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2 words.
Walter Grabner.
 

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For getting strong, clear tone in the upper clarion, first make sure your horn doesn't have any leaks, bent keys, loose screws or the like. A lot of times this can solve problems you didn't know you had!

The keys to getting a good sound on the bass clarinet are a clarinet embouchure with the tongue arched high in the mouth (think "heeeee") and good, strong air support. A lot of sax players don't arch their tongues enough when they play bass clarinet, preferring instead to use a tenor sax style embouchure, throat and tongue position. Consequently, a lot (I'm not going to say all) of these players have tones that are buzzy, spread, unfocused and lacking in a lot of "core" sound.

A good mouthpiece can really help to facilitate good tone through the range of the instrument, but before you buy a really nice mouthpiece, I would recommend finding something that works (Yamaha, Hite, Bundy, used Vandoren) while you learn to control this beast. Then, when you're good enough to know a good mouthpiece when you play one, you'll be able to make an educated, informed decision and get the best one for you.

Disclaimer: All of this is what works and has worked for me, and may not necessarily be what works for you.
 

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I agree with Dirty that simply a different mouthpiece may not solve all of your issues. Bass Clarinets can have their share of mechanical problems. A lot of shedding is needed too. The bass clarinet is not an instrument that one can simply pick up and expect to be performance-ready. Dirty's advice about getting a decent foundation on bass clarinet before you spend big bucks on an expensive mouthpiece makes a lot of sense.

All of that said, I also agree with the message about Walter Grabner mouthpieces. When I got a Grabner LB bass clarinet mouthpiece it made a night and day difference for me. At the time I was playing an old Bundy stencil bass clarinet and had a lot of problems with it. The Grabner LB mouthpiece totally brought that old bass clarinet to life. Passages in the high range that were problematic on the Bundy immediately became a walk in the park. Amazing difference!

Roger
 

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Roger Aldridge said:
I agree with Dirty that simply a different mouthpiece may not solve all of your issues. Bass Clarinets can have their share of mechanical problems. A lot of shedding is needed too. The bass clarinet is not an instrument that one can simply pick up and expect to be performance-ready. Dirty's advice about getting a decent foundation on bass clarinet before you spend big bucks on an expensive mouthpiece makes a lot of sense.

All of that said, I also agree with the message about Walter Grabner mouthpieces. When I got a Grabner LB bass clarinet mouthpiece it made a night and day difference for me. At the time I was playing an old Bundy stencil bass clarinet and had a lot of problems with it. The Grabner LB mouthpiece totally brought that old bass clarinet to life. Passages in the high range that were problematic on the Bundy immediately became a walk in the park. Amazing difference!

Roger
Definitely. If you've done your work, then upgrading to a good mouthpiece can help you make a quantum leap forward. When I got my Fobes (San Francisco model, RR facing), it was as though I was playing a new instrument. Everything that I'd been trying to do, the concepts I'd been working through and the lines I could almost play all started happening in a major way.

Never played a Grabner mouthpiece, but by all accounts they are excellent mouthpieces. I've never heard anything bad about them and would love to try one sometime when I have money to spend and time to learn a new mouthpiece.
 

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A surprising number of the bass clarinets I have worked on had several mouthpieces in the case.

These instruments were in a state of barely functioning. The player had obviously tried to solve the problem by changing mouthpiece. That is like dealing with a heart attack by putting on some more comfortable shoes!

How it played (with almost any mouthpiece) after servicing,was just no comparison with how it played before.

I would say definitely, get the instrument in top going order before messing with different mouthpieces.

Otherwise all you are doing is searching to find which mouthpiece best accommodates the faults in the instrument.
 

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Gigantor196652 said:
Ill be quick
Good mouth Pieces?
My problem is hitting above the High G :space5:
and tech and tone
What equipment are you using? How long have you been playing? What experience do you have? Experience on other horns?

Though I can't comment on the specific mouthpieces mentioned, the advice given by others in this thread is good. Make sure your horn is in good condition, then see what you can do with what you have, slightly altering your technique (embouchure pressure, air pressure, tongue/mouth/throat position, etc.). I have thoughts on particular mouthpieces, but I would need to know more about your playing history before I could recommend one to you. What works well for me might be useless to you.

-DH
 

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Any note I can play on bass clarinet, I can play it with any mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces don't have the best sound I want, some don't have the best response, some have other problems, but none of them ever caused me to not being able to play notes!
 

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clarnibass said:
Any note I can play on bass clarinet, I can play it with any mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces don't have the best sound I want, some don't have the best response, some have other problems, but none of them ever caused me to not being able to play notes!
Ditto, and this comment really puts into perspective what I was trying to say earlier. FIND A WAY to make those notes speak with your current equipment. Don't worry about scales or passages or anything else, just FIND A WAY to make each note speak by itself. Then FIND A WAY to make each note speak better. It is possible, even with less than optimal equipment, to play up to two Cs above the staff (don't expect this right away -- work up to it). I wouldn't expect to glide effortlessly throughout this range, but you should be able to get the notes to speak. After you've honed your skills with your current equipment, you will truly be able to appreciate (and properly evaluate) any future upgrade in equipment (particularly mouthpieces).

-DH
 

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Amen brother!

Heise said:
Ditto, and this comment really puts into perspective what I was trying to say earlier. FIND A WAY to make those notes speak with your current equipment.
-DH
AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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At the risk of sounding repetitive, assuming your bass clarinet is in good condition, which both of mine are, and assuming you are putting in the time to develop a nice bass clarinet embouchure, breath support, and voicing, the mouthpiece will play a big part of your playing experience and sound. The bass clarinet is the *most* mouthpiece dependent instrument that I have played to date. And I've been told that is a common experience by a number of my instructors.

The Walter Grabner 'Laurie Bloom' mouthpiece is definitely worth a try. If you can't afford it, then that's that. But affordability isn't necessarily the hallmark of good mouthpiece. If you can get a Hite or Selmer to work for you, great. If not try some other pieces. YMMV. :cool:
 

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Gandalfe said:
At the risk of sounding repetitive, assuming your bass clarinet is in good condition, which both of mine are, and assuming you are putting in the time to develop a nice bass clarinet embouchure, breath support, and voicing, the mouthpiece will play a big part of your playing experience and sound.
No question; I agree. The key here is the foundation of proper embouchure, breath support, voicing, etc. "Lesser" equipment will often "force" a student to develop better fundamentals (in that only good fundamentals can overcome the limitations --- hence FIND A WAY), whereas optimal equipment is often more forgiving of poor technique. Better equipment can only be fully appreciated once these fundamentals are in place. (There are limits, of course! Awful equipment can "force" bad habits -- or worse, discourage a beginning player!)

In no way do I mean to imply that a seasoned (or, for that matter, an intermediate) player should languish on subpar equipment, nor am I discounting the profound effect a mouthpiece can produce... I just think, as has been correctly discussed, that developing the fundamentals is a more important first step.

-DH
 

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You can check the threads for good bc mouthpieces. I prefer those made by Clark Fobes. He does make an intermediate (Nova) and a student mouthpiece (Debut) if you want to try something inexpensive that works really well. For the high register make sure you have a strong enough reed and then relax. Don't bite and choke the reed off. Let it do the work for you. Good luck.
 
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