A clarinet is a beautiful woodwind instrument that can produce powerful, rich and penetrating sounds. Clarinet music is somewhat special because it can uplift, inspire and make you feel good. Granted, the mouthpiece is a small part of the instrument, but it plays a very important function. Buying any of the best clarinet mouthpieces on the market will not only take your play to a new level but will also reduce the strain and discomfort you undergo while playing.
Finding a high-quality clarinet mouthpiece that will suit your unique needs is likely going to be a challenge for you especially if have little or no idea about what to look for in a clarinet mouthpiece. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be. We have set out to show you the features that matter and how they affect the efficiency and performance of a mouthpiece. We cover all the important aspects like the tip size, reeds, material, reeds strength, and many more.
Top 5 Clarinet Mouthpieces Review 2020
We spent countless hours doing deep and extensive research on the most popular clarinet mouthpiece on the market, consulted experts who know the intricate details about clarinet mouthpiece and went through hundreds of customer reviews to narrow down five of the best clarinet mouthpiece on the market. This review starts with a comparison table that shows the rating of each product. Next, is a detailed review of each product and its pros and cons. Our buying guide section covers everything you need to know to choose a good clarinet mouthpiece that will suit you.
D’Addario Woodwinds X5 – Editor’s Choice
- Material:solid hard rubber
- Tip:05 mm
- Reeds strength:5-4+
More features:medium-long facing, milled
The D’Addario is a premium quality, elegant and luxurious clarinet mouthpiece that is crafted from premium quality materials and perfect for beginner clarinets and professional ones alike. Unlike other mouthpieces, the D’Addario Woodwinds is super easy to use and maintain.
This posh but rugged mouthpiece is made from high-grade rubber that offers prolonged life, tonal beauty and a great choice for those looking for soft mellow sounds.
The D’Addario Woodwinds was created by a highly trained team of craftsmen and engineers to achieve the excellence that is required.
One notable thing about the D’Addario Woodwinds is its two different pitches and facing system that offers an array of options for all ages, geographical location, and abilities. This means that you can tweak it to suit your needs and preferences.
The smooth and secured nature of this mouthpiece is certainly going to impress you.
The consistency that this top-notch mouthpiece offers is due to the precision milling that it undergoes.
While the D’Addario Woodwinds is an excellent clarinet mouthpiece, it has a few issues. Some users complained that the mouthpiece isn’t very sturdy.
This, of course, takes nothing from the performance of this top-notch mouthpiece. So if you are looking for a versatile and durable clarinet mouthpiece, then the D’Addario Woodwinds will be perfect for you.
- Two facing systems
- It is easy to use
- Made from premium quality rubber
- It isn’t very sturdy
Vandoren CM346 B50 – Best Bass Clarinet Mouthpiece
- Material:not specified
- Tip:01 mm
More features:long facing, traditional beak
The Vandoren CM346 B50 is a high performance, rugged, and sturdy clarinet mouthpiece with remarkable features that are certainly going to impress newbie and experts. Over the years, Vandoren mouthpieces for bass clarinets have become increasingly popular because of their impressive sonic properties, brilliant functionalities, and remarkable quality. The Vandoren CM346 B50 is no exception to this. Its super sleek design and superior performance is what makes it stand out from others out there.
This posh mouthpiece was specifically designed to deliver precise articulation, perfect intonation, premium quality sounds, and unmatched response. Also, the functional efficiency of the Vandoren CM346 B50 makes it an excellent choice for those who play professional clarinets.
The Vandoren CM346 B50 measures 1.8 x 1.8 x 6 in size and weighs only 2.4 ounces. Since it is lightweight, you will be able to use it with relative ease. When you purchase the Vandoren CM346 B50 you can be sure of enjoying stunning sound quality.
No doubt, the Vandoren CM346 B50 is a high performance and durable clarinet mouthpiece but it has just one issue; it is expensive. Some users complained that it is costlier than other models similar to it.
While the Vandoren CM346 B50 is perfect for experts who don’t want to sacrifice sound quality, it may not be the best choice for beginners as it is expensive.
So, if you want to enjoy a powerful and smooth sound in the upper register, the Vandoren CM346 B50 will be good for you.
- Impressive features
- Brilliant design
- It is durable
- It is expensive
Pomarico Black CrystalMoon – Best Clarinet Mouthpiece For Jazz
- Material:crystal material
- Tip:04 mm
More features:closed-medium facing, opaque black
The Pomarico Black CrystalMoon is a high quality and durable clarinet mouthpiece with a classy and sophisticated design that is certainly going to impress seasoned pros that have been playing for years and greenhorns who are looking to buying their first mouthpiece.
Pomarico, the creator of this excellent mouthpiece has made a name for its self in the realm of clarinet mouthpiece. While there are many crystal mouthpieces out there, the Pomarico Black CrystalMoon is somewhat better. The reason for this is that it is made from a special and durable crystal material that maintains the quick response and clarity of a standard crystal. Just as its name implies, the Pomarico Black CrystalMoon is an opaque mirror that is dark in appearance.
With this top-notch mouthpiece, you can be sure of producing a tremendous volume of sound with relative ease. The Pomarico Black CrystalMoon measures 3.8 x 1.7 x 1.1 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces. Since it weighs less than other models similar to it, you will be able to use it to play for a long time without stressing yourself out.
The adjustable thumb rest feature of this excellent mouthpiece is definitely going to impress you.
Granted, the Pomarico Black CrystalMoon is a sophisticated, elegant and powerful clarinet mouthpiece, but it is pricy.
So if you are a newbie on a tight budget this mouthpiece won’t be good for you. However, if you are a seasoned pro looking forward to taking your game to another level, the Pomarico Black CrystalMoon will be perfect for you.
- It is easy to maintain
- Made from high-quality crystals
- It is durable
- It is expensive
Selmer Paris Focus – Best Beginner Clarinet Mouthpiece
- Tip:05 mm
More features:Bb mouthpiece, medium-long facing
The Selmer Paris Focus is a smooth, lightweight and budget-friendly clarinet mouthpiece and it is an excellent choice for beginners and seasoned pros as it is rugged, durable and can withstand consistent use.
Henri Selmer Paris, which is a very famous clarinet designing and manufacturing company and the maker of this excellent mouthpiece has been crafting Clarinet mouthpieces since 1885. After a series of intense research, they were able to upgrade their mouthpiece range for clarinet and introduced two new sophisticated models adapted to the aesthetics, style, and preference of today’s clarinetists.
One key thing that sets the Selmer Paris Focus apart from models and brands similar to it is its new and sophisticated throat design that allows greater density of sound brings and greater focus to the air flow.
Unlike other models, the Selmer Paris Focus is versatile. This means that it can be used to make a vast array of sounds and can be played by experts and newbie alike.
The small opening of the focus provides better control, flexibility and facilitates the balanced distribution of sounds.
Of course, the Selmer Paris Focus is a top-notch clarinet mouthpiece with a lot of cool features that are certainly going to impress you. However, the Selmer Paris Focus is not the best choice for experts looking to taking their skill to a whole new level.
So if you are looking for a durable, smooth, and posh clarinet mouthpiece, the Selmer Paris Focus will be an excellent pick.
- Made from high-quality materials
- It is lightweight
- It is easy to use
- It is not the best choice for experts
Yamaha YAC CL4CM-II – Budget Pick
- Tip:05 mm
More features:Bb mouthpiece, medium facing
The Yamaha YAC CL4CM is a posh, durable, and affordable clarinet mouthpiece that is crafted from premium quality ebonies and hard rubber that offers tonal quality and resonance like those of natural wood.
To ensure that the Yamaha YAC CL4CM produce superior quality sounds, extra care is taken on every part of the production. From the initial shaping of it from raw materials to the finishing touches, every step of the production is done by expert artisans to ensure consistent quality.
Over the years, Yamaha, the creator of this top-notch mouthpiece have worked with many popular musicians, carefully studying their mouthpiece and looking for innovative ways to improve them. In the end, their efforts and research paved the way for sophisticated models like the Yamaha YAC CL4CM among others.
With the Yamaha YAC CL4CM, you will be able to make warm rich tones without wearing yourself out.
The Yamaha YAC CL4CM weighs 1.44 ounces and measures 5.3 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches. Since it is lighter than most clarinet mouthpiece out there, you will be able to use it for long practice or performance sessions.
While the Yamaha YAC CL4CM is a top-notch clarinet, it isn’t the best choice for professionals and seasoned players.
So, if you are looking for a clarinet mouthpiece with a high performance and that is budget-friendly, the Yamaha YAC CL4CM will be good for you.
- Crafted from high-quality ebonite and hard rubber
- It is durable
- It is affordable
- It is not suitable for expert players
Now that you know some of the best Clarinet Mouthpiece on the market, it is likely going to be difficult for you to narrow down the one that will suit your needs. Although all clarinet mouthpieces are designed to do the same thing, they aren’t made the same. Our buying guide will cover some important things you need to know about clarinet mouthpieces in order to choose a good one that’s right for you.
Why is it essential to choose a proper clarinet mouthpiece
It is easy for beginners to assume that the clarinet mouthpiece is a small and insignificant part of the instrument. But the truth is that it is a very important part. The reason why it is so important is that it can affect to a large extent the nature of the sound that is produced by the instrument.
A good mouthpiece can help a low quality or mediocre instrument play very well. A cheap mouthpiece, on the other hand, will handicap a top-notch or an expensive instrument.
So, if you are looking to making good sound with relative ease, it is wise you opt for a high-quality mouthpiece like the D’Addario Woodwinds X5 or the Vandoren CM346 B50. However, if you are on a tight budget or you just don’t want to invest too much on a mouthpiece, then you should go for a budget-friendly model like the Yamaha YAC CL4CM-II.
How to take care of a clarinet mouthpiece
Whether you use your instrument every day or only on the weekends when you are free, it is important that you clean your mouthpiece regularly. If you don’t, your mouthpiece is going to be a home to dirt and bacteria that will not only affect the sound of your instrument but also your health. With consistent cleaning, your clarinet mouthpiece will continue to produce beautiful sound for years to come.
Below is a step by step guide on how to take care of a clarinet mouthpiece:
- Carefully disassemble the clarinet
- Wipe the reed with a soft cloth
- Clean the joints and bell with a swab on a string (You can get a specialized swab at most music stores or online)
- Thoroughly rinse the mouthpieces with cold or warm water to remove debris and saliva.
- Dry the mouthpiece before storage.
- Wash the swab on a regular basis
No two clarinet mouthpieces are made exactly the same hence they aren’t going be sold at the same price. While there are top notch models like the Vandoren CM346 B50 and D’Addario Woodwinds X5 with a handful of impressive features, there are some affordable models like the Yamaha YAC CL4CM-II. If you are looking for something in between, then you should opt for fairly expensive models like the Selmer Paris Focus.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to splash a lot of cash or spend a small fortune on a mouthpiece. That, of course, does not mean that you should go for super cheap models that cost 10 dollars or less, as they are not durable.
Features to consider while buying the best clarinet mouthpiece
Although clarinet mouthpieces tend to be somewhat similar in their design and purpose, there are a handful of features that set them apart and can dramatically affect their performance. To choose the best one, you need to learn a thing or two about these features. Below are some of the most important ones.
What is it made of
As you probably know, the material a mouthpiece is made of can affect the nature of the sound it produces.
Mouthpieces that are made from soft materials have a darker sound. On the other hand, mouthpieces that are made from hard material have brighter sounds.
Below are some materials used in making a clarinet mouthpiece:
- Hard rubber
Most fairly expensive and some custom mouthpiece on the market are made with hard rubber. While there are different types of hard rubber (with varying characteristics), they generally provide a bit more focus and warmth than plastic mouthpieces.
Most beginner mouthpieces are made from plastic because they are affordable and durable.
Wood is a popular material that has been used to make clarinet mouthpieces in the past and presently. The sound quality of a wooden mouthpiece is affected by the type of wood it was made from.
Although they are a little bit fragile, they can produce a bright sound and are ideal for outdoor use.
The beak is the upper part of clarinet mouthpiece that goes into your mouth when you play. While the angle of the beak isn’t directly going to affect the nature or quality of the sound you produce, it may affect how comfortable you will feel when you play.
Tips and facing
The facing length and tip opening of a clarinet mouthpiece are two important things you must give thought to when making a purchase as they can determine how a mouthpiece will play an instrument.
- The facing length
This is the point or area where the mouthpiece separate from the reed.
- Tip opening
This is the distance between the tip of the mouthpiece and the end of the reed.
Generally, a clarinet mouthpiece with a long facing usually has a small tip opening. On the other hand, a clarinet mouthpiece with a short facing has a large tip opening.
How reeds and ligature influence the sound
The reeds and ligature are two important parts of a clarinet mouthpiece that influence to a large extent the nature, as well as, the quality of the sound it will produce.
The reed: This is a very small part of the wood that vibrates to make a sound
The ligature: This holds the reed on the mouthpiece.
Regardless of the type of mouthpiece you want to buy, it is important that you take a close look at variables like the hardness, heart thickness, tip thickness, cut and vamp length of the reed, as they can determine how a mouthpiece will play.
Clarinet ligature is usually made with materials like gold, fabric, silver and so on, and these materials come in different shapes and designs. Just like the reeds, the clarinet may seem like an inconsequential factor, but the truth is that they are very important and should be taken seriously. You see, the way a reed is held on to a mouthpiece determines how the reed vibrates and the nature of the sound they produce
Baffle and chamber
The chamber is the inside of the mouthpiece. And it affects to a large extent the output of a mouthpiece. The Baffle is the part of the chamber close to the top of the mouthpiece. The design and shape of this portion of the baffle affect the overall sound quality of the mouthpiece.
A scooped or lower baffle produces a darker sound while a higher baffle produces a brighter sound.
The window is simply the hole that is located in a clarinet mouthpiece in the area where the reed covers when it takes a position or is in place.
The sidewalls of a clarinet mouthpiece lead directly to its main chamber. As you guessed, the volume or tone produced from a mouthpiece is influenced by the size and shape of the side walls.
The chamber is the small open space in the middle of a mouthpiece. A large chamber will give a bigger and unfocused tone. A small chamber, on the other hand, gives a more focused and narrower tone.
No, it cannot be used. The reason for this is that mouthpiece, in general, is instrument specific. This means that a clarinet mouthpiece can only be used with a clarinet. So, if you have a clarinet, then you should purchase a clarinet mouthpiece not a saxophone mouthpiece or a mouthpiece for any other instrument.
Yes, you can. But it is wise you purchase a new mouthpiece for sanitary purposes. Buying a mouthpiece that has been used by another person isn’t really a healthy choice as bacterial and dirt may have accumulated in them. That being said, if you are on a tight budget or aren’t really sure if you are going to be playing the instrument for long, then you can opt for a used mouthpiece. Don’t buy used mouthpieces that have visible cracks or chip. Examine it carefully to ensure that it is in perfect working condition before making a purchase.
The D’Addario Woodwinds X5 is our best pick. Its super sleek design, flawless workmanship and superior performance are what make it stand out from its contemporaries. Also, it is durable, versatile and lightweight. So if you are a professional looking for a high-performance mouthpiece, the D’Addario Woodwinds X5 will be good for you.
At second place is the Vandoren CM346 B50, another top-notch model whose features and versatility are next to none. If you are a beginner looking to buying your first mouthpiece or an intermediate player and you want to upgrade your present mouthpiece, then you should go for the Vandoren CM346 B50.
Our third favorite pick, the Yamaha YAC CL4CM-II, is a budget-friendly, durable and lightweight mouthpiece that is suitable for beginners. So, if you are looking for a good mouthpiece but on a tight budget, then you should opt for this mouthpiece.
We hope that his guide helps you in your search for the best clarinet mouthpiece on the market that will suit your needs and preferences.