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Is this mouthpiece a "Gonner"?

#1
I was given a clarinet recently, as a "thank you" for something I did for my partner's friend. It's a Buffet B12, resin model and judging from the serial number (552***) I think it's about 10 or 12 years old.

My question is about the mouthpiece, which is scuffed and marked along the lay, and there are some tiny marks on the top left corner of the tip (when looking into the reed / tip gap.) I have got sound out of it, but I'm not sure if this could be improved with even an inexpensive beginner's mpc, without scuffings?

The mpc is a Vandoren, although the model number is partly worn off. I think it may be B45. I have attached 2 images of the scuffs and 1 of the name and model numbers, for any suggestions that you might care to offer.

I am really only asking about the playability (or otherwise) of the mpc and the quality of the model for a beginner. Would perhaps a $15 student model be as good - and even better than the one in the photos.

Thanks for any suggestions.

_C0A6980.jpg _C0A6984.jpg _C0A6993.jpg
 
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#2
Yes, this is a Vandoren B45. This is a good mouthpiece and should serve you well at least through your beginning and intermediate learning stages. The B-12 is a sturdy well made entry level clarinet. Many have learned on one of these and many more will in the future. The scuffs on the mp are not all that bad and shouldn't hurt the playability much. Many people worry about the scuffs and chips on the outsidde of the mp, but it is the inside of the mp that makes all the difference in the sound. The angle that the reed sits at with respect to the channel in the mp and the size of the opening and all of the othner things do make a difference, but these dimensions are more or less fixed in place already. It's a lot easier to change mouthpiece types that one of those dimensions. You could have it refaced, but then again you could probably buy a new one for what it would cost you to have it redone. A good, playable, used B45 can be had for around $25 or $30. Get some name brand reeds at about 2 or 2 1/2 strength and work on your embochure. You'll do fine.
 
#3
Pete said:
I am curious about the reeds though: I have a 1 Vandoren which is easy enough for me to blow even on the scuffed mpc. But a box of Vandoren's came with it and I find the 2's and 2 1/2's almost impossible to blow.The odd thing is that on the sax, I play a 2 (Vandoren ZZ) and 2M (rico Jazz select) and have been known to get a sound out of a 2 1/2.
As I'm fond of reminding folks, Benny Goodman used 1.5s and 2s.

A lot of teachers -- well, ones that I knew -- start beginners out on a 2.5 reed. Vandoren reeds generally run a bit harder than just about anyone elses', too. My opinion is that you should stick with what you have and don't buy a gross ton of reeds. You or your instructor might recommend a different reed strength in a month or so, especially if you switch mouthpieces. Or not. It depends mostly on you. Remember that there's no reward you'll get if you can get a sound out of a 5 or a .5 :p.
Not quite sure how this happened, but I (Pete) posted this, not Stephen. Is now fixed. Please continue.
 
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#4
Quote: "As I'm fond of reminding folks, Benny Goodman used 1.5s and 2s."
How do you know that?
I don't think it's possible for a player of Goodman's long years to even get a sound using a #2 reed.
I myself can only blow on a #1.5 for literally a couple of minutes before it feels like a wet noodle and craps out. I can't imagine Goodman playing on such a reed - even a 5JB wouldn't be open enough.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#5
Quote: "As I'm fond of reminding folks, Benny Goodman used 1.5s and 2s."
How do you know that?
I don't think it's possible for a player of Goodman's long years to even get a sound using a #2 reed.
I myself can only blow on a #1.5 for literally a couple of minutes before it feels like a wet noodle and craps out. I can't imagine Goodman playing on such a reed - even a 5JB wouldn't be open enough.
Why not? Embouchure is not how hard you can close your lips around reed and mouthpiece, but how well you can control the reed's vibration.
Just yesterday I had such a moment - I had some exposed passage on bass, accompanying a solo sax, playing pp throat notes. It was magnitudes more difficult to keep a steady non-wobbling tone compared to just honking away fff in tutti passages.

I guess many of us are spoiled by that "harder is better" dogma, just as violinists look like suffering from Parkinson's when they play their subtle tremolos on sustained notes (to mask their inability to keep a steady pitch?).

Who knows, choosing a softer reed every once in a while may be a good reality check ... what do you think?
 
#7
Benny Goodman could make music come out of a rock or a blade of grass. Just because YOU can't do it, doesn't mean that a consummate artist such as Benny Goodman couldn't.
 
#8
Post #3 seems to be attributed to me, but I didn't post it. I actually know very little about the clarinet or Benny Goodman.

I also saw that it was...Last edited by pete; 06-23-2014 at 02:37 AM.

I have contacted the Mod's about it.

Stephen
 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#9
Quote: "As I'm fond of reminding folks, Benny Goodman used 1.5s and 2s."
How do you know that?
I don't think it's possible for a player of Goodman's long years to even get a sound using a #2 reed.
I myself can only blow on a #1.5 for literally a couple of minutes before it feels like a wet noodle and craps out. I can't imagine Goodman playing on such a reed - even a 5JB wouldn't be open enough.
Because I read it in an interview. Think it was The Clarinet magazine. I think I read it in advance of going to a Goodman Band concert.

When someone mentions something here, Bruno, and you have a question about the source, you can ask nicely about it. However, we're not even Wikipedia, so don't expect every comment to be footnoted.

===========

EDIT: Sorry. I wanted to add more.

1. Goodman died in 1986, so I think that even Zombie Goodman would have a hard time playing on, well, any reed.
2. Here's my theory on reeds:

I think that softer reeds are probably a bit more difficult to control, but they are easier to get a sound out of. Because of the latter point, most beginners are started on 2.5s. Regarding the former point, I think that the control problem is more in getting *squeaky* and, if you're playing more in that squeaky altissimo range, squeaky control is less of a problem.

I'm not an acoustician. I don't even play one on TV. We might want to talk about how much the reed vibrates and how much OF the reed vibrates, especially in reference to what reed suits what kind of music. That seems to mesh with Ben's comment, above

Anyhow, when I was playing regularly, I was using Vandoren 3.5s on everything from Bb clarinet, to saxophones, to contrabass clarinet. After I quit playing for a few years and picked up my wife's Eb alto sax, 3.5 was way too hard. 2.5 worked fine.
 
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