Looking for a clarinet mouthpiece to buy

Discussion in 'Mouthpieces' started by arya44, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. arya44

    arya44

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    Hi there,
    I'v been playing tenor and soprano saxophone for a few years. I delved into bass clarinet less than two years ago but haven't practiced it much. Recently I started playing clarinet methodically (with my woodwind instructor) and I'm hoping to grow in this new path.
    I have a Signet wooden clarinet that my instructor that is also a repairman rebuilt it. I found that the clarinet is a bit stuffy sounding unless I keep pushing the air (not as effortless as saxophone). It might be to do with the nature of the instrument. I played brand new clarinets at the music store and with the same mouthpiece it sounded a bit easier to get that buzzy clear sound but not much different overall. I tried a Vandoren B45 on both my clarinet and the music store's brand new clarinet. It sounded much easier to play B45 mouthpiece and also easier to get clear tone on both clarinets. Again the store clarinet was a tad more clear sounding (more buzz, sort of brighter, it was a plastic clarinet I think so it might be to do with the nature of the acoustics or tighter seal on the pads, I don't know).
    Anyway, I liked the fact that I can put less pressure on my chest and don't feel exhausted after half an hour blowing through the clarinet with the wider tip opening.
    So I'm in the haunt for a clarinet mouthpiece (can be used / vintage ones too especially I heard older hard rubber mouthpieces have nicer resonant sound) and definitely I like to get something with at least medium to open tip opening. I don't necessarily follow the path of perfection for the classical tone. I play jazz with my saxophone and probably that will be my path for future of clarinet playing too. Basically something with nice and resonating quality, relatively free blowing, have a decently centred and warm tone, prices wise I was thinking probably I should do at least about a 100 dollars investment so I get something that I can carry through the few years to come for intermediate level as well.
    I appreciate your suggestions.
    Thanks.
     
  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Why not just get a B45? It's a decent mouthpiece. It's available in a couple sizes. They're about $95, which isn't bad. They're popular, so you might find one on eBay that's considerably cheaper.

    The big thing is that you should try a few and see what you like. If you're a nice enough customer, you might be able to ask the shop owner to order a few different mouthpieces, if you specifically say that you'll buy a mouthpiece from him.
     
  3. arya44

    arya44

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    Thanks for the advice. I was trying to see if I can find a real hard rubber preferably a vintage mouthpiece. I didn't quite like the tone of the Vandoren B45. It sounded a bit plastic. I told that to the salesperson and she agreed too. I actually just found a used Portnoy BP02 clarinet mouthpiece in eBay for 45 dollars. I like Portnoy on my bass clarinet. It sounds pretty good and it is user friendly and easy blowing. It is real hard rubber and also I think it is hand finished.
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Mmmm? Vandoren clarinet mouthpieces are hard rubber. I don't think Vandoren even makes a plastic clarinet mouthpiece.
     
  5. arya44

    arya44

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    Well may be it just sounded that way. Or may be it is the nature of a certain designs that accentuate certain frequencies. The one I have that is a very old and nice sounding but unfortunately too closed tip and hard to blow for me doesn't have that sort of buzz so I just assumed that the buzz is from the plastic (or cheaper material that old hard rubber).
     
  6. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    When I hear stuffy, I wonder if the player knows that the reed strength you end up using can depend a lot on the mouthpiece. As a general rule, mouthpieces with wide tip openings and/or shorter lays (facing curve) often are best with softer reeds, while narrower tip openings or longer facings can have harder reeds. Much will depend on the style of music you play, usually classical players will prefer a narrower tip and a harder reed. For example a pro might prefer a wide tip (125 on tenor) with medium soft reeds (2½). So a stuff mouthpiece performance *could* mean you have the wrong size reed for the mouthpiece you are using and nothing to do with the instrument you are playing.

    As this is a real science, you might be better off having a good music instructor help you find the mouthpiece that is right for you. And, what is perfect for you might be horrible for me. There are just too many dynamics to take into consideration here.
     

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