Dear Mr. Friedland,
Another happy and grateful reader here, with yet another question: do mouthpieces, or mouthpieces made of specific materials, undergo a break-in period?
Mine is (gulp) a Van Doren B45
many thanks for your note . It has endless implications and I will attempt to respond properly and perhaps comprehensively.
To answer your direct question, I would have to say no, however that is only part of the story.
Your implication is that mouthpieces may change during ownership and require a break in period. They are inanimate of course, but we are not and may take ever-so-long to get” used to” a mouthpiece, which may never happen and probably has never been exactly defined.
Our embouchures change frequently, as frequently at least as we change reeds, though not only because of changing reeds.
Temperature and precipitation also have implications which include embouchure.
One reason for mouthpieces made of ebonite or hard rubber is that they are quite dimentionally stable, better than wood certainly and similar to crystal, however crystal is a different story. Speaking of the Van Doren B45 mouthpiece, this is a very familiar mouthpiece facing to me, having played on one for a number of years, also most other Van Dorens as well, or at least the following:
5RV,M13,M13 lyre,B45 dot, B45 Lyre, 11.6,
5JB, and others.
I think I liked the M13 best of all and played it for at least 5 or 10 years.
All of them however are quite decent, reasonably in tune and good players, and certainly the most used mass produced mouthpieces, played by many professional players.
So, the B45 is OK, but here is the real story on every mouthpiece having the same configuration: they all play differently. If you try 10 B45s there will be differences between each, probably because they are mass produced and if you try the same with individual mouthpieces made by the makers of mouthpieces, they are all diffferent as well, Zinner, Kaspar, any one of them.
If you try another B45, it will vary slightly from the one you have now.
The best advice I can give you is to pick a mouthpiece that plays with a sound you like, plays the most reeds, and is intune and does for you the things you and your technic demand. And, stick with it.
Teachers can be of significant assistance here, for the extra pair of ears and for their experience.
I hope that this helps in some way (s). The B45 is probably the most popular Van Doren mouthpiece. In general, all VD mouthpieces are on the bright side of the sound, which is not now my preference. And they are not as flexible as is my preference.
best wishes in all your work and for the New Year.