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 CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-11-07 00:20

I have a (part-time) student using a CL4 Vandoren. He has a good sound, but at times, it's harsh-strident-spread. Since I'm not familiar with the CL4s specs, are their any better options in the Vandoren line-up from your experiences? He has auditioned various Vandoren products on his own (I wasn't there) and he rejects them after a couple of days and goes back to his CL4. He's not sure exactly which ones he tried. I get the impression he likes the feel of the CL4, but I don't care of the end results in quality. When he tries other models response falls short.

It does not have to be Vandoren (though they are easy for him to get a hold of). For example, is there a comparable Behn with the CL4 specs?

What have y'all seen as being problematic with the CL4? (For example, maybe it has a short baffle which could cause problems X,Y,Z...Try Vandoren's model A, B, or C instead).

He recently switched to Behn's Aria reeds. I could hear the improvement in his sound immediately. But he's advance enough (All-Stater) to start considering an upgrade.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-07 01:35

So much information is missing.

< At times he sounds good.

When is this?

Maybe he needs to go back to basics. I think everyone should warm up playing long tones, starting with low E. So perhaps he needs to develop a good embouchure. This is missed now with a lot of teachers. So many players at all levels have weak embouchures, or embouchures that could be better. This is something even the very best pros often do to test reeds, warm up the horns, check out the sound of a hall and get their lips working.

I'm not saying to change mouthpieces, in fact it may be a good idea to find something which he sounds decent on. But how old is he? How many years has be been playing, what horns is he playing on? Does he play scales everyday? When does his sound go south, after playing for a period of time, the upper register?

I do know that for a good sound long tones everyday and scales work well. Such as low F going up to 3 octaves. Just an example. After a few months see how he is doing. THen maybe it will be time to find a mouthpiece or maybe the mouthpiece is actually OK.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-11-07 02:01

His sound is best when he's relaxed (isn't everyone's). Though I haven't heard him this semester yet, he was doing long tones...during his lessons...in the spring. I plan on revisiting his embouchure this week. Think I'm going to bring a straw.

But when he gets nervous, notably in technical passages, his sound thins out. His technique is beyond his age, 17, but needs to be a more rounded player. He's playing for six years. Currently on a mediocre R13. It's almost like he doesn't have enough muscle memory to maintain his sound when he starts to focusing on technique.

So I was thinking perhaps equipment could be working against him instead of for him.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: JF Clarinet 
Date:   2017-11-07 02:29

I'm only a college student and I don't know much about mouthpiece measurements and anything like that, so take what I have with a grain of salt.

I have played on a cl4 for the past 2-3 years. It was never perfect for me, but I found myself coming back to it over the others I had (selmer c*, vandoren b45, and a few stock mouthpieces that I've never liked). I have found that on the cl4, I've really liked my quality of sound, but my dynamic control has been limited, and articulation has been indistinct. My pitch has also been high for a while.

My professor recently had me try a BD5 series 13, and I liked it a lot more. It felt a little more resistant, but I was able to get a much greater dynamic range and had more clear and easy articulation. I feel my the quality of my sound has stayed pretty much the same.

I went to my local store to try out a bunch of them and pick my favorite. Something to note is that I found drastically different sounds and characteristics between 7 BD5 series 13's. On a few of them, I was not able to get a sound I was okay with. I've been on my BD5 for about two weeks now and have no complaints. I know that a few of the other clarinetists at my school have been switching to BD5s too.

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-07 04:10

I've always found the CL4 fatiguing to play. Something about the facing length and curve in relation to the tip opening is stressful over the long term and not quite right. Two other Vandoren models that are easier on the embouchure and very easy to articulate on are the M13 lyre (played by Raden and Burt Hara among others) and the M13. The MoBa C and L models are much more expensive (though used ones often sell at a reasonable price) but also easy on the embouchure and responsive in articulation. The Vandoren M15 should also not be overlooked, especially for players who seem comfortable only on facings more open than the M13 and M13 lyre. The BD5, now fairly popular in orchestras, is not the best for all students, though some can handle it. I think it takes more experience and a mature embouchure to play--much more than the Vandoren 13s and the Mobas which sound good when both students and pros are playing them and are not fatiguing when you have to blow them for hours on end.



Post Edited (2017-11-07 09:52)

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-07 05:55

I've played on the Cl5 for awhile. Sound projects well, but the sound is a little too spready in my opinion. For me it's not fatiguing since the tip opening is actually narrower than what I usually play on.

You said in your 2nd post that he sounds fine when he is relaxed, but his sound thins when he gets to technical passages. Being an 4 time high school All-Stater, 17 years old as well, I had that experience before, and it sometimes still a problem for me, but it's improved a lot. I think it has to do with unneeded tension, maybe biting, that's causing the problem. When we get to technically challenging areas, the tendency is to not care about our embouchure, tongue position, and voicing, and let our throats produce a kind of "eee" sound instead of "awwhhh" sound. Don't know if that makes sense, but no matter what I play nowadays, I think of "awwhh."

Maybe a pro will explain it better. Check out Albrecht Mayer teaching this concept to an oboist during a masterclass on the oboe solo in the Brahms's 1st Symphony (skip to 2:35 in the video): https://youtu.be/GZMxCOXWBzE

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-07 06:19

zhangray4 wrote:

> For me it's [the CL5] not
> fatiguing since the tip opening is actually narrower than what
> I usually play on.
>

The CL5 is a 113.5 tip opening. What do you usually play on that's more open than that?

Karl

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-07 06:57

Let's get back to basics. He is closing his throat most likely if he is getting an eee sound.

On youtube I've referred people to Lee Morgan. He gives short lessons and one of them is on sound, the position of the throat and saying euuu. This pretty much keeps the throat open.

Another technique is a must to master. Every player should do this. The tongue needs to be as close to the reed as possible. This does 2 things. Fast articulation of course. But also it keeps the throat open. To learn this is not so hard. It is best to learn this backwards. Take a quarter note and put the tongue on the reed. Release the note and air will follow, then stop the note with the tongue while still breathing. When doing this instruct the student to keep the tongue as close to the reed to stop the airflow. And lightly. Guess what, the tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the body. Use only one note, not a scale. After a week or 2 or so reverse this lesson and blow into the horn and keep the tongue as close to the reed as possible and stop the airflow every quarter note beat. This may take more time to master. Perhaps months. Doing the euuu, Lee Morgan concept. Just one note. Maybe open G, F, doesn't matter, just one note. Then 8th notes, 16th notes, then work on scales.

Increase the speed a bit each week. The goal would be to articulate scales, 16th notes, at or about 132. on the metronome would be your final goal. The more sharps and flats well a bit slower. After 132 it's time to consider double tonguing if possible, or wait for college. I'd rather wait and learn as much music as possible.

As for mouthpieces I am NOT a huge fan of Vandoren's. Same with a lot of others. Some are OK. But the M series, such as the M13, M13 play flat in the upper registers. Other Vandoren mouthpieces are pretty darn good, but tend to be too open. The tip openings. The length of the Vandoren's are just too long in length. So if you buy one expect to buy a shorter barrel. I'm having brain fog at the moment. I may have something really good around the house I can donate to a student. Email me if you can't find something.

I would look around for something right in the middle. A tip opening around 1.05 to 1.07mm's. Forget about the names. Look for thinner rails. This allows reeds to vibrate freer. A problem he may be having. Thick rails sound good sometimes, but cause all sorts of projection and resistance problems. Hope all of this helps.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-07 08:24

Hi Karl, at the time, before I tried the CL5, I was playing on a B45 13. To be honest, my sound wasn't that bright and I was never fatigued when playing. I mean compared to most people who play on M13 to get that super dark sound, my sound would be on the bright side, but not edgy. Played on them with 3.5 Vandoren V12s. Then I went to national honor band in which I realized everyone was playing single lip there, and I changed to single lip for a period of time, and I think I developed the bad habit of biting after that. In addition to the fact that I bought the R13 soon after, which was slightly flatter than my E11 France. So biting became a bigger issue, and my sound became very bright.

Now I play on a M30, although I would much rather play on the mouthpiece Bob made me. Or maybe even the B45. I don't like the M30 at all. But my teacher won't let me change, at least not at this moment, since college auditions are coming up and he is afraid it's too risky to change mouthpieces so close to the audition. I think the M30 is at 115 mm, so it's slightly more open than the CL5, although the CL5 has thicker rails probably.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-07 21:02

zhangray4 wrote:

> Now I play on a M30, although I would much rather play on the
> mouthpiece Bob made me. Or maybe even the B45. I don't like the
> M30 at all. But my teacher won't let me change, at least not at
> this moment, since college auditions are coming up and he is
> afraid it's too risky to change mouthpieces so close to the
> audition. I think the M30 is at 115 mm, so it's slightly more
> open than the CL5, although the CL5 has thicker rails probably.
>

The M30 is indeed 1.15 mm and the CL5 is 1.135, and both are described by Vandoren as having Long curves, so they're practically the same facing and whatever difference you feel is either a case of individual sample variation or it's inside - the size and shape of the chamber, baffle height, maybe as you mention the rail thickness, throat measurement, etc..

Your teacher is probably right not to want you to switch to a much closer tip opening or curve length so close to auditions. You don't say what the facing is like on the Vintage Cicero you got from Bob, but he's mostly putting closer tips on them, I think. Still, I wonder what your teacher would say if you actually sound better on the B45 or the CL5 than you do on the M30. If you like the way one of the others plays *and can produce better results on one of them* I'm having trouble understanding what the danger would be.

Just for fun, do you have any way to try another M30 or two? I mentioned sample variation. Chances are two M30s will sound different from each other. You might feel better without having to challenge your teacher directly by finding a M30 you like more than your current one.

Karl

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-11-08 00:33

What's the tip on the CL4?

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-08 01:24

Vandoren lists the CL4 tip opening as 1.10 mm.

https://www.vandoren-en.com/file/162039.



Post Edited (2017-11-08 01:26)

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-08 06:07

per Vandoren's own table, 1.10 with a Long curve.

Karl

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 Re: CL4 Mouthpiece...better options?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-08 08:37

One mouthpiece that works well for some students that I neglected to mention is the ESM (Ernst Schreiber) MCK1 model. This German mouthpiece for regular Boehm clarinets is made of high quality acrylic rather than rubber, has a facing open 1.03 mm at the tip, and is 18 in length. It sells on internet for about $107.00, and a few retail stores carry it. The standard model comes in opaque black acrylic (though there is also a transparent "blue heaven" model as well.) For about $40 more, both the black and the blue models can be had with a metal ring added to the tenon. I cannot detect much difference in the (pleasant) sound or response with or without the tenon. I've tried at least 5 of these, and they have been very consistent.



Post Edited (2017-11-08 18:18)

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