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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everybody, I've been having some trouble deciding what reeds work best with the mouthpieces I'm using. I have a Bundy Resonite bass with a Garrett MO and Noblet 40 Bb soprano with a selmer HS* (with a logo on the table) that someone gave to me recently. I've "defaulted" to Legere 2.5 for both (since I had them on hand), but I'd like to know if those reeds are the right thickness for these mouthpieces, and maybe get some recommendations for other reeds?

The tone on both instruments isn't too bad, but they sound very stuffy. Note that I know very little when it comes to clarinets except for how to play them, and I've only had a couple of student mouthpieces before these. I'd like a dark but full tone, probably like many other clarinet players.

Thanks
 

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I really like the Legere Quebec Cut for soprano clarinet; I think you could go up to a 3 or higher on an HS*. As far as the bass goes, I'm not familiar with the Garrett MO, but having a really good mpc is critical on the bass, probably more critical than having the right strength reed. I find that a Legere 3¼ works fine with my Fobes Debut.
 

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I think Roger says on his site what strength reed he recommend with his pieces. That said, they were a little too stiff for my son, who uses nearly the exact same same bass and mpc the OP does, but then he's a relative newcomer to the bass instrument. He settled on [for now] a 2.5 Vandoren blue, although he's had pretty good luck [ulp!] using a Java Tenor 2.5 as well.
 

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Reed 'thickness' or strength is a personal thing. Some prefer harder, some prefer softer using 'identical' mouthpieces.
That being said, most clarinetists using an HS* will use ~3 for general purpose playing. In my area Mitchel Lurie and Rico Royal are the clarinet reeds of choice. Vandoren blue box are similar, but not as consistant as of late.
None of the clarinetist that I know use synthetics. Not that they aren't ok, we just prefer cane.

If your clarinets are playing a bit stuffy it may be time for them to go to the tech for a good going over.
 

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Mouthpiece makers can give approximate reed strengths for their mouthpieces, but every player is different. I personally tend to play on reeds a half strength softer than recommended on both soprano and bass. I think the 2.5 Legere is just about right for the Garrett mouthpiece (maybe try a 3), but the HS* isn't that open a mouthpiece. I agree a 3 or stronger might be worth a try. And, if you're new to the clarinet, it is more resistant than a sax, so it could be your mouthpiece/reed combos are fine, you just need to get used to the instruments.
 

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I tend to play softer reeds on the bass beasties like the bass, contra alto and contrabass clarinets than I do on the sop and alto clarinet. Come to think of it I do that with bari, bass saxes too. It's really kind of a trade off that can be best determined by playing different strenghts for extended periods of time. I'm in a happy place now with 3's for higher instruments and 2.5 for lower ones. But as band mommy sez, it's different for each of us so don't be afraid to experiment. I rarely agree with people who recommend changes in my setups even though their recommendation works well for them. Nor do I recommend changes for decent players who have found their voice. Enjoy the journey.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the info guys. I'll try 3's on the soprano, maybe just get a different type of reed with the same strength for the bass. Also, I agree the bass needs tech work. The soprano doesn't really sound too stuffy and I bought it from someone who had it set up by a tech just a month ago.

lomaserena, I'm not new to the clarinet, just new to having a good setup! If anything, my sax playing really needs work in comparison.
 

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Bobby McClellan, a member here, is an experienced bass clarinetist who plays a Garrett MO. Perhaps he can tell you what he has learned about reeds for this mouthpiece. The Garrett bass mouthpieces have a great reputation, by the way. You could PM him if he doesn't chime in.
 

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Thanks for all the info guys. I'll try 3's on the soprano, maybe just get a different type of reed with the same strength for the bass. Also, I agree the bass needs tech work. The soprano doesn't really sound too stuffy and I bought it from someone who had it set up by a tech just a month ago.

lomaserena, I'm not new to the clarinet, just new to having a good setup! If anything, my sax playing really needs work in comparison.
It still wouldn't hurt to have it checked out by YOUR tech.
Unless there is a really huge problem with the mouthpiece/reed/embouchure combination there should be no stuffiness after being 'set up' by the other tech.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ah, I probably shouldn't have said "stuffy", because they both play well (the bass needs some adjustments though) and have decent volume. I was referring more to the dull tone I am getting. No "richness" to it I guess you could say. It's probably the reeds, but I will get both clarinets checked out anyway.
 
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