Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all I have to say I just love this forum! Now to the good stuff :D I'm a high school junior and I've been playing saxophone for 5 years mainly Tenor. Since about last year I've begun to play clarinet in my school's Wind Ensembles since my band director loved that clarinet heavy band(There were 12 clarinets :0) He had me switch to clarinet and i play tenor sax in our Jazz ensemble. I play on a Jody Jazz ESP with a 7 tip, they dont make those anymore. And recently I'm having trouble playing on my clarinet mouthpiece who knows what "brand" is. Every time I play on it, it tends to kind of close up on me. I kind of know what the problem is but I really just want to change mouthpieces. So any suggestions??? I would like something that I can use for both Jazz and Classical Clarinet. Some friends are pushing me towards the line of Vandoren M series but I just don't know. Thanks :D and Glad I finally got to post!!! (One of my favorite recordings is a band known as the National Youth Jazz Orchestra they've got a tune called "Flight of the Heart" with a Clarinet feature amazing tune and i love his sound. I believe they're from the UK i heard the song on Spotify.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
I don't know about both Jazz & Classical, but I do agree with your friends - I quite like my Vandoren M30. (I've not tried the other M's though). I find it quite versatile. It's now my backup piece, since I bought a Grabner.
I've not had any good experiences with unbranded mouthpieces.
 

·
Registered
Selmer Seri III
Joined
·
516 Posts
Going out on a limb and say the Vandoren B45 119.5 because you don't have to use that small tip, 3 1/2 (or higher) reed combination, some players I know use this and are happy with it. Find out what your teacher(s) say. See if you can get to a place where you can try them out. There is also a Gregory Smith mouthpiece that I had good luck with. He (Gregory Smith) use to send them out; you would try them and then deal with him. That was 10 yrs ago, don't know what he does now. I use a Behn Vintage Model A. Pricy but keep this mouthpiece in mind when you start making the $$$. This handles everything that I put thru it. (IMO)
Good Luck!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,055 Posts
Well what may work for me, may not work for you. But after many years of playing Clarinet, and then picking up the Sax, I found I needed to change my Clarinet MP, for exactly the same reasons, that you are experiencing. I found that the not only the tip, but the facing is very important. I am very fortunate to have on my doorstep, a world class Mouthpiece maker, Ed Pillinger, who helped me. Good luck.
Hamish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
602 Posts
You're probably not going to find a clarinet mouthpiece you can use in wind ensemble that will feel similar to an open jazz sax mouthpiece. And, unless you're a rich high school junior, you're maybe looking for something reasonably priced? Folks tend to use open mouthpieces with soft reeds for jazz because of the greater flexibility, but the instability won't be ideal for wind ensemble. It will be a compromise. Start with medium lay mouthpieces, and try a bunch. Most stores have liberal tryout policies. I've had great luck with Fobes, Grabner's good, a lot of players like Vandoren but I've never found one I liked, the New Rico's are getting good reviews and are medium-priced, etc. Find one that suits YOU.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
923 Posts
As a fellow sax player who has also taken up clarinet, having tried a bunch of mouthpieces, I've settled on a Lomax Classic "A" model that's doing the trick quite well. Not break-the-bank expensive either. Worthwhile trying out if you can get hold of one. I'm using Rico Reserve reeds in a #3 strength.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor
Joined
·
4,379 Posts
The new Rico Reserve clarinet mouthpieces have been getting great reviews from a variety of sources, including SOTW's drakesaxprof, and sell for a little over $100, as I recall. Do a Google search for Rico Reserve clarinet mouthpiece reviews.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,055 Posts
Lots of suggestions about MPs that work for somebody else, and won't necessarily work for you. When you try different MPs compare the tip and the facing and when you find what is working, keep going in that direction, until you find what suits you.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,558 Posts
Since you don't say what brand/model clarinet you are playing I'll give you a few suggestions to try that I've found to work well with nearly every clarinet I've used them on. You can do better than the Vandoren B45 for the same amount of cash. All of these 'suggestions' will cost $80 or less at WWBW.

My personal favourite is a Portnoy 3. I use it on a Selmer Signature, Buffet Evette Master Model, and an Artly plastic clarinet with EXCELLENT results. It will take you from the concert hall to the jazz club with ease. Very versitile and responsive. It will take everything you can give it and still have guts to spare. I also use Mitchel Lurie 3 or 3.5's depending on the genre.

Next is a Larry Combs 3. Not as free blowing or reed friendly as the Portnoy, but still a nice versitile mouthpiece.

My final suggestion that isn't Vandoren is the Bundy Signature 3. It's about the best 'student/intermediate' hard rubber mouthpiece for less than $50.

If you really like/want to try a Vandoren piece, the M30/40, 5RV Lyre, M13, or similar would be somewhere to start.
I did have a 5RV Lyre for a while but it didn't give me what I was looking for.

If you have over $100 to blow on a piece.... try a Selmer C85. Start with the 105. This mouthpiece is powerful. I save mine for those 'special' occaisions when I REALLY need t be heard. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
I like the Selmer C85 series, too, but if you're sound is closing up, you might want to try the C85 120, which is similar to a Vandoren B45/B40 opening (more open than the C85 105). I use a C85 as my working mouthpiece these days--and have written a more detailed review here:

http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/2012/12/mouthpiece-review-selmer-c85-105.html

Be advised that sometimes a tip opening can work better on certain horns. My main axe is a 1955 Selmer CT, and I use the 105 for that. But when I play my 1944 BT, a 120 works better. All of this is very personal--my point is just to keep a bit open minded while checking things out.

Vandorens can be very good too, and I recommend players know how to use them. The M Series can be excellent, though I tend to think of that line as specfically geared towards a classical concept. B45s and B40s can be very good--the B40 in particular behaves, for me at least, like a softer version of the Selmer C85.

Here's a recent review of the B40:

http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/2013/01/mouthpiece-review-vandoren-b40-c-1991.html

I'm not a huge fan of student/intermediate model 'pieces below these, though I've known students to play well even on a $26 Brilhart. Both Selmers and Vandorens, though, have depth of sound and color potential that can serve well for a career beyond student playing, and at the price they are, remain very attractive options.

Good luck.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,558 Posts
Another thing you can try before going out and getting a new mouthpiece is taking in just a hair more mouthpiece and use a slightly harder reed.
Also watch that horn angle. Be sure you have the bell located somewhere between mid-thigh and your knees while seated.
You need to say if you have a clarinet reed preferance as well. Many mouthpieces don't get along with certain brands/cuts.
Some of the most mouthpiece friendly reeds I've found are La Voz, Mitchel Lurie, Rico Royal, and Rico Orange box.

If you could give a bit more info maybe we/I could give you a few tips to hold you over until you decide you REALLY need a different mouthpiece.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Be sure you have the bell located somewhere between mid-thigh and your knees while seated.

IMO, this is not good advice. Depending on physiology, embouchure, and the desired sound result, a player can hold the horn a wide variety of angles.

Check out pics of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman (at various stages of his career), Pete Fountain, Edmond Hall, Daniel Bonade, Robert Marcellus, Harold Wright, Sabine Meyer, Karl Leister, Reginald Kell, and many, many others. You'll find a tremendous range of angles and embouchures--even among the classical players mentioned.

"One angle" doesn't fit all, any more than one mouthpiece or one embouchure.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,558 Posts
You can disagree, but it's a good ballpark area for a 'new' clarinet player to start.
All of the clarinetists you list are seasoned players that have learned to control their embouchure even with an 'extreme' horn angle.
From what little info the OP has given, one can only guess that they haven't quite gotten to that stage in development.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
You make the assumption that those players "started" with an angle you suggest, then changed to an "extreme" angle. This isn't always the case. If a player happens to have a sizeable overbite, they will (generally) have to play in a position more tucked than what you stated. If the opposite it true, the player will (generally) need to hold the instrument out beyond the point you suggest: even as a beginner.

So yes, I disagree quite emphatically. But you're entitled to your opinion.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,558 Posts
Like I said, it's only a BALLPARK area to start. Mid-thigh to the knees, this includes resting the bell on the knees, gives the 'average' player with a somewhat 'normal' bite a good 12-18 (or more depending on height) inches of wiggle room.
And yes, I'm sure that if these players had a hard core classical clarinetist for a teacher they were 'strongly encouraged' to keep the bell of their clarinet somewhere in that area.
Anyone who has played for a while will find thier own 'comfort zone' but for the most part the average recreational player will keep the bell somewhere in this general area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Like I said, it's only a BALLPARK area to start. Mid-thigh to the knees, this includes resting the bell on the knees, gives the 'average' player with a somewhat 'normal' bite a good 12-18 (or more depending on height) inches of wiggle room.
And yes, I'm sure that if these players had a hard core classical clarinetist for a teacher they were 'strongly encouraged' to keep the bell of their clarinet somewhere in that area.
Anyone who has played for a while will find thier own 'comfort zone' but for the most part the average recreational player will keep the bell somewhere in this general area.
Well, at least your advice is getting more qualified. That's a step in the right direction, so far as I'm concerned.

As for what Franz Schoepp taught Benny Goodman about clarinet angle, or what Bonade told to Marcellus, or what Ralph McLane told Harold Wright, or what Lorenzo Tio told a couple of generations of the famous New Orleans clarinetists, I have no idea--and despite your self-confidence, I'll bet you don't really know either.

I usually avoid commenting on opinions like this, as it would be a waste of time to argue with it all, and there are so many dogmatic "rules" being put out there on forums. Having said that, average ballparks are fine to mention, and I'm glad you went that way. That's not how you put it in the earlier post, and that's what I was responding to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
602 Posts
I've always found it useful to re-read the original post before I comment. Otherwise, I can find myself offering opinions of no relevance to the inquiry.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,558 Posts
Twenty people can read the same post and interpret it very differently.
Especially when the OP offers little or no specifics as to what they think the underlying issue might be.
'My sound sort of closes up.' really doesn't give a forum reader much to go on, and there are several reasons why this could be.
Kind of like when a little kid says, "My belly hurts." Are they hungry, need to go to the bathroom, or do they have a tummy bug?
Nothing wrong with narrowing down a cause and going from there.
Yes it's annoying to some readers at the time, but it may be helpful to someone else farther down the road.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,620 Posts
Like bandmommy, I like the Portnoy mouthpieces.

And since the OP mentioned having some difficulty adapting to clarinet from sax, I also agree with her that paying attention to horn angle (in the direction she recommends) may also be helpful.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top