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clarinet barrels, reeds and tuning


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#1 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 16:50

Sorry I seem to be hogging the airwaves a bit at the moment...

 

Brief recap: I have dug out an old clarinet and started playing it again, just as a beginner.  The clarinet in question is an old plastic Selmer that someone gave to my wife ages ago - it has not been played for at least 15 years; it's not the clarinet I was using when I was learning.  At the very least it needs a good service, and rather than muck about with it I have bought a basic Buffet Prodige to be going on with. 

 

I am playing it with a Van Doren mouthpiece that I had left over from last time.  It seems easier than the one that came with the Buffet, though I'd have thought it would be the other way around.  I've also got some Legere reeds of varying strengths, mostly from the past.  I bought some new Rico Plasticover reeds, mainly because they were available by mail order (I have no access to a shop) but they are pretty horrible.

 

Out of interest, I tried the Buffet out on a tuning app, and was surprised at how flat it was.  I remember the teacher I had last time got me to buy a 2nd barrel because he said Legere reeds (of which he was not a big fan) tended to play a bit flat, and that sorted the problem.  A quick internet search returned the "fact" that a standard barrel is 66mm.  The one on the Buffet is 64mm.  I checked the one on the Selmer and that is only 61mm; using it does make the clarinet almost in tune.

 

My actual questions are:

 

- how long is a standard barrel?

 

- how much might embouchure issues contribute to intonation?  Using the shorter barrel I can get the tuning up to the correct pitch if I blow a bit harder, but I don't remember having to do that in the past.

 

Thanks!


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#2 barry-clari the second

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Posted 19 July 2021 - 19:00

Not surprised about the mouthpiece. Buffet make lovely clarinets but pretty average mouthpieces. I’ve played Buffets for most of my clarinet playing life, with (usually) a Vandoren B45 mouthpiece.

My Buffef barrel is 64mm, and I don’t have any major tuning issues. This sort of boiling hot weather is not the best for checking tuning issues.
I think by what you have written, though, that I’d want to check your embouchure. Fast air (much nicer than blowing hard!) is not a bad thing at all, indeed it’s desirable, but I have a feeling your embouchure might be a little on the loose, floppy side if a shorter barrel is the only way you can get yourself in tune. A ‘smilier’ embouchure may help - but stay relaxed and never bite!
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#3 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 09:33

Thanks - good point about the weather, I didn't think of that, but it was approaching 30° in the room I was playing in, so I will try some time when things are back to normal.

 

The mouthpiece I'm using is a B46, I don't know in what way that is different from a B45.  Either way, it plays more easily than the Urban Play one the Buffet.  Maybe it doesn't like being in a very rural environment :)

 

I have a weird embouchure!  In fact, I have just learned that it's so-called "french" embouchure, ie top lip over teeth as well as bottom, so I feel a little consoled that it's actually different rather than weird.  I think it is relaxed and I definitely don't bite the reed!


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#4 barry-clari the second

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Posted Yesterday, 10:01

Thanks - good point about the weather, I didn't think of that, but it was approaching 30° in the room I was playing in, so I will try some time when things are back to normal.

The mouthpiece I'm using is a B46, I don't know in what way that is different from a B45. Either way, it plays more easily than the Urban Play one the Buffet. Maybe it doesn't like being in a very rural environment :)

I have a weird embouchure! In fact, I have just learned that it's so-called "french" embouchure, ie top lip over teeth as well as bottom, so I feel a little consoled that it's actually different rather than weird. I think it is relaxed and I definitely don't bite the reed!


Not a lot of difference between B45 and B46.

Ah - you have a double lipped embouchure, a la oboe! Used to be common - now it’s pretty rare. I tried a double lip, but found my top lip got tired very quickly. Many of the greats of the past used double lip though : so if it works for you, go for it!
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