Untitled Document
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!

Strange Lip Size Question?

Hi Guys, hope you're all well,

I am still learning all the stuff about this great instrument but I have hit bit of a mouthpiece block, I am using my Yamaha 4c and so far it has proven to be great with all the clarinets I have owned so far.
I have been advised that an upgrade will be required and you guys here have already given me lots of great feedback regarding this which I thank you for very much, but?

I was wondering if you might have any ideas about the ideal type of mouthpiece opening, facing, material, manufacture brand, for someone with full lips.
I guess most people just learn as they try them and see, but I'm finding that this can be a very expensive and time consuming method of finding your ideal mature mouthpiece.

I would like to upgrade to an ebonite semi pro mouthpiece one day and learn to master it, but does anyone know of someone who swears by a type of mouthpiece specification, who has bigger, fuller lips, not enormous, but not thin either if you know what I mean? I think that lip size might have a significant bearing on ideal positioning on the reed/mouthpiece and tolerances of lip pressure etc.

I hope this is not too weird a question, I thought I might ask in case someone here has had experience with observing a detail like this. I am playing Classical, Blues and jazz.



Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
who advised you that an upgrade "will be required" ?
and why can't this person recommend a specific mouthpiece?
and why do you need to upgrade ?

my lips are larger than normal .. more puffy and soft, I think. But I have no problem playing any size mouthpiece, or even oboe (though I no longer play oboe).
I've played a Yamaha 4c and 5c. I liked the 5c much better but the 4c was a nice student mouthpiece.

Classical, Jazz & Blues I use different mpcs.
For Classical I'll normally use a Vandoren M13 (current production) or a vintage Woodwind K9

For Jazz Blues ... all dependent upon what you are after. smaller tip, or larger tip for more volume (think Vandoren 5Jb, 7JB and a softer reed, or a really softer reed with a thick spine if you want some buzz). Even a B45 or B46 would be fine. Or a nice crystal.

For mouthpieces really someone experienced working with you should help you choose and move forward. Because this will also affect the reed selection. A jump to a large tip and you may not actually use it properly. Many times players will change mpcs and sound exactly the same. Is it the player playing the exact same way they do with the previous mpc? you'll need someone experienced to guide you in learning how to play different mpcs differently.

And you'll get a different answer for everyone you ask.
didn't you ask this question before?

You may soon evolve into different clarinets for different genres & environments of music.
Hi Steve,
Thank you so much,
yes you're right, I did kind of ask this question before and I got a very comprehensive answer from yourself I think if I'm not mistaken, but this question relates specifically to the way a larger lip might affect the kind of mouthpiece you could or maybe should go for?

I am encouraged to hear you say that the Yamaha 4c and 5c are enough, and that there is no real imperative to upgrade to an ebonite mouthpiece such as a Vandoren.

You did give me a reiteration of the answer to my old mouthpiece question but you have also answered this question. I guess it is more about finding out how to use each mouthpiece and less about your own personal mouth shape or size. This is a whole new area of thought for me so I'll have to get some more information, Thank you.

Oh well! I guess the only way will be to continue to buy and explore as I go, that's gonna be costly, but so be it I guess.

Thanks again for your advice,


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
before you go off on a buying spree you should learn stuff first, and think about how it could affect your playing .. ofcourse more experience helps here.

basic mpc info

how mpcs vary and how you vary your embouchure per mpc

and if you go to a mpc page such as Vandoren you can see a chart of various mpc differences

of course, YMMV

here's a link of ligatures & more mpc design too
Thanks Steve, you're a star,
I'll take a read through these, your help is much appreciated, My income does not allow me to be able to afford lessons at the moment and so I am self taught, but my background is piano since 7 years old, and so I understand a lot of the musical principles at play with this instrument on a basic level, but the details will take more learning, and that's kind of where I'm at now, nearly two years in. So the feedback I get here for free is a real help indeed.

Thanks again,


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
When you are ready to move up, I strongly recommend you consider the d'Addario Reserve There is no better mouthpiece for the price. I too have a full lower lip which is a plus for playing saxophone, but clarinet is a different embouchure. I had to learn to reposition my lower lip so as to have a smaller amount of lip over the bottom teeth. Flattening the chin helps, as does stretching the bottom lip using the "EE" muscles. There is not a mouthpiece that is better suited for players with this characteristic.