Yes, Clarinet mouth pieces do wear out after some time. They are after all, the most engaged part of the instrument. That is why you need to know when to replace then and how. In this article we will provide you with all the necessary information.
Clarinets mouth pieces wear out and require maintenance and replacement. I inherited a clarinet from my late uncle. He was the one who inspired me to start learning how to play the clarinet and was the one who gave me my first clarinet. It is a clarinet he had used, and when, I inherited, it, the mouth piece was worn out. A worn-out clarinet mouth piece makes it difficult to play the instrument and hence should be replaced immediately. In this post, you will learn how long a clarinet mouth piece lasts and how to replace a worn our mouth piece.
How long a clarinet’s mouth piece last
A clarinet’s mouth piece lasts for 3 to 4 years before it starts wearing out. Wearing out of the mouth piece is not only dependent on the age of the instrument but various other factors. for instance, if the instrument is used every day, it is likely to be worn out faster than one that is used rarely. I have once shared a clarinet with a friend and hence the instrument was in use everyday and most of the time. The mouth piece was worn -out within three years. I rarely use my current clarinet and have had it for five years and the mouth piece is still intact.
Another factor that can contribute to the wearing out of the mouth piece is regular maintenance or lack of it. One of the common maintenance practices include cleaning it with a dish soap and a small brush. Cleaning removes any foreign particles and prevent damage from saliva. A well maintained mouth piece may last longer than one that is not or is rarely maintained.
Effects of worn our clarinet mouth piece on sound
Worn out mouth piece have several effect s on the sound. First, they make the sound too soft. A worn-out mouth piece will have wrong dimensions. The dimensions of the mouth piece are crucial because they help guide the air inside the instrument. If worn out, the sound will become soft or weak.
They cause poor tone quality. The air getting inside the instrument controls the tone quality and for it to do so, it must be regulated at the entry point. Lack of such regulation impacts the tone negatively making it either soft or irregular.
They affect the focus. The tone from a clarinet should have a definite center and core. A worn out mouth piece affects the speed of the air, the tongue position of the player and the grip on the lips. A cracked mouth piece cause the air to be slower and unfocused and may cause undue vibrations.
How to reface and restore a clarinet’s mouth piece
Worn out clarinet’s mouth piece can be refaced and restored. You however need an experienced craftsman to do the job. the process restores the mouth piece to play optimally.
Traditional mouth pieces were made from wood. The wood has a characteristic of changing shape or chipping and thus could not maintain the right dimensions as strictly required for it to produce the right sound. Restoring the wood mouth piece involves installing a metallic warp- either silver or gold to hold the mouthpiece lining in position and in the right shape and size. Such warps prevent the mouth pieces from continued chipping and seal any cracks on the wood. Chipped mouth pieces can also be made smooth again using a fine sand paper.
Synthetic resin, plastic or ebonite
Modern clarinet mouth pieces are made of synthetic resin, plastic or ebonite. The materials are better than wood but are still prone to wearing out over time due to heat, pressure and friction among other. The mouthpieces last for about two years before they begin showing signs of wear. The wear is common at the point of contact of the lower lip and the reed and then spreads out in a phenomenon referred to as rail tilt. Such a case requires that you measure the dimensions of the mouth piece and compare with those of a new one. restore the dimensions by using feeler gauges sandpaper on the surface that is affected provides the collect dimensions and allows you to finely tune it to the correct one. seal any clerks with a recommended sealer.
The number of mouth piece craftsmen is significantly reducing due to the technology and designs of the current mouth pieces. Most people tend to replace the entire mouth piece if it is worn out
How to replace a clarinet mouth piece
Modern clarinet mouthpiece have changed in design and the number of craftsmen who can reface and restore worn out mouth pieces have greatly reduced. Most people opt to replace the entire mouthpiece. There are several things you need to know before engaging in replacing your mouth piece. First you need to understand the size and design of your mouth piece. You have to get the right mouth piece. Here is a table summary of the steps needed to replace a mouth piece:
|Step 1||Remove the mouth piece by popping it out using a slight pull force.|
|Step 2||Clean the area of contact between the mouth piece and the instrument.|
|Step 3||Hold the instrument facing up just like when you are playing it.|
|Step 4||Place the new mouth piece at the edge and adjust until it perfectly fits.|
|Step 5||Slide it down using a slight force so that it fits well in its place|
A worn out mouth piece should be replaced immediately because it causes a major change in the tone quality. Just make sure you choose the ideal mouthpiece for your clarinet, and follow the simple steps we have provided. But remember it is possible to restore or reface it in case you don’t want to replace it. As long as you find an experienced craftsman who can do a good job.
Are clarinet mouth pieces available?
Yes, you can buy them from Amazon or any shop that sells musical instruments.
Can I upgrade my mouth piece?
Yes, you can upgrade the mouth piece as long as it fits in your instrument.