Author Topic: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces  (Read 124 times)

Offline sachet

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Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« on: August 22, 2019, 01:38:56 AM »
Hi, I'm a classically trained clarinetist who has switched over to jazz. I was wondering what mouthpieces would suit a jazz style and if there are any manufacturers that made a metal clarinet mouthpiece.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2019, 10:20:52 AM »
Metal mouthpieces are pretty common for saxophones, but not so much for clarinets.

You can get a metal one from China for around $50, with a crapshoot for quality.

Another good option is a crystal mouthpiece from Pomarico. These are usually sub-150, less if used, and are a pretty good option for jazzing.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 05:53:58 PM »
Many jazz players use a classical MP. I've read that players who cross styles generally don't use a different MP for jazz.

However, this begs the question of what you mean by 'jazz'? Old time Dixie or swing jazz with heavy vibrato may benefit from a more flexible MP with longer lay and greater tip opening. Modern jazz keeps tighter pitch control and should not require a departure from the classical MP.

I play modern jazz standards. I tried a "jazz" MP (Vandoren 5JB). It was too wild for me. I stick with a classical MP and I'm fine. I am starting to play klezmer, which is related to Gypsy music, much more flexible, but I still do best with my classical MP. I you have a piece you love, you may be best to stick with it. Anyone else?
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 01:40:09 PM »
Back to metal, the main problem I had with the Chinese one I bought was that it was so HEAVY. Probably 3 or 4 times the weight of a standard hard rubber or composite mouthpiece. It was awkward and made the instrument top heavy.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline LarryS

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 03:43:42 PM »
.

However, this begs the question of what you mean by 'jazz'? Old time Dixie or swing jazz with heavy vibrato may benefit from a more flexible MP with longer lay and greater tip opening. Modern jazz keeps tighter pitch control and should not require a departure from the classical MP.

Does the greater tip opening allow the reed to move more, giving a freer, less rigid sound?
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2019, 04:00:56 PM »
This is my understanding:  A wider tip opening implies a longer "lay". The lay is the portion of the MP surface (rails) that the reed "lays down" on when it vibrates to the closed position.

Lip pressure causes the reed to lay more onto the side rails, effectively shortening the lay. When the lip is relaxed, a longer portion of the reed vibrates, utilizing the full lay. This causes it to vibrate more slowly, dropping the pitch, as we all know.

The longer the lay, the more the lip pressure will vary the pitch. My reasoning and observation indicate that a longer lay (greater tip opening) causes a greater pitch response to lip vibrato. Too much response, I call "wild".

Moving my jaw up and down creates both a tremolo effect (varying the loudness) AND a vibrato effect on the pitch. A MP with too much "jazz" characteristic is one that gives me too much pitch vibrato. A classical MP described as "medium" open works best for me. A wide opening makes me work too hard to tame the pitch.

For "modern" (post-swing band) jazz AND for classical or any other music, I need the constraint of a classical MP. Old-time jazz players have a different pitch concept, and may want to contribute to this discussion.
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
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Thanks to The Clarinet Pages

Offline LarryS

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2019, 07:38:51 AM »
So a mp with a longer lay is actually physically longer?
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2019, 08:09:45 AM »
No, it's just that the point where the reed parts from the rails is a bit further down.

I'm going to contradict Windy and say that length of lay and tip opening are independent.  Wider tip openings do tend to go with longer lays but it is not essential. 

Look at the specs of Vandoren's offerings here

https://vandoren.fr/en/clarinet-mouthpieces-comparison/


Offline LarryS

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2019, 09:31:13 AM »
I wonder where my Yamaha 4C mp fits on that chart. Its all so confusing.
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2019, 02:44:17 AM »
Yamaha's mouthpiece specs are here

https://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/winds/mouthpieces/clarinets/custom_standard.html

So 1.05/19

19mm is about medium in Vandoren parlance.  5RV is probably the closest equivalent Vandoren in theory but there are many more variables besides the tip opening and lay length.  Facing curve profile and baffle geometry for starters.

Offline LarryS

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2019, 04:06:44 PM »
So if I was selecting a mouthpiece for new Orleans jazz (yes please ) I would select one with a wider tip opening, going from my 4C to a 7C.
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2019, 02:07:11 PM »
Larry - With my classical MPs, I can drop my jaw and loosen a bit and drop the pitch about a quarter-tone. I can play Dixie-like and bluesy.

All beginners start out at least 1/4-step flat. It's not hard! If your MP will allow you to do that, then I contend that you have an adequate MP for jazz.

You may want a higher-grade MP when you get a chance to try some out, but not necessarily a more open one. I've tried a few more-open pieces. I've had to blow too hard for comfort, with too much air, and found them hard to control. And, hard to play softly. Standard MPs are a happy medium that works for most jazz as well as classical players.

Try that pitch drop that is essential to jazz and blues, and tell us how it goes.
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
C & G CLARINETS refined to concert standards
Thanks to The Clarinet Pages

Offline LarryS

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2019, 03:52:45 PM »
Larry - With my classical MPs, I can drop my jaw and loosen a bit and drop the pitch about a quarter-tone. I can play Dixie-like and bluesy.

All beginners start out at least 1/4-step flat. It's not hard! If your MP will allow you to do that, then I contend that you have an adequate MP for jazz.

You may want a higher-grade MP when you get a chance to try some out, but not necessarily a more open one. I've tried a few more-open pieces. I've had to blow too hard for comfort, with too much air, and found them hard to control. And, hard to play softly. Standard MPs are a happy medium that works for most jazz as well as classical players.

Try that pitch drop that is essential to jazz and blues, and tell us how it goes.
Windy,check this out. I'm playing an old Dixieland number called Careless Love.

https://youtu.be/HdF4GQprtHQ
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Jazz Clarinet Mouthpieces
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2019, 09:56:38 AM »
You're getting better, Larry! Your intonation is excellent except you need to practice the three (!) proper ways to produce that Eb. You are cheating by hitting the ring. It has no advantages over the THREE legit fingerings. And, it's coming out sharp. It serves you OK on this song, but will be out of tune on others and awkward too. I would tend to use finger R1 to produce the Eb. If it doesn't work, check the link between the joints. The cork often needs adjustment to make it work right, but it's worth it. Flute and sax have the same fingering option, BTW.

I suggest you tongue more. Sing the song in the form of doot-doo-doot, for practice. And, use a metronome habitually.

Back on topic, practice dropping jaw and loosening to BEND notes downward. Try it on that E, bending toward an Eb as a more bluesy voice-like expression. That's called "down in Dixie".
Windy / BLACK HOLE Clarinets
C & G CLARINETS refined to concert standards
Thanks to The Clarinet Pages