“Thanks for providing such a good forum on the Web with your sax and clarinet forums. I check in on them from time to time.
I was wondering if I could be so forward as to ask you for your opinion. I am an intermediate level tenor saxophone player and clarinet player. I have a good equipment set up on my primary instrument (the saxophone, an old Mark VI that I have owned since 1978), but alas, I am still playing on an old student model Bundy. I am one of these players who played in high school and college, but then quit for some years. However, now for the past six months or so, I have been getting back into playing. When I played clarinet in college it was really just for doubling on parts in the jazz band.
Some day soon, when I have some additional money, I would like to buy a
Buffet or Selmer clarinet. My question for you in the interim though, is that I now need to buy a new clarinet mouthpiece, and I noticed your
recommendation for the Vandoren B45, which my local music store here in
Phoenix carries. However, I was just curious. I know that you like your
Ronald Caravan mouthpiece very much, and I saw that you have an
address/phone link for his mouthpieces. Are these pieces generally
custom-made-type pieces that are higher-end and expensive? I was just
curious, and thought I would ask you. Also, do you feel that the Caravan pieces are far superior to the Vandoren product?
I’d understand if you don’t know much about the Caravan current prices, but I just wanted to see if you REALLY liked it a lot better than the B45? My understanding is that the B45 is a very good student-type mouthpiece.
“Mouthpieces are such a personal thing. I believe I bought the clarinet mouthpiece from Caravan on a whim. It was because I was going to get one of his saxophone mouthpieces, and saw that he had a clarinet mouthpiece, and I had money and……what the hell. It’s actually the only caravan mouthpiece I use, the other two are in a box somewhere in my studio.
The B45 is a good general purpose mouthpiece. I think I was looking for something a little darker and fuller. I just happened that the Caravan fit the bill and I’ve really never wanted to try anything else. Though, I did play a Selmer clarinet with the Caravan and it sounded Bad.
I’d recommend trying a bunch of mouthpieces, and have someone else listen or record yourself playing them. Some others that I hear are good are Clark Fobes and Borbeck mouthpieces.