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 Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: apaul001 
Date:   2018-01-28 19:29

I'm in the market for a new mouthpiece, and it's been so long since I've bought one, I don't even know where to start. Plus, I'm playing on an instrument that's new to me (a fully restored pre R13 Buffet), so, no idea what the good options are for that instrument. I've googled comparison charts but am a bit leery of them, as so many are just manufacturers' specs without interbrand comparisons and of course each manufacturer wants to sell their own product. The sound I'm going for is the rich warm one. I'm not so concerned about projection, as I'm just starting to play again after many years' absence and won't be allowing anyone else to hear me for some time! My end goal is to play well enough to get on the third stand of my town's community band. (Baby steps!) My chops are still pretty soft but coming along nicely with exercises and practice. It begs the question, is now even the right time to fit my horn with a new mouthpiece, or should I wait until I'm in better shape? Or maybe a new mouthpiece of good quality will help me improve faster? Currently I am playing on my 40 year old Selmer 2 Star (which never had great care and was subject to all kinds of abuse through marching band, etc.) and I'm on a #2 reed, just about to transition to a 2 1/2. With this 2 Star I was cautioned not to go too hard reed-wise, so have never used stronger than a 3. BTW, I'll need a new ligature that goes well with whatever I buy and meets my needs. Reed recommendations always welcome, too. ; )

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: jonathan.wallaceadams 
Date:   2018-01-28 20:20

Do you want a dark sound or a bright sound?
Do you have to struggle to get the depth of sound you want?
Do you like a covered feel or a free-blowing feel?
Do you want to be loud or restrained?
Do you want to experiment with harder reeds?
Professional or Intermediate mouthpiece?

Intermediate Mouthpieces:
Dark sound: Vandoren M13 Lyre ($90)
Free-blowing, Bright: Vandoren 5RV Lyre ($90)

Bright, Free-Blowing: Bonade Silver Cut-Out ($40)
Dark, Resonant: Rovner Versa-X ($40)

Behn ARIA 3.5 ($35/10)
Gonzalez 3.25 ($20-35/10 on eBay)
Vandoren 56 Rue Lepics: ($25-30 on Amazon)

There are a lot of other options for professionals that cost more and are better, but this is to get your head wrapped around it.

Just an aspiring student.
Buffet Tradition
Mpc.: Hawkins "G", Barrel: Moba, Reeds: Reserve 3.5+

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: Luisebv 
Date:   2018-01-28 20:51


Maybe you must look for the Vandoren B40 or B45, is the most suitable for you. Is easy blowing, you can easily move to higher reed strength. And is a good and reliable mouthpiece.

For ligature you can use the rovner ones, what ever you want to fit (because their are ultra durable and bendable danger free)

If it's dark or bright thing i think it's not important now, you will notice in the way. But You must concern on the reliability of s good mouthpiece

Hope this help

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-28 22:16

I'd wait until your embouchure is set, your muscles are strong, mainly the upper muscles, then start looking. Maybe in 4 months to a year? Depends on how many hours you put into practicing.

If you are not into practicing much get a fairly close mouthpiece tip opening so your muscles don't get tired. I would suggest something around a tip opening of 1.03mm's. Probably nothing over 1.05.

Alot of people like the Vandoren M13's but I don't because the mouthpieces are too long in length and in the upper registers you will be playing on the flat side.

I do like the Selmer Concept, but it will need to be touched up a shade. I don't like the Rico line as the bore is too small. The Vandoren B45 is an all around good mouthpiece at a very decent price. It has been around for maybe 50 years. The B40 I think may be too open for you at the moment, but surely a nice mouthpiece.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: lgomulka 
Date:   2018-01-28 22:27

Thank you

Post Edited (2018-01-30 00:09)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-01-29 02:14

Selmer's Focus and Concept mouthpieces are really good mouthpieces given the fact that they are $95 and they are not custom made or hand made ones. The Focus has a smaller tip (1.05), so you might want to use that since it wouldn't make your muscles work as hard to produce a good sound.

But I would suggest waiting a while for your embouchure to strengthen up a bit, then try as many mouthpieces as you can. Mouthpieces are extremely subjective.

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2018-01-29 04:30

B40 vandoren
B40 lyre
or M30 or M30 lyre

David Dow

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-29 13:23

I play a clarinet mouthpiece Vandoren BD5 and like it, however, I believe I can use something that will help with the notes around the break of the clarinet, C's, B's, etc.. I'm thinking a slightly more open mouthpiece than the BD5? Does that make sense? Any input i appreciated. Or is my issue more instrument and/or reed related?

The BD5 in my opinion, is a completely different mouthpiece. It's not like any other one because the voicing to achieve a good tone is a lot more different from other mouthpieces and it's a lot more resistant than other ones. The BD5 i play on actually excels on notes around the break because it projects to well on the upper clarion register.

If you're looking for a more free blowing/open mouthpiece, just look anywhere else. I believe the BD5 is one of the most resistant mouthpieces. I don't have a recommendation but there are some very experienced players on this forum who can help you!

Post Edited (2018-01-29 13:31)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: gatto 
Date:   2018-01-29 15:53

I play and like the BD5. Reeds V12 and V21 strength 3.5. I cannot confirm that it is resistant, or more resistant than others. Before I played the B40 and the B45dot, with a half strength less (the B40 even with 2.5). With my quite "weak" embouchure I feel much more relaxed with the BD5. I find the sound of the BD5 and the B40 quite similar (but not equal).

As ligatures I use a Rovner Versa and a Buffet Crampon ICON rose gold / black nickle, and I like them both.

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-29 18:10

The key word the this post is he is -"Just starting out again." Second clue, "I'm on a number 2 reed."

Why would anyone suggest a tip opening of around 1.13 to 1.20? This is called getting bloody lips!

We need to be careful with too open mouthpiece recommendations. A lot of them are way too open, such as the B40, the BD5, and even the M30 which will most likely play flat, because it is too long so he will have to buy a shorter barrel when playing the upper registers or bite to play in pitch if he is in a group. Of course check a meter to be sure. As we all know you can test 20 Vandoren mouthpieces and not one will play the same.

The Selmer Focus is a very good recommendation.

Maybe after a year if he plays a lot it would be a good time to try more open mouthpieces. I repeat - Maybe...

Yet he doesn't have to.

Remember Harold Wright played on a 1.01 tip opening and Robert Marcellus was around 1.10 as recorded, but it was actually 1.09 according to most of my record keeping. Some of these mouthpieces listed above start at 1.13 and go up to 1.20. Yet both Harald and Robert had no issues filling and ringing the halls of their orchestras.

He needs to be comfortable and get a nice sound, without getting bloody lips.

Large tip openings doesn't mean big sounds. The German players hardly ever go over 0.950, but they also fill the orchestra halls with beautiful warm sounds. Yes I know they are playing German systems, but the concept is the same. I also realize things are different now, but maybe that is a bad thing. Not a good thing. My choice of words must be noted, German players have a warmer sound and the word dark often means dead, because the sound doesn't always project. The German mouthpieces have a shallow baffle and chamber and we want that deep dug out Zinner chamber which often causes the notes not to ring out to the back of an orchestra. But up close the Zinner's sound really sweet. 20 to 30 feet away they are dead. There isn't that ring that Robert and Harold got. Even Ricardo with the Philly Orchestra has been seen playing on a crystal mouthpiece made by Pomarico because his Zinner was that dead sounding. The Pomarico is stamped Backun, but Backun doesn't know the first thing about mouthpieces. The Mitchell Lurie crystal mouthpieces were also made by Pomarico and I was the person that adjusted the facings on some of them, using diamond dust.

We Americans kind of all have similar sounds. Let's get away from this and force mouthpiece makers to make great mouthpieces again. Right now Selmer is close, but they aren't there yet. Since they've been sold I hope they don't stop making the Concept and the Focus.

Yet the actual "German Zinner" mouthpieces not the American ones have shallow baffles/chambers. These are warm sounding. Order a few if you don't believe me. I already did.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

Post Edited (2018-01-29 18:59)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-30 09:53

I just tried the BD5 and M13L side by side. I've been playing the BD5 for a the majority of the winter by now and my band director lent me a M13L to try out because the BD5 left me so fatigued and sore after a rehearsal and practice session.

The M13L is a lot different. Voicing is a lot different and going up to clarion high C, it was so blatty and shrill but after a good hour, I found a way to control it and it sounds more warm and controlled. I really like the M13L. It is such an easy mouthpiece to play on. I can tongue super fast on it which makes the Weber concertino a breeze. Also, I can play more expressively with it and I could play louder and project more. I felt like with the BD5, I was restricted to my playing because it was so resistant and warm. It felt hard to truely express the music I was playing because I was more focused on getting the note to speak and not to mention to stop the throat tones from being so fuzzy. With the M13L, it's so much easier to play slower phrases and play them expressively. Although tone is rather bright right now, I believe my tone will get better as I continue using the mouthpiece.

I think Bob pointed out that the upper register has a tendency to be flat and I realized that as well. As I go up, the instrument gets flatter. This is concerning because once I tune my instrument with the register B, the lower register gets sharp. However, I didn't think about it too much because it wasn't that significant. 5-10 cents depending on the note. I believe I can adjust it as I get more used to the mouthpiece.

However, as of now, I've never felt better. I just finished a 1 hour non stop practice session and I don't feel tired and my lower lip doesn't hurt from all the constant biting.

I still understand that tuning is a concern and I might have to let go of the mouthpiece just because of that reason. However, if somebody knows a good dark mouthpiece that has the same free blowing and response to articulation as the M13L, I'd be very happy to try it out!

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-01-30 23:57

How a mouthpiece feels and the effort it takes to play is the result of a network of physical features that go far beyond just the tip opening. The size and shape of the bore and tone chamber certainly affect the resistance of the mouthpiece.I find the BD5 fatiguing to play but I can easily play the Vandoren B40 for hours, with a #3 reed, even though I prefer the concentration of much closer facings. And the B40 is more open at the tip than the BD5. The M13L and the even closer M13 are very easy for most players to play and voice. The M13L is a little rounder in sound and easier to blend with other instruments than the M13, and both can be played for extended periods with little fatigue. The B40 and the BD5 have more "covered" tonal properties for players looking for that type of sound but for me at least the B40 is the more efficient, less resistant and easier to play of those two.

Post Edited (2018-01-30 23:59)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-31 01:51

Eric - Thank you for understanding my comments. Also thank you for not taking my word and testing out for yourselves, knowing no one is perfect and we shouldn't ever take the opinion of a player, a mouthpiece maker, or anyone's word without checking out things yourself. If the Vandoren M series mouthpieces were shorter they would be ideal for his situation, but in this case I wouldn't suggest it. If the BD5 mouthpieces weren't so open at 1.13 this would be a great mouthpiece. But for beginners this could cause bloody lips and also cause the player to hate clarinet playing.

I'd love to see "apaul001" jump to a 2 1/2 reed for a month and then a 3 strength reed BEFORE buying a mouthpiece. Then deciding on a mouthpiece will be a lot easier as his embouchure may be more stable; however maybe the mouthpiece now is all chewed up, forcing him to play on light reed strengths. Hard to say. As we all know just a tiny nick on a facing or the table and the tip can cause a mouthpiece not to play.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-31 07:02

Thanks Bob! It means a lot to me. I think one of the things we need to all learn as clarinet players is to be more open minded. I see lots of students and teachers saying that one model is better than the other or that they must only play on this setup. However, every player is different and every mouthpiece or instrument is different and it is up to the player to decide if it fits them. To me, that's one of the hardest thing about playing the clarinet. It's so easy to get overwhelmed because there are so many components to the clarinet.

Going back to the original discussion, if you're playing on an unusable mouthpiece, I would first get a Clark and Forbes Debut mouthpiece until you develop a proper embouchure and get the muscles are strengthened up. Then, you can look for one that suits you better by looking for nuances you liked or disliked about the mouthpiece so you get one that fits you better. It's a really popular and standard mouthpiece so there will be people to help you pick on out!

In the end, you get to have a mouthpiece that fits you and not one that you try to fit in and a nice inexpensive mouthpiece for emergencies!

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 Re: Mouthpiece Recommendations
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-31 19:54

Eric I concur with your comment. Why spend $150 when you can get a good playing Fobes for about $60. Best deal anywhere.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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