days I`m (fingers
crossed) thinking that this is going to be quite an enjoyable investment.
The staccato is coming. The sound I will have to work on a little. With my
not requiring any effort at all to make the sound appear, (I have to get
used to not blowing quite so fully) I have found that my sound in not quite
so dark any more. It is more liquid, not wholly what I want, sort of Gervase
Peyer, yet focused enough for me to be able to work at intensifying the
"body" of sound.
Does that make sense? At my age anyway, I am pleased at being able to easily
create a
clarinet sound without the tiring efforts of the past. And what is of
paramount importance
to me is that my ears aren`t cringing anymore with what I perceived to be
narrow twelfths
due to Anton`s care with compatibility and measurements.

I now have to take greater care also, as the build up of "plaque" deposits
at the tip of the
beak can also cause tuning problems.

Anton Weinberg worked in the U.S. (for how long I don`t know), but I wonder
if any one from
the list has come across his playing and teaching. He has been at Dawkes
Music for nearly ten years,
so I think we must be talking about the `eighties(?) Possibly even earlier.

Has anyone else changed at my age (59), and how did they overcome problems
(if any)?


Tony W.

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