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Clarinet/No teeth & mouthpieces


QUESTION: I am 66 and of course have now lost most of my teeth both top and bottom. Years ago I purchased a second hand Boosey & Hawkes Regent
Clarinet and recently a Conductor Clarinet of e-bay. I have decided eventually to start learning to play and can produce notes on both but I found it difficult to produce notes on both until I purchased a La Voz mouthpiece  from a local music shop. Can you please advise on a good easy blowing mouthpiece for a person with no teeth as I am confused by the numerous types on the market and if possible could you advise where best I could obtain information on what all these various mouthpieces do.


ANSWER: Hello Brian,
Congradulations on getting any sound on the clarinet with few teeth...The usual way to play clarinet is to have the 2 or 3 top teeth on top of the mouthpiece and the lower lip is folded over the lower teeth and the reed  'sits ' on the lower teeth....I do not have any specific information about any mouthpieces for your  problem....I could suggest  several tooth implants for the front upper teeth...These cost upwards of $6,000 each [Australian...though cheaper in Thailand]...That is not a 'flipent suggestion because clarinetists have had missing teeth  replaced to improve  the embouchure...The other option is to try  a doulble lip embouchure,  where both the upper and lower lip is folded over the teeth [but in your case,maybe the gums...This is  a little or no lip pressure method of playing....Reginald Kell, the great English classical clarinet player was one who used the double lip embouchure...I suggest you find a clarinet teacher,who may be able to tell you if this would work for you....Best wishes.....JACK

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QUESTION: Hi Jack, Many thanks for a very speedy response. I'm not so concerned about the embouchure as as can cope by using a double lip embouchure and this appears to be working well the more I practice it. Having teeth implants would be a rather expensive job and cost 3000 per tooth. As i would need at least 3-4 top and bottom I would probably need a mortgage to get that amount done. I really more interested in knowing more about different mouthpieces as the change from what was on the two clarinets to the La Voz made quite a difference to the ease of blowing and getting a clearer note. I am really trying to find out which mouthpieces are the easiest to blow.


Hello again Brian,
There are 'close' mouthpieces [the tip of the reed is close to the tip rail of the mouthpiece]...They take less tooth pressure to get a sound out of the clarinet....I am mainly a jazz clarinetist so prefer a more 'open' mouthpiece [the tip of the reed is further away from the tip rail and more tooth pressure is needed...You might look online for 'close' mouthpieces and see what comes up...or try a good music store [one that sells more than just guitars and guitar strings]...hopefully, a store that sells clarinets would have a selection of mouthpieces to try...You would be after  a close lay mouthpiece, one that works with less pressure...You might be charged up to $5.oodollars or more as a cleaning fee...Expect to pay as much as $200. for a top name mouthpiece, if you wanted to go to that expense...There are also cheaper options...I think yamaha still has a range of different size  mouthpiece ' to  CLOSE...which it seems wood work best for you....Cheers   JACK


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jack wiard


my 'area of expertise' is traditional jazz...i have had classical training...i am from san francisco,came to australia in 1971 to teach h.s. music...resigned to play full time music in 1975 [to present]


i have played with the graeme bell allstars [25 yrs] ray price quintet [5 yrs], led own groups [20 yrs]..played in all the major australian jazz festivals, played 2 yrs with local symphony most recorded jazz clarinetist in oz [39 recordings]..can be heard on you tube

on committee of clarinet soc. of n.s.w for 7 yrs...[now defunct]

a.a. degree,b.mus degree, secondary teaching credential

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