Author Topic: Understanding mouthpieces  (Read 212 times)

Offline LarryS

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Understanding mouthpieces
« on: January 12, 2019, 04:03:40 PM »
My mp is a Yamaha 4C and I currently use Rico Royal 2.5s, but looking online about mp choice I come across a lot of info. Different facings, lays, tip openings and French style/American style mouthpiece-its a minefield!
Is there an easy summary of all this different info?
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Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 07:38:03 AM »
No place that I've found.  I generally start with the Vandoren website...they have many mouthpiece types and facings there, so there is at least some comparison.  Also, there's info there on what is considered a long/short table, open/closed facing, etc. 

Offline shmuelyosef

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2019, 02:30:42 PM »
A big step up from 4C, and a bargain to boot would be to get a Fobes Debut. They can be had for under $30, and you would have to spend <<$100 to do better for a learning piece.

I agree that the info on the Vandoren site is useful, but the selection is baffling; the older B45s are pretty good learning pieces and can be had for cheap.

Stay with low cost until you start to develop a concept of the sound and playing experience you want...e.g. if you have your 4C, a Debut, and a VD B45 or 2RV (i.e. something generic) you will get an idea of the effect that mouthpieces have on experience and can then describe "I want more like XXX..." to a welcoming forum.

You might also ask the same question on the Clarinet BBoard (a competing but also friendly group) more focused on playing than equipment than this forum...obviously both foci are valuable
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 08:30:08 AM »
To be honest I didnt find any useful info on vandoren's site.
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Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2019, 03:18:22 PM »
Oh, sorry.  I'm not sure there's much out there.  Mouthpieces are something of a "dark art"

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 03:49:26 AM »
It is a dark art and you'll hear many opinions but there are some basics.

A long facing requires a harder reed than a short one.
A narrow tip opening requires a harder reed than a wide one.

Classical players tend to prefer long and narrow with hard reeds.  Jazz/klezmer/ethnic players tend to prefer short and wide with soft reeds this gives more flexibility of pitch.  There are many exceptions though.

A high baffle makes a brighter sound than a low baffle.

Vandoren seems to think that Americans like to play at a slightly lower pitch than Europeans.  I think that's all the American/French thing is about.  An American (13 series) model played too flat for me when I tried one but it was a long time ago.

German clarinets and mouthpieces are different.  Don't even go there.


Offline LarryS

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2019, 05:23:28 AM »
But which type of facing does my Yamaha 4C mp have? If I understand correctly the denomination '4C' refers to that. It is also seen on brass instrument mps
« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 08:16:16 AM by LarryS »
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2019, 06:27:09 AM »
 19mm facing.  1.05mm tip.


Offline LarryS

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2019, 08:16:02 AM »
19mm facing.  1.05mm tip.
So...is that long, short or medium?
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2019, 09:05:46 AM »
That's open to interpretation but I'd call 19 medium, perhaps medium long.  1.05 opening is probably medium too.

Different manufacturers might have different ideas about what's short, medium and long facing and close, medium and open tip.

Go to a shop and try a few.  You'll need a good assortment of reed strengths.

Offline LarryS

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2019, 01:45:29 PM »


Go to a shop and try a few.  You'll need a good assortment of reed strengths.
Yea I would love to if we had a shop! Our last music shop closed down last year. I don't have money to buy more gear anyway, tho I do need a stand and a proper neck strap.
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2019, 04:28:49 AM »
I don't use a neck strap for modern clarinet but I actually use the one below on my classical clarinet which doesn't have a thumb rest.  It's really good. You can actually can take both hands off the instrument if you really want to.

https://www.reeds-direct.co.uk/clarinet-support-to-suppliment-the-use-o.html


Offline Airflyte

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2019, 05:45:30 PM »
Anyone know about rail thickness and what effect it has on the the overall design of a mouthpiece?
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2019, 10:13:58 PM »
Anyone know about rail thickness and what effect it has on the the overall design of a mouthpiece?
Boy, what a question. I suppose rail thickness would affect how much of the reed is within the airflow, and how much of the reed lies on the rail itself.
It may also affect the weight and/or density of the piece, but only marginally.

Most likely, the amount of surface area of reed in the air flow could potentially have some sort of impact on sound. Perhaps more surface area = more/bigger sound?
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Understanding mouthpieces
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2019, 05:06:02 AM »
Here's one take on it - about 2/3 way down the page.

https://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/mouthpiece-nomenclature-guide

Make of it what you will.