In this week’s post of our 18 Tips to a Better Tone series, we’ll cover the following: How to choose the perfect mouthpiece. Truthfully I don’t think there is a perfect mouthpiece, but at least you’ll have the process for choosing the best mouthpiece for you.
A Little Background
I’ll provide a detailed process that will help you find the best mouthpiece for you. You may or may not want to go through every step (it gets more expensive and time consuming the more options you add), but at least you can have a plan going into this process. Personalize these steps toward your situation and you’ll walk away with the best mouthpiece for you. In addition, you’ll be confident that you’ve chosen the right mouthpiece. Then, you can move past the equipment and get playing!
Narrow it Down
If you don’t know the brand and size of mouthpiece you want, then click here to figure out how to narrow it down. Discover if you need a classical style mouthpiece or a jazz/pop mouthpiece. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece with orange box Rico or Rico Royal 2.5 reeds. If you have questions about specific mouthpieces, send me an email or post in the comment section. We’ll be happy to help!
- Choose 3 mouthpieces that are a possibility
- Order 2-3 mouthpieces of each mouthpiece
Note 1 – For example, if you’re interested in the Otto Link 6*, order 2-3 of them. If you did this with all the mouthpieces, you could have a total of 9 mouthpieces to try
Note 2 – There are inconsistencies in manufacturing. Sometimes all 3 will play the same, and sometimes there will be a very clear difference. We’re making sure you don’t get a bad one (you may not know that, if you only order 1), and greatly improving your success in finding the right mouthpiece.
Note 3 – There are restocking/cleaning fees on returns, so be aware of that when budgeting for your mouthpiece.
- Playing a jazz mouthpiece? Order jazz reeds (Example of tenor reeds-click here)
- Classical mouthpiece? Have classical reeds available (Rico for beginners)
- Order from a company that has a return policy like wwbw.com (they expect returns)
- Upon arrival, try each mouthpiece brand/model, one group at a time
- Pick your favorite mouthpiece from each group (You’ll now have narrowed down to 3)
- Don’t share your results
- Have a friend come in (preferably a musician) and blind test listen to the 3 mouthpiece
- Have your friend choose their favorite
- Compare results
- In the end, choose the one you like the best
If you follow this process, or a variation of it (such as 1-2 mouthpieces from each brand/model), you’ll find the mouthpiece that is right for you. You’ll also have the confidence that you’ve chosen the right one and you won’t need to wonder if there’s a better mouthpiece out there for you. You’ll be set!
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P.S. Next week we’ll cover the step by step process for the playing test mentioned above.