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 Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: MykaKS 
Date:   2019-11-11 17:07


My son plays clarinet and we just purchased him a used Yamaha YCL-34 that came with a Vandoren M13 mouthpiece. I can't tell if the mouthpiece is genuine. It does not have the full serial number stamped onto it like the Vandoren website describes. Instead it has a 13 stamped to the left of where the reed sits, and an M stamped to the right of where the reed sits. It has M13 on the front, underneath the Vandoren logo, and the 88 on one side. It does not have the 13 printed in a circle underneath the 88, like the newer ones do indicating Series 13.

It plays well and we can definitely tell a difference between it and the Hite Premiere that he's been playing on. The upper register is definitely clearer, though he will need to adjust to it. I also used a "tap test" as I saw described on another thread here. It has a deeper sound when you tap on it than his Hite, so I'm hoping that means it is vulcanized rubber and not plastic.

Since he hasn't tried other Vandorens, we're not certain the M13 is the best one for him to use long-term or if his teacher will ask him to switch to a different one. I haven't had much luck finding information about the production history of the M13 or about what older models may look like. Can anyone here tell me if I've described a legitimate older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece, or if it is likely a counterfeit?


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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-11-11 18:13

A way to check the materiel is to gently wrote on a piece of white paper, a line with the sharp edge below the cork. (Not the mouthpiece tip!)
A plastic will usually write purple where hard rubber writes a brownish color.

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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: Al_Martinez23 
Date:   2019-11-11 19:56

Can you post a couple of pictures of it?

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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-11-11 19:57

Based on what you wrote, there’s no reason to believe it’s not a real M13.

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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-11 20:47

I would not think there is any reason at all to suspect a 'copy' of a Vandoren. When originally marketed, the M13 stood for being pitched for A=440 on a Buffet R13.

However, the important part is the facing. Are there chips, scratches or areas that have been rounded off too much by the improper use of a swab? Also, there is no way to know without keen inspection whether someone had refaced it so as to make the dimensions other that what Vandoren originally imparted on it.

Still only around $100 US dollars. A great mouthpiece at a great price.

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

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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-11 21:21

The M13 doesn't have that long a history. It was developed in cooperation with Donald Montenaro, the associate principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, during, I think, the 1990s and was supposed to have been modeled on the vintage Chedeville he used in the orchestra. From the M13 sprang the rest of the Series 13 mouthpieces, although I'm not sure how much beyond the M13 Lyre Montenaro was personally involved.

The 13s were intended to have a less bright sound than what came to be called "traditional" Vandorens and were pitched lower, supposedly to match "American" pitch at A=440 Hz.

The ones I own are relatively early specimens and they look like the one you have - in particular there is no serial #. I don't have any with serial numbers. Vandoren may have started doing that at the same time they started putting serial numbers on their reed boxes - well after the introduction of Series 13 - to prevent counterfeiting. You can check a serial # on the VD website to see if the box is genuine.

It's likely that the mouthpiece you have is genuine. At least nothing you've described argues otherwise. I don't think I'd worry much about a teacher's wanting a different mouthpiece. That could happen no matter what your son starts with. The VD Series 13s (as well as the Traditionals) have their critics, but M13 is a respectable mouthpiece as far as Vandorens go. Montenaro himself recommended M13 Lyre to his students, but the M13 was his original collaboration.

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 Re: Older Vandoren M13 mouthpiece
Author: MykaKS 
Date:   2019-11-12 03:19

Thank you to all who responded to my query. Especially "kdk" who reports that my description matches similar older Vandorens. I suspect it is a 1990s vintage, similar to the clarinet. I'm glad to hear from someone else who owns one of a similar age that also doesn't have a serial number.

Thank you for the piece of mind that it isn't a counterfeit -- or at least unlikely to be one!


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