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 Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Claude 
Date:   2022-06-09 18:24

Totally confused. My clarinet is a 1958 Boosey & Hawkes, hard rubber. Checked out by a tech, she says in very good condition. Also checked by my teacher.

Yesterday I bought a Hite Premier MP. It squeaks and squawks, quite randomly. I have the MP that came with my clarinet and an old Noblet student MP. Neither of them squeak when I play. The Hite, when not squeaking, sounds richer, fuller and rounder than the other two. The Noblet sort of sounds like a bagpipe.

I’ve done my best to isolate the difference in my playing with the Hite. Using the same ligature, same reed. I’ve changed up the order that I play. No squeaks with the B&H and Noblet. Squeaking at random times and pitches and sounds from the Hite. I’ve looked at the Hite under a magnifying loupe, there’s no obvious wrong shapes, with the disclaimer that I’m just looking for something a newbie could spot.

I play Oboe and Alto Flute so my embouchure is double lip. I get the same sounds when I play single lip. I’m very much a beginner on the clarinet.

I hope you experienced people can shed some light on this and give me some advice.


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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Ed 
Date:   2022-06-09 18:34

Try a couple of new reeds on the Hite that have not settled in on another mouthpiece. You might also need a different strength. It may be just that the reeds that play well on the other mouthpieces are not right for the Hite

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Hunter_100 
Date:   2022-06-09 18:44

Could it be a leak from the cork on the mouthpiece tenon?

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-06-09 19:18

The Hite is a good, somewhat close facing. Firstly I agree with the idea that you should break out new reeds for the Hite (and use them exclusively on the Hite). Also give yourself a good bit of time on JUST the Hite to get used to it. Lastly, there is a technique that allows you to realize your parameters. Play and open "G" close to the tip. Keep sounding that note as you slowly work the mouthpiece further into your mouth. At some point you will get an uncontrollable "SQUAWK." That is caused by your embouchure going just PAST the point where the reed and mouthpiece come together. We control the reed by exerting slight pressure (VERY slight) on the active, spring board portion of the reed. It is often the case that the closer we get to that point (without exceeding it), that is the ideal spot for the most sound and best control of the reed. So you merely back off slightly from that "SQUAWK" point and that should be a good spot to settle in with that mouthpiece.

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

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-06-09 19:49

Claude wrote:

> Yesterday I bought a Hite Premier MP. It squeaks and squawks,
> quite randomly. I have the MP that came with my clarinet and an
> old Noblet student MP. Neither of them squeak when I play.

To take a different tack from the other replies, two questions:
1. Where did you buy the Hite? (from another player, off EBay, or from a music supply vendor you've dealt with and trust)?
2. Has your teacher tried the Hite?

Hite's mouthpieces are generally reliable and easy to play. But I don't think you can rule out a defective facing or even one that's been damaged by a previous owner if it's second-hand. Your teacher should be able to detect a problem. If your teacher can play on it without a problem, he or she should be able to help figure out why it squeaks for you.

Trying different reeds could certainly improve things, but only if the mouthpiece is functional. Playing on it exclusively to get used to it will be pretty frustrating if it keeps squeaking.


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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Claude 
Date:   2022-06-09 20:37

Ed, getting new reeds today so I will take your and Paul A’s advice. Thanks.

Hunter, put the MP on my barrel, hand over the end and blew, no leak. Then put the barrel on the first section and blew, no leak. Thanks

Paul A, will use your advice to find that “point.” Thank you

kdk, bought, brand new, from the large, local owned music store, very trustworthy. My teacher is in an all summer band gathering. Later today I’ll take the MP back to the store with my clarinet and have them check it.

ALL: great advice and much appreciated.


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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2022-06-10 06:41


If you are used to playing a mouthpiece that has a longer lay than the Hite, you may be taking in more mouthpiece than the Hite allows. That can cause the squeak. (Like in the test.) I find it easier to adjust to a longer mouthpiece than to a shorter one.

Otherwise, I have a Vandoren M-13 that is impossible to play. It squeaks like you describe. There must be something wrong with it, or something my physiology doesn't agree with.

- Matthew Simington

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-06-10 07:26


If you follow the protocol above, you'll find the "best spot" on every mouthpiece right from the get go........no adjustment period (just may have to remind yourself how far that point is every now and then). But you CANNOT play beyond that point! The sound is not controllable and is just noise (not just squeaky).

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

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Hardlec 
Date:   2022-06-12 19:19

The position of your mouthpiece in your mouth, especially how much mouthpiece you take in is crucial.

I am learning this the hard way. Trial and Error. Mostly error.

Not only is the strength of the reed relevant, but also the brand of reed, and how long you have been using it. A well broken in reed makes a lot of difference.

I have yet a further variable for myself. I have a top denture.

Please post your progress. (I'd rather learn from your mistakes than have to make my own.)

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-06-12 20:17

I play a Hite D and never have a minute's trouble from it. I would be really interested to hear if having a new reed solves your problem. It seems to me as though there is a technical problem here that is not to do with your playing, or how much mp you are taking in and so on. I'd be really interested to hear what you find.

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: hans 
Date:   2022-06-12 21:31

You could have an experienced player test your equipment to try to duplicate and diagnose the problem. Here is a checklist that may help the diagnosis:

a dry reed
accidentally touching a key
the middle (“bridge”) joint in a clarinet is not properly aligned
using a "wrong" fingering instead of a better alternate
a finger not covering a hole
a pad not seating properly
a weak spring not holding a key closed
keys out of adjustment (e.g., the A key)
uncoordinated fingering
a leaking joint
a cracked instrument (in a wood clarinet)
too much mouthpiece in the mouth
a burr on the mouthpiece top rail
misapplied lip pressure
a reed is split
the reed is not perfectly sealed on the mouthpiece
a reed is too thin at the center of the tip or is stiffer on one side than the other
a poorly designed, worn, or warped mouthpiece (a warped mouthpiece can be “re-faced”)
the mouthpiece baffle (the slanted top inside the tip) is too high

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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-06-12 22:05

hans wrote:

> You could have an experienced player test your equipment to try
> to duplicate and diagnose the problem.

I would go farther and edit this advice to read "You **should** have an experienced player test" the Hite, preferably on your clarinet (in case the problem is in the interaction of the mouthpiece and your instrument).

Hans's checklist of possible causes is exhaustive, but as an oboist you know enough to be able to eliminate many of them. And the fact that you don't have the same problem with two other mouthpieces further suggests that there's something about the Hite and not in your general approach to playing that will explain the squeaks. But before you go down a bunch of blind alleys chasing after the possibilities that remain, and possibly confusing yourself badly in the process, you should confirm or eliminate a mouthpiece defect at the beginning.


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 Re: Mouthpiece Challenged Newbie
Author: Claude 
Date:   2022-06-13 17:35

My tech played the Hite MP on my clarinet and it squeaked randomly. She put it on her clarinet and it squeaked for her. Then she checked it. The rails were OK but on the table there is a concave spot near the window and a convex spot near the tenon. A small roller-coaster.

The music store replaced the MP and the new one has no squeaks. My tech was surprised and said Hite MP’s has very good QC. She had a Brad Behn Overture and she had me play. She helped me adjust my oboe embouchure to a more clarinet embouchure. My regular teacher didn’t catch that.

She’s letting me use the Behn for a week. Over the weekend I recorded some scales with the Behn, Hite, B&Hawkes and Noblet. WOW. The Hite sounds very good, deeper and clearer than the older mp’s. The Behn sounds way better than the others, even tho I'm a newbie it's beyond good.

Paul A, thanks for your advice about the “best spot” am using it. Han’s a very comprehensive list. Thank you everyone who commented and gave me advice. SunnyDaze and Karl you got the problem. Since the other two didn’t squeak it wasn’t the clarinet or me mis-hitting the fingering.

I very much appreciate all of you taking your time to help me.


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