I was rereading my 2008 post on the Hawkins S and R mouthpieces, and recently I had the opportunity to play a Fobes San Farncisco mouthpiece. All three of these really excellent mouthpieces are stars, each one possessing strong facets of the sound and response of the clarinet.
The Fobes is made on a specially made Zinner blank, (according to specs), and the Hawkins are also Zinners. The fact remains that these three are simply superb.
Previously, I had played for years on a Van Doren M13 mouthpiece, which I also liked very much because it was so much more responsive and depndable than other Van Dorens, and the pitch was improved. Later, I discovered that this M13 was Van Dorens “take” on the Chedeville mouthpiece, and it is still a fine
addition to any clarinet, however the two Hawkins are each better than the VD , as is the Fobes, also Fobes version of the Chedeville.
It comes down to personal preference, doesn’t it? But there have to be reasons, and here are mine: I prefer the Hawkins “S” for absolutely the best articulation I can produce, the attack being so immediate and with the resistance to which my medium reed responds best. Now, the “R” is a bit less bright, or darker, and slightly less responsive than the “S”.although certainly in the “ballpark” for excellence. The Fobes is cut along the same lines as the Hawkins, however it is more free blowing than either, and I find articulation less immediate than with either Hawkins. One must remember that these are personal preferences based on lots of trials sessions. Let us put it this way: If I have to play the solo from the first movement conclusion of the Pastorale Symphony, I will play it on the Hawkins “S”, end of story.
After that, the differences are miniscule.
Best of practice, and stay well.
Hawkins update, and Fobes SF.