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Mouthpiece Patches


Staff member
I like mouthpiece patches but I know a number of players who don't use them. The reason I like them is that I get less vibration through the piece into my head and I feel like I'm protecting the mouthpiece. In a pinch I use electrical tape (actually I use it most of the time).

What does everyone else think about patches?


Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
I've been using them for years on all my horns. I generally use the heavy rubber ones. I've also had all my students use them.

I forgot where I read this years ago, might have been in the Dave Liebman tone production book, but that using patches tends to open the throat more when playing.

I also don't like the vibration of playing going through my head. I find that the heavy, rubber patches are better at reducing the vibration than the thin, clear ones, so that's why I started using the black Selmer or Runyon ones.


Artist in residence
Distinguished Member
I don't use them. I like feeling the mouthpiece under my teeth. I also like to move to different places on the piece, to change tone and projection qualities, soundwise. I don't want any dampening.
I've been using patches since the late 90's... love 'em.

I go back and forth between the black and clear. I'm on a clear kick right now (sold out of the 1$ black ones, and you burn through them too fast to buy the 4$ ones.)

What some people who prefer the black ones but bite through them, try finding a smaller height one and get a thin clear on to put over it. It should last a LONG time, open up the throat a little, teeth won't tear through 'em... give it a shot. I recommend putting the clear one on the black one first... they can be a bit tricky, as you probably all know.

I just picked up a new Meyer 6M (for my 6M-VIII). I was smart enough to play test it before I bought it, and the guy at the shop put a mpc patch (clear) on it for me to test. I walked out with the one I tried. Hehe, that should last me for quite a while while I get to know the new piece... free clear piece of 3M magic ftw!



Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Until recently I never used patches. I didn't like the soft feel on my teeth, and I didn't usually put grooves in my mouthpieces, I guess because I play really loose.

Recently I've started to wear out the plastic patch on some of my metal mouthpieces. The old Links had hard rubber bite plates and they lasted as long as a hard rubber mouthpiece. Many new metal mouthpieces (Ponzol) have a plastic bite plate that wears faster. I smoothed out the grooves and added a clear patch to prevent further wear. I got used to the feel pretty fast.
Patches are a must. I don't bite down whatsoever, but it just feels weird without them!

On sax I usually do a medium-thick patch, on clarinet I use the thickest patch I can find... I think I'm currently using a .9

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
No patches for me on hard rubber mouthpieces. On metal pieces I can't stand the way the vibrations make my teeth hurt. After a few minutes of hard playing on a metal mouthpiece I'm in pain, so I've gone to using the thick rubber patches on metal.

I will have to try using a thin patch over the soft patch on my Berg. For some reason that patch wears out quickly, while patches on Links and Dukoffs seem to last forever.
I use layers of clear hockey tape.
Not the cloth type that players use on their sticks,
but rather, the type that wraps around their shinpads, to hold them in place.

My only beef is that the adhesive is not as durable
so I am changing them up often,
especially because I frequently wash the mpcs.
and the adhesive is affected.

Not as good or as long lasting as the clear patches but cheaper.
I'd like to find some type of clear ,soft , adhesive backed vinyl
to cut patches from ,as some have experimented with.
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Teeth Marks on Mouthpiece

I only started on clarinet a few weeks ago and am not happy about a sharp front tooth marking what was an old, but pristine mouthpiece.
I have just bought some clear patches to try. Which way round do I stick them? (One end is curved, the other is wider, but almost straight.)

Should the teeth not touch the mouthpiece? (A vintage Otto Langey tutor I have recently acquired states "Do not allow the teeth to come in contact with the mouthpiece.") Is it a matter of personal preference?

(My main instrument is trombone and I do a lot of my work-outs from the Otto Langey trombone book.)


Staff member
I rest my teeth on the mouthpiece. This is the most common way of doing it on the saxophone and the clarinet. Less common is the double lip. It was used at times with great success by players like Stan Getz.

To answer your question, the straight part goes towards the back of the mouthpiece (or at least that is what I do with this type of patch).

I almost always use some form of patch on mouthpieces. They just don't feel right otherwise. I know a number of player who would rather not use them but I have always noticed that they have grooves worn into their pieces which is something that I would rather avoid.
I use the clear patches on every mouthpiece. It's mostly due to habit, but they do protect the mouthpieces.
When I started playing saxophone I didn't like the teeth/head vibrations that many here describe, so I used a patch. Then, when I switched from a HR mpc to metal, I stopped using the patch. After a very short time, the vibrating sensation seemed to go away.

I'm guessing that as the chops build up, we use more muscle from the upper lip and less pressure from bone/teeth structure, and thus no vibrations. But that's only a guess. I'm also guessing that it came more quickly to me because I also play trumpet. And that might be a stretch.

I don't sense any vibes at all on any mpc, and I dislike the mushy feel of a patch and the eventual ridge that nudges my teeth into a fixed position.

I sometimes play a JJ ESP, a metal mpc with no bite plate. Even that feels better without a patch.

I believe this is one of those personal choices where there is no right or wrong way.


Staff member
I only started on clarinet a few weeks ago and am not happy about a sharp front tooth marking what was an old, but pristine mouthpiece.
If it is just one or two teeth that are problematic, you may want to have your dentist file them down a little. An alto player I know had that done a few years ago, and swears that his playing improved dramatically.
When I first started playing, I didn't know much about patches, but I didn't like my teeth on the mouthpiece either (felt weird, made marks on my piece). Read about the double-lip and been using it ever since. Never need to replace the lip patch!:)
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