THE LESLIE CRAVEN MODEL MOUTHPIECE
This model is now available, exclusively, from Leslie. Do read testimonials (scroll down) of the Leslie Craven Model Mouthpiece – from many satisfied customers both well known professionals and amateurs. £210
Leslie has been working with the world’s leading custom mouthpiece manufacturers for many years and finally, in collaboration with Bradford Behn he has developed a mouthpiece reproducing Leslie’s ideal facing, rail width, curve and table combined with the optimum tone chamber for most kinds of playing. 30 years of Leslie’s work on mouthpieces combined with Bradford Behn’s expertise and an enormous investment in time money and energy have culminated in this, the most user-friendly mouthpiece on the market in Leslie’s opinion.
The basic mouthpiece blank is made in Hof, Germany by Hans Zinner (see links page for Zinner) it is then customised to Leslie’s preferred specifications by Behn in Colorado, U.S.A.
The mouthpiece delivers a dark centred tone, crisp staccato and is capable of facilitating the upper altissimo register, enabling a feeling of security, leaving behind the fear of high notes. Its design helps create a dark focused but flexible sound, enhancing the natural tone of the player.
To try the Craven model either email for further details or arrange a consultation with Leslie to select the best one for your style of playing from a selection of mouthpieces.
Ideally, Leslie prefers not to send mouthpieces by post (although this can be arranged) but prefers to assist the player select a mouthpiece and this is done in his studio at home. A consultation will take about half an hour and is part of the service, incurring no extra cost.
All the mouthpieces are almost identical in characteristics but small timbre changes between the various mouthpieces offer different colours according to the player’s personal preference. Some players prefer more harmonics in a sound and others want a smooth round sound – both these characteristics are available with the Bradford Behn / Craven model.
Projection of the sound is achieved with ease but the Leslie Craven Model is versatile and can also be used for chamber playing as well as in symphonic and operatic music.
The craftsmanship of Bradford Behn is second to none and this is borne out by the fact that since changing to Behn mouthpieces Leslie has used them exclusively, in search for this, in his opinion, the ultimate. Each mouthpiece is hand crafted to the highest standard and they are limited in availability and numbered. They are not mass – volume produced and each order is treated with personal service by Leslie.
Leslie uses his version of the Behn mouthpiece on all his recordings available from the store.
Contact Leslie and arrange for a trial of the mouthpieces.
Payment will be required in advance if ordering by post. Mouthpieces will be sent on a trial basis for one week and provided they are returned unblemished within 7 working days, the total amount (minus a £5 handling and P&P charge) will be refunded.
Damaged mouthpieces will not be accepted by return and will be shipped back to the customer.
Cheques / Postal orders should be made payable to Leslie Craven. Payment by Paypal is also accepted – the price is £210.00 plus postage. For U.K. residents this is £5.00. The cost of shipping within the EU, inclusive of tracking and insurance, is £12.00.
UK and EU customers can purchase the mouthpiece from the online store.
Customers from outside the EU will need to contact Leslie with regard to shipping costs.
If you would like to reserve a mouthpiece for trial or come to Leslie’s studio please contact him.
Do read the testimonials from some of the delighted customers, pro players and students, many of whom choose to visit me in my studio to select their mouthpieces.
Halle Principal Clarinettist Lynsey Marsh has recently bought her 8th Leslie Craven mouthpiece – an all-time record. Alan Asquith and Alistair Logan are running close with 3 each…
Jackie Cuninghame – freelance professional in East Anglia: “Dear Leslie – I am delighted with the one I have chosen and can’t wait to get some serious practice in! The higher tongue position you recommended was quite an eye opener. The chief difference for me was that articulation was improved……. it is definitely faster in this position and for some reason double tonguing is easier on this mouthpiece too. The other immediate benefit is that the mouthpiece is not at all tiring to play for long periods. I think that will make a great difference when I am playing with our clarinet quartet (which does weddings, wine tastings etc. and blows solidly for at least 2 hours.)….. Many thanks for all your help Jackie”
Sam Corkin – the mouthpiece is fantastic – I shall definitely be keeping it. Compared to my previous famous brand French mouthpiece (which I found to be stuffy), I find it crisp and agile across the entire range of the instrument…
Amanda Thompson – a customer in Japan. Amanda bought a mouthpiece about 6 months ago and likes it so much she is ordering a second: “I have been playing the mouthpiece with a variety of reeds: Marca, Rico Grand Concert Select and some different Vandoren types. I have been getting very satisfying results with Vandoren 4s finished down a little. Now there is lovely response in upper registers. Also staccato feels like playing a new instrument”.
Kevin Hurst Kevin bought 2 mouthpieces a while ago and has found a new range of colours using them. Kevin is a freelance soloist and gives frequent recitals throughout the U.K.
Idris Harries freelance clarinettist Idris has emigrated to Australia but before he went he bought a second mouthpiece and is delighted – see guestbook page.
Lynsey Marsh goes for the record 7th mouthpiece
Recently a delighted Lynsey emailed to tell me she is buying another two of my mouthpieces – we both believe that a mouthpiece loses something of the edge in the first six to nine months and Jack Brymer believed this also – often changing his mouthpiece to guarantee the unique Brymer “ping” in the sound. I tend to agree and many players are finding that newer mouthpieces seem brighter in sound and have more edge (in a good sense) than the more aged ones which whilst still beautiful tend to be more mellow. It depends on your taste as a player – Les
Laura Porter – freelance player from Bristol and teacher at Redmaids school:
“The first thing that struck me when I tried the Leslie Craven Model Mouthpiece was the ease with which I could produce a clear and beautiful tone at the very top of the clarinet’s range. The mouthpiece responded so well that it quickly became apparent quite how much effort I was having to use on my old set up, just to get close to the same quality, clear and resonant sound. The difference was startling!I had contacted Leslie because my previous set up had been causing difficulty with intonation and, despite numerous kinds of mouthpiece, it never really produced the sound I was after – I was convinced I’d have to spend thousands of pounds on new instruments. The addition of the Leslie Craven Model Mouthpiece now means that not only do my old clarinets play beautifully in tune with ease, but the new rich and sonorous tone colour means that I now have absolutely no desire to change my instruments. This set up does exactly what I want it to and works brilliantly for both symphonic and chamber purposes. I’m very proud to own one.”
David Campbell (distinguished British Solo clarinettist) David selected two Craven Model mouthpieces.
After a very successful Clarinet Convention at the Royal Welsh College of Music (led by Leslie at which David Campbell was the guest artist) David Campbell tried and selected two Craven Model mouthpieces and was delighted with them. David said: “Leslie’s mouthpieces really suit my English style of playing, allowing the legato and flexibility I like in a sound combined with all the other characterisitics such as easy staccato, focus and projection.High altissimmo is reached with ease and I thoroughly recommend these mouthpieces to both professionals and students alike”
Rebecca Owen and Kate McDermott ( who is currently on trial for BBC Symphony orchestra Co Principal position) are among several players recently to have bought my mouthpieces – along with Lara James, Idris Harris, Lynsey Marsh (who bought arecord 8th mouthpiece for her collection) and numerous others
Rebecca Owen writes: “I am absolutely delighted with my new Les Craven model mouthpiece. The clarity, resonance and tone colour I achieve with it is superb, and I can confidently say that I have not come across another mouthpiece that enables all these qualities quite so flawlessly in all acoustics.
I am very grateful for the informative and inspiring guidance I had from Les in trying out and choosing the mouthpiece. He realized I needed more bloom and ease of articulation from a mouthpiece; something my old one was preventing me from getting. I chose a mouthpiece where not only intonation, projection and ease of playing are consistent features but the sound is also beautiful, alive, and very vocal. As suggested by Les, the mouthpiece works brilliantly with a metal Optimum ligature.”
Joseph Pacewicz – another satisfied customer is Eb clarinettist of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra who bought a Bb mouthpiece plus a matching Eb mouthpiece made to special order.
Jane Calderbank – freelance with the major orchestras such as the L.S.O., Philharmonia and Royal Philharmonic in London(pictured) writes: “When I first tried one of Les’s mouthpieces, it was on the day of a concert, and I took to it so much that I actually used it in the concert that same evening.
“I immediately found more resonance and flexibility in my sound, allowing me to use a wider range of colours and blend with other players more effectively. I am able to take it further in louder dynamics, without hitting a limit as other mouthpieces I have played tend to. It is also much easier to achieve a really clean articulation.
“I have found Les’s advice regarding the mouthpieces – the thinking behind the specific design and his hints about details such as ligature position – very useful in working out how to get the best out of them. For me, Les’s mouthpieces address exactly what I have been looking for – resonance, flexibility and clarity of articulation. I cannot recommend them highly enough.”
Lynsey Marsh principal clarinet – Halle Orchestra has now selected a 4th Craven Model mouthpiece – this latest one from the last batch by Bradford Behn – she says, “it has a lovely legato and really suits my Selmer Recitals”…….
Christoph Mijnssen from Switzerland was sent one mouthpiece and he comments: “Dear Leslie
I really like the mouthpiece!
In a way it “tracks” more safely what and how I want to play. Intonation in the upper range feels very secure, the feedback loop of listening and correct intonation is somehow in a major way improved above what I was used to. A more balanced and enjoyable tone certainly helps this loop too.
The beautiful tone and intonation stability is an incentive for playing slightly heavier reeds (3.5).
(I formerly played with Vandoren B45, a BC ebonite and Vandoren & Pomarico glassmouthpiece)”
Duncan Gould – freelance clarinettist formerly with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales: “These are better than anything I have tried and produce exactly the sound I am looking for with ease of staccato – an amazing effortless production and they are very economical to play.I recently played 1st Clarinet with the Philharmonia Orchestra and had some very nice compliments playing on the Craven model.”
Lynsey Marsh – Currently Principal Clarinettist of the renowned Halle Orchestra: “I’m delighted with my new Behn, Leslie Craven model mouthpiece, it has really helped to clean up production and clarity of tone on my Selmer Recital clarinets. The mouthpiece projects a warm, round sound with ease and is reed friendly. Les has been very helpful in advising me on the right mouthpiece for me and my instrument, and very generous with his time. I spent an interesting afternoon comparing mouthpieces in his music studio, followed by an excellent beef casserole washed down with a good bottle of red ! What more could you ask for ?!”
Richard Addison – formerly R.P.O. clarinet & Eb clarinet: “These mouthpieces certainly are amazing – they are so consistent. I had difficulty in choosing the one I liked most of all.Bradford Behn is a terrific craftsman.I will certainly recommend them to pupils and colleagues…”
The latest success of Lee Mottram – he won the National Eisteddfod Blue Riband a prize worth £3000 was achieved on one of the Leslie Craven Model mouthpieces.
Among other players to buy one of the Craven mouthpieces is a clarinettist from Malta – Lino Pirotta – freelance Clarinettist and leader of the Denner Clarinet Quartet. “Playing on a Leslie Craven mouthpiece I discovered a new world of harmonics.The creamy dark sound it makes gives me new pleasures in Clarinet playing. My Selmer clarinets came to life, with the ease of blowing, and the crisp staccato I can produce is incredible. Well done to a real and dedicated artist”.
Lino Pirotta also purchased a special order Eb mouthpiece and is delighted with it he says …”The Eb mouthpiece is working miracles for me. I can pitch the altissimo register better now, and the whole range of the clarinet got better, tone wise.”
David Pagett of the Emerald Ensemble wrote this:” This is a really fine mouthpiece. As well as its even tone across all registers it has proved an absolute delight with its clear and even response to articulation. Thanks Leslie for a most interesting and rewarding few hours.” David Pagett – Emerald Ensemble
Other distinguished customers include Alison Turriff who won the Glasgow Music Festival competitions (- see teaching page).
More testimonials from satisfied customers:
Jeanette Holder – distinguished teacher of clarinet and piano in the Winchester area: “The new mouthpiece arrived today (the second one Jen has bought – Les) it is fantastic !!….the new mouthpiece is wonderful – exactly the sound and response I’d been hoping for – playing the clarinet is going to become an absolute pleasure again and I’m looking forward to building up my playing again. I’m going to order your CD too – there was lots of really exciting stuff on there I’d like to play, and perhaps put in one of my recitals ..”
Alison Turriff (winner Glasgow Music Festival); “Les your mouthpiece played a huge part in my success at the Glasgow Festival”…….
Ciaran O’Donnell – freelance with “Orchestra of the Swan” , Royal Philharmonic , etc…
“I have tried Charles Bay, Lomax, Grabner, Vandoren and had a very expensive mouthpiece made for me by Weinberg ……… I have found your mouthpiece to be (dare I say it) perfect. The tone is completely even across all registers and whilst having a rich dark sound, it is free blowing with just enough resistance to remain focused. With V12 and MARCA number 4 the resistance is just right to allow a neat and fast staccato. Articulation in the upper register is the best I have ever been able to achieve. In fact I find the ease of playing in the high register one of the hallmarks of this mouthpiece and plays equally well on the A clarinet without losing the crispness of articulation or consistency of tone.”
Other satisfied customers include:
John Franchi : legendary London studio doubling musician : “I love the mouthpiece – it is fabulous”
Alan Asquith – 2nd clarinet English Northern Ballet
“Overall they are so much better than anything I have played on in a long time. The tuning is very good and they play very smoothly and evenly throughout the whole range of the instrument. Articulation is particularly good in the high register, Thanks for all your help…”
Alistair Logan freelance player:Orchestra da Camera, WNO,Ballet Rambert etc etc “Les this mouthpiece is better than anything I have played on…”
Since purchasing the first mouthpiece, Alistair has returned and now owns 3 Craven Model mouthpieces !! He must like them a lot !!
Peter Fielding – Welsh National Opera- “I have two of Leslie’s mouthpieces and can recommend them highly to Pro players and students alike”.
Daniel Rye – Freelance with most ofthe Major orchestras
including Royal Opera House, W.N.O. etc….“They are much better than anything I have played on before”
Tom Jackson – freelance clarinettist featured on Expressions disc CC0059 , teacher , composer : “I really like my mouthpiece it does everything I need”.
Numerous students, including
Lee Mottram – prodigiously talented student of Leslie’s and winner of numerous prizes – (see teaching page) “It’s really superb”
Rebecca Raven – final year student at RWCMD: “The mouthpiece is really great”
Lyndzi Beaton “It is so much better than anything I have had before”
Robert Watson “These are excellent mouthpieces and thank you for taking the time to help me to select one”