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 Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Meri 
Date:   1999-10-06 17:16

I have been wondering whether clarinet mouthpieces do, at some time or another, wear out. I'm playing on a Yahmaha 4C mouthpiece, which I've had for the last 7 years, but recently seems to be deteriorating in its tone quality. It has been confirmed that it is not my embouchre, breathing, or my reed, and definitely not my instrument. During most of those years, I practiced or performed quite often.

Has anyone else had this phenomenon? Or is it with certain mouthpieces?

Meri

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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-10-06 20:15

Have you cleaned out the internal part of the mp lately? I don't have all of the tricks for this one, but I'm certainly interested in how gunk build-up affects the playability of a mp over time. I'm also interested in how folks get this stuff removed without chemically or physically altering the internal structure and dimensions of the mp. For instance, I would think that aggressive brushing would abrade away some of the rubber on the inside, possibly affecting the acoustics around some of the sharper corners, etc.

I'll wait for expert opinions on this subject.


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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Alec Thigpen 
Date:   1999-10-06 23:30

Usually when a mouthpiece changes sounds, ease of playing, or lacks control, look into the reed situation as well as the facing. Often a couple of tiny chips or dents on the tip will affect the playing charactistics noticeably. Warpage is another possibility, due to extrememe heat - (hot water washing or being left in a hot car) though this is not a common occurrence, and you would probably be aware of this already if it was the case.

I can sometimes retry an old mouthpiece and find it plays better than I remember it did when I set it aside initially. This happened recently when I tried a Vandoren 2RV that I had decided I no longer liked. Also, the reverse happens, such as when I retried my B45 and B40.

I still like the Gregory Smith best, and a Morgan second.

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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-10-07 00:51

If you swab out the mouthpiece, it could be wearing away the bore and chamber. I never ever, ever, swab out my mouthpiece. I do, however rinse it out every few weeks or so with lukewarm water.

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 RE: Cleaning the Mouthpiece
Author: Brandon 
Date:   1999-10-07 01:16

Last year, my clarinet professor put lemon juice in a cup and then soaked the mp in it. It is just acidic to break down the gunk without hurting the mp. I would assume then that you rinse the mp in water. It might be a tad bitter!

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 RE: Cleaning the Mouthpiece
Author: William Fuller 
Date:   1999-10-07 03:04

To clean the "gunk" from my mps, I soak them in Lime-Away straight from the bottle and have never had any damage occure. I use a shot glass so that the cork is not submerged and after about 15 mins, I wipe them with a paper towell and wash them in lukewarm soapwater. The mps always come out clean as new. After seven years of playing on your mp, perhaps it is your perception of tone quality that is changing. Just a thought to add to the great advice already given by others.

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 RE: Cleaning the Mouthpiece
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-10-07 14:47

Not long back we discussed mp cleaning at length and {I} found that each did his own thing! I still use vinegar myself [5% acetic acid in water] which seems to clean out the white deposit etc, followed by very mild brushing. Good quality hard rubber is really quite tough! Lemon juice [citric acid] should also be good. As has been said, the lay and tip, IMHO, are prob the most delicate surfaces of which to be careful, but some wear by playing and drying off seems inevitable. I like to have several, quite-similar, mps available, and trade-off occasionally. Don

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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Chris Hill 
Date:   1999-10-08 04:50

When one plays a mouthpiece over a several-year period, the rails tend to cave in slightly. Ican be refaced, but there are so many mouthpieces out there which are so much better than a Yamaha 4C. Ask your teacher about mouthpieces that you should try. If you don't have a teacher, e-mail me, and I will be happy to supply you with a list.
Chris

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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Chris Hill 
Date:   1999-10-08 04:51

When one plays a mouthpiece over a several-year
period, the rails tend to cave in slightly. It can be refaced, but there are so many mouthpieces out there which are so much better than a Yamaha 4C. Ask your teacher about mouthpieces that you should try. If you don't have a teacher, e-mail me, and I will be happy to supply you with a list.
Chris

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 RE: Mouthpieces wearing out?
Author: Chris Hill 
Date:   1999-10-08 05:00

When one plays a mouthpiece over a several-year
period, the rails tend to cave in slightly. It can
be refaced, but there are so many mouthpieces out
there which are so much better than a Yamaha 4C. Ask
your teacher about mouthpieces that you should try.
If you don't have a teacher, e-mail me, and I will
be happy to supply you with a list.
Chris

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 RE: Thank you all!
Author: Meri 
Date:   1999-10-08 17:26

Thank you all!

I found the problem: it was a tiny, barely perceptible chip on the tip of the mouthpiece, which you cannot see without a small flashlight and looking at the mouthpiece from the side. As well, there was a problem with the reed table: it needed to be smoothed out.

Meri

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