I play on a 5RV Van Doren mouthpiece yet I cannot seem to get a sweet sound on it – the sound seems a little bright. I have tried other mouthpieces of vandoren and I also tried a crystal mouthpiece but I always end up with the 5rv as being the easiest and most successful for me to play on. (The crystal mouthpiece was an extremely classical sound which I didn’t like). What do you recommend. Is there another company that has a mouthpiece similar to the 5RV in facing and length yet different enough to produce a darker sound or is it my playing.
Thank you for your inquiry. Defining words like bright and dark when it comes to mouthpieces is not easy because the words seem to mean different qualities to different people.
For me, bright seems to imply an edgy light sound that may also be thin in quality. Strident also comes close to a single word, or sometimes even shrill seems correct.
Dark seems to be described by words such as full, substantial, penetrating.
Sweet is something else again and may be considerably assisted by a less bright mouthpiece, though the word seems to denote a musical quality, not necessarily that of timbre.
So, I would think that your 5RV is a light sounding mouthpiece that tends to be edgy in quality and perhaps strident in the high register.
The mouthpiece that I now play satisfied a number of problems of brightness, replacing them with a sound that has more substance. It is the Gennusa mouthpiece, made originally by Ignatius Gennusa, former principal clarinetist with the Baltimore Symphony. It is now made by a student of his who purchased the company, Benjamin Redwine. You can find his name in your browser I am sure. He is a fine mouthpiece maker and clarinetist as well.
sincerely, Sherman Friedland