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 Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Lee 
Date:   2000-01-13 02:55

What are the major differences between a student mouthpiece and a pro mouthpiece? I recently came across a Hite premier mouthpiece, and am amazed at how nice it plays. The intonation is good, response is outstanding, and it plays easily throughout all registers, particularly in altissimo. The main difference from my pro mouthpiece was in dynamics. I can play slightly louder and softer on the pro mouthpiece. What am I missing?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Kim 
Date:   2000-01-13 03:42

Usually pro mouthpieces are made of Zinner(hard rubber), which sounds better than plastic. Zinner produces a fuller sound than plastic does and that's why the mouthpiece sounds better.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Karel Vahala 
Date:   2000-01-13 06:18

The IMS catalogue lists Hite Premiere as "hard rubber". Is that a mistake?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: foo 
Date:   2000-01-13 10:41

Yes, it is incorrect. The Hite Premiere is plastic. I think it is an ok M.P., but the Fobes Premiere to me is a superior Mouthpiece. For $25, it plays better then many Pro Mouthpieces I have tried. WW&BW carry it, so does Muncy. It really does play like a $70 M.P., and they are very consistent. I have about 50 students playing on it, and they are basically the same from one to another - something I sure can't say about my hard rubber ones.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-13 12:02

Kim wrote:
-------------------------------
Usually pro mouthpieces are made of Zinner(hard rubber), which sounds better than plastic. Zinner produces a fuller sound than plastic does and that's why the mouthpiece sounds better.
-------
A little correction may be required here. Zinner is a company which produces mouthpiece blanks in a number of basic shapes; the mouthpieces blanks are a hard rubber. I don't believe there is any material that is named "Zinner".

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-13 12:04

foo wrote:
-------------------------------
Yes, it is incorrect. The Hite Premiere is plastic. I think it is an ok M.P., but the Fobes Premiere to me is a superior Mouthpiece.
-------
I believe you mean Fobes Debut. To me, they're a toss-up - both are excellent low-cost mouthpieces.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Lelia 
Date:   2000-01-13 12:38

IMHO the Fobes Debut and the Hite Premiere are both really good value for the money. I have a Premiere that's actually the best mouthpiece for my plastic Bundy clarinet. Don't everybody gag at once.... I think a plastic clarinet is a good thing to have for playing outdoors or in bad weather conditions indoors, for instance during mid-winter power failures. If I took a clarinet outside, there's no way I'd take a fragile, expensive hard rubber mouthpiece out there where I might drop it on pavement. The better-quality student mouthpieces serve a real need there.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: foo 
Date:   2000-01-13 15:01

opps, yes Debut, of course. Had the premiere on the brain ;)
Goofy as it is, I once had a student get the higher level line mouthpiece, and it didn't play as well as her old(broken) Debut. I had her get the debut, and it was once more great.
I use the Hite D for my older, higher level students.
I would say up till 9th grade, the Debut is perfect.



Mark Charette wrote:
-------------------------------
foo wrote:
-------------------------------
Yes, it is incorrect. The Hite Premiere is plastic. I think it is an ok M.P., but the Fobes Premiere to me is a superior Mouthpiece.
-------
I believe you mean Fobes Debut. To me, they're a toss-up - both are excellent low-cost mouthpieces.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: BAC 
Date:   2000-01-13 15:01

What would a Vandoran (sp?) 5VR be considered, a pro or student?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-13 16:45

BAC wrote:
-------------------------------
What would a Vandoran (sp?) 5VR be considered, a pro or student?
-----
I think you meant 5RV.

It's a fine mouthpiece from Vandoren.

There's no distinction I know of between "student" and "pro" level mouthpieces. There are generally "poor" mouthpieces (something that protects a barrel) and "good" mouthpieces. Pros and amateurs alike play on (essentially) the same mouthpieces. I, as a beginner, have only played on a Selmer 5RV and C85/120, Vandoren B45, and Hawkins. All of these are "pro" mouthpieces, but I'd have to <i>pay</i> people to listen to me on a streetcorner :^)

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: paul 
Date:   2000-01-13 17:27

The Hite mps seem to be a great bargain, especially for the bulk of the music market - grade school players. If only I had known about this mp back 20 years ago. Live and learn.

I have personally noticed the difference between a custom cut pro grade mp and a mass produced mp (skipping names and models intentionally here). The difference between the two is exactly as I said, one was custom cut for me and the other was mass produced with no one particular person's specifications in mind. Of course, the custom cut mp plays better and sounds better for me. I paid dearly for the custom mp, but I believe it was worth every penny.

Now, if a young student can fetch a great mp (not pro grade, but decent non the less) for a cheap price and get an overall better horn out of the deal, I'd say that's a classic win-win. The price sure is right and it makes the student play and sound much better almost instantly.


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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-13 17:38

paul wrote:
-------------------------------
Now, if a young student can fetch a great mp (not pro grade, but decent non the less) for a cheap price and get an overall better horn out of the deal, I'd say that's a classic win-win.
--------
Paul,
What's "pro grade" when some "pros" are using off-the shelf mouthpieces rather than hand-crafted?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Donn 
Date:   2000-01-13 18:41

There's an old saying that goes: Beauty is the eye of the beholder. IMHO this applies to horns, reeds, ans mpcs.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: paul 
Date:   2000-01-13 19:46

Mark:

Good point. I can recall quite a few talks with my pro tutor who said his friends in the business liked the Vandoren 2RV and 5RV mps, which either were or still are mass produced with no grade placed on the product at all.

I'm curious. I've heard of crystal, ebonite (hard rubber), metal, and wood being used in mass produced and custom mps by pros. I even know of a semipro who uses an old ivory mp. But, do you know of any pros who use plastic mass produced mps?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-13 19:59

Paul,
If by "plastic mass produced mouthpieces" you mean some of the typical junk that protects the barrel on some new clarinets - no one should be subjected to those things!

IMHO the student needs a good mouthpiece (plastic or hard rubber) and good reeds right away - there's enough to learn without struggling to get a sound out of a poor setup. My 2 students have used the Hite Premier & Mitchell Laurie reeds from day one, and have progressed very nicely.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Roger 
Date:   2000-01-14 04:38

For Paul,

How do you know what to ask for when you decide to go for a 'custom cut' mouthpiece, if all you've been using are off the shelf ones?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: foo 
Date:   2000-01-14 14:03

ok, that one didn't get by us - Mark - You have students????

cool

(I think you know who foo is, but don't say it ;)

Mark Charette wrote:
-------------------------------
Paul,
If by "plastic mass produced mouthpieces" you mean some of the typical junk that protects the barrel on some new clarinets - no one should be subjected to those things!

IMHO the student needs a good mouthpiece (plastic or hard rubber) and good reeds right away - there's enough to learn without struggling to get a sound out of a poor setup. My 2 students have used the Hite Premier & Mitchell Laurie reeds from day one, and have progressed very nicely.

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: Bonnie 
Date:   2000-01-14 16:51



Roger, I'm not Paul, but I can make a stab at answering your question. Last month I had the pleasure of meeting with Walter Grabner to try out some of his mouthpieces. He worked with me, had me play my clarinets (not an audition by any means, just to get an idea of what the horn sounded like, where there might be stuffiness, tuning problems etc. with the mouthpiece I was using). Based on what he saw and heard, we settled on one of the mouthpieces I had tried and he then proceeded to adjust it until he had it tweaked to meet my particular needs. I really like my new mouthpiece! I realize it isn't always possible to meet face-to-face with the person who is customizing your mouthpiece, but I would think the process would be similar, except that it would take a lot longer since you would be communicating back and forth (and sending the mouthpiece back and forth) about any adjustments that needed to be made to the mouthpiece you've chosen.

-----------------------------------------------------------
Roger wrote:
-------------------------------
For Paul,

How do you know what to ask for when you decide to go for a 'custom cut' mouthpiece, if all you've been using are off the shelf ones?

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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: paul 
Date:   2000-01-14 21:10

Roger:

I asked the master professional what specifications he needed to make my mp. He told me what he needed and not much more. I put down in a letter to the master professional mp maker my type/brand of clarinet (needed data), what length of barrels I used for which tuning frequency (i.e 66 mm for A=440) (needed data), my personal background and general experience with music on the clarinet(which surely isn't very much at all) (extraneous data), my requested mp style number (needed data) and my personal expectations from it (helpful data). I let the master pro do his magic from there. I left it to him to interpret how to make it work with these sometimes very fuzzy "specifications". This particular person was a student of the great Frank Kaspar. I could also pick up in our conversation that the mp maker had dozens of pending orders with a lot fuzzier details than what I gave him. Some of these customers had at least three mps on order, with different playing requirements for each mp.

I also had an insider's perspective from my pro tutor. My tutor introduced me to the particular brand and model a couple of years ago and I have to admit it was fantastic. My new pro grade custom made mp is equally great.

So, there you have it. Master professional equipment makers only need to know your expectations and very few technical details. I say let these folks work their magic as they see fit. They will be happier not being micromanaged and I think you will be happier with the results. I know I am.


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 RE: Student vs. Pro mouthpiece
Author: paul 
Date:   2000-01-14 21:16

Mark:

I have to agree with your response posting. I believe that I would have done much better in high school many years ago if I had a decent mp and good reeds, even on top of the clunker clarinet that I had. Even with all of that against me, I could still produce a good tone on that piece of junk. So, a lot of the performance can be made up by the player if he or she works at it hard enough. This also partially proves the point that a good clarinetist can make anything sound good.

However, having high quality equipment sure does make life easier. A mere $30 or so investment today in a decent mp and good reeds can put a young player potentially years ahead of his or her peers. You can prove it with your own students.



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