Ask your self, what is the most important part of the clarinet? The answer, your brain. Even though it is not part of the instrument, it is where all the music happens. If there is nothing going on inside your brain, then you are not going to be playing anything. Music is inside you, not your instrument. Your instrument is just a megaphone on what music you are thinking of in your brain. Apart from your brain, your mouthpiece is a microphone that distributes your music into the instrument; therefore, you need a good mouth piece to get the music out of your head and into the instrument. You need a clean, crisp, and clear sounding mouthpiece. Mouthpieces are made out of plastic, hard rubber, wood, and even quartz crystal.
- The plastic ones are of lower quality, and produce an amateur clarinet sound. They are at the cheapest price (around $20.00) and are good for beginners (from year 1-4). Most plastic clarinets come with a plastic mouth piece when purchased. On the plastic mouth piece, the hole is smaller than of a better mouth piece. The bigger the hole, the more air can go through it, and the more air, the better your sound quality is.
- Next up is a rubber mouth piece. They have a much better tone quality then a plastic mouth piece, and have a bigger hole. (WARNING, NEVER WASH A RUBBER MOUTH PIECE UNDER HOT WATER. IT WILL TURN GREEN, AND TASTE LIKE YOU JUST LICKED A CAR TIRE!) They can range from $50-whatever you want to pay for. If you are looking into becoming a great clarinet player, invest into a good mouth piece.
If you have a plastic mouth piece, and a very good instrument, that is like buying a cheesy microphone, and buying a very expensive speaker system. It does not make sense. For the instrument to work to its full extent, invest into a good mouth piece. If you feel that your instrument is not producing a good enough tone, it may be because of the mouth piece. Or it could be your ligature, or how your clarinet is positioned, or your mouth.