Choosing A Mouthpiece
Although seemingly simple in shape, the mouthpiece is actually quite complex and crucial to getting good results. Poor sound is sometimes blamed on the instrument when an improper mouthpiece is really at fault. Also a good mouthpiece can noticeably improve any instrument’s sound.
The relationship between the chamber, baffle, bore, facing length and tip opening subtly affects musical and acoustical characteristics – sonority, fullness, volume, accuracy of pitch, and response. Any variation – no matter how minor – will produce quite different results.
A mouthpiece varies as each musician varies: selecting the right one depends on the desired musical results, the player’s embouchure, and the instrument. A bad combination of mouthpiece bore and clarinet bore or saxophone mouthpipe could spoil pitch accuracy, tone quality, and response.
Players should not always choose the easiest-playing mouthpiece. A better choice is one that allows total control of reed vibrations and may offer some resistance.
Once the mouthpiece has been selected, the next task is choosing a reed. Always try to adapt a reed to the new mouthpiece’s features; a reed that gave satisfactory results with another mouthpiece will not necessarily work with this one.