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Bass Clarinet

#41
Ha. Sounds brutal Terry!

I gotta admit, playing DB is usually easier than all that..

Not that I know anything particularly about ww playing -- other than the mpc is everything! -- but, I've found that I really like the "resistance" of cls. I blew my ts and as last night and this morning, and, the burnished, brassy tone is great, but, the feel is somewhat clunky -- even compared with bass cl. As one newly smitten with sop cl, I've come to really like the concentrated feel AND control of the open holes, and reisistant air column.. Maybe I'm a double-reedist in waiting (or in the closet)
 
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#42
One final word today (gad fabid this become my personal practice log oy veh!)

Just fired up the bcl, and altissimo up to thumb key is working fine with a "double"-embouchure. So I think I've made another important discovery.

Now, I think jumping up there--as opposed to just stepwise scalar movement--is going to take a lot of practice.

Thanks for enduring my self-absorption, all!
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#43
Yes, the inventor of the Bass Clarinet most probably had altissimo notes in mind when he stood at the drawing board. :emoji_rolling_eyes:
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#44
Actually...

...I don't think that Sax had an altissimo vent in the first finger left hand. Of course, that would be the only tonehole small enough to stop with a finger, so it may have been set up that way. You never know what strain of insanity was passing through Belgium at the time.

I've got that seminal book on harmony clarinets around here somewhere, and when I get the time I'll fish it out and check what it has to say.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#45
Not that I know anything particularly about ww playing -- other than the mpc is everything!
Unless you're being sarcastic (which is encouraged, but use the [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tag), you're wrong on this point. While a better mouthpiece can help, it's better to have a decent mouthpiece and spend the rest on lessons. Again, as far as bass clarinet is concerned, the Yamaha 4C, that Clark Fobes and the Vandoren mouthpieces are definitely into the decent range.

And everybody can benefit from lessons. There is ALWAYS a player that's better than you.

I've often -- very often -- gotten e-mails from folks that want to get some shiny horn or mouthpiece because it's going to instantly transform them into (using your example) Eric Dolphy. It's not. Provided you have a decent mouthpiece and a decent instrument in good repair, practice is the only thing that'll make you better. If you're a pro, the shiny might help you sound like you, but you're still going to sound like you. Doesn't matter if the horn's a $9000 Selmer or a $500 Yamaha 23.
 
#46
Unless you're being sarcastic (which is encouraged, but use the [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tag), you're wrong on this point.
nope, no sarcasm yet

well, in my experience (which is limited, but still, experience), this was the case. When I obtained a sax (my 10M), I had to get something as it didn't come with mpc. Being of limited means and even less knowledge, I went down and bought a generic mpc (~$20 i think it was) and I could barely play anything. Then got a 5C, and it became a saxophone. Then I got a Hite premier, and I could play still more. Threre didn't seem much ostensible difference (ro the newbie) between the generic one and the others, but in fact it made all the diffrence in the world. It may sound a bit hyperbolic, but, yes, it did instantly transform the instrument and my ability.

So far (until I experience otherwise), that's my story and I'm sticking to it! It may not make as large a difference when you get up to your level, but for a newbie (this one anyway)--the difference between these mpcs was profound. Ar this point, I would take an average horn with a great mpc over a great horn with a terrible mpc.'

Hate to get off on the wrong foot here, but, with all due respect, what does any of this have to do with -who's better than who?- I don't think about this stuff at all ... I only want to enjoy making music, not competition.
 
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#47
same thing with my little artley clarinet, btw -- got a hite for that too, and it made a HUGE difference from the little mpc that came on the artley.

Yuge.


and now that I think of it, same thng with my as -- a hite mps transformed it into a horn that played all the notes smoothly, from a stubborn and finicky horn that didn't want to play a couple of notes.
 
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tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#48
I'll wager a bet that (in alphabetical order) a Behn/Fobes/Hite/Yamaha "student" mouthpiece (per mfgr's definition and price range) is a vast improvement over 3/4 of what comes shipped with the instrument. Amazing how much Spielvergnügen 30-odd dollars can buy these days.

(Notable exceptions are the old Bundy Signature beaks, these are very fine indeed)
 
#49
IME, you're right about that Ben

My little artley cl came with a functional piece, but the Hite let me play. The Conn mpc that came with my 60s 50M as was almost functional (in that I could almost play all the the notes in a couple of octaves). Upgrading to a Hite made this horn a smooth player.

I think the tip opening on the Hite premier is quite a bit larger than the 4C and the 5C as well. But, as you say, for 30 bucks (USD), the Hite is a swell piece.

With my satisfying experiemces with Hite on my other horns, I was inquiring about pieces for my bass--since mine looks a little rough (not too dissimilar from the nasty Conn mpc mentioned above). Not expecting to be trnasformed into Eric Dolphy.
 
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tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#50
With my satisfying experiemces with Hite on my other horns, I was inquiring about pieces for my bass--since mine looks a little rough (not too dissimilar from the nasty Conn mpc mentioned above). Not expecting to be trnasformed into Eric Dolphy.
Clark Fobes' Debuts are killers, as are Brad Behn's Ouvertures (each in the $60 ballpark); both are very easy players. Or, if you can find one, a hard-rubber Bundy Signature would do very well, too.
 
#51
cool

MF has the debut for a little more than $40 (nfi). I intend to score one...just as soon as I can convince my wife, who doesn't understand why I would need more than one reed...
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#52
...just as soon as I can convince my wife, who doesn't understand why I would need more than one reed...
In such moments, I silently (but solemnly) point to her shoe rack and make that "who on earth needs more than one pair of shoes?" face.
 
#53
Yes, but I'll bet those shoes can make her feel like a million dollars...


Whereas, my little debut mpc won't even make me sound like Eric Dolphy :cry:
 
#54
Incidentally, with the idea instilled by Pete, I tried altissimo on my soprano. Wow, what a gas. I wish I could do it like this on my bass..
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#55
I'll wager a bet that (in alphabetical order) a Behn/Fobes/Hite/Yamaha "student" mouthpiece (per mfgr's definition and price range) is a vast improvement over 3/4 of what comes shipped with the instrument. Amazing how much Spielvergnügen 30-odd dollars can buy these days.

(Notable exceptions are the old Bundy Signature beaks, these are very fine indeed)
I think you missed something, TTT: he's got a Selmer Series 9-vintage bass clarinet. Pro horn. Should have come with a pro mouthpiece. In other words, a Selmer C85 or better. Those are better than the $40 to under $100 mouthpieces you mention. However, catty hasn't mentioned what mouthpiece he has ....

catty said:
Being of limited means and even less knowledge, I went down and bought a generic mpc (~$20 i think it was) and I could barely play anything. Then got a 5C, and it became a saxophone. Then I got a Hite premier, and I could play still more. Threre didn't seem much ostensible difference (ro the newbie) between the generic one and the others, but in fact it made all the diffrence in the world. It may sound a bit hyperbolic, but, yes, it did instantly transform the instrument and my ability.
You'll notice that I mentioned a decent mouthpiece, not a $20 generic one. If you look around here, you'll see that, when I started playing clarinet, I wasn't told that I could get a different mouthpiece than the $5 MSO (mouthpiece shaped object) that came with my horn, so I quit rather quickly and didn't start again until I was more-or-less forced into it ... but this time I had a decent horn and a decent mouthpiece and stuck with it.

The point I'm trying to make, catty, is that you really, really, really, REALLY shouldn't have GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). That's why we created this area. I don't want to discourage enthusiasm in playing the horn(s), I just want to discourage "new shiny" = "better."

As I've said elsewhere, after you play for awhile, you will sound like you, no matter the setup you're using. Yes, some things can make it easier to sound more like you, but I've yet to see a product called something like "Eric Dolphy in a Box." Although, that is a really kewl name. I probably could market that.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#56
I think you missed something, TTT: he's got a Selmer Series 9-vintage bass clarinet. Pro horn. Should have come with a pro mouthpiece. In other words, a Selmer C85 or better. Those are better than the $40 to under $100 mouthpieces you mention. However, catty hasn't mentioned what mouthpiece he has ....
Hence my "3/4" number.
Then...a C85 might be a monster piece in the mouth of a, well, monster player. We bottom feeders might want to start with something that's easier on our chops. Plus, everyone's snout is different, and it is not unheard of that some people/mouthpiece combinations are simply not working well.

But you're right - one simply sounds like .self - the set-up might add a nuance or two, but the fundamental tone remains mostly unaffected. It's just your way of breathing, articulating, your teeth and oral cavity, the way you operate your tongue etc etc.

If you want to sound like Eric Dolphy, buy an Eric Dolphy recording and pretend you were playing along to Music Minus One. :cool:
 
#57
The point I'm trying to make, catty, is that you really, really, really, REALLY shouldn't have GAS...
As I mentioned, what I've learned in my short ww career so far is...a functional mpc is everything. It took me trial and error to learn this, unfortunately. IMO, this statement does not equate with GAS.


(Well...I do wish I had that plastic Vito I once had...for keeping out, you know?...)


Not only that, but I don't want to sound like Eric Dolphy. I'm learning more copping licks from Mingus' sax players, but Dolphy is an inspiration.
 
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SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#58
"Everything that you need..."

Although the bass clarinet in question (Selmer Series 9) is a professional model horn, it is almost certainly a second-hand instrument. Second hand horns, particularly ones likely to have come from the institutional world, are unlikely to come with the original mouthpieces.
 
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#59
However, catty hasn't mentioned what mouthpiece he has ....
This, I wouldn't know. The only discernable marks on it appear to be teeth marks.

Yes Terry, the only thing I know of this horn's provenance is--it was sitting unplayed for I don't know how long in a pawn shop.
 
#60
Well, another thousand supplicatiing prostrations. :-|

What I'd really like to do (other than ensure that I have a functional mpc on my horn) is talk about music, horn playing, and the aesthetics of these...which I believe is where I left off, in post #41, when the conversation suddenly turned foreboding...specifically, what I'm suddenly finding out about blowing into clarinets as opposed to saxes, and how the sound of clarinets is particularly evocative, unique, and powerful for me. I was thinking this would be the place for that. Meh, I guess you guys have been there/done that...

Ah well.
 
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