Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

Distinguished SOTW Member
4,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Been cleaning out mouthpiece collections and selling some, and became curious about whether I could explain the preferences that I have developed for certain mouthpieces on certain clarinets.
I have attached a chart of mouthpiece exit bores (the diameter at the very end of the mouthpiece) and the taper (the difference in diameter between the end and a point 1 centimeter into the mouthpiece...I was never really aware just how much taper there is).
Some explanation:
- About 6-7 years ago, I switched from playing an older R13 to playing a Selmer Centered Tone (P-series from eBay) and later added a Selmer Series 9 (purchased from Vytas Krass) after selling my R13. These enabled the sound that I was looking for
- I discovered that the mouthpieces that I used on my R13 did not work all that well, and collected some pieces that were touted as better for "Big Bore" cylindrical clarinets.
- After all my messing around with mouthpieces and getting used to my new setups, I settled on just a few (but kept all the others around)

As I was trying to decide which pieces to sell, as I'm in a housecleaning mode, I got curious and made these measurements.

Interestingly, my current setups are:
Centered Tone - Grabner K14
Series 9 - Fobes 4L
Unfortunately, I don't have a caliper or divider that can get into my barrels to measure the diameters, but I can measure the diameters on the upper joints.
Series 9 - 15.1mm (0.595") at top, 14.8mm (0.580")at the bottom
Centered Tone - 15.2mm (0.600") at top, 15.0mm (0.590") at the bottom
...some of you may be surprised, but these big bore clarinets have taper (i.e. they are actually polycylindrical...dirty secret...still have large toneholes without undercutting and play in tune just fine)

What I hadn't realized is that these mouthpieces have taper as well. I had often heard that you should never use a mouthpiece with an output smaller than the input bore on your upper joint. Hence the Moennig reverse taper barrels that allowed larger bore mouthpieces on the smaller bore "new-fangled polycylindrical" clarinets. I never paid much attention.

If you look at the list, however, I seem to have chosen that path. I rejected the smaller bore mouthpieces that I bought to use with the R13 (I mostly played the Woodwind NY "Dick Stabile") in favor of larger bore pieces.

An additional observation is that the student mouthpieces (which I am selling off currently) all have pretty large bores.

Note also the variation in the taper.

One final note: when I bought the Series 9 from Vytas Krass, he generously provided a nice hard rubber Bundy blank that he had faced with (what I believe is) his K27 facing, and indicated that it would be good for the Series 9. Close inspection of the bore indicates that the last 2 centimeters or so have been reworked, although this is subtle enough that I could be wrong. This mouthpiece has a great sound, but is a little much for me (tip opening) unless I have been playing a lot of clarinet recently. I have the same impression of the Fobes "JAZZ".

I have included the tip openings just for reference. Curious if anyone has an revelations or thoughts to add.

View attachment 86756

Distinguished SOTW Member.
4,684 Posts
Just now looking at this thread.. meant to check it out earlier.

On my Selmer BT clarinet I like a Link Reso Chamber .

On my late P-series CT The Reso Chamber is also very good but I also like a Selmer HS** (oval on the table)
that was the stock 'piece with these,IIRC. I have a Slant Sig Link Tone Edge that I like also.

I had a late 60's R-13 that was nice and I used to use a Morgan J-6 on it but sold the pair about 10 yrs ago,
and wasn't playing soprano clarinet for a long while . Still played Bass, though .

When I want a tighter feel; and sometimes I do I'll play my Leblanc L7 and use the Selmer HS**. the L7 has
some of the R-13 thing but not quite as resistant; still has a little bit of a free blowing feeling, but not like
the older Selmers.

I actually got a K-series Selmer Brevete clarinet recently but it needs an overhaul. The wood is in great shape !
I don't have calipers but the tone holes look like they're slightly bigger than my BTs and CT and the barrel also
appears to have a slightly bigger bore. Funny you mention Vytas Krass, as that's the guy I'm considering for
to do his 'artist level' restoration on the K-series(17/7).

Distinguished SOTW Member
4,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Took offline
1 - 3 of 3 Posts