The materials used, dimensions, profiles and specifications of the mouthpiece can have an impact upon the sounds they produce. We have isolated some key variables and explained their impact upon the instrument’s playing characteristics and tone.
Wider tip openings are free blowing and can be played louder. They are brighter in sound and take more control to play (which is great for experienced players, but not advised for beginners). Narrow tip openings are more resistant to airflow, need less control to play and have a darker and rounder sound.
Baffle height and chamber profile
The more the baffle is built into the tone chamber (a high baffle), the more edge and brightness the tone will have. A low baffle creates a somewhat darker sound.
Small bore mouthpieces give a tighter and more focused sound. They are more individualistic in nature and less ensemble orientated. Large bore mouthpieces have a broad and open sound quality that will blend well in ensemble situations.
Material – Plastic or Ebonite
Student mouthpieces are generally made of plastic. These are strong and allow them to be moulded to precise dimensions within the manufacturing process. Professional mouthpieces are generally made from Ebonite (a hard rubber)- such as the Vandoren B45. Other materials such as metal are also used to produce a brighter and more projected sound.