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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to get off my lazy butt and learn clarinet well enough to play the parts in Big Band rather than my soprano.

Just like a Meyer 5 is considered by most to be the "standard" inexpensive (modern, not the vintage ones!) big band/jazz mouthpice for alto sax , is there an equivalent in the clarinent world?

Again, not looking for the ultimate - just a good, solid doublers mouthpiece.

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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Vandoren B45 is the standard piece, but I have never had any luck with them. I don't believe there is a "standard" for big band work. I use a tweaked Lakey for big band work.
 

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Something with a medium length facing and medium tip opening (105 to 120 mm). Morgan, Hite, Vandoren, Selmer are good choices that won't break the bank. Mouthpieces labeled as jazz pieces tend to have too large a tip opening for newer (and IMHO, almost all) players. My experience with a B45 matches Carl's, but I rather like the B46.
 

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Even though I started out as a clarinet player and have a bunch of the "traditional" classical clarinet mp's, I really like the John Pierce for doubling in a big band setting. It's got a pretty big tip opening, which makes it easier to adjust your embouchure when you switch horns. It also has great projection. I would never use it to play the Mozart Concerto, but for those Benny Goodman & Artie Shaw solos it's great.
 

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Well . . . you're in luck. Your "first steps" in clarinet mouthpieces are pretty cheap. While I'm not in love with a B45, I would still suggest you start there. You can pick one up for way under $50 - often under $25 on ebay. That will give you a good reference point that people will understand when you decide where you want to go from there. And you may stick with the B45 - many people do!

FWIW, the B45 would NOT be my recommendation if you were a parent looking for a mp for their beginning band student. It's too open for young players, but considering your background, experience, and playing venue, it's quite suitable for your needs.

If you decide you want something better later, consider Morgans and Grabners (and probably lots of others) - but your shopping will be better defined if you know what you like and don't like about the B45.
 

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Actually, after playing some more prestigous mouthpieces, I do like a B45 which came with a clarinet I bought. I switched to using it as my first call mpc. It is good for shows, since you can play quasi-legit but it has some brightness when you push it. For now I put it aside as I got a good deal on a Grabner (thanks Michael.) The B45 though is a bit more cutting (not a lot) and I very well may use it again.

I agree the B4 is not really for beginners. Also agree that the super open "jazz" mouthpieces are poor places to start; you'll probably play flat on them.

I find when I double I prefer a more open clarinet mpc which is less of a shock to blow when coming from sax. Say in the 1.15mm-1.2 (or .045-.052") range. If I play only clarinet I might use a closer tip and harder reed.

Reed types seem to vary with different mouthpieces...a blue Vandoren 3 is good on my B45 but the Grabner is better with V12 or Rico Grand Concert 3.5. Of course YMMV, but try different reed cuts.

Those who play older Selmer clarinets seem to like Selmer mouthpieces. I play a fairly new R13.

If it turns out you want something with a tad more projection than a B45 if you search I have an older Beechler FS....also an old Bay-Gale which plays "rounder" than a B45. (See the Marketplace.)
 

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I've never found a VanDoren clarinet mouthpiece that I like, and I've tried many. B45 is somewhat of a standard, but only if you want sound like playing on huge tip opening, broad and reedy. I recommend Fobes Debut mouthpieces. Moderate dimensions and great value. I play a Grabner K14 (1.02) with Rico Reserve 4 (this week anyway). It's a great legit piece, true, but works in all situations. I recently played an old red Runyon that would be great for doubling, but it can't pry it out of Emilio's hand.
 

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Couf,

One thing to consider is one does not need a large tip opening in order to develop a big, beautiful, and projecting clarinet sound. Actually, a number of us on the forum have been going in the opposite direction and using closer-tip classical type mouthpieces and after a bunch of shedding & work with it (sorry, but that's what it takes) we're getting clarinet sounds that really project. The key thing with this is the "ring" in the sound. The ring enables a clarinet tone to project more than the use of force with a large tip opening. With this approach we're thinking more in clarinet terms than as a saxophonist. See what I'm getting at?

At this point, everything considered, I think a good staring mouthpiece is the Clark Fobes Debut. This is a high quality hand-finished mouthpiece that is inexpensive. I suggested the Fobes Debut to a local tenor buddy who is starting on clarinet and the feed-back was extremely positive. It's not a jazz mouthpiece. But, it seems to me that it's more important at this point to focus on developing a good clarinet embouchure, sound, and playing habits rather than immediately wanting a lot of power.

Also, find a clarinet teacher in your area who can help you to build a good foundation on the clarinet. Several years down the road you'll be really happy that you did. You may discover that if you develop decent chops on the clarinet it helps you on saxophone.

PS, The B45 is often suggested in a similar way as a Selmer C* on saxophone. It's really a personal thing. Some players get good results with a B45 but for me it's kinda stuffy. Personally, I cannot help but think a Fobes Debut will be much, much better.

Good luck!!!

Hey Danarsenault, you beat me to it with the Fobes recomendation! Ha ha ha Say, I thought you were using a Grabner Chicago. What happened? I tried every Grabner model I can lay my hands on and the K14 feels like it's the best match for me.

Roger
 

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Roger Aldridge said:
One thing to consider is one does not need a large tip opening in order to develop a big, beautiful, and projecting clarinet sound. Actually, a number of us on the forum have been going in the opposite direction and using closer-tip classical type mouthpieces and after a bunch of shedding & work with it (sorry, but that's what it takes) we're getting clarinet sounds that really project. The key thing with this is the "ring" in the sound. The ring enables a clarinet tone to project more than the use of force with a large tip opening. With this approach we're thinking more in clarinet terms than as a saxophonist. See what I'm getting at?

At this point, everything considered, I think a good staring mouthpiece is the Clark Fobes Debut. This is a high quality hand-finished mouthpiece that is inexpensive. I suggested the Fobes Debut to a local tenor buddy who is starting on clarinet and the feed-back was extremely positive. It's not a jazz mouthpiece. But, it seems to me that it's more important at this point to focus on developing a good clarinet embouchure, sound, and playing habits rather than immediately wanting a lot of power.

Also, find a clarinet teacher in your area who can help you to build a good foundation on the clarinet. Several years down the road you'll be really happy that you did. You may discover that if you develop decent chops on the clarinet it helps you on saxophone.

PS, The B45 is often suggested in a similar way as a Selmer C* on saxophone. It's really a personal thing. Some players get good results with a B45 but for me it's kinda stuffy. Personally, I cannot help but think a Fobes Debut will be much, much better.

Good luck!!!

Hey Danarsenault, you beat me to it with the Fobes recomendation! Ha ha ha Say, I thought you were using a Grabner Chicago. What happened? I tried every Grabner model I can lay my hands on and the K14 feels like it's the best match for me.

Roger
Roger, I agree with everything you said, especially the parts about the "ring" in a clarinet tone. The clarinet is not a terribly loud instrument, but the sound can be focused in such a way that it can come through clearly without being piercing. This is what orchestral players have to learn to do, it's what I have to learn to do, and that beautiful, ringing sound is (IMO) one of the biggest differences between an amateur and a professional sounding clarinet player.

I haven't tried tons of clarinet mouthpieces, but I've played a few B45s, and none of them allowed me to get a clean enough, pure enough sound for my tastes. They seemed to demand softer reeds, leading to more reed buzz and less focus. Doesn't mean they don't work for many players who are MUCH better than I am.

I would also reccomend the Fobes Debut. It's very inexpensive and it's made by Clark Fobes, so you're guaranteed that it will be a quality piece of equipment.
 

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K14 has a 1.07 to 1.08 mm tip opening and is a Kaspar style. Chicago has a much smaller tip (0.95 to 0.98 mm) and a different design from a Kaspar. You could contact Walter, give him the mouthpiece's serial number, and he can tell you what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I really appreciate it. I've got an old Signet 100 I picked up a few years ago. Its in pretty good shape, but it came with a no name plastic piece. It plays, but I'm sure there's a lot better pieces out there!
Just because I've got a bead on one pretty cheap, how would a Claude Lakey 4* be? Is that too open or otherwise not good for some reason?

Thanks again
 

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I've got a 4* which played OK when I got it but a refacing made it into a great piece for playing in front of a big band. Blends very nicely with saxes but can get on top of screaming trumpet sections without you bursting a blood vessel.
 

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Don't start with anything too extreme (too open, too much baffle, etc.) or too expensive. Chances are, once you really get a feel for what you want on clarinet, it won't be what you have. More extreme designs can be more difficult to play beautifully and in tune.

The Hite or Fobes seem like good plans.
 
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