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Author Topic: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?  (Read 723 times)

Offline LarryS

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Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« on: November 17, 2023, 12:37:56 PM »
I was wondering what folks recommend as a good upgrade from the Yamaha 4C that I have?
I've been looking at various Vandoren mps on ebay but its a bit of a minefield.
I'm hoping to sell my Jhorn on there and using the money to get a better mpc
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Offline kurth83

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2023, 01:33:45 PM »
When I was looking to upgrade from the 4c, which for me was the student mpc that came with my 255, I ran into Dawkes Music (very large UK instrument store) claim that the vandoren BD5 is by far their best selling mouthpiece.  It is well regarded by many top classical players and since that is my primary genre it seemed like the perfect first (so-called professional-level) mouthpiece to try.

Long story short, it is a great mouthpiece, I have bought a few others to try (notable the 5JB and the BD4), and the BD5 has stood the test of time, although the BD4 was very close and I played on it for a while.

I had intonation issues (flat) and switched from the BD5-13 to the BD5-non-13.  The non-13 is working best for me these days.

A small warning, I spent very little time with the student mouthpieces, tried a 4c, and a clark fobes debut, and within a few weeks realized I wanted something better and bought the BD5 cuz the herd is probably right, or right enough I figured it would at least be reasonably decent.

Offline LarryS

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2023, 02:07:43 PM »
Someone on Facebook recommended Behn Overture. Apparently cheaper and better than Vandoren B45
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2023, 09:15:59 AM »
Larry,
My recommendation to you is to purchase every cheap, used mouthpiece you can find with clean tip, rails and table.  Experiment and see what fits you best.  This will evolve over time, and a mouthpiece you once loved may not continue to fill your needs, as your tastes and capabilities change. 

Assuming a relatively leak-free clarinet, no single change has a more profound impact on tone, clarity, and ultimately--confidence than one's MP.  It is the most critical component.  I do not have the metric capabilities to measure the floor and roof of mouthpieces, as I'd like, so I cannot provide anything scientific for evaluation. 

I have some mouthpieces that are fabulous in the Chalumeau, and lousy in the Clarion, and vice versa.  It gets a bit unnerving sometimes, as a reed change can have a drastic impact on how a mouthpiece played previously.  My assumption is that you will not have one MP that does everything for you, and will need at least three.  I have dozens and I go back and forth, making myself half-mad.  I will say that the Vandoren B45 is a very solid all-rounder, but I never found it exceptional at anything in particular.  But now, sometimes that is exactly what you need.  I have a great, very hard to play G. Bundy (3 facing) which I find phenominal in the higher Clarion, and rather dull in the Chalumeau.  It requires a tremendous amount of air, but it is remarkably crisp and consistent.  My Selmer HS* is a very fluid MP with a very wide range for bending, but I find without a rock crushing embouchure, it locks the reed closed against the tip, blocking all airflow, and squaks in the low Clarion, when I am not carrrying a consistent, extremely forceful charge of air.  It annoys me to no end. 

My favorites currently are a LeBlanc 2C from about 1950, a Woodwind Co. Robert Marcellus #3, and an un-branded 1920s-1930s Chedeville. 

One last thing:  Reed placement is critical.  When I fit a reed, I make sure it is as perfectly centered as I can eyeball, with just the ever-so-slightest bit of the tip visable (Quite literally just barely visible, so perhaps .002-.003" of an inch), and absolutely no more.  Never allow your reed to hang past the tip.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 09:54:59 AM by Windsong »
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2023, 03:11:43 AM »
Clarinet is so frustrating! Sometimes its just nice to pick up the recorder and play. No mp to worry about, no dodgy or badly placed reed.
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline Windsong

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2023, 06:00:15 AM »
You speak the truth, Larry.
When I see a clarinetist put on a flawless performance, I say to myself:  This person is preternatural!
This is why I never tried to be a concert musician.  I do not have the skill or temperament; plain and simple. 

Truth is, most people do not.  I would much rather noodle around with jazz and blues, and traditionals, where human error is more permissible, and even endearing.
Don't beat yourself up over it.  There are some days where we fire on all 8 cylinders, and some days where nothing seems right.
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Offline philpedler

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Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2023, 03:09:37 PM »
I have happily used a Vandoren BD5 for some years. If you experience flatness, I bet it will be around the throat tones E and Eb. (The E can be raised by the addition of the Eb key, but that is a bother.)
With the right reed, the throat tones should not be too flat with the BD5. And they only tend to be flat when playing loud.

I was going to suggest a Chedeville mouthpiece. There must be a new owner for that brand, and he is charging $350 per mouthpiece. I have two Chedeville mouthpieces that I like from the period when the name was owned by Dr's Products. The cost was much lower back then. And those mouthpieces seem not to be flat in the lower throat tones.

Wow, all those pages with advice on clarinetpages.net are way out of date!

I liked Windsong's suggestion: In looking for a Chedeville mouthpiece just now, I saw that some used ones are available for decent prices.