Gleichweit mouthpiece has produced the sound that every clarinetist desires. Its clarity and harmonics exceed beyond my expectation.
I was blown away by the first note I played, it gives out a powerful sound in every register of the clarinet.
The owner and founder Johannes Gleichweit said on their website: "Perfection in sound and playing feel can be defined in different ways for each musician, which is why I not only make my mouthpieces accessible to everyone but can also design mouthpieces that are specifically tailored to each musician during a consultation. Whether professional, advanced, beginner, or hobby clarinetist - it is my passion to help everyone enjoy playing the clarinet. This pursuit of perfection together with world-famous soloists experienced orchestral musicians or even passionate amateurs has been very enriching for me and gives me great pleasure."
There are in total 6 Gleichweit mouthpieces sent to me by Vienna Woodwinds. The mouthpiece numbers are:
#7-4, #8, #8-2, #8-4, #9-1, #9-5
In this review, I've tested several factors of the mouthpieces. Timber, Register response, Dynamic control, tonguing, note clarity, and quality.
I've also tested its ability to play in different genres of music, such as classical, jazz, pop.
I've selected two mouthpieces that are comfortable for me to use, #8 and #9-5. I'm also using a Legere European Cut synthetic reed for this review. With Silverstein ligature, and Backun Model F Grenadilla clarinet.
My first impression of the mouthpiece is its design. It implemented the new innovation 'O-ring' instead of the traditional cork. It provides a much easier assemble and tighter fits between the mouthpiece and the barrel.
The first note that I play was the low E. It was a full and rich sound, and you can almost hear the harmonic resonance of the note. Each note is in tune and vibrates the entire instrument with the wooden timber. With the #8 mouthpiece, the tone is darker and richer which is great for classical music. The #9.5 mouthpiece, the tone is brighter and great for improvised music.
The mouthpiece offers a very quick response to my airstream. This means I'm able to change between octaves very quickly. I'm also able to play the altissimo range high Bb, C, and D easily, which is surprising. I was having a hard time reaching these altissimo notes in my older mouthpieces.
The Gleichweit mouthpiece has good dynamics. It can play soft like a whisper, and easy to play loud. I'm still exploring its ability to push for maximum loudness which is very common in jazz and pop music. Overall it is more suited for classical dynamics, but still has rooms for jazz music.
Tonguing on this mouthpiece feels very satisfying. The cleanliness of the tongue is fairly important to me in playing both jazz and classical music. I'm very glad that the Gleichweit mouthpiece can provide the crispness and the accented tongue with ease.
In my previous mouthpieces by other brands, there were many airy sounds and always feel like the reed is not sealed with the mouthpiece. However, the Gleichweit mouthpiece projected a very clean sound without the excessive air and 'Huss' sound. It is very ideal for classical music and orchestra setting, and it will surprises you because of its virtuous notes.
Quality and price:
The overall packaging and mouthpiece quality is great. The manufacture is very thoughtful which they already applied cushion to all the mouthpieces, as well as put some extra o-ring in the package for backups.
The mouthpiece has a very beautiful design, the surface is glossy and the facing looks machine filed and fits the reed perfectly. The bore of the mouthpiece is very smooth and it does provide good airflow.
Gleichweit's mouthpiece is ready to play as soon as it is out of the package. This is better than many other companies, which they require days of playing to get used to.
For now, the mouthpiece cost about 190 Euro. On their website, they also offer mouthpiece testing, which is a great opportunity for clarinetists to try them out.
My overall impression of the Gleichweit mouthpiece is that I'm in love with its sound, flexibility, and cleanliness. I would recommend it to all clarinetists.
Written by Ye Huang
Published by Clarinet U
About Ye Huang:
Clarinetist, saxophonist, pianist, and composer. Ye performs music across classical, jazz, pop and many other genres. He toured with world-renown musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Daniels, and many.