Special Mouthpieces and ordinary mouthpieces.

Mr. Friedland:

First of all, thank you so much for sharing your expertise on so many topics. I have found them very helpful. I have two questions.

Q1. I have read some of the articles pertaining to mouthpieces and “which clarinet is better, Selmer of Buffet?”. In several of them you make a statement that the “right” mouthpiece to use with a particular clarinet is X, Y or Z. For example, you state that the correct mouthpiece to use with the Selmer Recital is the Selmer C85. How do I know what the correct mouthpiece is for a clarinet? Is there a recommended list?

Q2. I have a 45 year old Selmer Series 9 Clarinet I recently had overhauled by a questionable source that I was glad just to get it back(long story). However, now that I am playing it on a regular basis, it continues to play very sharp and I have to pull the barrel out quite a bit to be in tune. I have taken it to a couple of stores and they tell me they do not see any reason for it to be so sharp. I use the Selmer mouthpiece that came with it, an HS(?), with Van Doren 2 1/2 reeds. Any suggestions as to what is causing it to play so sharp? It didn’t used to play sharp. Do you think I have reached some sort of “blowout”, a hotly debated issue I have also read about.


Thanks for your note and for the compliment.
Regarding mouthpieces, the C85 Selmer mouthpiece works best on the Selmer Recitalclarinet because there are certain intonation problems on that instrument that this mouthpiece resolves.
The low f-c is not so flat and the throat is better and the intonation in general is improved.
It is roughly analagous to the Boosey and Hawkes 926 mouthpiece being corrct for the Boosey and Hawkes 1010 which also had a different bore than other carinets made.
However that is as far as it goes, and the standard mouthpiece is best for most clarinets and players.
Many many people are “out there” peddling their wares and some play better than others, but every single mouthpiece made is different, as far as I know, and one may try a certain facing in two or three mouthpieces and all will be slightly different.
Kaspar, Chedville are names that come to mind, however they all play differently as well. So…..it is individual.\Articulation, responsiveness, and intonation come strongly to mind and of course, will it play different reeds?
After those, it is an open field and I know that there are people who will disagree.
Fine, however my experiences with mouthpieces and playing in many different kinds of situations lead me to strongly believe what I have just stated.
Incidentally, if the horn you are playing is playing quite sharp, I would suggest getting a “click” barrel in which you have 10mm with which to play in either direction. I have one in my case, but am not using it presently, however I know I will again.
There is no better clarinet within Buffet and Selmer. I was a Selmer Clinician for 30 years and played the Mazzeo System clarinet for that length of time and longer, so I may be biased. However I think that perhaps I serve to keep everybody honest.
I have heard great playing on Buffet, and Selmer, and I might add on Leblanc clarinets.
The top lines all play well. If a particular group plays Buffets, that does not mean that one has to play this kind of clarinet. Or Selmer, or Yamaha. Yamaha clarinets I have tried have tuning that far surpasses most french clarinets. Quite uncannily that is true.
Best of all good health and fortune.


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