The Mouthpiece Chooses the Musician

We caught wind of a potential clarinet find at an Pennsylvania Trading Co. estate sale. When we showed up, the clarinet wasn’t in very good condition, but there were around 15 mouthpieces all different styles and qualities.

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We went back to our house to pick up M’s clarinet and then back to the estate sale this time to try out all of those mouthpieces.

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M tried out every single one of them and picked three of his favorites: Vandoren, Stowell, and Selmer Magnitone.

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M: The Vandoren, Stowell, and Selmer Magnatone all have a good natural intonation and there is not a lot of resistance. All of these clarinet mouthpieces play with great projection – moving fluidly through the registers. They all have a bright, round tone.

Vandoren B45 ($15) – M: The Vandoren is easy to play. A noted general mouthpiece – can please everyone and suits a variety of sounds and playing styles.

Stowell H2 Chicago ($76) – M: The Stowell is most lively and responsive. It can get a little out of hand because it is sensitive to embouchure and accepts a much harder reed than I use currently. The Stowell mouthpiece is responsive to articulation.

Selmer Magnitone New York ($125) – M: The Selmer Magnitone is the liveliest of the three. It is bright and round and really blows across all the registers.

When asked about advice M would give to those searching for their own mouthpieces he says, “In the end, the mouthpiece chooses the musician.”

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Mouthpiece Holders DIY
I used an old Smartwool sock that didn’t have it’s match anymore and made two mouthpiece holders. I cut the sock in half and sewed the bottom of the top half. I inserted a cardboard piece in both sock halves. In the top half of the sock, I sewed on a button on the inside of the sock, and cut a button hole opening on the front. On the bottom half of the sock, I used fancy yarn from Munich to sew off the frayed part of the sock that was cut. I folded the heel of the sock over and cut a button hole. I sewed a button on the front of the sock, underneath the folded over heel.

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