I’m trying out a few mouthpieces – a Vandoren M13, M15, 5JB, and B45. Does anyone have any suggestions for reeds that might work well with these? I have an R13 and play mostly jazz/big band and some classical.
Dubya writes “what are the differences in hard rubber vs wood for clarinets? I know plastic is the student model material, but I’ve seen pro stuff in both of the others. Is there a quality difference, or is it more up to preference? What would guide those preferences?”
I can’t think of any “Pro” clarinets that are made of rubber. Never heard of such a thing. There are clarinets that are made of wood, wood and carbon fiber (called Greenline by Buffet), or ABS Resin (Plastic). None of these are rubber. Wood is the way to go. If you live in an area where cracking could be a problem, or are playing in situations where cracking might happen, the wood/carbon fiber is the way to go. Plastic is for student models. Wood simply gives you a better sound, and the cracking potential is very low. So get a wood clarinet.
Aaron writes “Hi, my names Aaron and have been playing my clarinet for 6 years. I started on a Buffet E 11 and have finally convinced my mom to get me a R 13. I tried it out with a B 45 but, its a little resistant. Could someone makes any suggestions for good mouthpiece reed combos that would get a me a dark sound. I play mainly classical. If you want to know what I need. I need a reed mouthpiece combo so I can play Percy Grainger’s Molly on the Shore without resistance. Thanks”
There are a number of mouthpieces to try. Fobes, Vandoren, etc, etc. You should go to a local music store and try a bunch out. If you don’t live by one, try the Woodwind/Brasswind. They have a reasonable return policy on mouthpieces.
pattern_sound writes “So, im looking into getting a new clarinet. i have it mostly down to between a Leblanc Pete Fountain, and a Selmer Signature. I will be playing jazz, alongside some orchestral and new music type stuff. would the Selmer be more versatile, by less jazzy?”
Totally does not matter what kind of clarinet you play. What you should be looking/listening for is what kind of sound you want to get. If the Selmer is the sound you want, go for it. Same for the LeBlanc. Buffet might even be the clarinet for you.
“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.