Mouthpieces and Fuzzy Sound

I have recently been using a Morgan J7 Mouthpiece for my clarinet that my friend gave me to try, Prior to this I have used the Vandoren B45 Dot mouthpiece. The problem I have is with my Morgan mouthpiece. Because it is a fairly open mouthpiece, about as open as any mouthpiece out there available, the sound doesn’t seem as pure as with more closed mouthpieces. Is this because of the mouthpiece, or is it my embouchure giving me the breathy and fuzzy sound. (The problem is really only there when I play an open G or a mid level B … it is especially bad with the mid B and mid Bb, but I have had a problem with those notes on every mouthpiece I have tried). The fuzzy sound actually isn’t that bad, but it is not what I want to hear. I don’t have any teachers that I can get to right now, but I hope you can help me.”

Thank you for your question. It is a rule never to use extremes in mouthpiece openings. What for? You do not get a bigger sound with open and the opposite with a more closed opening.

But the real answer to your problem, (without actually hearing you play) is that it is you who are making the breathy and fuzzy sounds on the “open” G, mid B and Bb. Here are some possible reasons for your problem with the fuzzy quality:

Basically, we want to keep the throat from being too open when we make the sound of the clarinet. That’s right, the throat should be in the shape of the sound “eee”, not “aaaahhh”. This change will, or can, clear up those problems almost immediately.

A reed that is too resistant will also cause the same problems. Generally speaking a “medium” reed is best, and will give the clearest sound.

Taking too much mouthpiece into the mouth can also cause the same problems, and you will also be quite sharp. Take as little mouthpiece into the mouth as to enable you to play all of the notes, no more. You will have more control.

Don’t try to get a “huge” sound. Get the sound that pleases you, and do not worry about quantity. Quality is what you want, and I know that you want quality because it is you who is finding the fuzziness in those three notes.

Finally, I will tell you a famous story about a great player in a symphony orchestra. A student came up to him after a concert and said that he had the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. The player looked very worried. The student asked him what was wrong. The player responded with, “Oh my, but I don’t remember which mouthpiece I was playing”.

The point of that story is that it is you, not the mouthpiece that makes the sound. Thanks for coming around my corner. I hope that I have been of some help


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