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 Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: BaconLord 
Date:   2019-11-13 20:46

I have played both and can’t settle for one or the other.

What are the differences? (Not in specs but rather feel, sound, intonation, articulation, etc)

What would you recommend for orchestral playing?

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-13 21:14

What mouthpiece are you using?

Some great symphony players used a small as maybe 1.01mm's, Harold Wright, some are around 1.05 like Stanley Drucker, and other's are around 1.11 such as the retired Baltimore Sym player Steve Barta. And we have a Chicago Sym player at 1.13 or so. The great Julian Bliss is around 1.15.

I don't think there is a perfect number for everyone as a whole. Each embouchure is different. Also your reed selection is extremely important. Maybe find a custom mouthpiece maker willing to send several different tip openings to sample, then figure out which tip opening has the best sound, easy to project, and easy to play on. Also a mouthpiece that is reed friendly. A lot of reeds are rejected because the mouthpiece isn't made right.

I'm at or about 1.06 with a thick blanked reed at 3 1/2 strength. Regular reeds I'm at a 4 strength or higher. Lastly most mouthpieces today have thick or wide rails which can surely effect the freedom of a reed and a mouthpiece.

This probably didn't answer your question but what you need to know is close mouthpieces around 1.01 can project almost as well as something around 1.25 or even more open. A stress free embouchure is what we all want, so for you that may be something around 1.07? Can you post a few notes of you playing? Then fellow players can maybe guide you a bit just from how you play.

Most German players are under 1.00mm.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: YT 
Date:   2019-11-13 21:34

Sorry to chime in, Bob, but that's not true anymore. Most German professionals tend to play on very open mouthpieces nowadays, around 1,20, with French reeds. The days of closed mouthpieces in Germany are over.

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-11-13 21:50

German players have started using more open setups. And now both principal players of the Berlin Phil are Austrian players who use very closed mouthpieces. I find that very interesting.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour Libertas, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Behn Aria 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-13 22:00

BaconLord wrote:

> What are the differences? (Not in specs but rather feel, sound,
> intonation, articulation, etc)
>
> What would you recommend for orchestral playing?

With all respect, you would have as good an answer to your first question as anyone else. Maybe a better one. The one difference I have found in my limited experimentation with open-tipped facings (I usually play on mouthpieces that would be considered close-tipped) is that they tend to be more flexible in their pitch. But I haven't tried that many open mouthpieces. The problem with trying to answer your question in any kind of definitive way is that there are more parameters to consider than just the facings. If you've played in both worlds, you know for yourself how the various mouthpieces you've used felt.

As to your second question, I think most of us would probably recommend the kind of facing we play on, which probably isn't especially clarifying. We've either made our own choices based on experience or (more likely) because our teachers early in our formative lives guided us to one of the other facing style (or something in the middle) and we've just gotten used to whatever we've always used since then.

What do *you* find to be the differences?

Karl



Post Edited (2019-11-17 00:08)

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-13 22:11

Wow, thanks VT. I didn't know that. In fact I'm shocked.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: BaconLord 
Date:   2019-11-13 22:24

Alright so I just played the B40 lyre, BD5, and M15.

The B40 lyre is free-blowing and has a colorful sound—my favorite sounding of all three. But I feel like I have to work extra hard to achieve good articulation, intervals, playing in tune, etc.

The BD5 is miles easier to control, articulates way easier, and overall playing on it is way easier. But the sound is dull, fuzzy, and weak compared to the B40 lyre.

The M15 is by far the easiest to articulate in, but there’s this annoying resistance to this mouthpiece. I tried reeds varying from 3 to 3 1/2+ and it was still there.

So I guess my question is, is there something that can articulate as easy as the M15, easy to control like the BD5, and have the sound of the B40 lyre? I know, very picky and detailed question.

I feel like I have been overthinking this whole open vs closed situation... I keep going back & forth: I want something easy to control but something with a colorful sound...

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: YT 
Date:   2019-11-14 00:03

Hi Bob, yeah, times and habits have changed. But no need to be shocked! In my opinion, those very open mouthpieces are easier to play on than the traditional German ones, at least on German clarinets.

BaconLord, maybe you should try another few mouthpieces together with a very good teacher and without worrying too much about the tip opening?

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-14 00:28

BaconLord wrote:

> So I guess my question is, is there something that can
> articulate as easy as the M15, easy to control like the BD5,
> and have the sound of the B40 lyre? I know, very picky and
> detailed question.
>
> I feel like I have been overthinking this whole open vs closed
> situation... I keep going back & forth: I want something easy
> to control but something with a colorful sound...

To tell the truth, it sounds, unless you've left out some steps, as though you're trying to judge the mouthpieces without any consideration of the reeds you're using with them. Each of those mouthpieces needs a different reed. I think your results with each of them would be different if the reed were better matched to it.

Also, you may want to consider mouthpieces outside the Vandoren family.

Karl



Post Edited (2019-11-17 00:09)

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-14 22:32

The Vandoren centeredness DOES make it easy to find your ideal facing because they are well made and offer a wide range to choose from.



The OTHER factor that you have not mentioned is the length of facing. The B40 is a relatively short facing (compared to the openness) and as a small tip opening person myself, it is one of the more open mouthpieces that actually worked ok for me (if I had gone down a few strengths on reeds).


You should try the M13 (NOT the one with Lyre after it). This is medium closed and a facing length that is sort of in the middle as well.......a really good basic mouthpiece.



For me, open mouthpieces give you the advantage of changing pitch and tone to a much greater degree while on the fly. This, of course, is the downfall of open mouthpieces too, because you have to work that much harder to keep the core of pitch and tone as you go through whatever you are playing.



So I'd say many symphonic players of the past tended toward the medium to closed openings because they have "built in" constancy.


Your problem with the M15 is that you are probably NOT taking in enough mouthpiece. If you play an open "G" and keep playing while you take in more and more mouthpiece eventually you'll get to a spot where you cannot control the sound and you get a big SQUAWK. Just back off slightly from there and that is the ideal spot to play that mouthpiece. You'll find (with the appropriate strength reed) that the mouthpiece will play quite freely now.






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



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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: kilo 
Date:   2019-11-16 21:12

This is totally anecdotal. I've always played on medium tips with medium facings like the HS* or my usual piece, a Grabner K13. As a student I always used Rico 2½'s or 3's on the HS* but moved to Legere Quebec Cut 3¼'s on the Grabner. A friend recently complained that he had purchased a mouthpiece that was "unplayable". It was a Vytas Krass piece and since I'd had Krass do an overhaul on my old Selmer Series 10 I was intrigued and bought the piece. It's a K05, way more closed than anything I'd ever played.

I knew I had a Rico #4 laying around somewhere. I located it, wet the tip, and slapped it on my R13 not knowing what to expect. What emerged was a clear, satisfying, ringing tone with perfect response from top to bottom — "Ping!" I'm mostly playing bass these days and don't plan to adopt a closed piece for it but when called to play soprano in a concert band I've pretty much shifted over to the K05 and a Legere European Signature #4. I just can't argue with the sound or the relative effortlessness in achieving it.



Post Edited (2019-11-16 21:13)

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-11-17 19:18

Let's not forget there are different measurements of a mouthpiece other than the tip opening. Example, the length of the lay. A closed tip and long or short lay, the point the reed makes contact with the mouthpiece in length. The depth of the baffle, a long or short beak, thick or thin rails and than there's what Bob said. Everyone's different. Teeth, jaw structure and strength, lip thickness, volume of air inside ones mouth and probably other factors involved that make choosing a MP so personal. Not to mention the concept of sound one has in their inner ear.
I've been using an old Morgan 26 tip opening, he told me it's actually more like a 16, which made sense to me when i asked him to duplicate a second for me. He told me mine was one of his originals and it has a different blank and his numbers were not accurate do to his orignal faulty tools. So it's a about 1.16 but I can comfortably play the newer ones he made at 1.8 and 1.12. Don't forget, we're talking about real tiny measurements. I've tried many mouthpieces in my life and I I've always settled on what i thought sounded and felt best for me if I made a change. Bonard, Portney 2, Wells 2, Bays OL to OM, Paine costume, Rovner medium to finally my Morgan, last 25 year. PS. on bass a Selmer C** touched up by Matson to a C* touched up by McCune. Only two for my 51 year career.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Vytas 
Date:   2019-11-22 17:46

The big drawback with many players is their inability to fit a reed to the professional mouthpiece.

Vytas Krass
Custom clarinet mouthpiece maker
Professional clarinet technician
Former professional clarinet player




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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-22 22:05

Vytas, I like what you wrote. I understand what you wrote, but can you go into more details for others that are a bit stuck finding the right mouthpiece and reed combo. This is vital information.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




Post Edited (2019-11-23 04:55)

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-23 01:02

Yes GREAT question Bob. I'd love to hear a bit more about the process myself.





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

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-11-24 10:19

i always picked mouthpieces with a vandoren 3 1/2 strength.

even other commercial reeds work that way, so you will have one less variable.

also, pick a mouthpiece that you can get through a concerto with.

and that floats the open g without much pressure from your lips. be able to glide up to high e with little effort.

the b40 lyre is also great with the v-12 3.5---try them with that strength of reed.
the reed determines everything!

pick a mouthpiece that does everything ok. that "special sounding " mouthpiece is generally just good for one thing....

my real email is
michelezukovsky@gmail.com

zukovsky@usc.edu

Post Edited (2019-11-24 10:49)

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2019-11-24 18:49

Good point!

Before shipping, I test all my mouthpieces with a good, well responding Vandoren V12 3 1/2 as a final test. I figure that way, the mouthpiece will have the most general appeal.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
Need a great new Buffet R13 Bb? Contact me.

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 Re: Open vs. Closed Mouthpieces
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2019-11-29 22:13

Most players have moved to more open facings..a soft reed will harden up so to speak and yet can be voiced and played on with ease over time.....whereas a hard reed on a closed mouthpiece breaks down so much faster..also hard reeds need to be aged alot longer and tested for resistance.....alas you could make hard reeds from current ones with reed cutters etc and all that..but why bother?

David Dow

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