How to Select a Mouthpiece for a Vintage Clarinet

Selecting a clarinet mouthpiece for a vintage clarinet with a non-standard tenon receiver bore can be a bit challenging, but it’s important to find a mouthpiece that fits properly to ensure good playability and sound quality. Here are steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Measure the Tenon Receiver Bore: Begin by measuring the internal diameter of the tenon receiver bore on your vintage clarinet. Use a caliper or a measuring tool designed for this purpose. Record the diameter in millimeters, as this measurement will be crucial when choosing a mouthpiece.
  2. Consult a Clarinet Specialist: Contact a clarinet specialist, repair technician, or a reputable music shop that specializes in woodwind instruments. They may have experience with vintage clarinets and can provide guidance on mouthpiece selection.
  3. Explore Custom Mouthpieces: Due to the non-standard bore size, you might need a custom mouthpiece made specifically for your clarinet. Custom mouthpiece makers can create mouthpieces to fit your instrument’s unique requirements. They will take the measurements you obtained in step 1 and design a mouthpiece accordingly. Keep in mind that custom mouthpieces can be more expensive but are tailored to your clarinet’s needs.
  4. Try Different Mouthpieces: If a custom mouthpiece isn’t an option, you can try different standard mouthpieces with various bore sizes. Look for mouthpieces that are slightly smaller than your clarinet’s tenon receiver bore but not too small to avoid air leaks. You can experiment with different mouthpieces to find one that fits snugly and provides a good seal.
  5. Use Mouthpiece Adapters: In some cases, you may be able to use a mouthpiece adapter to fit a standard mouthpiece onto your vintage clarinet. These adapters are designed to bridge the gap between the mouthpiece and the tenon receiver bore. However, they may affect the instrument’s playability and tone, so consider this option cautiously.
  6. Seek Expert Advice: If you’re uncertain about which mouthpiece to choose or whether an adapter would work, consult with a clarinet expert or technician. They can provide specific recommendations based on the unique characteristics of your vintage clarinet.
  7. Test and Adjust: Once you’ve obtained a mouthpiece that seems to fit well, test it on your clarinet. Pay attention to intonation, tone quality, and ease of play. If necessary, you may need to make small adjustments or seek further guidance from a professional to optimize the setup.

Remember that finding the right mouthpiece for a vintage clarinet with a non-standard tenon receiver bore may require some patience and experimentation. Prioritize playability and tone quality to ensure that your instrument sounds and feels its best.