Mouthpieces are probably the most critical part of the mix in achieving you and your instrument's true potential.
Basically, the mouthpiece and reed are assembled to create a gap between the 2 at the tip. This gap is lessened by the strength of the player's embouchure
so that when air is blown across the gap, the reed vibrates and makes sound. Both mouthpiece tip opening and reed strength
work together and must match the player's embouchure strength.
Beginners or players who do not play much will want to use smaller tip openings and
softer reeds. As strength is developed, harder reeds can be used to keep the system in balance. Experienced and players with strong embouchures will tend to use wider mouthpiece tip openings.
Selections of mouthpiece style, tip opening and reed style and strength are very personal choices and the ideal set up will vary from player to player.
DO NOT BUY reeds or mouthpieces based in others' recommendations without being sure that the recommendation takes into account the various variables
each individual player brings to the table. See the questions we ask BEFORE we will make a recommendation below.
A good mouthpiece should meet several criteria:
- it should be accurately made, especially in matching the tip profile of the reed... it should momentarily hold a vaccuum when air is withdrawn
from it with a wetted reed in place and your palm sealing the round exit
- it should be easy to play (blow's easily) throughout the range of the instrument and at all dynamic levels
- it should produce the tone you want
- it should respond consistently in tone and required effort throughout the range of the instrument
- it should have a ligature which holds the reed securely to the body
Truths about mouthpieces....
The right mouthpiece for you, may not be what the other person is playing. Why? Because your individual geometry (dimensions of your mouth, throat,
sinuses etc.) are not the same as the other person's.
A players' individual sound is as individual as their voice. Forget trying to sound like so-and-so. Develop your best sound.
Many mouthpieces on the market today are defective. Defective? Yes. It's shocking, but true. This is especially true for certain makers and far less true
for others. Even some venerable names are no longer what they were. (e.g. Berg Larsen and Otto Link are great examples of companies no longer owned
by their original owners and no longer making the quality they used to. Berg Larsen is shockingly bad today. Otto Link and Meyer are very mediocre today.)
saxorte only offers mouthpieces from manufacturers that have control of their quality
and in only designs that work throughout the range of the instrument. Too many mouthpiece designs play one part of the range well, only to compromise another to the point of making notes difficult to play.
Mouthpieces wear out eventually... especially hard rubber and plastic ones.. it's the argument for metal mouthpieces.
For experienced players, I genreally recommend bigger tip openings and softer reeds. I prefer the bendability of notes with bigger tip openings. You can
always adjust with a softer reed. More than anything, the set up you play with should be comfortable. Find a mouthpiece you can reliably and easily blow without strain.
Want a recommendation? Please follow these steps...