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Dr. Coughlin's Mouthpiece and Ligature Recommendations

In choosing a mouthpiece, it is essential to order a few and try them out with your private teacher to find which one is best for you. No two mouthpieces are exactly the same. For example, two B45 mouthpieces might play noticeably different from each other.

There are several things to keep in mind while choosing a mouthpiece:
The response of the mouthpiece -- is it too resistant or not resistant enough?
How well it plays in tune. Check the mouthpiece with a tuner and see how well in tune it plays, especially in the extreme ranges of the instrument.
The dynamic range of the mouthpiece -- can you play both loud and soft on the mouthpiece and still control the sound?
How well the facing of the mouthpiece is balanced. This is not something you can see with the naked eye. However, if the mouthpiece squeaks a lot, it may be out of balance.

Clarinet mouthpieces:
The mouthpieces that come with the beginner models of Yamaha and Selmer clarinets are very good for young students.

After playing for a year or two, it is good to move on to either the Vandoren B45 or 5RV mouthpiece.
For more advanced students, Richard Hawkins’s student mouthpiece is an excellent choice.

Saxophone mouthpieces:
For beginners, the Yamaha 4C or 5C is an excellent mouthpiece.
The Selmer C* is an excellent classical mouthpiece, but is not very useful for jazz playing.
On alto, for jazz playing, the Vandoren A35 and Vandoren A5 V16 mouthpiece are good choices.
Also, on alto, the Meyer 5M and 6M are excellent jazz mouthpieces.

On Tenor, the Vandoren V5 T25 and V5 T35 are very good for jazz.
The Meyer 6M or 7M are very good for jazz on tenor, too. The medium facing and medium chamber are recommended.

If you are playing both classical and jazz music on saxophone, it is good to have two distinctly different mouthpieces for each style of playing.

Ligatures:
If you are replacing your mouthpiece, it would be a good time to consider replacing your ligature, too. I recommend the Vandoren Optimum ligature for all saxophones as well as clarinet.

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