Bass Clarinet

Discussion in 'Bb Bass Clarinet' started by QueenVicki, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    Sometimes it's not easy to find out where someone is heading to - is it equipment, is it sound, is it dedication? We don't know, we just see what's written there. Bear with us.

    Sometimes threads take a different direction or flow than initially intended, that's the nature of a place where people from different solar systems and different time zones (tootling into different instruments of varying pitches) participate.

    When you think you'd like to start from afresh, feel free to start a new thread. This helps to get rid of distracting clutter in the current one.
     
  2. catty

    catty

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    Thank you Ben
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    It's generally a minor miracle when a thread stays on topic.

    FWIW, my major concern with instruments is aesthetic. As proof, I offer up my old website, my current website, and my various calendars. I'm peripherally concerned with instrument history, because you generally want to find out a little more about the shinies.

    All that being said, one definition of GAS is, "If I buy $shiny, it'll make all my problems go away." As we have a large cross-section of players here, from rank beginner to pros with more experience than I have at living, I try to really hammer home the point. Please forgive if I've offended, but in post 41 and in your other posts, you insist that "a mouthpiece is everything." I contend that even if you have the bestest mouthpiece in the world, you ain't gonna play nice if you don't have the proper training. That's why I say to get a decent horn and a decent mouthpiece. I also base that on having been a pro musician, having taught beginners, through reading thousands of posts on thousands of websites and from reading bunches of method books.

    Yes, the converse argument is also true: you could have the bestest horn in the world and if you don't have a decent mouthpiece, the horn's not gonna sound good. However, you still need the training to for a proper embochure, proper posture, breath support, etc. or you'll still sound bad.

    So, that's my piece.
     
  4. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Generally speaking...

    ...the influence over what comes out of the horn varies inversely with the distance from the top of the instrument/player combination. The horn, if functional, isn't as important as the barrel (on a clarinet), the barrel isn't as important as the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece isn't as important as the reed/ligature, the reed/ligature isn't as important as the embouchure, and the embouchure isn't as important as the player who forms it.

    One of the best blowing clarinets I've ever played was a Vito student horn that I picked up for all of $25.00. Mechanically, it was a wreck, but something about the bore/barrel combination, when hooked up with my mouthpiece and body, made it a real winner. (I sold it to a dead broke sax player who wanted to take up clarinet, with a purchase price of $25.00 - sometimes I'm a nice guy.)

    It's hard to convince someone that the route to better musicianship lies through an increased attention to the fundamentals rather than to a hot mouthpiece, or a particular model horn. But, it's true.
     
  5. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    And...

    ...I should have added "practicing long tones" and all of that advice. It's as boring as hell, but it make a difference when you have a weak embouchure.

    I find this particularly true on the bassoon. I hate doing it, but now I start "getting my bassoon chops back" by practicing slow scales with long tones. The fingerwork comes back quick, but not the embouchure, and long tones are the key to getting those odd muscles in your face used to something as different as blowing a bassoon.
     
  6. catty

    catty

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    yes yes, of course Pete...that's well understood--thanks

    Terry that is quite interesting. I'm quite interested in looking at things analytically. Cool

    The little soprano is responding nicely--gosh it's fun to just blow high on that thing. But I still think I need to get the big horn checked over--I feel like I want to be able to do on bass what I can do on the little one..

    Anyway, yeah, that sound. I may be going through the phase, where, for a couple of years I'm completely smitten with an instrument/style/idiom--lord knows I've done it with many other instruments...but there's something about these horns. I'm a late bloomer I guess
     
  7. catty

    catty

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    I'm all about fundamentals--I want to be able to play what I'm hearing
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    If I were to get back into playing shape, this is something I'd concentrate on. I'd also do it with a tuner: I have decent relative pitch, but that doesn't help when I need to be dead on in pitch; it's just good for the intervals.

    I've got to say that, of all the instruments I've played, my favorite, tone-wise, is the bass clarinet. If you want me to listen to a piece of music, just mention that it has bass clarinet in it. To make me extremely happy, tell me it has jazz bass clarinet AND flute in it, like this little number. (As a side note, there's also a piece on the Cowboy Bebop tracks where the traditional bari sax part was replaced by bass clarinet. It sounds awesome. I've forgotten the name, tho. Easy enough to do, as the Cowboy Bebop soundtracks fill something like a dozen CDs.)

    Remember: puns are always intentional ....
     
  9. catty

    catty

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    I play along with records (CDs) which functions as tuner--I have to play in correct pitch.

    FWIW, re giving due consideration to fundamentals: I participate on a few other musical instrument forums -- where I particularly enjoy engaging in discourse over music on broad socio-cultural and philosophical levels (I nearly did my masters in art history) and pedagogy. On one such forum, I carry the signature: "The true use of music is to become musical in one's thoughts and actions." So, the concept of the sound emanating from the player (moreso than the gear) is not lost upon me. I've also been teaching music on stringed instruments for many years. Strings are no different than winds in that--it takes "some attention" to many aspects to render optimal musical tone. I myself grew up studying classical guitar.

    I've got to spend some time listening to bcl functioning in that bari sax role--since I don't have a bari yet, and I may be trying to cover some bs parts in the near future, before I get hold of one.. Thanks for the link--pretty cool! I've been playing along to some bari parts with bcl--mostly in that Afro-beat style; it's pretty cool, that highly rhythmic style...bcl or bari AND flute.

    Do you guys listen to much John Zorn? Some of the arrangements on this Cowboy Bebop stuff remind me of some of Zorn...or maybe it's just clarinets! I love those freygish modes in klezmer, gypsy, moorish, Indian...and the cl does it so well. You guys have a great instrument here..
     
  10. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    We have an arrangement of Tank, the Cowboy Rebop/Bebop theme. I ran through it once, but none of the guys in the horns of the group ever wanted to play it again. Wimps...

    We also have an arrangement of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. The consensus on it was, if we're not going to play it on a gig, why work on it? Once again, wimps.

    These are the same guys who will play Basie (B) until the cows come home...
     
  11. catty

    catty

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    Time out.

    I threw on my Vandoren 3.5 ts reed, and the altissimo is much smoother. Of course, the chalameux (sp?) is stiffer, but I can adjust.

    Sheesh, I wasn't a Rico select jazz charlatan for long...

    If I should be posting this elsewhere, my apologies.

    Aha...I tried fingering the tab under the left-hand forefinger for altissimo--as was suggested to me...and voila!
     
  12. catty

    catty

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    Also, I just examined my mpc and can make out very faintly - PRECISION

    Any ideas? Please.

    It so happens that the nasty alto sax mpc that came with my Conn 50M also bore the mark - PRECISION. With this piece I couldn't get all the notes out of what later became a smooth-playing sax with a simple and modest Hite upgrade. Of course, that piece was very bit up too..

    In the second photo, you can't quite make it out -- PRECISION is imprinted/engraved horizontally beetween the ligature and cork:
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  13. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    Just an observation, and maybe it's just the pictures - but I think your ligature is awfully high (towards the tip) on the mouthpiece, I usually have it in the middle of the cylindrical part if there aren't any ligature lines.
    Ideally, the ligature only holds the reed at the flat part of the mouthpiece table, not where it starts to get curvy. Else you kill overtones or compromise the response and have nerds in newsgroups pointing at your photos. ;-)

    But as I said - it's just a picture.
     
  14. catty

    catty

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    Thank you! I'd read somewhere that the lig is supposed to be more toward the tip.

    I tried scooting it up more toward the cork, but haven't had success there yet--it seems to work better for me where it's at. Maybe I'm yet to discover something ELSE that will make this easier. I'll keep trying. Meanwhile, I make sure the lig isn't covering any of the shaved aspect of the reed..

    That Vandioren 3.5 was a real workout...I've gone back to my 3S selects--it's working out real well.

    All suggestions most welcome!

    I just removed the lig and inspected--it's just on the flat portion of ramp (?) -- not on any curved portion yet. But I see that it's covering some of the open aspect. I'll place it in the middle and try it.

    Yes, that does sound better. Thanks again. That makes a lot of difference -- esp in the low reg and that (all) open note

    This is great! I've got an altissimo now
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  15. catty

    catty

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    I do apologize to go blathering on so ... and I'm earnest this time

    This afternoon, I could barely make the notes come out in clarion, much less altissimo. Very strange, and very frustrating. I actually gave up--after trying every adjustment I could think of.

    Maybe I have myself psyched-out over this mouthpiece. This is very strange.
     
  16. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Maybe...

    ...a decrease in the reed strength number might be in order as well. I have found that most of my friends who have trouble with the bass are trying to play on reeds that are way too hard.

    If nothing else, it's a cheap experiment.
     
  17. catty

    catty

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    Thanks Terry. Well, this morning when I had a revelation with firmer (3.5 vandoren), I grew fatigued easily after about 20 minutes, so then I went back to the 3S and it was very smooth. So yes--I don't mind trying! I even looked at my Rico 2 which is what I bought initially when I got the horn.

    Maybe I should have tried that. I thought about it, but rejected the idea based on the fact that I could only play low register with the 2. WHo knows? I'll try.

    Thanks!
     
  18. catty

    catty

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    Well, something is definitely wrong. I tried the 2 -- still, can barely play in low register without squeaking! Nothing appears to be out of order.

    Incredibly frustrating.
     
  19. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Leaks...

    ...can be incredibly small and hard to find if you are doing the diagnosis yourself, without feelers and all of that. Only once you have eliminated mechanical issues can you start worrying about other equipment like the mouthpiece and reed combination.

    I've encountered leak problems with the trill keys, I suspect from the thing shifting around in the case. Ditto for the "saucer" keys on the lower joint. From experience, you discover where the tender spots on your horn are.

    But, I'd still get me to a repairman.
     
  20. catty

    catty

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    Yes. The frustrating thing is that it was performing fine--then suddenly...not.

    Unfortunately, this is where my career as a bcl player may be compromised--as I lack the means currently to have the horn serviced.

    So, meanwhile...it's back to soprano for me
     

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