The Nature of the Beast,(mouthpieces)

Mr. Friedland,

I recently ordered a Hite model J mouthpiece to back up the one I have been playing on for a number of years. I heard that Hite had passed away recently and thought I’d better get a “back up unit” before they would no longer be available. When it arrived I tried to play it and it was awful! By just eyeballing the rails I could tell the mouthpiece was no where near the dimensions of my old piece. I shudder to think what the differences would be if I would have put gauges on it. Is some new firm making Hite’s mouthpieces and putting his name on them? Would a Vandoren B40 lyre ‘piece be close to my original Hite J? Caveat emptor! I was lucky enough to be able to return the mouthpiece for a full refund. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.


Dear R:
Many thanks for your note concerning the mouthpieces of the late David Hite. \I would have to respectfully disagree with your Caveat Emptor .
In any event, you were able to get a full refund, so, there was nothing of which to be wary.

But mainly, I have to tell you and all others who try new mouthpieces or even used mouthpieces, even Kaspers or really any one at all: they all play differently, and some really completely differently. Since most are in some way, finished by hand, they simply have to be different,even though they may measure equally. And please consider the variables in going into trying a new or a different mouthpieces.

The most consistent mouthpiece I think I have ever played is the Clark Fobes “debut” made for fairly new players, but each one of those plays a tiny bit differently. A little bright, a better open G or a different high C. And change the reed and you are in a different place.

I’v tried may Van Dorens, and while a B40 may be favorable to you, another B40 may not. (They are very consistent as well.)

So keep in mind that any two mouthpieces regardless of make will play differently. As they say, it is “the nature of the beast.”

All the best to you.


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