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I'm an alto/baritone sax player working on bass clarinet as a double. I'm primarily a jazz player. Does anyone have any mouthpiece/reed combo advice?
 

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If you're doubling on soprano clarinet, the easy advice would be to get an open mouthpiece, like a Grabner or Fobes 14, Bay, Vandoren B40, etc., but if you do the same with bass clarinet, you get control and upper register response problems. Go for a medium lay mouthpiece. The old standard is Selmer C star, but you'll have to go through a few as Selmer quality control isn't what it used to be. Grabner, Fobes, Garrett are all good. Fobes Debut is an incredible bargain. Reed-wise, Vandorens are safe, or maybe Legere if you want to go synthetic. Lots of great players use Grand Concert, but I've never had any luck with them. Gonzalez is good, too, if you can find them.
 

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the problem with open bass clarinet lays is that some manufacturers puts too long a baffle on them to make them responsive for inexperienced players. They end up "choking" on you. To me the perfect recipe was reworking a B50 VD piece. I removed material from the roof of the chamber from about 3/16" of the tip down to 3/4~7/8" of the tip, reworked the tip opening and facing curve and it worked out beautifully to me. I play soprano and alto clarinet in addition to the bass, and I play sop/alto/tenor although my main saxophone is the tenor.
 

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I get superb results with a Walter Grabner LB mouthpiece, 3.5 Legere bass clarinet reeds, and an Optimum ligature (reed plate #1). I've been bugging Theo Wanne to make a bass clarinet version of his new ligature. Until he does, I'll continue with Optimum. With this set up, the quality of sound is rich & resonant and response throughout the range (especially in the upper clarion) is practically effortless.

Lisa, One thing that I'd suggest is to not think of yourself as a doubler or jazz player with respect to your clarinet or bass clarinet set up. Rather, think in terms of becoming so good on those instruments that it will difficult for other musicians to know that they are not your primary horns. That's the holy grail for doublers. With that in mind, aim for the best possible classical clarinet sound that you can get. That is, use a top-notch classical mouthpiece....going for the SOUND....and avoid so-called jazz clarinet mouthpieces. Then, with a really beautiful DARK classical clarinet sound you can play in a jazz style.

I'm a big fan of Kaspar-style mouthpieces on Bb clarinet. Walter Grabner and Clark Fobes make really good ones. My favorite is the Grabner K14. While Walter calls it a jazz mouthpiece it has only a 1.09 tip. A Kaspar-style mouthpiece helps to give one a dark, round, warm, and ringing sound with exceptional projection. Along with that, thick-cut reeds are highly recommended such as Vandoren V12, Gonzales FOF, or Legere Quebec. With this set up, think of Robert Marcellus. The Grabner LB mouthpiece has similar qualities on bass clarinet.

Good luck!

Roger
 

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Lisa, One thing that I'd suggest is to not think of yourself as a doubler or jazz player with respect to your clarinet or bass clarinet set up. Rather, think in terms of becoming so good on those instruments that it will difficult for other musicians to know that they are not your primary horns. That's the holy grail for doublers.
While there is a lot of truth to this, I think one should keep in mind that a new "doubler" instrument is first and foremost a new instrument, and one can't do much wrong if one started with a (good) student mouthpiece on these. Inevitably one would "move up" some day, but for the initial phase good student 'pieces like the Fobes Debut or Behn Ouverture or Bundy Signature promise encouraging results at modest prices while retaining their value as a viable backup later.

(I'm still using these with a Rovner Star Series Ligature and Selmer Primo (aka Gonzalez) #3 or 3.5 reeds)
 

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...a (good) student mouthpiece on these. Inevitably one would "move up" some day...
I know an excellent professional classical player who had many excellent mouthpieces (in various prices) and on one instrument, they actually preferred a Fobes Debut over all the other professional mouthpieces they had or tried. It gave them the sound and response they preferred. I actually use a pro model Fobes and prefer it over the Debut. But really, that deosn't mean much, anyone should just choose a mouthpiece they like and plays the way they want.
 

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