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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have used a JP Jazz clarinet mouthpiece for years, and it does everything I want it to, except that as a doubler, I tend to play a little flat. I have a shorter barrel I use, but I don't like the way it messes with the tuning in places.

I tried one of the new D'Addario pieces that tune to 442, and it was great. But it still didn't play as well for me as my JP Jazz. I have tried Lakeys and more open tip Vandorens, but for me, they don't sound as good as my JP.

So my question is: can a competent refacer rework my mouthpiece to tune to 442 (or so), without substantially altering the other characteristics of the piece? Your constructive input would be appreciated. 馃槑
 

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Just curious, what's up with 442? What happened to 440?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good question. Unlike the sax, where I can push the mouthpiece a little farther on the cork if I'm flat across the range of the instrument, I can't do that with a clarinet. The problem is usually solved by using a shorter barrel, but the notes just below the break tend to get sharper than the rest of the horn. I'm guessing it's because they are the closest physically to the mouthpiece. A piece designed for 442 eliminates that issue.

The issue could also be resolved with significant practice and maybe a teacher, but I've been doubling on clarinet for 40 years, and my real focus is sax playing. I know that 442 pieces are available - I just don't know if a 440 piece can be successfully modified without significantly changing its other characteristics.
 

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Ahh, okay. You aren't really needing to play A442, just trying to correct your intonation. Not being a mouthpiece maker, I can't say for sure if a conversion would work, but my advice would be to bite the bullet and get a 442 mouthpiece and use the regular barrel since you already know it will work. What they probably do is make the tenon a little shorter and cut the shoulder back a mm or two. Now if that's right, it should be possible to do that to your mouthpiece without affecting the 'business end' where the tone is made. But this would require machining which is probably why they go ahead and make mouthpieces for this purpose rather than converting. OTOH a good man with a file probably could do it too.
 

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442 mouthpieces are either shorter, or have a smaller chamber volume, or a combination of both. Since going shorter with a barrel is not doing it for you, you can experiment by putting some temporary putty inside your mouthpiece to see if a smaller chamber gives you what you want.

There are many barrel designs with different tapers and lengths. Describe your issues to a barrel designer/maker and you may find one that works for you. Maybe even a 3D printed one.
 

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My Gregory Smith mouthpiece was just up to 440 warm. He cut back the shoulder and shortened the tenon to bring the pitch up so I could use the same barrel. Having said that, if you aren't married to your present barrel, I would suggest trying different barrels to find one that works acceptably. If you change the chamber of the mouthpiece to bring the pitch up, the sound will change too.
 

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鈥 I have a shorter barrel I use, but I don't like the way it messes with the tuning in places.
You should try some other shorter barrels. I had to play a few before finding two that sound great. No different (or better) than the stock barrel. One is a Buffet and the other has no name on it at all.
 
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