Two excellent student mouthpieces

Dear Mr. Friedland,

Thank you in advance for indulging a question from this clarinet-playing mom! I played the clarinet for over 13 years (5th grade through college) and play recreationally now. I have a daughter who will begin playing clarinet this summer (end of 3rd grade). She is 8. I was a few years older than she is when I started. She plays piano and is very musically inclined.

I am giving her my 1965 vintage Noblet N40 to play (s/n 55474). I have taken very good care of it (I am the second owner) and had it repadded for her. I’ve provided her a new ligature (Bonade inverted, like mine) and a La Voz mouthpiece (a hedge against breakage…I play a Portnoy BP03 and Selmer HS*).

In your opinion, is this combination giving her a good start? I did not start with my Noblet, rather a Selmer rental. I acquired my Noblet 3 years later. I had considered purchasing a second clarinet for my daughter, but could not find one any better than my clarinet for less of an investment than repadding my own.

Kind regards,


Dear KC:
It is no indulgence, but with a considerable amount of concern that I respond to your note.
There is really nothing incorrect with giving your daughter your Noblet to play, and I really can’t fault an inverted Bonade Ligature, which is simply extraneous. It is however a considerable concern that you would allow her to play a La Voz mouthpiece. This is the single most important piece of equipment for anyone who plays the clarinet. But not a La Voz . They make reeds which are also marketed under many other names as well.
You have two reasonably good mouthpieces, so perhaps you should give her one of yours.However there are two others which I can recommend : They are the Hite Premiere, and the Clark Fobes Debut.I have ordered and tried playing perhaps a dozen of the Fobes Debut mouthpieces, and for a time thought I wold make it my one and only , so-to-speak Each of them cost about 30 dollars and are available easily from WWBW, an honest firm, which will give you a good price and has an unusual 45 day money-back guaranty.The Hite Premier is also excellent and played by several of my friends who are professional clarinetists. If I were your daughter, I would prefer either one of those and a plain ordinary ligature, all of which do the same for a young player.

Best regards, Sherman

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