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 'lays...open to CLOSE...which it seems wood work best for you....Cheers JACK