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 Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: NZDee 
Date:   2017-11-26 22:06

Hi there,

I'm considering whether to try a new mouthpiece. I purchased a Yamaha YCL650 clarinet a few months ago, which comes with a 4C hard rubber mouthpiece. I'm using Vandoren 2.5 reeds. My playing has improved loads this year (after decades away from playing!) and I'm just wondering what the next step up would perhaps be?

All suggestions and ideas welcome :-)
Thanks!

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: SonicManEXE 
Date:   2017-11-26 22:46

Hi there,

I like to refer to the 4C by a gag name, "the doorstop." I have witnessed people get a pretty good sound out of it, but you will certainly be better off (and probably expend less energy for the same or better sound) with a different mouthpiece. Since middle school I have been a Vandoren fan. I would recommend you try some Vandorens in the range of the 5RV, M15, M13, and even the M30. Vandorens tend to have some inconsistencies in them, so if you can test more than one of the same mouthpiece, you'd be doing yourself a huge favor. Also try the D'Addario X0. I have no experience with that one but I hear people like it. If you want to get away from commercial mouthpieces (which you don't really have to do but it may work for you), try out Clark W Fobes, and Walter Grabner. I would also suggest buying some sample packs of Vandoren 3 and 3.5 reeds, as well as D'Addario sample packs. I absolutely love the Reserves on my bass and you may find luck with them on Bb.



Jared
Ft. Lauderdale, FL & Tampa, FL

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: gwie 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 01:11

Before dropping $100+ on a mouthpiece, do try a Fobes Debut or Behn Overture, both $35 mouthpieces that are the entry-level offering from two different superb mouthpiece craftsmen, Clark Fobes and Bradford Behn.

There are dozens of current makers of mouthpieces out there, and I wouldn't get stuck on any one brand, regardless of their popularity. There are excellent mouthpieces available from the two big companies, Vandoren and D'Addario, as well as Fobes, Behn, Hawkins, Backun, Grabner, etc. If you're able to meet one of the makers in person, they can assist you in selecting one that works for your individual playing needs, and you really can't go wrong with any one of them, as they all produce mouthpieces played at all levels from absolute beginners to internationally-recognized soloists and ensemble players.

As far as reeds are concerned, again while Vandoren and D'Addario are dominant in the marketplace (and are probably easier to find than everyone else's), there are also great offerings from smaller producers. In particular I recommend the Behn ARIA, which I find is far more consistent from reed to reed than the "big guys."

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 01:31

SonicManEXE wrote:
> If you want to get away from commercial
> mouthpieces (which you don't really have to do but it may work
> for you), try out Clark W Fobes, and Walter Grabner.

I've had really good experiences in buying mouthpieces from both of these craftsmen. In addition, from my own experience, two others to consider are Chris Hill and the new "Vintage 1940 Cicero" mouthpieces from Bob Bernardo.

Karl

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2017-11-27 04:58

Ditto what Gwie said. My son is just starting out and I bought him a used Yamaha plastic horn that came with a 4C. He played on that mouthpiece for most of the first year, but we were having a terrible time finding decent reeds (Tried both Rico and Vandoren 2). I ended up getting him a Behn Overture mouthpiece and he now plays Aria 3 reeds. The mouthpiece alone made a huge and immediate difference from the 4C.

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 06:20

I'll second Fobes and/or Grabner. You can contact Clark Fobes and Walter Grabner. They will be happy to discuss and suggest a mouthpiece for you.

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-11-27 09:50

I have a Behn overture you could try out if you're in Auckland (plus quite a few other mouthpieces- Vandoren, Selmer, ESM etc). Let me know if you are in town and want to try them out (in Kerikeri next weekend if you're up north) dn

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-27 10:51

i have never found a better mouthpiece than the one Bob Bernardo made me, the Vintage 1940 Cicero model. produces a very warm sound, but has a lot of resonance. And I don't need to bite down very hard to get a good sound

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2017-11-27 20:30

I just pulled out an old 4C the other day as basically a one for one replacement in my setup, (Alpha + MoBa barrel, Rovner lig) and was surprised at how much it didn't suck. It played similar to a Debut although a Debut I thought had more resonance in the sound and was maybe a little bit easier to play.

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-11-28 02:59

Yep, if you're going to call any mouthpiece a "doorstop" there are many you'd put in line before the 4C.... I first heard that joke in reference to the Rico Graftonite but I'm sure it has origins well older than that.

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 03:24

When I taught beginners full-time, our rental vendor was supplying Yamaha CL24s with a 4C mouthpiece in the case. Some of them *sounded* passable, others not so much. I tried enough of them to realize that they were the one really inconsistent piece in Yamaha's product line. Some really were unplayable. On the other hand, except for a really exceptional clunker, if you put a soft enough reed on almost anything, a beginner can make it play. They have at the beginning no embouchure strength and in any case no embouchure concept, so they just do what they have to do to make the setup produce a sound.

If you want to try to refine things, to clear up a harsh, rough tone, move between registers smoothly, and articulate cleanly in the clarion register, it can be done on the better 4C specimens, but a better mouthpiece will make life much easier.

Karl

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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2017-11-28 03:46

FWIW, many, many years ago, I visited a music store to purchase a plastic Yamaha 4C.

They had 4 in stock. I took out my Brand measuring gauge along with the 4 appropriate feeler gauges and measured each one very carefully. As it turned out, all of them were "severely" asymmetrical or out of balance as far as the rails were concerned.

I was, of course, totally disappointed and simply walked out of the store.

I believe every player should learn the basics of doing this measurement.

I have read that some buyers from WWBW will "alter" the rails in order to try and make whatever mouthpiece they purchased play better. Having failed to do so, they would simply send them back for a refund.

My suggestion... buy one "directly" from a mouthpiece maker.

I believe your chances of getting a properly balanced mouthpiece will be much, much greater than simply ordering one from a large distributor.

Yes, you may have to pay a few extra dollars, however, IMHO, the craftsmanship quality will be superior yielding a greater, first time, playing experience.

If you can afford it, I would suggest skip the plastic beginner mouthpieces and go for a pro model. Talk directly to the mouthpiece maker and he or she will most likely lead you in the proper direction.

To me, and again, IMHO, it simply doesn't make much sense to put a $35 plastic mouthpiece on a new clarinet costing somewhere around $1600.



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 Re: Suggestions re Mouthpiece
Author: NZDee 
Date:   2017-11-28 23:34

Thanks everyone! I love hearing from so many people :-) So, I have very limited access to things where I am, but am waiting to try the Vandoren 5RV and B45, and the D'Addario X5 and X10....

I can't bring them home to try so will have to keep popping into a shop to try them out.... which I hate doing!

Thanks for all your thoughts :-)

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