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 non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: r small 
Date:   2020-03-11 03:20

I just bought a Selmer Presence stick. Tremendous sounding and playing instrument. But more on that for another time. Now I'm worried about my hard rubber mouthpiece (Vandoren B45 lyre) tarnishing the silver plating. If I keep the piece in a pouch when in the case would that be enough to protect the plating? Also I'm looking at the Pomarico Black Crystal line. I would assume they would have no effect on the plating. Anyone familiar with these mouthpieces?

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: gatto 
Date:   2020-03-11 03:46

Since I had the problem myself, I never again stored the mouthpiece in the case.

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-03-11 06:50

I've heard that about hard rubber giving off a modicum of sulfur that holds it together. I never gave that any consideration and never had any unusual issues with the silver based on that.


You can look at several really good "plexiglass" mouthpieces which are made well and don't exude any bi-products........such as ESM (Ernst Schreiber Michelstadt), or Wurlitzer (some are made specifically for Boehm clarinets).

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

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-03-11 08:51

I've noticed a very significant change in the last few years that new mouthpieces cause new silver plated clarinets to tarnish. It was obviously from the mouthpiece because of the worst areas of the tarnish. Most recently this was on three new Buffet E12F clarinets with Vandoren mouthpieces, but also on a couple of other clarinets with new Selmer and D'Addario mouthpieces.

I'm almost convinced something has changed with the (more likely) mouthpiece material and/or silver plating. It just didn't happen so much in the past. I've been using a hard rubber mouthpiece right in the case, with no pouch, for several clarinets, for about 30 years... with never any tarnishing as a result (among others, this included a Buffet clarinet with a Vandoren mouthpiece for quite a few years).

Not the end of the world but a little annoying if I had to use a mouthpiece pouch or have it in another compartment (which my main case doesn't even have).

I don't think a Pomarico glass mouthpiece would cause it and even with the Vandoren, I would try it, see if there is a little tarnish closest to where the mouthpiece is and continue from there.

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: r small 
Date:   2020-03-11 17:38

clarnibass--I think you're right. I recently bought a Selmer silver plated lig for my recently purchased Vandoren mpc. and within two weeks it was badly tarnished. I wonder if this problem fades with time, if newer moutpieces give off more of whatever it is that causes the silver to tarnish. I like the Vandoren B45 lyre piece but this problem has got me a little bugged and I would prefer not to store my mouthpiece in a pouch or away from the horn.

I plan on purchasing a Pomarico black crystal piece, then thoroughly cleaning and polishing the silver plated lig, and see what happens. Hopefully I won't have the issue with the Pomarico. I played a regular Pomarico crystal years ago and liked it pretty well but ended up staying with my Ralph Morgan J6 because I liked the volume and cut. But that's less important to me now so I might like the Pomarico black crystal.

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2020-03-11 19:34

I have Selmer Concept mouthpieces on clarinet and bass clarinet and both will tarnish some silver ligatures, but not all. I have silver plated Optimums for both clarinets and both are a dark blue-black color. I ran into another player at a gig who had an Optimum that had turned black from his older Selmer mouthpiece as well, but I don't have much experience with those.

I haven't had this happen with Vandoren or Zinner-blank mouthpieces, nor did it happen with my Fobes 10K (in blue rubber). I thought it was happening a little bit with a D'Addario mouthpiece, but I didn't really use it long to say for sure.

I had assumed that the hard rubber that was desirable for machining might have some different chemical properties that caused them to react more with silver plating than mouthpieces made of molded rubber, which I assume has a different chemical makeup.

But I suppose that goes out the window if your Vandoren is causing it.

Interestingly, my Concept mouthpieces tarnish the silver plating on my Optimum ligatures, but not the silver plating on my older Selmer clarinet and bass clarinet (from the early '70s and early '80s, respectively). Obviously the ligature is in closer proximity to the mouthpiece, but they do all live together full-time, especially the clarinet mouthpiece.

Come to think of it, my Selmer ligature is silver-plated, I believe. It's not really tarnished.

Maybe the issue is certain kinds of newer silver plating?

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-03-12 01:56

>> Maybe the issue is certain kinds of newer silver plating? <<

It has to be either the mouthpiece material or the plating... or both.

>> I wonder if this problem fades with time <<

I don't know. Of all the clarinets I know of with silver plated keys that seemed to tarnish from a mouthpiece, there is only one which had the keys polished and the owner continued to use the mouthpiece in the case. This clarinet had the keys tarnish again just the same, so no improvement in about a year (Buffet E12F with Vandoren mouthpiece), so not enough to conclude much. I've heard a claim that it is because "the mouthpiece material is not completely cured"... but can't say if it's true or not.

Post Edited (2020-03-12 09:15)

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: gatto 
Date:   2020-03-12 02:58

The first time I had this problem was: I bought a new mouthpiece, Vandoren, B40 or so, AND the Optimum ligature with cap. Had both together in my case with my RC Prestige. Short time later I had some kind of break, had not touched the case for maybe two weeks. After opening again, the "result" was horrible: ligature and cap were *completely* black, but also most of the (silver plated) keys of the clarinet were quite tarnished. Okay, I could eventually polish the keys. But the cap and also the ligature was impossible to get clean again. There was also the side effect that the inscription on the mouthpiece vanished.

After that experience I never put the mouthpiece into the case again. I guess it is because of the sulfur exhalation of the mouthpiece. It seems to me that newer mouthpieces like the BD5 even have a stronger odor. (After some time it decreases a little bit.) But the combination with the Optimum seemed to be especially bad, which is "funny", since both are from the same maker.

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 Re: non-tarnishing mouthpieces
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2020-03-12 03:24

gatto, I too have had this problem, just recently, with a 'new' Vandoren M15 (purchased from Thomann, Germany) to try with synthetic reeds. It didn't even get a chance to tarnish anything - the first day I played it, after it warmed up and got some humidity in the chamber it started to stink like a skunk and developed a bitter taste despite having a big patch on for protection! Plus the stink transfered to the reeds I tried and a new string ligature I was trying (sounded mushy compared to the Optimum). I was astounded.

I have experienced rubber sulfer stink with one or 2 old mps (in fact I recently revived that thread on mp smell regarding my vintage Charles Bay, which I have given up on) but never with a new out-of-the-box mp (Vandoren 5RV lyre, BD5, Selmer Concept , and a BC and Yamaha which arrived new on vintage purchases). My current favorite, a new V. Krass S1 (excellent !! it likes a D'Addario Reserve 3 or 3.5) also has no pbm.

I was very disappointed about the M15; fortunately Thomann has accepted the return. I will also write a letter to Vandoren because I actually liked the way the mp played, 'though perhaps a tad too closed, but I felt like I was getting poisoned using it.

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