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Crossing the break on a bass clarinet

I've been playing the Bb soprano for years. Recently (a few months ago), I decided to wanted to learn the low Eb bass clarinet. After sending it (Vito Reso Tone) to two technicians. The first one didn't see the bent keys, the synchrony of the two vents, or the large number of leaks. The second tech replaced the bent keys and fixed all the leaking pads. He is a clarinetist AND a repair tech.

Now, the onus is on me to learn to master the bass (if master is the right term). I have a B50 MP and I'm using 2.5 Vandoren V12 reeds. The only place I'm still struggling is going from throat Bb to C. The rest are fine. I checked the notes against using Tonal Energy's analyzer.

Would using a beginner's MP help me with this problem?
 
As bass claris are extremely finicky when it comes to leaks, maladjustments and such, these are where I would look first. Can you move smoothly from Bb to B, or does the problem arise when moving from B to C? In either case, I'd look for a slight leak in one of the large pads near the bell, or some slight mis-alignment of the crows foot. If your mouthpiece works well over the rest of the instrument then it's probably not causing the problem. If it doesn't work well elsewhere then it may be part of the problem. Are you able to get another clarinettist to play/test the instrument for you?
 
As bass claris are extremely finicky when it comes to leaks, maladjustments and such, these are where I would look first. Can you move smoothly from Bb to B, or does the problem arise when moving from B to C? In either case, I'd look for a slight leak in one of the large pads near the bell, or some slight mis-alignment of the crows foot. If your mouthpiece works well over the rest of the instrument then it's probably not causing the problem. If it doesn't work well elsewhere then it may be part of the problem. Are you able to get another clarinettist to play/test the instrument for you?
My mistake. Going from Bb to B. And, yes, a professional clarinetist played and said it was fine. I'm going to have to keep working at (or find an alternate fingering).
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Check to see that you aren't opening something inadvertently. Usually leaks in beginners (Bass is a new instrument to you) are caused by the player, if the horn is in good condition. Get a full length mirror and watch how you are moving between notes. Go slowly and make sure you aren't bumping anything and also see that you have sufficient finger pressure to close all the pads - no vice grip action here, just make sure it is suitable for bass clarinet.
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Also, make sure you aren't sliding your left index finger off the vent hole in that key. It's easy to do, especially when stretching your pinky to reach the B key.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
FWIW, the Vito "resotone" bass clarinets from the 70s and 80s are pretty decent horns. The Vandoren B50 is also a pretty decent mouthpiece. The reed might be a little hard, as Vandoren reeds tend to be harder than other reeds with the same number, but playing off Tony's comment, if the setup works for you on everything else other than these notes, this isn't the problem.

There are a bunch of different fingerings from A/Bb to B/C. Do remember that because you have a low Eb key, you now have another available fingering for Bb.

The problem that I used to have from Bb to B was that I'd try to take a breath between those notes. I eventually overcame that, after my instructor pointed it out every time I did it.
 
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