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New clarinet sounding flat

Clarinet mouthpieces

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#1 hammer action

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 16:43

I upgraded my clarinet to a Buffet RC which I love, and I also bought a different mouthpiece for it on recommendation from the store. The mouthpiece I bought is a vandoren B45 13 but I'm playing almost a semitone flat. Should this be happening? The clarinet I upgraded from is in storage at the moment so I can't try my old mouthpiece to test if it's perhaps the clarinet that's the problem. When I'm teaching beginners, I have to try and explain to them that it's nothing they're doing wrong when I ask them to pull out a bit when we do duets. I've tried different reeds, makes and strengths. I didn't have this problem with my previous clarinet so I doubt if it's something that's drastically changed with my embochure overnight. Any suggestions on why this is happening? Should I buy a different mouthpiece?

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Rosemary7391

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 17:18

A semitone is a long way! I'd almost wonder if you'd picked up an A by mistake, but that seems rather unlikely - you'd notice. Did you try the mouthpiece with it in the store? I'm wondering if it's something funny in the mouthpiece/barrel combination, although a whole semitone seems extreme. My clarinet had a tendency to be sharp when I upgraded, but I did get used to it eventually. It wasn't a whole semitone though.

 

That was a bit of a ramble... hopefully someone more helpful will be along soon!

 

Edit: Does it play okay apart from being flat? I recall one rehearsal where I had real problems playing, especially low E, and then couldn't find my cleaning cloth in my case.... :ph34r: doubt it's something that simple, but if there are no other issues with the clarinet then that might rule out certain causes!


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#3 hammer action

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Posted 20 October 2015 - 19:30

It's definitely not an A.  I've been playing for around 25 years now so would have noticed, plus i've played an A before.  Nothing stuck in it either.

 

It's not a full semitone flat, but almost.  I tried the mouthpiece with the clarinet in the store, but i don't have perfect pitch so wasn't aware at the time it was so flat, and there wasn't a tuner at hand as far as i was aware.  They did mention when i was trying the mouthpieces that it played slightly flat, but i didn't really bargain for this.


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#4 Lucid

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Posted 21 October 2015 - 08:54

I wonder if it's been set up very badly. If it was me I'd be inclined to return it to the shop as it's not fit for purpose, and then try out some others - with a tuner in tow. If they are all playing flat it could be that the person who sets the instruments up for the shop isn't doing it very well - in which case I'd probably go elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that a B45 should be a good match for the RC clarinet as a basic upgrade mouthpiece, so I don't think it should play flat. Obviously everyone is different, but as you've been playing for a long time I'm sure it shouldn't be that far flat with that clarinet and mouthpiece set up.

 

Lucid :)


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#5 Mdmadigan24

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 00:21

Whats your tuner set to?

Make sure its 440 then try again.


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#6 barry-clari

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 16:45

Whats your tuner set to?
Make sure its 440 then try again.


I'm pretty sure that hammer action will have his/her tuner set correctly.

My feeling is it's either some/all of what Lucid has said, or it's a problem with the mouthpiece : a manufacturing defect or similar.
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#7 Jack Campin

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 00:49

Have you looked down the bore to check for internal obstructions?


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