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 How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: Nomenclature 
Date:   2019-11-29 23:14

I have a Buffet RC and upgraded the mouthpiece to a Vandoren B45 after trying out a few in a music shop. I was just left to it and wasn't really given any advice, so I just chose the one I preferred although I recall not really finding a huge difference between them all.

My playing sounded very flat so I got a shorter barrel. I still sound flat though, and the Legere European Cut reeds sound nice to begin with but once I've played for around 15 - 20 minutes they start to sound flat too, I think.

My question is, how do I pick the correct mouthpiece for me? What should I be looking/listening for?

I enjoy playing, and have done for years, but feel my clarinet is difficult to blow (using cane reeds strength 3) and my tone isn't strong or clear. Legato over the break isn't what it should be either.

Not sure if it's me to blame or the mouthpiece or...or...or... etc. Any advice please?

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 Re: How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: Kaos 
Date:   2019-11-30 02:08

Well, the B45 generally is blamed to make the clarinet play sharper... being a open mouthpiece the best set up is max 2.5 strength reed, of course you can play the 3 but you need a very very firm embochure and lot of air support.

Flatness may also be the reed, try a 2.5 instead and don't worry about the altissimo register with B45 you can reach it even with a good 2.5, I can do it with no problem, so you may try one if you have or you can buy one since is cheap. It can also be your embochure that isn't as strong as it was before, since you say that your sound isn't strong or clear (that's the strength of B45!) If you really think it's the mouthpiece you can go to a store and try another one with the tuner or ask to a clarinetist friend to give you one to try. But first I would check the instrument for any leaks in pads.

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 Re: How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-30 03:14

In short you did the right thing. You found the one YOU liked the best.

Beyond that, it is a bit of a process and one that you should go over with your private teacher. I admit that over the years I picked mouthpieces that were great "in the moment" but then found too many negatives down the road.

Once you find one you "like," the next most important thing to check is pitch (and I don't just mean your concert Bb that you use to tune in school). So bring (or borrow ) a tuner and use it both with generated sound as well as meter. You could start with an open G, which is a good indicator of where pitch is in the middle of everything and without any strain one way or the other (that is trying to make it play higher or lower.....in the middle). Then check notes in other ranges: your tuning note, other notes up to the C two ledgers above the staff, then altissimo notes, finally low E and low F. Those will always be a bit low particularly when played with some force so you just want to make sure that the mouthpiece doesn't make them even lower.

The other big thing is articulation. You want to make sure that the mouthpiece you fell in love with, and that plays in tune can do crystal clear, clean articulations throughout all three registers.

More detailed than that is just finer points along the same lines. But you've gotta like it FIRST!

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

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 Re: How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-12-01 15:46

Some great tips on trying mouthpieces:


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 Re: How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: Doug Leach 
Date:   2019-12-01 20:55

More on how to select a mouthpiece, from Brad Behn.


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 Re: How to choose a suitable mouthpiece?
Author: pewd 
Date:   2019-12-01 22:39

"sound flat too, I think"

Are you using a tuner?

Dallas, Texas

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