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Why Upgrade from Yamaha 4c To vandoren 5RV Advice Please?

Hi Guys, Me again,

Having just upgraded my clarinet to Buffet, I have tried to begin using my new Vandoren 5RV Mouthpiece (Not Lyre), I was given some Vandoren Juno 2.5 reeds by the lady who sold me the clarinet in the store as she noted my problem with breathing, embouchure and posture and so I have gone with this setup.
It is really hard getting to grips with it and particularly getting the middle long 'b' above throat 'a' to speak without a lot of difficulty especially when slurring up from throat 'a' and when starting on the note 'b'.

Generally it's just not as easy as when I was using the Yamaha 4c with a Vandoren 3.0 or Rico Plasticover 3.0, neither of which I can even think about using with the Vandoren Mouthpiece as they just sound stuffy and there is no control at all with expressive playing styles.

So my question is, why should a player need to upgrade from the Yamaha mouthpiece in any case? is it really an improvement or is there a more technical reason why it should be done in terms of improving playing standards?
I would hate to think I made an unnecessary change and set myself back a year just for the sake of a brand name?

what do you think?



College Student who likes wind instruments & music
First off, what's a Vandoren Juno?
Never heard of that.
I used a VD Blue Box 3 on a 5RV for a while, it worked fine for me then, though I'll add vd. mpcs also aren't always very consistent, so you could just have a bad one that got through quality control.
You mention you got a new Clarinet, have you tried your mpcs on the other Clarinets to see if they're the problem or if it's your new Clarinet, which also seems possible.
I used a 5RV in 10th and 11th grade, I think it's a pretty good mouthpiece.
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Thanks Truetone,
Ok it had crossed my mind about the quality of the mouthpiece because I did get it new but as a discount deal because I think it might have been a customer return, But it does sound pretty good with the Vandoren Juno (new student grade brand) reeds strength 2.5, so I think if it was a warped or damaged Mouthpiece everything would sound bad would it not?
I don't know. I have a back-up second clarinet on the way and so like you say I'll test the same set up on that one to see if the same thing happens. It could just be me at the end of the day, I guess only time will tell, or I might just stay with the Yamaha 4c.

Thanks again,


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
I don't know. I have a back-up second clarinet on the way and so like you say I'll test the same set up on that one to see if the same thing happens. It could just be me at the end of the day, I guess only time will tell, or I might just stay with the Yamaha 4c.
Cliff, is there someone local to you who can sit with you and check out your set up, play test it, and see what you are doing? This could save you a lot of pain (as in, it isn't you it's the instrument).


College Student who likes wind instruments & music
Now that I'm not dealing with my fear of auditions by having a challenge-
I'd looked those up a bit after I'd typed that, they're probably good reeds.
I'll wait until your other Clarinet gets here to form any conclusions, but if it was damaged it probably would have response issues with about every reed.
And what Gandalfe said is very grid advice for that too, if you know any other Clarinetists.
Unfortunately I am self taught and have no experienced clarinet playing friends, but I have had my playing observed buy experienced players more than once and mostly they commented on my lack of relaxation and correct posture, I am confident I know how to improve my embouchure and I know it will take much time. I am just under two years in so far.
I guess I might not be ready for the 5RV and the Yamaha 4c is very forgiving. I'll see how things go with the back up clarinet and take it from there. I'll let you know. thanks for your input I appreciate it,


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
what is your definition of an "experienced player"?

having a teacher to show how to play is very advantageous. Generally, most people won't give you a list of items to improve upon, as since you don't know the exact end result it is very difficult to teach yourself the steps to get there. So even with a teacher don't think they'll list everything wrong with the overall technique. One slowly corrects issues. And when one issue is correct, you then go on to the next one.

Imagine having the first lesson with a teacher and they throw the study book to the ground and say "you are doing everything wrong" and proceed how to correct Everything in the first lesson. Isn't going to happen .. just pure chaos and a 2nd session probably won't ever happen.

So why go from a Yamaha to a Vandoren mouthpiece?
You would have to ask the person that convinced you of that.
Yamaha does make some very nice mouthpieces. I'm going to guess your 4C was a student model. The Yamaha is very consistent with a nice "general" easy to play design. But that easy to play design may not allow larger tonal expressionism and greater volume variation control. To give an example of that read this ==> http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/...piece-Review-reviewing-a-wide-variety-of-mpcs

assuming there are no issues with the mouthpiece or clarinet ...
Moving from one mouthpiece to another requires one to understand Why one is making the change and How it will improve.
If the mouthpiece vary enough you'll have to change your embouchure and/or reed a bit to match the mouthpiece design.
Generally if you use the same exact mouth embouchure from one mouthpiece to another you'll in essence end up with a very similar sounding mouthpiece.

It seems like you'll have to educate yourself on a few factors here,
in general
(1) how mouthpieces differ
==> http://www.clarinetperfection.com/clmpcNomenclature.htm
==> http://www.clarinetperfection.com/clmpcTypes.htm

(2) how to differ your reed based on your mouthpiece
- generally, the larger the tip opening the softer a reed you use in comparison to a smaller tip opening.
- also the cut of the reed may matter to your playing preference, once you become really experienced.

(3) how to improve your embouchure, etc.
==> http://www.clarinetperfection.com/Embouchure.htm

keep in mind manufacturing defects exist for mouthpieces. So a mouthpiece that does not play may be your embouchure, or it may be a manufacturing defect that requires more than an experience player to recognize. Even some teachers may not be able to recognize a mouthpiece flaw.

Hope that helps, but as a student I recommend finding a very experienced teacher. I emphasis "very experienced" as even higher a student to teach one that may not be good enough to get rid of some bad habits. Symphony Players, College professors, or master students, or other high level teachers know all the details. Low high school/college/university students may not (and probably don't).

Clarinet is probably one of the more finicky beginner instruments to learn versus a saxophone, flute ( because of the embouchure) and brass instruments. Usually a director will pick clarinet players after a few years and move them to a double reed instrument which is even worse. lol
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Hi Steve,
Thank you for your very comprehensive response, I appreciate your taking the time to provide links to helpful resource pages for me to read. I'll take a look at them, I cannot afford a teacher right now, but I don't think I'm progressing too badly on my own so far and I am sure that the observations made by the people who have listened to me have been well founded and have given me good direction. It will take a while to perfect the areas they have pointed out. So I may not worry about the Vandoren Mouthpiece just yet anyway. maybe in a year or so.

Thanks very much once again,


Tom Heimer
I agree with sitting down with a pro to find out what's wrong. I too haven't heard of "Juno".
I use exctly what you have--Buffet R13, Vand. 5RV mouthpiece and Vand. 2.5 reads (what are the chances?). I use to use the old Vand. V360 (not made anymore, but very similar to the 5RV). I've used the 5RV for about 20 years playing professionally.
I saw the "Juno" reeds on Polish auction portal allegro, but not only. It seems that the are reeds "in Vandoren style", but produced by Juno. They are not original Vandoren reeds.

I will also add something about the mouthpiece. I use a noname mouthpiece with reed 2.5. I upgraded to Vandoren 5RV Lyre, but for this mouthpiece I need reed 3-3.5. And it's quite difficult to play. Probably because I am still a beginner and my enbouchure is not that good, the ,uscles are not trained enough... So it is difficult for me to judge the sound, if it is better or not comparing to my noname. So yes, I agree - there is always mouthpiece+reed. But also skills!


Tom Heimer
Generally, the softer the reed , the "easier" it is to play. Harder reeds MAY result in a more "stable" sound, and make playing the extreme high notes easier. When I taught Band to young students I started them on Rico # 2s, and progressed from there. Some may disagree with that approach. Then again, many pros find it odd I can play on Vand. 2.5s, and that I find harder reeds a pain in the neck (I've played the Nielsen Concerto on those 2.5s). But, as others say, getting a private teacher is the way to go.
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