Mouthpiece and Reed Strength Considerations

Research response to 1997 survey published in “Selected Pedagogical Practices of College Instructors of Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone”:

With regard to clarinet and saxophone ligature, mouthpiece, and reed usage, the study group did not feel strongly that they should either use or not use similar equipment. Collected data suggest that, with regard to ligatures, mouthpieces, and reeds, doublers use whatever works best for each instrument and performance situation.


Additional research, experiential observations and suggestions:

-I believe it is advantageous for woodwind doublers to play on mouthpieces with similar characteristics (i.e. similar facings and tip openings).

-I have found performing on similar strength and brands of reeds is beneficial in that you do not need to make as many adjustments to your embouchure when switching from one instrument to the next.

-Although there are many specialty flute head joints available, I find it is best to perform on a standard head joint (regular back-wall heights range from .0195 to .0200 inches). However, some doublers find that a wing tip head joint is helpful in transitioning quickly from single and double reed instruments to the flute.

-medium faced/chamber mouthpieces provide for the most flexibility

Suggestions for mouthpieces:

Clarinet mouthpieces: Vandoren B45  or B45*

Saxophone mouthpieces: Selmer C* or Selmer C**, Rousseau New Classic NC4

Suggestions for reeds:

Clarinet: Vandoren 3 or 3 ½, Vandoren V-12 3 or 3 ½

Saxophone: Vandoren 3 ½, Vandoren Java 3 (for jazz and commercial styles)