Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-23 03:51

For most of you I guess this is a silly question but I would like to know the purpose of covering mouthpiece when place clarinet on stand. I usually take it out, play, then wipe and put it away. If I put on stand I remove reed, run a clothe through 2-3 times then return, put reed on and play. But I never cover the mouthpiece for I thought it might be to protect reed or keep it from drying out. Can someone seriously comment on the reason for placing the mouthpiece cover on and when and why to or not to do it. Thank You.

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-04-23 04:22

When you have had your first reed shredded by somebody walking too close to the instrument or even worse had your mouthpiece broken by somebody knocking the instrument over you'll know why. Anytime the instrument is not in my hands or next to me the mouthpiece cover is on.

A while ago the director of a band I play in spoke about the noise a metal mouthpiece cover makes when it rolls across the floor during a performance. At the next concert this happened during a quiet passage when a clarinettist (not me) dropped their cover. She smiled sweetly at him and trod on it, squashing it flat. Now we us plastic covers.

Tony F.

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-04-23 14:15

I don't use them. Some are very tight and after a few years of less the facing and table can warp. I lower the reed down so there isn't much of a chance of the reed getting wrecked.

Same with tightening metal ligatures. Just enough to hole the reed on plat and not to dent the actual mouthpiece.

Buy stands for your clarinet. If I'm recording a movie I may have 2 stands 1 for a clarinet and an alto sax and the other for the tenor sax and a soprano sax. These neatly fold up in your case. If the corner of the tip of the reed is chipped a tiny bit and it plays, I surely won't throw it out and keep using it. I may also clip the reed tip and readjust the reed. Some reeds are worth saving as the cane is amazing and will last about 6 weeks or more.

I think I may have chipped more reeds putting on that mouthpiece cover. Also nicked the tip of the mouthpiece.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2019-04-23 15:35

Hi guys — I think you’ve missed the point of a mouthpiece cap, although the OP alludes to it briefly. It’s not to protect the reed, it’s to keep the reed wet and in playing condition by maintaining the humidity. That’s why there are holes in the top, so that you can blow into it while it is on the mpc.

If you’re using a mpc cap that can come all the way down on the reed, your cap doesn’t fit your ligature — that’s a separate issue.

If I’m doubling and using cane reeds I’m definitely using a mpc cap every time I have a long rest or am tacet.


Gnothi Seauton

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-23 16:32

For me, the cap is added protection for your mouthpiece. The tip, rails, and table are all pretty vulnerable to being bumped and nicked by stuff (micro screwdriver, pencils, life), whatever may be rolling around in a case. Even just brushing past a mouthpiece on a clarinet on a stand can expose it to being hit by a jacket zipper or simply knocked over. I am paranoid enough about my mouthpieces that when I walk to the sink to rinse one off after playing, I have the my thumb over the tip just to prevent bumping into anything on the way to the kitchen!

Mouthpieces can be expensive guys (and I usually buy them in pairs....more paranoia).

As for caps, get yourselves either the Vandoren Leather Cap (meant for their Leather Ligature but fits ANY ligature/mouthpiece), or the little rubber cap by Silverstein. You can drop them all day long and no noise whatsoever. The Silverstein is short (just covers tip) so it does not provide as much protection for the bottom of the rails or table when stored in case or drawer.

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

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-04-23 17:23

I think it's more important to get kids in their bands to use mouthpiece caps than it is for an adult who principally (or only) plays at home. Kids are spectacularly careless about waving their instruments around in the air when walking from place to place or standing around and socializing before rehearsals/concerts and during breaks. They're more likely to brush the mouthpiece and reed against their own clothing or someone else's who is sitting next to them. So, I always encourage the clarinet and sax players in the bands I teach to use caps.

I use a cap as way to slow the drying process during long orchestral rests or while the conductor tinkers with some other section than the clarinets or woodwinds (I don't bother with caps when I'm playing on synthetic reeds.) I also find using the cap when the clarinet is packed away to be the easiest way to keep the mouthpiece from rolling around inside the case. The mouthpiece cutouts are shaped and sized to include the cap.

BGBG, you probably don't need to bother with a mouthpiece cap if you don't want to. If you do need to leave the clarinet for a few minutes and find that the reed has dried out a little when you come back, you can always re-wet it.


Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-04-23 17:30

It depends on where you are, but in New Mexico, James has it right. Without a mouthpiece cover of some kind, the reed's dry in about two minutes, so you have to take it off and wet it in order to get a sound out of the instrument. The Silverstein rubber things are very good for this. Back when I used metal caps, more reed damage happened because of the caps than what they were supposed to protect against.

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-04-23 18:55

dorjepismo wrote:

> Back when I used metal
> caps, more reed damage happened because of the caps than what
> they were supposed to protect against.

My only beef with plastic caps, which I prefer overall because they're quieter if they roll off of wherever you put them, is that they tend to crack, usually starting at one of the corners at the top of the cutout for the ligature. I'm sure they could be made of a material that would at least resist cracking if you push them down on the ligature a little too hard, but some of them seem to be made of fairly brittle stuff.


Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-04-23 20:11

I've noticed that when I go to a grade exam I always end up having to throw my reed away at the end, just because I get in a frazzle about trying to accommodate all of the rules of the place I am visiting and fail to protect the instrument as well as I would usually.

Usually it's because I plonk the clarinet down in the back seat of the car, while I get money out to pay my accompanist, and that is what finally does for the reed.

I hadn't thought of taking the mouthpiece cover with me, but I will do that in future. Good thought.

Reply To Message
 Re: Why Cover Mouthpiece
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-04-25 23:51

I'm seeing a worrying trend with both clarinet and sax players who put their mouthpiece in the compartment in the case with the ligature on, but with no cap fitted to it (it's usually in the accessories compartment) and in sax cases, the mouthpiece is usually put in tip downwards.

I questioned someone who has been doing this and they seemed to think the mouthpiece is safe in the case without the cap left on, but how can they be certain the mouthpiece compartment hasn't got dirt or grit in there which can damage the tip rail?

The whole point of a mouthpiece cap is to protect both the reed and mouthpiece when it's not in use, even if there's no reed fitted. If it wasn't important, then they simply wouldn't be made.

If I'm leaving my instruments on their stands whilst I'm off doing something else (interval drink or whatnot), then the mouthpiece caps/reed guards all go on to be sure no-one who decides to take a scenic route past them isn't going to damage my reeds (and oboe/cor reeds go either in the water pot set into my stand tray or in their designated reed cases).

You can't guarantee anything will be safe while you're not in your seat with your instruments around you, so take preventative measures to avoid damage or embarrassment due to someone else's clumsiness or ignorance. I watched in horror as a brass player brushed against an oboist's cor anglais reed as it was left it on its stand in a stupid place and I couldn't stop the brass player or get to her cor in time to move it while he was blundering about, then I heard the blood-curdling scraping sound as the cor reed got brushed.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 

 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Remember my login:
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact charette@woodwind.org