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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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2,666 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Steve,

I tried answering your PM about Grabner mouthpieces however your mail box was full. Here's my reply....

For me the bottom line is how a mouthpiece plays. Frankly, there are many aspects about mouthpiece design and facing that are beyond my level of understanding. Thus, if it plays good for me then it is "good".

Another thing that I look for in mouthpieces is how they work with Legere reeds. This is not an issue for those who use cane. There are some excellent mouthpieces that, for whatever reason, are not a good match for Legere.

All of that said.....

I have 2 Grabner LB bass clarinet mouthpieces, 3 K14 pieces, 1 K11, and 1 K2e. All of them play differently. For me, it's been a matter of matching a particular K14 (as an example) to a particular clarinet. It's my impression that the K11 and K2e are fine mouthpieces. But, it feels like the K14 is the best one for me as a player and the optimal facing for a #3 Legere Quebec reed.

Walter Grabner does not make flat tables. Rather, they are concave. I asked him about that and he said it's done on purpose...that it gives the reed more "spring". To my eye, he's done a lot of work on each of my mouthpieces. The side and tip rails are thicker than what I've been used to. This may be one reason why Legere reeds work so well for me with his mouthpieces.

I suggest that you call Walter on the phone and talk with him about your concerns. I've found Walter to be easy to deal with.

However, if you find that Grabner mouthpieces are not right for you then by all means try Gregory Smith's mouthpieces. They are fantastic. I had a GS mouthpiece for a period of time and it was clear to me that its craftsmanship is of a very high order. It was a fantastic mouthpiece. However, it seemed to me that a Grabner K14 is a better match for me. So, I sold the GS mouthpiece to a clarinetist in PA and he wrote back absolutely raving about it. Richard Hawkins' mouthpieces are also of a high level of craftsmanship as are Clark Fobes'. It's great that we have such great options to pick from! I still scratch my head and wonder why Morgan clarinet mouthpieces struggle to gain a wider acceptance in classical clarinet circles. They are fine pieces.

Another thing to consider is some guys report spending several weeks to get used to a Grabner mouthpiece. Once they did, then they were really happy with how the mouthpiece works for them. That has been the case with me with the latest K14 I got from Walter. My first impressions were very positive. However, it plays differently from the K14 I've used for the past 8 months. Thus, I've had to do a bunch of shedding on it. It's definitely growing on me.

PS... I just thought of something else. Walter has a 14-day trial period for his mouthpieces. Also, he sometimes sends 2 mouthpieces for a person to try. If one orders a K14 and is not happy with it then Walter needs to be told about it and the mouthpiece returned either for a different mouthpiece or a refund. In the case of my LB mouthpieces, I was happy with the first one I received so I ordered a second one as a back up. Lo and behold, the second LB totally blew the first one away. I then sent the first LB back to Walter and asked him to tweak it so it's plays like the second one. In my experience it's all about working with Walter to arrive at a mouthpiece that really does it for me.

Roger
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
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2,666 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Michael,

That's an excellent question! I suggest that you do a search on the Woodwind.org clarinet forum to look for comments posted about Morgan mouthpieces. It's really interesting to read the various things that people have posted. I looked through some of the comments perhaps a year or two ago. If I recall, some players don't like the duckbill beak. Then, there are other players who had tonal or intonation issues. Really, it's a mixed bag.

It's my personal impression that some classical clarinetists have a fairly fixed point of view about equipment. I understand from conversations I've had with Ralph that his clarinet mouthpieces (like the RM06 and RM10) are highly regarded by classical players who approach them with an open mind and give then a chance. However, looking at various mouthpiece threads on the Woodwind.org form it seems to me that the "big 4" mouthpiece makers among hard-care classical clarinetists are Gregory Smith, Richard Hawkins, Walter Grabner, and Clark Fobes. Of course, a lot of players use Vandoren as well as other mouthpieces. Sadly, Ralph Morgan's mouthpieces are not mentioned as often.

Roger
 
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