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Equipment suggestions for improving intonation

I play a LeBlanc Concerto with a Brad Behn 101S* mouthpiece and have been struggling with playing extremely sharp even after my instrument has been adjusted. Does anyone have equipment or adjustment ideas that I could try?
If the whole horn is equally sharp, try a new barrel. If it's just certain registers, then try working mouthpiece pitch exercises and check reed strength. You may be playing on a reed that's too hard and you're unconsciously biting to compensate for the too large of a tip/too strong of a reed problem.


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
Mouthpieces may make some dramatic intonation issues with clarinets, so much as being flat across the board, or flat or sharp in only certain portions of the clarinet. Mouthpiece selection (assuming proper reed selection and embouchure) can improve tuning in certain segments of the clarinet.

The internal design of the mouthpiece can also have some serious consequences.

This may give you some more information on that subject

and these examples give some measurements of some of the locations. I have some in-depth intermal measurements of many mpcs and it's all quite interesting

This gives you an idea of some of the engieering that goes into mpc design

but being sharp across the board is an oddity
I've had some Behn vintage mpcs go through here and they all were pretty good in all regards.
Thanks for your messages :) I am playing on the original 65 mm barrel. At the moment I'm playing on 3 1/2 Vandoren Blackmasters or 56 LaRue. The tip opening of my mouthpiece is 1.01 mm, with a 32 mm window and is 89 mm in length at it's most extreme tip. Any further suggestions?


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Are you consistently sharp across the whole of the horn, just certain registers or just certain notes?

That's some hard reeds, right there. I used to play Vandoren (regular) 3.5's.
It's mostly in the clarion register. I have tried pulling out at the middle joint more and it seems to help alittle but not drastically.


Old King Log
Staff member
I'd first try dropping back to a 3 or a 2.5 reed. Cheap and easy to implement. Then, I'd work on the embouchure with long tones progressing to long tones in successive octaves. Only if that didn't work would I go to the more expensive solutions.

Nine times out of ten in my experience, hard reeds lead to pinching in the embouchure.


Staff member
Clark Fobes makes some wonderful mouthpieces for the clarinet. I have one and it is excellent.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
A softer reed helps if I don't need to play in the upper altissimo. A strength #3 reed doesn't give enough resistance. I am experimenting with the amount of top and bottom lip pressure as well in addition to pulling out at the middle and adding tuning rings. I haven't fully solved the problem yet but it seems to be improving alittle. I am thinking of experimenting with different mouthpieces, but I do love the clear staccato, rich overtones and full sound I get on my Behn!
Thanks everyone for the suggestions!
Tuning Rings: Yes! If you pull out, you must, must, must, must, always fill in the gap with a tuning ring. A narrow 2mm gap in the bore can cause significant problems. You should have as many rings of different thicknesses as it takes to to cover any situation. Have them matched to your barrel/body diameter.


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Tuning Rings: Yes! If you pull out, you must, must, must, must, always fill in the gap with a tuning ring. A narrow 2mm gap in the bore can cause significant problems.
I must be a musical Neanderthal, but I never witnessed that. I was never disturbed by the gap lurking up there. I just made a mental notice to get the longer barrel (the one sitting on my shelf), just in case.
The turbulences or whatever said 2mm are said to cause is not a myth, but acoustically insignificant.
I have no doubt but that it has some effect. I'm willing to accept that there's some clarinet/ mouthpiece/reed /player combination where that effect has actually caused an issue. But by and large, based upon many clarinets being pulled and played with and without rings over the years, the difference has never been apparent to me as an issue to be concerned with.

I always used tuning rings, if at all, as an indexing tool so that I'd pull to exactly the same amount on a given horn where the barrel, to suit my own mouthpiece/ reed choice, needed a mm or two pull for optimum results. This is especially useful in the event that the pull is taken between the upper and lower joints where a ring not only helps preclude "wobbling" between the joints but also helps prevent the adjustment from changing during spirited play. A 5 MM pull anywhere might well snarl things up a bit with the larger gap were one to ever do such a thing- at least for a couple of notes.

As with the effect of resonators protruding into the sax chimneys I'm perfectly prepared to believe that there exists an effect (for good or for ill or simply for "different") but also believe it to be simply insignificant to undetectable for me, for most players, and for virtually any listener.

"Virtually any" is, of course not to be confused with "every".
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