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 M13L VS BD5
Author: jeffyx 
Date:   2018-03-26 03:30

Just a quick question. What mouthpiece do you prefer and why? Personally, I like the lively yet dark sound and the free blowing nature of the M13L. However, I also like the BD5 for it's flexability, versatility, and dark tone on the altissimo. What do you guys think is the better mouthpiece and why?

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-03-26 23:13

As far as what's better always depends on the player's subjective preferences of sound and feel. That being said, here are my thoughts, coming from someone who does a fair bit of refacing work.

The M13Lyre and BD5 are both generally lower pitch mouthpieces (440-ish). The way designers accomplish the lower pitch, relative to their higher pitch counterparts, is a combination of a larger bore and larger chamber/increased depth of baffle. There are a number of effects this has on how the mouthpiece sounds and feels.

A mouthpiece with a deep baffle will generally have a sound with more depth and more emphasis on the lower parts of the sound. There are side effects of this, including the potential for increased dullness to the sound and decreased ring/projection. If the upper baffle is deepened, response can be adversely affected as well.

A larger bore and more open chamber will also allow for more quantity of air to move through. While this may seem like an advantage, it is important to note the potential problems this can cause. One issue is the loss of natural focus, the level to which the mouthpiece automatically focuses the sound. Also, while it allows for more quantity of air to go through, it can also require more air to attain a fundamental level of focus and projection.

The BD5 generally has a larger bore/chamber with increased baffle depth than the M13Lyre, so potential issues as described above will increase.

The internal considerations aside, there are differences in the facing curve/tip opening. The M13Lyre has a fairly traditional facing with a relatively close tip opening and medium long facing length. The close tip provides a quick and lively response and lowered resistance while the medium long facing provides a balance between vibrancy/flexibility and control. Essentially, this is a very efficient style of curve that requires relatively little embouchure pressure to attain good response and focus.

The BD5 on the other hand is a good bit more open, 1.13mm compared to the 1.01mm of the M13Lyre. The facing length is also a bit shorter than the M13Lyre. The more open the tip, the more resistance. The shorter the facing length, the more resistance. As far as the effect of the facing curve of the BD5, it will be inherently more resistant than the M13Lyre. The response will be slower due to this as well and require a lighter reed to compensate. The more open nature of the internal aspects of the BD5 could be seen as a compensation for the inherent increase in resistance from the facing.

What creates a good mouthpiece? I feel that a mouthpiece that responds quickly, has a comfortable blow-through, ample balance between stability and flexibility, does not require excess embouchure support in order to focus the sound, even tuning, and a good balance of the upper and lower portions of the sound. Many players gravitate towards a mouthpiece that will withstand excessive embouchure pressure without bringing too many of the upper partials, a mouthpiece that takes excessive quantity of air, and generally will allow a thicker reed cut. I don't think this is a good direction to go however, since it requires much more work to get basic functionality (response, clarity, focus, etc.) therefore limiting flexibility. Also, limiting or "cutting out" of the higher partials of the sound limits projection and makes it more likely to be dull.

Clarinetists should not be afraid of the word bright. There's nothing inherently wrong with bright, brilliance, and similar terms. The worst thing for a setup is for it to eliminate the ability to access these aspects of the sound. Having a setup that emphasizes the lower aspects of sound is one thing, but one that limits or eliminates access to parts of the sound is not a good thing.

The M13Lyre is a more efficient facing combined with more inherent focus, leaving the embouchure to be flexible in adjusting the sound for particular types of music. The more you have to use the embouchure for basic functionality and focus, the less flexibility you have to use the embouchure to attain a larger variety of tonal color and tuning.

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-03-27 14:23

Don't like either. They tune to 440, then in the upper registers they both go flat, down to 438 or so. YUK! The mouthpieces are too long.

You are also dealing with a huge difference is the sound quality, plus the wide tip openings. So why buy either?

You can opt to but the BD5 that tunes to 442 but it is a brighter sounding mouthpiece, OK for orchestra work, not for solo work.

I just don't like these on Buffet clarinets. Horrible. I've been making mouthpieces since the early 1980's and Vandoren has shoved these out of tune mouthpieces at us for years. It's time to stop. Most major orchestras tune higher than 440 so Vandoren has done us a great disservice, wrecking the preferred sound quality of the 21st century. Same with the Zinner mouthpieces.

So if you play on Vandorens plan of using shorter barrels and then having to have your horns re-tuned.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




Post Edited (2018-03-27 15:18)

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: jeffyx 
Date:   2018-03-28 07:02

I'm not having any trouble with tuning as of now. With my B12 plastic clarinet, tuning is not that bad. The only problem i'm having with my M13L is when i'm playing softly, I'm sharper especially in the lower register but I think that's because I'm clamping the reed as I'm playing. I found the Yamaha 4c mouthpiece that came with the clarinet was way too sharp so the 440 tuning actually brings it so that I barely have to pull the barrel. I might have to change it when I get a pro horn but for now, it's serving me well.

Wow! There are much more to mouthpieces than I thought... I also found the M13L to be more flexible and with it's close facing, I don't have to work as hard which I also enjoy. I also found that the BD5 was too open so I had to work harder to get the sound going.

However, I have problems keeping the same dark resonant tone in the altissimo and upper clarion because I use softer reeds (3.0 blue box) for the M13L. I find the 3.5s to be too hard so I'm sort of at this awkward middle ground where hard reeds make me bite and sound buzzy and the softer 3.0s, although sounding better, are hard to control and it sounds bright in the upper register. Currently, I'm very paranoid about the sound I'm getting. Although it's the right sound, it's not very round and doesn't have any core to it. I really liked the sound that Gregory Raden produced in his Vandoren demo video here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhPLI4jhUsE
Any thoughts on how I can sound like that?

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-03-28 17:50

Practice

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: Dan Shusta 
Date:   2018-03-28 22:17

Hi jeffyx, I just got through listening to the YouTube video of Gregory Raden. I noticed two things of importance...one in the video and one in your last posting response.

1) Gregory never mentioned playing on a #3 reed. If I remember correctly, he stated that he plays on a 3.5, 4, and sometimes 4.5, V12 reed as well as a 3.5 Blue Box.

2) You stated: "However, I have problems keeping the same dark resonant tone in the altissimo and upper clarion because I use softer reeds (3.0 blue box) for the M13L."

So, two things: Gregory plays a slightly stiffer reed. Second, you stated that 3.5 Blue Box reeds are too hard and cause you to "bite". Biting simply means a player is positioning the reed closer to the facing in order to produce a sound and in doing so changes the "texture" of the tone.

Now, from the Vandoren website, I clicked on "reeds" then clicked on "reed comparison index". According to their chart, a 3.5, V12 is equal to a 3.25 Traditional or Blue Box. As simplistic as it may sound, perhaps just changing to a 3.5, V12 reed might be a possible, easy solution for you.

If that doesn't help, I suggest sending your mouthpiece the NBeaty for an evaluation. Your M13L may simply be slightly too open. His contact information can be found on the Clarinet Mouthpiece Refacers list which is here: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=461271&t=461271 I regard Nathan as an excellent refacer. Your mouthpiece may simply need a small "tweak" here and there to make a world of difference in your playing.

Also, please keep in mind that playing in the altissimo requires a slightly different approach. If this were not so, there wouldn't be so many articles available on this very topic through a simple Google search. And, doing a search on YouTube will also yield a fair number of videos with information on how to play the third register with greater ease.

I hope the above is useful to you.



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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-04-01 08:50

The M13Lyre plays wonders if you don't think about biting but think about pushing in the sides of your mouth. It'll give you a rounder and freer sound which I think you're looking for.

Random question: I see many mouthpiece makers like Fobes and Behn make pretty closed mouthpieces around 1.00 to 1.05.

However, I also see people playing B40s with 1.20s and it's also fairly common.

I can see plenty of advantages of playing a closed mouthpieces but why are so many people playing these really open mouthpieces? I"m guessing they bit when they play to close the mouthpiece? If so, why not just get a closer mouthpiece?



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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-04-02 20:12

Generic,

Indeed, most American makers tend to make mouthpieces with closer tip openings, or at least relatively close compared to B40's and so forth. Most makers do have more open offerings. It's very possible to make a mouthpiece with a 1.15mm tip opening feel similar to a B40, especially given that all American mouthpiece makers are using something other than vandoren blanks to make their mouthpieces.

The B40 seems to me to be the "Functional B45". Vandoren certainly runs the gauntlet of facing options, but much of the time their more open tips are just too hard to play (for reasons previously described). The B40 (as well as the M30) are, relatively speaking, very open. The difference between the these two and the B45, which is in the same neighborhood of tip openings, is that the facing curves are quite long. This creates a flatter/straighter curve as well as allows more of the reed to vibrate more easily. Essentially, this makes a 1.20 feel more like 1.12 with a more standard facing length.

Sometimes people will choose these types of mouthpieces (B40/M30) because they prefer to play with excessive pressure/bite. Others may use these options to balance out the use of a light strength reed, although the increased facing length can make lighter reeds go a bit wild. There are also those who prefer to play with a very large quantity of air passing through the instrument. The larger opening does allow a higher quantity of air than a closer one in certain respects, but not without greater effort. Then there are yet more people who play like a "bull in a china shop" blowing excessive amounts of air with excessive embouchure pressure.

It's worth noting that the 13 series does tune lower than the standard version. However, it would be incorrect to ignore the large numbers of players who manage to tune with these mouthpieces quite well. It's also worth noting that if a 13 series vandoren is a favorite mouthpiece for someone but is a little low on their instrument, getting a shorter barrel by 1mm isn't the end of the world and will bring up the pitch particularly in the left hand.

Supposedly the BD5 is a modern adaptation of the Diamond Perfecta vandorens from the 1950's-60's. These were excellent mouthpieces and have a rich and chocolate-like tone that is very smooth. I don't think they really captured those qualities very well with the BD5, and it would be nice if they had a closer tip opening option, but there are players who use them successfully. I think it's a little bit closer to European tastes in some ways.

On a related side note about equipment in general, always ask why. I can't remember the teacher who said this to me, but he said "to be educated is to know why". Too many clarinet players are fantastic with repertoire, technique, practice methods, entrepreneurship, and many other aspects of music but will stop this intellectual curiosity with equipment. This isn't to say everyone needs to know everything about mouthpieces/barrels/instruments/bells etc., but everyone should have a basic understanding of these things. If nothing else, to be able to know when someone is trying to pull a fast one to sell them something. It will help you verify if someone's opinion actually makes sense, or even just be better able to understand when someone is just giving you their opinion.

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-04-02 21:26

NBeaty wrote:

> Sometimes people will choose these types of mouthpieces
> (B40/M30) because they prefer to play with excessive
> pressure/bite. Others may use these options to balance out the
> use of a light strength reed, although the increased facing
> length can make lighter reeds go a bit wild. There are also
> those who prefer to play with a very large quantity of air
> passing through the instrument. The larger opening does allow
> a higher quantity of air than a closer one in certain respects,
> but not without greater effort. Then there are yet more people
> who play like a "bull in a china shop" blowing excessive
> amounts of air with excessive embouchure pressure.
>

There are players who use these more open facings because they find advantages in using them. The reasons you list are all fairly negative - players want to compensate for some fault in their technique. Words like "excessive" (pressure/bite, amounts of air), "bull-in-the-china-shop," etc., sound pejorative. There are players, for example, who find the flexibility of pitch and tone color, the greater ease of bending notes and producing sheer volume to play over a big band necessary for their own playing circumstances.

> It's worth noting that the 13 series does tune lower than the
> standard version. However, it would be incorrect to ignore the
> large numbers of players who manage to tune with these
> mouthpieces quite well.

I think it's always worth keeping in mind that the major manufacturers of equipment don't deliberately design their products to be unplayable. One mouthpiece design may be difficult to use successfully in one stylistic environment but make life much easier in another. We make much here about the importance of the match between player and equipment. But there's also often a need to match equipment with the result that a playing environment requires.

> On a related side note about equipment in general, always ask
> why.

Often, when someone, usually a high school student, asks, in effect, "I want to replace my current mouthpiece. What should I get?" my first question is exactly that - "Why?" What is it that the current mouthpiece won't let you do? What is it that you want a different mouthpiece to help you do better?

Karl

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-04-02 22:16

I know of more than one classical player who switches from their usual M13 lyre close facing to an open B40 for the opening solo of Rhapsody in Blue. The glissando and the jazz effect are just easier to do on the B40, but for the Schubert Unfinished Symphony, it's back to the M13 lyre. Then, there are other very fine players, such as Olivier Patey and Nicholas Baldeyrou, who find the B40 flexible enough to be their main mouthpiece for many styles of playing.

The Vandoren BD5 recycles the name "Diamond" but plays very differently from the old Vandoren Diamond Perfecta. The BD5 has much thicker side and tip rails and dampens the upper partials in the sound much more than the old Diamond Perfecta. And the Perfecta was produced on a type of rubber blank that gave off a characteristic "mothball" odor when rubbed hard or worked with refacing tools. The BD5 is not made on that kind of blank.

When Pascal Moragues switched to the BD5, he had been playing an Austrian mouthpiece made by Nick Kuckmeier. To me, the BD5 plays rather like a lighter version of the Kuckmeier PlayEasy and Soloist models--with resistance and cover to the sound, and a muted, non-raspy high register.



Post Edited (2018-04-03 00:11)

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-04-02 22:55

It certainly wasn't my intent to imply only negative things for those who choose open tip mouthpiece. There are bad reasons to choose facings of all types as well as good reasons. Close tip mouthpieces are chosen for bad reasons sometimes as well.

Let me rephrase the basic points I'd like to make for reasons people choose a mouthpiece with an open tip (1.20+ specifically).

Good reasons/aspects:

- Able to use lighter reeds with ample resistance
- The wish to be able to use a more forceful (relatively) approach to air and embouchure without closing off.
- The increased distance between tip of reed and tip of mouthpiece sometimes better accommodates the use of Legeres.
- Increased "cover" or mellowness to the sound.
- Balances long to very long facing lengths.

Unfavorable reasons/aspects:
- Increased accommodation to excessive biting, limiting flexibility for tone, tuning, and other concerns.
- Decreased quickness of response
- The need for a lighter strength reed is a negative for many.
- A long facing, common to larger tip openings, can be too flexible or loose for some players.
- Decreasing the importance of quality of air in favor of quantity, losing focus and increasing difficulty with more nuanced/sensitive musical situations.

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: brycon 
Date:   2018-04-02 23:03

Quote:

There are players who use these more open facings because they find advantages in using them. The reasons you list are all fairly negative - players want to compensate for some fault in their technique. Words like "excessive" (pressure/bite, amounts of air), "bull-in-the-china-shop," etc., sound pejorative. There are players, for example, who find the flexibility of pitch and tone color, the greater ease of bending notes and producing sheer volume to play over a big band necessary for their own playing circumstances.


Great points, Karl. It's a bit of truism to say, in general, people playing less-conservative facings bite. Perhaps some do. But then some people playing M13s bite as well. Most Europeans I hear have open sounds, which I can't imagine they get with tons of embouchure pressure, and play B40s or BD5s.

For me, the sort of resistance I get from a slightly more open mouthpiece and softer reed feels better than an M13 lyre with a harder reed. And I also find the M13 lyre lacks flexibility--try playing contemporary music, for instance, on it. But that sort of setup, on the other hand, could be great for other playing situations; I imagine playing second in an orchestra and blending to the first would be rather easy with a lighter setup.

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: GBK 
Date:   2018-04-02 23:29

For the past 40 years I've been using an open mouthpiece, with a shorter facing and softer reeds. I like a lighter set-up, with a quick response, and the full tone it provides.

As opposed to using a #5 reed with a Kaspar, which I somehow played in college.

...GBK

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 Re: M13L VS BD5
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2018-04-03 00:53

GBK,

I think I felt a pain in my jaw as I read "#5 reed with a Kaspar". I played an M30 with 5's for a few weeks back in 2006 or so. It seemed like a great idea at the time...until I let my teacher try the setup and nothing but the sound of air blowing through the horn resulted. His response was, "That's what I thought...your reeds are way too hard". Not coincidentally, the muscles in my face were starting to give me trouble and endurance was reduced.

He handed me his setup (Kaspar Cicero with 3.5's) and it was like an explosion of sound, making the point quite clear that I needed to relax a bit!

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