Author Topic: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)  (Read 255 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« on: November 12, 2019, 07:15:26 PM »
Hey all,

I wanted to collate a list of the best mouthpieces of all materials, and all price points, and unify everything into the Ultimate Clarinet Mouthpiece Buying Guide.
Mouthpieces are arguably one of the most important aspects of a clarinet's sound, and a good one can make a $20 clarinet sound like gold; a bad one can make an R13 sound like trash.

I'm not a super expert, but I'll start with my recommendations.


HARD RUBBER:
Budget Range - Geo M Bundy 3 (vintage) - ~$25
Mid Range - Selmer HS* (vintage) - ~$50
High Range - Rico Reserve X5 (modern) - $100

Plastic:
Budget Range - Yamaha 4C (modern) - ~$15
Mid Range -
High Range -

Wood:
Budget Range -
Mid Range -
High Range -

Crystal:
Budget Range - (are there really any budget options here?)
Mid Range -
High Range - Pomarico Sapphire - ~$130
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2019, 08:56:23 PM »
HARD RUBBER:
Budget Range - "Sumner Acousticut 3", made from the 1950s to 80s. $20-$100 on eBay. I have 7 of them and every one is superior to every other MP I have tried, from my shoebox full of oldies to various well regarded standards and modern recreations up to about $100. For me, nothing comes close. I use them on my Bb, C and G clarinets. Gave one to my granddaughter and she lit up. The tone and the response are just right. They make my plastic Vito horn sound wonderful. The choice of barrels, for me, has become almost a non-issue with this MP. I look at my Sumner family and smile, relieved from further MP lust.  If you search it, you'll find that they have a loyal following.

Another that is very common, is old "FRANCE 2V" hard rubber pieces, stenciled for Noblet, Vito and others. They show up a lot with old student instruments, and some of them are very good.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 01:01:34 PM by windydankoff »
Windy at BLACK HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 11:37:05 PM »
Thanks for the input! I've never tried the Sumner but I'll certainly take your word for it.

I see those France 2V's all the time. Some are Vito Melodica, some are Noblet, some are just blank. I have one squirreled away somewhere; I'll have to break it out and try it.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline LarryS

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2019, 04:21:32 AM »
Yamaha 4C is what I have. Can't say if it's good or bad, I know nothing about mpcs, but its better than the stock mpc that came with the clarinet.
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2019, 09:03:50 AM »
Yamaha 4C is what I have. Can't say if it's good or bad, I know nothing about mpcs, but its better than the stock mpc that came with the clarinet.

Oh, it's good. They just get no respect for some reason. I just kind of "re-discovered my old "Geo M Bundy" 3 piece. I like it.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2019, 03:27:21 PM »
Yamaha 4C is what I have. Can't say if it's good or bad, I know nothing about mpcs, but its better than the stock mpc that came with the clarinet.

Oh, it's good. They just get no respect for some reason. I just kind of "re-discovered my old "Geo M Bundy" 3 piece. I like it.
That's good to know
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 09:03:31 PM »
So here's a lesson ... our hero Phil Pedler wrote to me that he tried Sumner MPs and they don't work for him. I also swear by Fibracell synthetic reeds. The don't work for him either. Fact is, the mouthpiece (and reed) is the interface with the dynamic anatomy of the human body. And we are all so different! It seems to show up very distinctly in the mouthpiece of the clarinet. So MY input to this struggling "Ultimate Guide" is that there is NO ultimate, except in relation to the individual. It's like shoes.

I went through a crazy number of MPs, old and new. Never liked ANY new ones. Found my ultimate by chance buying a Sumner from eBay, then a few more.  It took me 3 years to find it. Other people just buy what's recommended and they do just fine. It's just one of the mysteries of the instrument we love (if we're lucky). In retrospect, I would may have done better to book a flight to a big city and and spend a day or two in instrument shops trying MPs.

Once I found MY "ultimate" MP, thoughts of an "ultimate" clarinet faded away. MY ultimate mouthpiece makes a cheap clarinet sound great. It's often said the MP is half the instrument. I say it's 80%.  To upgrade your act, I would say to find YOUR ultimate MP first, THEN shop for a clarinet or barrel upgrade. It will make your search much easier.
Windy at BLACK HOLE Clarinets
"User-Friendly" clarinets in Bb and C
http://www.windydankoff.com/black-hole-clarinets.html

Offline TMHeimer

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Re: Ultimate Mouthpiece Buying Guide (INPUT NEEDED)
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2020, 08:04:49 PM »
I'll just say the my old Vandoren V360 (used it 25 years) and recent Vandoren 5RV (last 20 years or so) are very similar. With my Vandoren 2 1/2 reeds I have no reason to consider leaving the 5RV.  The old V360 is now my backup for when I will eventually drop and destroy the 5RV.
The Most Advanced Clarinet Book
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom
(click on the book image then on PDF for samples)
"Boreal Ballad" for unacc. clarinet solo (advanced)--available at
Sheet Music Plus