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Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a very nice Buescher 400 Special (Selmer USA Signet) Grenadilla wood soprano and had it serviced and it is playing well now.

My question is I have not played much clarinet in 25 years concentrating on sax and want to play traditional jazz mostly as doubler.

Give me advice on mouthpieces, reeds, barrels etc... to look for in order to achieve a nice full tone not at all classical in nature.

Currently playing a #4 Gigliotti mpc. and #3 Vandoren reed.

Thank you for your kind suggestions.

B:)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Buy a Fobes Debut, a Rovner Star and Mitchell Luries #3.5.
And toggle that switch in your head.

I think the switch is the most important part.
(The rest is just for the others to demonstrate that you have changed something.)
 

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I play Fobes Nova (an old piece i picked up secondhand). I would lean towards a more open, bigger bore and you will get a lot closer to the "big" sound of your sax that way making the mental transition easier.

Don't forget to practice reading and fingering those lower register notes below the break. Your brain is all about the sax fingers right now, but the fingerings are different down below and will scramble your brain. I still get confused sometimes and occasionally I forget how to read all those ledger lines below the staff.

I'd stick with a softer reed for now - the clarinet embouchure is less forgiving, but the harder reed will tire you more quickly. Work up to a harder reed. For jazz I don't think you really need to go that hard. Keep some flexibility in reserve.

I wouldn't mess with a barrel replacement, unless you end up with a mouthpiece replacement that causes the horn to go flat or sharp in the scheme of things. Get a tuning barrel if that ends up being the case - measure your old barrel to the mm and check online for longer/shorter as needed. Some claim special barrels can increase your volume, but I feel the mouthpiece does far more for this at your stage.

If you have tendonitis or carpel issues in your wrists, you may want to think about a clarinet neckstrap. I use an old Claricord which i've shortened with a needle and thread. My day gig is computers and I can't play clarinet without it.

good luck!
 

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Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you Sleepless and Tick. I will def. check out Fobes Nova. What tip size recommended and ligature? I played sop. and bass clarinet in High School but it has been awhile. I am finding the #3 much too resistant so I am backing down 1/2 size.

B
 

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I recently chg'd from VD 5JB to VD B45 lyre, one step down in tip opening from 5JB. It's bright & lively & has good intonation. I tried 4 of the same from WWBW, & it was clearly the winner. It plays well with Gonzalez 2 1/2 reeds & Oleg lig. Morgans are good, but I was flat a little on them.
 

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I play clarinet as a third of three instruments in a New Orleans' style jazz band - trad all the way - never played anything but trad (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, and clarinet). We all react differently to mouthpieces and reeds, so all I can tell you is what I use/used.

I play mostly Boehm but own three Alberts, one being a new Yamaha German-System 457-20. I use the same mouthpiece on both systems, although the Yamaha has a bigger mouthpiece receptacle so I need to tape my mouthpiece cork for a tight fit.

I used to use a Vandoren B45 with fairly soft reeds (#2 adjusted), and a Vandoren 5JB. The 5JB was very rich, but way too dark and spread for ensemble playing. I then switched to a Vandoren 66 and used it for years with a Fibracell SOFT synthetic reed. Another piece I kept as a back-up was a Rovner (I think it is a #5 facing). It played pretty good with a Fibracell reed - about like the 5JB but with more focus and center.

During the past few years, I've been using a Lakey 5* with Fibracell 1 1/2 synthetic reeds. Claude made them for me while I watched. He once told me he made his clarinet pieces to match A-443 and they are in fact, a bit shorter than my other clarinet pieces.

With the Lakeys (I have several) I can play to pitch and use a stock 66mm barrel. Before, I had a special barrel made for use with the Vandoren 66, that was a lot shorter than the stock Buffet barrels. (more like the length of an Albert barrel). Either way (Vandoren 66 or Lakey), I play without amplification and refuse to blow anywhere near a microphone. I can be heard fine. I use clarinet for a few speciality tunes but being more comfortable with saxophone, that's the way I go for most trad stuff. I play Dodds/Bechet/Lewis stuff, not the swing-ear sounds of Goodman and Shaw and Fountain. DAVE
 

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Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #7
I play clarinet as a third of three instruments in a New Orleans' style jazz band - trad all the way - never played anything but trad (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, and clarinet). We all react differently to mouthpieces and reeds, so all I can tell you is what I use/used.

I play mostly Boehm but own three Alberts, one being a new Yamaha German-System 457-20. I use the same mouthpiece on both systems, although the Yamaha has a bigger mouthpiece receptacle so I need to tape my mouthpiece cork for a tight fit.

I used to use a Vandoren B45 with fairly soft reeds (#2 adjusted), and a Vandoren 5JB. The 5JB was very rich, but way too dark and spread for ensemble playing. I then switched to a Vandoren 66 and used it for years with a Fibracell SOFT synthetic reed. Another piece I kept as a back-up was a Rovner (I think it is a #5 facing). It played pretty good with a Fibracell reed - about like the 5JB but with more focus and center.

During the past few years, I've been using a Lakey 5* with Fibracell 1 1/2 synthetic reeds. Claude made them for me while I watched. He once told me he made his clarinet pieces to match A-443 and they are in fact, a bit shorter than my other clarinet pieces.

With the Lakeys (I have several) I can play to pitch and use a stock 66mm barrel. Before, I had a special barrel made for use with the Vandoren 66, that was a lot shorter than the stock Buffet barrels. (more like the length of an Albert barrel). Either way (Vandoren 66 or Lakey), I play without amplification and refuse to blow anywhere near a microphone. I can be heard fine. I use clarinet for a few speciality tunes but being more comfortable with saxophone, that's the way I go for most trad stuff. I play Dodds/Bechet/Lewis stuff, not the swing-ear sounds of Goodman and Shaw and Fountain. DAVE
I will be playing more in the swing tradition and later klezmer/swing. I like the Lakeys as that is what I used on alto sax in H.S. so that is on my list.

B
 

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For poops and giggles you might want to give the Selmer Goldentone, Brilhardt Eboline, Rico Royal Graftonite, or a John Pierce Jazz a toot.
The first 3 are 'student' pieces, inexpensive and plastic but good.
The Pierce is a little more, has an open tip, short facing, and looks like a sax piece.
I really like my Portnoy 3. It does everything I ask.

I use Lurie reeds. Strength varies according to what piece I'm using at the time.
 

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Like Dave Dolson I play a lot of trad and I recently swapped to a Lakey 5* with a Legere Studio 2.5 synthetic reed.

This has been a fantastic move for me. Free blowing, sax embouchure friendly, lots of volume and a broad tone. Best of all no more occasional cut lip from trying to push a classical style mouthpiece beyond its envelope.

I highly recommend looking at clarinet mouthpieces that are more open.
 

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agree the lakey has all the cut and power you will ever need for extreme duty. it tunes sharp and is sax friendly on the chops.
 

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I recently chg'd from VD 5JB to VD B45 lyre, one step down in tip opening from 5JB. It's bright & lively & has good intonation.....
I did the same move. I use a Fiberreed Classic M with a Luyben plastic lig.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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I played a 5JB briefly. I found it very unresponsive and overly bright even for jazz.

I've done my share of dixieland work and am much happier with the B40 or my old NY Woodwind pieces.
 

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Is the 5JB a Vandoren piece? Why is it to much work?

B
It IS a Vandoren piece, specially dedicated for jazz (whatever that means). It is pretty open, therefore challenging with a medium reed on long gigs. But it gives you plenty of projection and dynamic, while maintaining good intonation, like most Vandorens.
 

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Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #16
I looked it up and I like Vandy mpcs. for sax so that def. goes on the list to try along with a Lakey.

Keep the advice coming and thanks a lot!

B
 

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Regarding the Vandoren 5JB . . . the above comments EXACTLY make my ever-continuing point that few us will agree on mouthpieces. We all react differently to the darned things . . . and much of it is because we have different embouchures (physical construction), tonal concepts, playing goals, and use different reeds with different instruments. One size does NOT fit all.

I loved my 5JB when practicing alone in my kitchen (lots of good acoustic resonance). But when I took it to a gig, it was SO warm and SO spread (again . . . FOR ME) that I wore myself out in just a few minutes trying to gain projection and competition with the ensemble (yes, I know . . . blending is the object, but when the player can't hear himself, then there are problems and with the 5JB I couldn't hear myself).

So, all of our posts about which mouthpiece to use is just opinion based on our own experiences. True, on occasion we may find another player with similar results - those are the folks from whom I take mouthpiece advice. For instance, some time back, another poster who used a Super Session J on soprano saxophone like I did, recommended that I try the Morgan Vintage line of soprano sax mouthpieces. I did - and they worked for me. But all of the other recommendations, from those who did not share my tonal concepts and goals never worked for me.

Bottom line? This is something you must do for yourself. Oh, try 'em all, but none of us are likely to come up with the answer for you. DAVE
 

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Forum Contributor 2017
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Discussion Starter #18
Regarding the Vandoren 5JB . . . the above comments EXACTLY make my ever-continuing point that few us will agree on mouthpieces. We all react differently to the darned things . . . and much of it is because we have different embouchures (physical construction), tonal concepts, playing goals, and use different reeds with different instruments. One size does NOT fit all.

I loved my 5JB when practicing alone in my kitchen (lots of good acoustic resonance). But when I took it to a gig, it was SO warm and SO spread (again . . . FOR ME) that I wore myself out in just a few minutes trying to gain projection and competition with the ensemble (yes, I know . . . blending is the object, but when the player can't hear himself, then there are problems and with the 5JB I couldn't hear myself).

So, all of our posts about which mouthpiece to use is just opinion based on our own experiences. True, on occasion we may find another player with similar results - those are the folks from whom I take mouthpiece advice. For instance, some time back, another poster who used a Super Session J on soprano saxophone like I did, recommended that I try the Morgan Vintage line of soprano sax mouthpieces. I did - and they worked for me. But all of the other recommendations, from those who did not share my tonal concepts and goals never worked for me.

Bottom line? This is something you must do for yourself. Oh, try 'em all, but none of us are likely to come up with the answer for you. DAVE
Oh how true this last paragraph is. :)
 

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I had another thought about the 5JB - maybe it's meant for modern-day poly-cylindrical clarinets, to give them a little more carry and edge. I only play vintage big-bore horns (B-Ts and Conn N-series). They don't need the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I will eventually look in to big bore clarinets. B
 
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