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 The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2014-11-02 01:17

I am completely sold on the Ernst Schreiber (Michelstadt) clarinet mouthpiece. The particular facing that I have tried is made specifically for the American market in conjunction is professor Roger W. McKinney at the College of New Jersey. It is a close facing (1.03) with a medium short length lay (18mm) the MCK 1.

I must say that my first impression upon seeing one for the first time was to be quite skeptical. You can actually SEE the point along the facing where the reed and mouthpiece come together. I can't say that I've ever seen this before on ANY mouthpiece. I figured this would either be a great mouthpiece or an awful mouthpiece. Also the first one I tried was a translucent blue material with metal gold colored flecks in it. This looked as though it would be more at home in the movie "Frozen." I was told that the metal flecks in the material and the accompanying metal rings at the top and bottom of the tenon were there to improve the focus and depth of the sound. This mouthpiece was one of the most responsive and vital sounding mouthpieces I'd ever played and probably would have bought it on the spot if it were not just a sample.

As it turns out, there are also solid black acrylic versions of the same facing (MCK 1) and I had the opportunity to try this one and another 'blue' mouthpiece side by side today. Firstly, and almost as important as how well they play, they are 'dead on' consistent from to the other. I could not make out ANY reasonable differences amongst these mouthpieces (the sample or the other two) in terms of how they looked (dimensions, rail thickness, baffle, finish) or how they played (responded). The mouthpiece of the translucent blue acrylic with the metal flecks embedded into it has a little less ping (from this side of the horn that is.....I did not have a colleague around to address sound from a distance this time), so it felt a bit more warm. Other than that they played EXACTLY the same.

They are for classical clarinet players and are in the same family of facings as the Vandoren M13, 5RV Lyre and the CL4.

Currently I was regularly playing an M13. This mouthpiece immediately felt and played better for me in every respect (all the way to triple "C" and back!!!!). Now as I play with the ESM (and I mean toy with it), bouncing back and forth from it to the M13 I find that it is even to play.

The US retail on this mouthpiece is a little over $100 US dollars. I think this mouthpiece is GROSSLY underpriced.

Well worth anyone's time and effort to try one.

..................Paul Aviles

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: RLarm 
Date:   2014-11-03 00:49

Dear Paul,
Who is the US distributor for these mouthpieces? I'm afraid that I have the "mouthpiece disease" that afflicts so many clarinet and saxophone players.

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: James S 
Date:   2014-11-03 00:58

Hey RLarm!
They're distributed in the US by Moe-Bleichner. I'm not sure what sort of dealership network they have, but you can contact them at

Owner, James Clarinet Shop

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2014-11-03 19:41

Also available through "Madison Band Supply" in Madison AL (my contact).

I wanted to post a correction to my first impression (I have the problem of not always being attentive to details). The point that is a visible difference along the side rails is actually about 2 1/2 mm further back from where the reed and mouthpiece diverge. It finally occurred to me what is going on - the mouthpiece is made backwards !!!!!

what do I mean by that?

In every other mouthpiece (even Vandorens that are mostly machine built) the gross dimensions are all done in the CNC process but there is always "finishing" marks that are clearly visible on the side rails, down the baffle and even along the side of the tone chamber. In the ESM it seems apparent (now I may be wrong but............) that the table had a last bit of flattening after the mouthpiece was 'machine complete.' Also (oddly enough) the bore seem to have had a bit of extra last minute touches. This is made all the more strange looking by the fact that all three rails, the baffle, and walls of the tone chamber are as smooth (and relfective) as glass, looking for all the world like one of those plastic molded Golden Tone mouthpieces. This makes me all the more shocked at how much I love the response of this mouthpieces. I even seem to have more smoothness at all the 'break' points along the horn.

One note to keep in mind: It is 1 1/2 mm shy of the length of the standard Vandoren fare, and seems to want to be that much higher in the altissimo. I normally tend to be on the side of those on this Board that put PITCH above most considerations when shopping clarinets and mouthpieces, but on this mouthpiece I am MORE than willing to learn a little compromise .......... and y'all know how hard that is for me. :-)

...................Paul Aviles

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: TomS 
Date:   2014-11-04 16:22

I've contacted Madison Band Supply ... they have a few in stock but I haven't info on available models and prices ... yet.

Since I am a M13 fan, I might give the ESM a try.

Thanks for the tip.


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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2014-11-04 21:17

Is the solid black acrylic model you tried one of the "Heaven" models, or does that designation apply only to the translucent acrylics with embedded metal flecks?

Does this same model also come in traditional rubber or is the choice between one kind of acrylic and another.

Finally, could you give the official company model order numbers for both the black acrylic and the translucent metal-embedded one?

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2014-11-05 02:28

I had contact with the representative in both Germany and Savannah GA, neither offered an official order designation (sort of odd, since the website almost implies you can order a myriad of combinations which in reality is not true). They both referred me back to Madison Band Supply.

The BLUE model is the HEAVEN. I did as stated earlier find the response and tuning identical, however the timbre seemed more subdued on the Heaven. Along with not getting a full description of whether other combinations are available I do not have a good sense of whether these are available in the described wood or hard rubber. I was much more curious about the acrylic to begin with since I wanted to compare them with my Wurlitzers from circa 1984 (which I never fully enjoyed).

..............Paul Aviles

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: TomS 
Date:   2014-11-05 04:15

OK ... I think I am gonna spring for the blue one ... might have to paint it with black shoe polish in order to avoid suspicion and snickers ...

I don't have a price yet. I hope these aren't made from non-obtainium ...

Trying to find out more about these ...


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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: TomS 
Date:   2014-11-05 18:34

The typical street price for the black is less than $105.00 the blue is less than $145.00. And, they are a hot seller!

I hope posting an approximate price doesn't violate the rules of this Bulletin Board.


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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: vintschevski 
Date:   2014-12-22 08:24

I've had a good look at the ESM site and couldn't make this out for sure: does the ESM MCK1 black mouthpiece come with a metal ring or can one choose to have the metal ring or not, and does the metal ring make much difference to the sound?

Hoping one of you might know! Thanks!!

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Presto 2017
Date:   2014-12-22 11:04

I ordered my MK1 direct from ESM. I am in Dublin, Ireland. I am not a professional - just a serious amateur. I contacted ESM through their website. The service was excellent and the people a joy to deal with. I ordered the MK1 with ring, which is optional. It is finished beautifully. Can't tell if the ring makes a difference but the mouthpiece plays very well for me. Just right resistance. Easy articulation and steady responsive altissimo. Not sure of the detailed measurement spec's but I use 3.5 VD traditionals or equiv Legere/Forestone. I was so pleased I switched to it as my main mouthpiece. I then ordered a second for backup! This arrived a week ago and it is very much the same as the first. In fact, honestly, I can't tell the difference. The consistency is exceptional. At the current price point it is definitely worth trying.


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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2014-12-22 11:30

Hi Jim -

Apologies to Paul, as I don't want to divert this thread, but I had a quick question for you and couldn't figure out how to send you a private message. I'm about to order my first Legere reed and, like you, also use Vandoren traditional 3.5. What Legere model and strength have you found that works best for you? Thanks!


Post Edited (2014-12-22 11:31)

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Presto 2017
Date:   2014-12-22 14:01

I'm afraid this is going to seem vague and ambiguous as reed strength is so subjective but here's my current status. I use the Quebec model. I don't find them that consistent one to another though once you get one that works it lasts a while. I have 3.5s and 3.75s that work. I'm in Europe so can't avail of the Legere exchange facility. If you can, try a range from 3.25.
Forestone are just as tricky to bottom out. I'm currently trying out the hard and extra hard black bamboo. I find the Legere deeper/rounder/broader in sound initially but I struggle with really fine articulation. The new Forestone reed seems soft at first but I find is good for articulation and altissimo. I find it easier for tone manipulation and have now managed to get 'my sound' with it. Jim

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2014-12-22 15:28

Presto wrote
" I'm in Europe so can't avail of the Legere exchange facility."

I'm in Australia and my local dealer was happy to honour the Legere exchange facility. Put a bit of pressure on your local dealer or try contacting Legere direct.

Tony F.

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2014-12-22 15:30

Thanks for the detailed response, Jim. If the reeds are not consistent one to another, but only consistent individually with themselves for a time, it seems to me to be a loss of about half their appeal - especially considering the expense and lack of ability to adjust them. That would be a topic for another thread though.

Ricardo Morales just shared in a Backum video over the weekend that he's been playing nothing but Legeres for the past 18 months. I have a feeling that will generate some fresh discussion - and synthetic reed sales.


Post Edited (2014-12-22 23:13)

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: donald 
Date:   2014-12-22 15:39

The NZ distributers of Legere reeds will not allow ANY exchange (they have never done, despite this being originally policy coming from Legere). This is a big pain in the arse and makes it much harder for me to get students to use them (for a while I had Legere 2, 2.5 and 3 in my case for students to try to find the best strength). The stupid thing is- they let people try different mouthpieces out, but not the reeds even though it's actually easier to sanitize the reeds after they've been "sampled"

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2014-12-22 17:49

You know, I've gone through my own fantastic voyage with the Legere reeds and I find that it is very difficult to find that "air/embouchure balance" in order to achieve a good sound. When it DOES happen, that balance point is VERY narrow and does NOT allow for any variance of pitch (to any workable degree) so you find yourself in the position of an oboe player having to work with what you have......period.

For me, the solution was two fold. On my closed mouthpieces I needed to maintain a slightly harder Legere than what I liked in a Vandoren which works out to an equivalent strength Quebec cut Legere. The other solution may actually be the best in the long run (if I were willing to change up everything for this project). I found (for myself) that the 3.75 Quebec seemed to be an ideal in resistance and sound. But to make them work I needed to change my mouthpiece (B40 seemed to work pretty well). As I am less inclined to throw out the last 14 years of development, that solution must wait.

In the end, going back to a Vandoren reed just opened up all the colors and flexibility of dynamics and pitch that are shrunken to a small point by synthetic reeds........they are still not at the point where they are 'state-of-the-art.'

.............Paul Aviles

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 Re: The GREAT ESM Mouthpiece!
Author: crelias11 
Date:   2021-08-28 14:49

I just bought the Blue heaven JP7 mouthpiece on 8/23/21 from Andreas Moe $159 most places, his price as well. My Superior needed minor adjustments after after sitting idol for 18 months. My daughter played the emperior bass clarinet.its the last one before the new high price increase. The Superior is going up as well. Glad I got mine at $5,000. I now have 4 or 5 mouthpieces snd this one is the most responsive. Tonguing much easier. Still playing with a darker sound since I'm really a bassoonist.

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