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Buying a Clarinet Mouthpieces: What to Know

Clarinet Mouthpiece Breakdown

Clarinet Mouthpiece Diagram

Body Materials

When speaking of clarinet mouthpiece materials, a general rule of thumb states that the softer the material, the darker and less projecting the sound. A harder material features a bright sound that projects well.

Usually used for student mouthpieces, plastic clarinet mouthpieces are durable and affordable. The tradeoff comes in that the sound can be bright and difficult to focus.

Ebony (Hard Rubber)

Offers a warmer, better focused sound than plastic. Ebonite is the preferred material for classical clarinet players and jazz musicians who do not need a great deal of edge and projection.

Crystal

Characterized as having very good projection and a bright sound, crystal mouthpieces are excellent for jazz and some outdoor performances. Crystal is very fragile and a soft mouthpiece pouch is highly recommended.

Wood

Though rarely used, wood is the warmest but least projecting of clarinet mouthpiece materials. It also proves less stable than rubber or plastic.

Facing & Tip

Where the mouthpiece meets the reed. The length of a clarinet mouthpiece's facing is directly related to the opening of the tip. As a general rule, the longer the facing, the smaller the tip. The reverse is true for short facings. This relationship dictates many important factors for the clarinetist including reed strength, focus of sound and timbre, projection and the degree of "free-blowing." Below is a quick reference guide:

Facing Resistance Flexibility Reeds
Open Tip short high great soft
Medium Tip medium medium medium medium
Advanced Tip long low little harder

Chamber

Larger chambers offer clarinet players a more full and flexible sound. Smaller chambers provide a greater focus but less upward, dynamic range.

Baffle

Directs the air column into the mouthpiece's chamber. Higher baffles offer a brighter sound while scooped baffles offer a darker sound.

Profile

The outer angle of the beak, or profile, of a clarinet mouthpiece affects the comfort within the embouchure. Some players prefer the lower angle such as the Vandoren clarinet mouthpiece Profile 88 series or a greater angle like the Vandoren Traditional clarinet mouthpiece.

Mouthpiece Return Policy

Orders of up to four mouthpieces may be purchasedwith deferred payment. There is a $4.00 cleaning and sterilization charge on each mouthpiece returned ($8.00 charge on mouthpieces over $300.00 selling price). Mouthpieces must be returned free of blemishes and in the original packaging. Late returns will be subject to a $10.00 late fee per mouthpiece. Call 1-800-348-5003 for complete details.

Trust Woodwind & Brasswind

In choosing a clarinet mouthpiece, you need to consider your musician's age and skill level, and the kind of use (school band, marching band, orchestral, etc.) to which they will put their instrument. If for school, consulting with the band teacher is a good idea.

Whatever clarinet mouthpiece you select, The Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means you have 45 days to be sure it's right for you. If it's not, just return it for a full refund.* And you don't need to worry about paying too much. Our 45-Day Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find the same clarinet mouthpiece advertised for less elsewhere, we'll make up the difference. When you buy a mouthpiece from The Woodwind & Brasswind, you can buy with complete confidence.

* All returned woodwind and brass instruments are assessed a $10.00 sterilization fee. Instruments priced over $3,000.00 are assessed a $20.00 fee. All mouthpieces and bows are assessed a $4.00 sterilization fee.

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