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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000237.txt from 2001/07

From: "Robert Moody" <>
Subj: [kl] Speaking of mouthpieces...
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 13:54:19 -0400

Jen mentioned that she will be trying out a "ton of mouthpieces" soon and it
got me to wondering:

1. Does anyone else on the list use a Borbeck mouthpiece?

[My "setup" consists of Borbeck 11-13 facings, strength 3.5-4 Vandoren V12
reeds, Rovner ligatures (old ones) and Pine synthetic barrels (65-67mm)]

2. What setup do you use?

The first non-stock mouthpiece I bought and used was the Vandoren 2RV during
highschool (I'm 33 now, so that was around 1986) with the Gigliotti ligature
and Mitchell Lurie Premium #5 reeds (yeah, I went through the "stronger is
better" thing with reeds) and stock Leblanc barrel. Overall, I thought, and
still think, that the 2RV is a fine mouthpiece. Not too bright and gave a
decent response in most registers. [Jim Kreger and Alberto Asercion were my
teachers (off and on) during that period-not that anyone should know those
names ;-) ]

My next mouthpiece was a refaced Vandoren B45 (accidentally acquired from
Dennis Zeisler when a I took a few lessons with him around the spring of
1987). I was down to standard Vandoren #4 reeds, still with the Gigliotti
ligature and standard Leblanc barrel. The B45 was a little "brighter" to
me, but still with a generally good response throughout. I did notice that
it had a BIG response/sound compared to the 2RV and I'm not sure whether
that had to do with Dr. Zeisler's work he had done to it or the general
nature of the mouthpiece (I'm no expert!).

Dr. Zeisler had introduced me to the Stubbins "Essentials of Technical
Dexterity for the Clarinet", of which I am musically, eternally grateful.
It was the long-tone exercises and a lesson or two with the Virginia
Symphony principal clarinetist (and her advice to practice in a corner with
the bell against the wall) that really changed things for me! All of this
together may have had a significant influence on why the B45 had such a
"bigger" sound compared to the 2RV.

When I started taking from Eddie Knakal of Virginia Beach, who also taught
the likes of Scott Andrews (look where he is now [BSO] compared to
me...sigh), we sat down and listened to recording after recording of
different clarinetist's tones. We talked about them, came to an
understanding of what we each meant in our descriptors and tried some
mouthpieces. It was during this time that I settled on the Borbeck (13) and
have been hooked since. This was also the time that I bought my first
Buffet R13 (stock barrel) and started with the Rovner ligature.

The Borbeck, to me, tends to produce a darker, smoother sound with the
ability to be brighter at the louder dynamic levels. I think because I
generally liked the German school of sound (with a tendency back to the
American school), Eddie suggested the Borbeck, Rovner and V12 set-up. At
first, and whenever I have tried other moutpieces for an extended amount of
time and returned, the Borbeck seems somewhat stuffy. But, as with other
things in life, it became an acquired taste to me and I made some
significant headway. Hitting the long-tone studies and the wall in the
corner, I began hearing comment after comment on my tone. In fact, every
guest director since I started college, has made comment on my tone. Mr.
Don Black of Shenandoah University (then orchestra director) had made
comment about a practice rehearsal recording of the Weber "Concertino", that
my tone had the ability to sound good on recording and live, equally well.
Dr. Stephen Johnston has commented many times that my tone tends to be
darker than most around Shenandoah, which is pleasant.

Anyway, all this glorfiying is not meant to brag (if I wanted to brag I
would be sitting next to Scott like we did in Regional Bands in the late 80s
instead of being an out-of-work middle school band director running back to
school in a sorry attempt to rejuvenate his future and interest in music)
but rather to supplement my question number one.

Thanks for the ear (eyes?) and I look forward to your responses.

Robert Moody

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