Top Mouthpieces for Clarinets – Guide & Comparison
If you want to produce sublime sounds using your favorite instrument, you will need the best clarinet mouthpiece that you can find. Choosing that is sometimes a difficult task, especially if you are a beginner. That is why we wrote this guide, to make that choice easier. In our search, we found out that the D’Addario Reserve Bb is the model that stands out the most. Being made of rubber, it provides a robust and consistent tone. The same material also offers it the ability to remain usable for a long time. Players of any caliber will be able to use it to get clear and precise sounds. If you are unable to find our first choice for sale, you can also have a look at the Vandoren CM346 B50 model.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
If you’re just starting to play the clarinet, or you’re an experienced player looking for a new clarinet mouthpiece, we wanted to make the choice easier for you. Before we go deeper into this guide, you might want to know that we have also written an article on clarinets, which is highly relevant to what we are discussing here.
D’Addario Reserve Bb
This is the model that D’Addario proposes for a classical alto saxophone mouthpiece. The consistency that it offers is due to the precision milling that it goes through. The model is standard so you won’t need to try many before purchasing.
The material of choice for this was rubber and that offers it tonal beauty and a prolonged life. It’s a great choice for those looking for mellow sounds.
When creating this mouthpiece, the manufacturers employ a team of great engineers, craftsmen, and players to achieve the excellence needed.
Because it has two different facing systems, you can choose one of them that suits you best. That is how you can reach different pitches.
It is a model that is highly versatile and can be used by all kinds of players. You will be impressed with the scalar movement in the altissimo register that you can achieve with this piece and you will feel how smooth and secure this mouthpiece is.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($104.99)
Vandoren CM346 B50
Bass clarinets will make the most use of this mouthpiece. It has the rich and velvety sound needed in those low registers but it can still produce its unique style in upper registers. It comes with a long facing and that means that the mouthpiece accentuates the lower registers.
The sound is thus lush no matter what you play, but because more of the thick part of the reed is played due to the long facing, there is more air needed to be pushed. Thus, playing this mouthpiece has its benefits, but it needs a pretty experienced player to achieve them.
It’s the ideal model if you want to give your bass clarinet a vintage sound. However, you need to take into consideration that the response is not as quick.
This mouthpiece works best with Vandoren clarinet reeds of strength 2.5 or 3.5, as they are the ones that can put its values into perspective most.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($146.16)
Clark W Fobes Debut Student
Designed for practicing students, this mouthpiece offers the requirements that a beginner needs, but it also forces the player to accomplish an adequate embouchure to make it sound great. It allows the use of stronger reeds and by doing that it helps the learners practice better.
Something that doesn’t often happen with mass-produced models, each of these mouthpieces is play tested and carefully hand-finished.
Their facing is fairly close and that ensures a good focus to the sound and a nice resistance. It also means that the player needs a good embouchure and it forces him or her to develop the face muscles needed for performing more difficult techniques.
The material of choice for this piece is acrylic, a type of plastic. That means it’s a fairly affordable option and it can be easily replaced if needed. It’s also nice to know that it’s a standard size so any usual ligature and cap will fit it well.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($26.99)
American Plating 2531K
This is actually a kit and it includes everything you need to fit your mouthpiece and start playing. You get a plastic mouthpiece, the ligature that is nickel-plated, and a plastic cap to protect all of that. This product is popular among beginners due to its style and because it’s easy to play.
The kit also offers the consistency needed and that is why music teachers recommend it. Although available for different models, this one is a bass clarinet mouthpiece. The model is of better quality than expected, but the ligature, although pretty, may not be as durable.
The great part about this is that it’s easy for a beginner to attach it to the clarinet and start playing. And it’s also quite affordable. It fits most bass clarinets but you will need to oil up the corkscrew a bit to achieve that. If you have just started playing, you might be interested in a clarinet for beginners.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.76)
Yamaha YAC1270 4C
Being a part of the Standard Series, this mouthpiece features a design based on the greatest Yamaha models and on their Custom mouthpieces. It’s made of phenol resin, which is a durable plastic and that is why it is a model that’s extremely consistent in playing quality and specifications and it offers great sounds.
It is a mouthpiece that is easy to play due to the short facing and that makes it a great choice for beginners. Students are able to achieve a rich and characteristic sound with this model. You can choose between different sizes, so you can get the one that suits you best.
The model has a tip opening that is specific for alto clarinets and it measures 1.40mm. It helps you obtain a well-balanced tone over all octaves and it can help beginners and professionals alike.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($31.49)
Vandoren CM342 B44
The Vandoren brand states that when it comes to bass clarinets, this mouthpiece is at the top of the pyramid. It is a model that has been validated by many musicians.
It works best with Vandoren reeds of strength 3 or 4, meaning that it’s a model that is targeted at more experienced players, it’s for those with a good embouchure.
If you are struggling with getting enough airflow in the upper registers, this mouthpiece will help with that and will greatly improve your consistency. Surprisingly, this is the model with the smallest tip opening that the brand produces for bass clarinets. This is why it’s such a free blowing mouthpiece.
Because the tip is so small, you require stronger reeds to make it work well. A strength 4 reed is recommended for professionals but intermediate players would do well on a strength 3 one.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($154.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
A good clarinet mouthpiece is one that’s able to provide a consistent sound for a long period of time. Different players also have different styles when playing and thus they require distinct features. This short guide will help you get a clearer sense on how to choose your mouthpiece.
It’s important to know all the parts of the mouthpiece and what impact they have on the end sound. Each has its importance. For example, the tip rail is the point where the mouthpiece and the reed seal when vibrating. It shouldn’t be too thin or too wide, so it doesn’t hinder the responsiveness.
Directly behind the tip rail, you can find the baffle. Its shape influences how bright or dark the clarinet sounds and it has an impact on its “buzz” too. If you want a bright sound, look for a baffle that is close to the reed and keep in mind that this is called a “high” or “large” baffle. Conversely, a darker sound is produced by a “low” or “small” baffle positioned further away from the reed.
The chamber is one of the most important parts of the mouthpiece and it’s the hollow room in the middle of it. As you might expect, large chambers produce a “fat” tone, while narrow ones help with reaching brighter sounds.
Characteristics such as sound, control, and playability are largely defined by the “lay” and that represents how much resistance the mouthpiece produces. The lay is influenced by the tip opening and the facing curve.
The rule of thumb is that the more open the tip, the more flexible the reed needs to be. Also, if the facing curve is short, the reed also needs to be soft and flexible. That’s why, when you get a new mouthpiece, you should experiment with different reeds and see which one fits the best and how you can reach the best sounds.
If you want to learn new concepts and styles of play, you could try a similar instrument and get a saxophone for beginners.
Clarinet mouthpiece reviews acknowledge that the material used when making the mouthpiece has a significant importance on how that piece sounds. One of the most affordable options is plastic.
It doesn’t last too much and it doesn’t offer the greatest sounds but it’s a good choice for a student clarinet because beginners don’t really need any of that in the short term. If you tend to bite too much into the clarinet, you can get a clarinet mouthpiece patch to protect the actual mouthpiece.
Ebonite or hard rubber is also a common material and it offers a more focused tone than the plastic variants. If you are looking for a rounder sound, you can always choose one of these. It offers a mellow tone with not too much range and projection. That is why they aren’t really used by professionals.
Although not a common material, mouthpieces are sometimes made of crystal. They deliver a bright tone that is great when playing jazz. These mouthpieces should be handled with care because they are very fragile.