Mouthpieces and Clarinets fror those returning after 50 years


I am very glad to have found your site. I taught myself to play
clarinet when high-school age but I haven’t played much since (I’m 62
now). But recently I have developed a hankering to renew the
acquaintance and it has raised a lot of questions. Being on a low
income I can’t start with a Buffet or such ethereal instruments, so I’m stuck with the eBay genre. But in perusing the internet I see that the mouthpiece can be a wondrous help or hindrance in coaxing the beauty from the beast. Why then are dealers so “ho-hum” about a decentmouthpiece? I questioned one rather closely about procuring a good mouthpiece even though the instrument itself might not be spectacular,and his reply was basically a shrug.
I recognize that with choices of plastic, metal, rubber, crystal and
who knows what else, there probably is no one answer for everybody, but
I am relatively certain that I don’t really want a $9.99 plastic piece
from across the pond. Can you give me some guidelines for a good solid
middle-of-the-road decent mouthpiece for starters? Or is the subject
just too broad for even rudimentary guidelines? And am I all wet to
think a better MP would make even a cheaper clarinet sound better and
easier to play? Thanks.

Simply put, yes a mouthpiece can make a huge difference in a clarinet
costing an average amount, however the middle-of-the-road is a large territory in the land of mouthpieces.
No, you do not want a mouthpiece from across the pond costing 9.99, assuming you mean the Orient, actually where some mouthpieces and clarinets can be good indeed.
Most dealers will shrug because they simply do not know about the
mouthpieces they sell unless they are clarinetists or they have studied the subjet quite comprehensively, and the, they still do not know. One reason being that in the past the reed companies forced the merchants to order their mouthpieces in or to get the reeds, much greater in demand at the time.
Another is that every single mouthpiece made, whether
plastic,rubber, hard rubber will respond differently.
Anf it you get a dozen of a certain mouthpiece, all labeled the same, each will play differently….at least somewhat.
In your situation I will recommend a mass-produced mouthpiece made of hard rubber made by the Van Doren company: specifically the M13. If you get three to try, the idea being to send two of them back and keep the one that suits you best.
You then have to know how to choose, what criteria to use, and first you need a clarinet. Do you have one? What are you going to buy?
My suggestion for a beginner or a continuer would be a Yamaha mdel 20, a discontinued plastic clarinet that has been identically replaced with the Model 250 at a large increase in cost.
There are plenty of model 20’s around however and it is a good clarinet.It will be better with a Van Doren M13 mouthpiece.
Have you not played at all in the interim of all those years? Do you have a clarinet, and/or a mouthpiece now?
Do you have a teacher to guide you?

All of the aforementioned you should consider crucial.

I truly hope that I have been of some help to you.

Sherman Friedland


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