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Clumsy Fingerrs

#1
I've been playing clarinet for about a year and a half and making reasonable but slow progress. I've hit a difficult problem. Going from F2 to C#2 if giving me fits. I love "Take the A Train" but making a quick and smooth transition from F2 to C#2 is very difficult (actually impossible).

Is this just a matter of continuous practice or is there some technique which will help with this?
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
#2
Which F and C# are you talking about?
If I'm interpreting your post right, you're talking about the F in the bottom space of the treble clef, and the C# in the middle of it, correct?
If so that shouldn't be too hard to do-make sure both that your horn is in good working shape and you're covering all of the holes correctly when closing almost all of them, as you could be not completely covering them.
(something else I would suggest would be to get a teacher if you're able to, as them seeing you do this in person is a lot more helpful than trying to guess based off of what you said. Plus, they'd stop any other bad habits you have, hopefully.)
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#3
Like anything, and assuming (as TrueTone sez) your instrument is functional, it's all about time on horn. The cool thing is that once you work past this stumbling block, it will become easier and easier. I really wish I'd played clarinet as a youngster, instead of sax. It really is the harder of the two instruments to play. And as youngsters, we seemed to pick up things faster. Good luck Tom!
 
#4
Thank you TrueTone and Gandalfe for your responses. The problem is forming a good seal on the tone holes when I go C# (middle of the treble clef). It is awkward that I think there must be some sort of trick to it. I was thinking that when I start the G (5th note in bar) I should also hit the C# lever and the 3 right hand tone holes which would not interfere with G. Does this make sense?
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
#5
Holding those down on open G should work fine, but maybe you're holding your fingers too far from the clarinet, or something?
(again, having someone else there to diagnose this would be much better)
 
#6
My sister is the instructor. Her fee is reasonable but her skill level is just above mine. I have short and fat fingers. Fat is good for clarinet but maybe short is part of the problem. I am diligent about keeping fingers close to instrument.

I think I'm supposed to receive an email when someone posts but I haven't been. Do you get an email?
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
#7
My sister is the instructor. Her fee is reasonable but her skill level is just above mine. I have short and fat fingers. Fat is good for clarinet but maybe short is part of the problem. I am diligent about keeping fingers close to instrument.

I think I'm supposed to receive an email when someone posts but I haven't been. Do you get an email?
Its somewhere in the settings for notifications-I only have notifications on the site.
As for short fingers-possibly. I've never had a problem with that, but I can play a 10th on a piano comfortably...
Still though, check that you're holding the keys correctly during transitioning between those two notes.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#8
I think I'm supposed to receive an email when someone posts but I haven't been.
I'll try to remember to check this. It has been a problem.
 
#9
ok thanks pete. I'm very fond of broccoli and its cousins. I'm also learning alto sax but so far my enthusiasm is more with the clarinet. I don't much like my sax sound.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#10
I'm confused. If you are referring to the beginning of A Train starting on F natural, the notes of the melody go: F - D - F - Bb - D - F#. Playing F to D across the break is a tad easier than F to C# by one finger if that makes any difference.

I can relate to short fat fingers. On clarinet, fat is good except for hitting the "sliver keys" by accident. Short is only a concern when it involves short little fingers having to stretch to play the LH and RH little finger keys which can pull the other fingers off the holes. Part of my RH little finger problem was solved by installing an adjustable thumb rest on my R13 and setting it a bit lower than it was. That and having a ring for a neck strap made my clarinet playing possible again with the onset of some arthritis in my hands.
 
#11
I am looking at a Hal Leonard book. In the 6th bar there are two groups of 8th notes. In the second group, the sequence is G, F#, F, and C#. I have trained my rh fingers to cover the rh tone holes and the lh pinky to hit the lever for C# when I start the G. In other words, prepare for the C# as much as possible without affecting the G. It's a bit awkward but the "muscle memory" is improving.

I bought one of the adjustable thumb rests but haven't installed it yet. I should probably pay someone to do it.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#12
ok thanks pete. I'm very fond of broccoli and its cousins. I'm also learning alto sax but so far my enthusiasm is more with the clarinet. I don't much like my sax sound.
Being absolutely serious, there's not many people's sax sound that I like. Paul Desmond. Lenny Pickett. David Sanborn is OK, I think, but only when he doesn't play his own music (sorry, Mr. Sanborn, if you post here). I think my tone on bari was OK. I vastly preferred my tone on bass clarinet. I'm not saying that I was good at either, just that I genuinely don't care for a lot of folks' tone. I'd also like someone to impress me more with lower range control. I don't necessarily need to hear your altissimo.

For what it's worth -- and note that this is not advice for newbies -- I would have loved to try out more horns and more mouthpieces. I loved my YBS-52 bari, but I do agree it was bright-sounding, even with a very classical-leaning mouthpiece. I like noodling on my wife's alto sax, every now and then, but it keeps escaping my mind that it's missing a rather important piece and could do with an overhaul.

I do like broccoli. I don't care much for cauliflower. I think that's probably a little odd.

Anyhow, the avatar I have was created for me by Kim Pelletier, one of the admins at Sax-on-the-Web. She's also contributed pics to one of the fundraiser sax calendars I sold years ago. I'm a fan. I think I've had this avatar for at least 15 years.
 
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