Mouthpieces! Careful. It’s a jungle out there.

Hi Sherman,

I’d very much appreciate your thoughts or advice … I favor the sound that soft reeds ( #2) give me when I play. Is there a particular type of professional quality mouthpiece that is designed for a player who uses softer reeds? I currently use a Ridenour RE 10 which came with my Lyrique.
Thank you and best wishes.
J B

Thank you for the interesting question. Interesting because it focuses upon one of the imponderables of the mouthpiece manufacturing process, and that is the embouchure of the player. We are all of us,different and the variances in embouchure have a lot to do with the strength of reeds. Also , another imponderable is what you the player, are used to hearing , both in the room where you practice or the hall in which you play. The strength of reeds you use is but a part of the problem, The sound you prefer as your ideal is another. While in general, we say that a closer the tip of the mouthpiece necessitates a more resistant reed, the opposite also being the norm, it actually depends upon the embouchure of the player to alarge extent.
You have not mentioned if you prefer the mouthpiece which came with your horn. As with all other mouthpiece of a particular design, each will vary slightly. Let us say that your current mouthpiece, the RE 10 is sufficient for your needs.. If so, you need go no further. If not, I would consider a more open facing to try. Or a different maker. They all have different ways of making their product. You may wish to try a Zinner blank, which are quite popular among clarinet players today. They have a lovely quality, some say more sensuous than other mouthpieces. You may wish to contact Mr Ridenour for advice.He is a knowledgeable person in this area, but like all of us, his opinion has a lot to do with his product.. You are the final judge.
Back to your RE 10. If comfortable there, you need go no further. If not, try to attempt to identify what it is you do not prefer.

My only caution would be to step lightly in he word of different mouthpieces. It can be a jungle, and many have lost their way. Of course, we can recall Hansel and Gretel, and scatter breadcrumbs. Not such a bad idea. Keep the reeds you prefer and start by using them on the new mouthpiece. In that way, you have part of your problem in hand, so to speak. Having gotten lost many times in searching for the new, I have learned, as I have gotten more experienced , to be quite cautious.

Good luck,

sherman

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