I've been playing clarinet for a couple years, and since I switched from Rico to Vandoren reeds, I've been plagued with a spitty/fuzzy tone while tonguing. I realized that somehow spit is accumulating on the back of my reed causing my tone to go very fuzzy. I've tried to swallow my mouth dry, but it only works until I articulate. I've read about sucking back on the mouthpiece, but that also only works until I articulate.

How should I improve on my tonguing?

P.S. I'm looking for specific advice rather than "get a teacher" because I can't really do that at the moment :)


  • How dry are those Vandoren reeds? Have you found that they're drier (or wetter) than Rico reeds?
    – Dekkadeci
    Jul 22, 2018 at 7:30
  • @Dekkadeci Definitely dryer. They soak up less moisture than the rico reeds
    – Erik
    Jul 22, 2018 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


After some experimentation, it seems that my reed and mouthpiece weren't working together very well. The tip opening of 1.18mm doesn't work well with a vandoren 2.5 reed. I've since switched to a different mouthpiece with a smaller opening and it works well with a vandoren 2.5 and 3 reed.

  • 1
    The need for a change in aperture size may not just be due to the reed change. It is likely also due to a change/improvement in your own playing. The need to move up to a better and stronger reed is usually an indicator that your embouchure and air support have also improved to the point where you felt you needed that upgrade. Good for you for checking mouthpiece. Ligatures also make a huge difference in sound quality, so that is the next thing to experiment with.
    – Heather S.
    Aug 9, 2018 at 11:06

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