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Upgrading clarinet ligature and/or mouthpiece

Clarinet Ligature Mouthpiece Tuning

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#1 ClarinetCadenza

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 15:34

Hi everyone. I'm currently working on grade 7/8 clarinet and have been thinking of upgrading the my ligature and/or mouthpiece (form the Yamaha 4C that came with the instrument) in the hopes that it'll help me produce that warm, mellow tone often associated with clarinets :clarinet: and improving my tuning. I was wondering whether ligature and mouthpiece really have that big an effect on the tone and, more importantly, tuning? I'm also hoping that some of you can give me pointers for good ligatures or mouthpieces (or both!).

 

I've been struggling with tuning since I started clarinet as I don't really have a good ear for tuning (I blame it on the out of tune piano I've had to practise on for years). I've been focussing on tuning through this year (academic) and have been working especially hard at it now that I don't have school everyday. I've been doing all the usual things: long notes, going through the notes with a tuner (at different dynamics), listening really carefully to get all the intervals right etc etc but it doesn't seem to be working... :unsure:

 

Thank you for your time.


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#2 barry-clari

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 16:49

I hate to be the bringer of bad tidings, but in my experience, most tuning issues are down to the musician rather than the clarinet. Any differences you notice getting new bits for your clarinet will be small (though often positive).
What strength reed are you currently on?
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#3 ClarinetCadenza

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 17:01

I'm on a 2 reed, at the minute barry-clari; used to be on 1.5 but tutor advised I use a harder one to help with tuning (don't know if it worked). Don't worry about bringing bad tidings, I'm grateful for any advice that can be offered (and bad tidings is better than wasted money ;) ). Any advice on other things that I can do to improve tuning?


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#4 barry-clari

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 18:09

Hmmm...well, I haven't heard you play, admittedly, but strength 2 reeds do sound quite soft for a grade 8-er. I think you may have been playing on reeds that are too soft for too long. Soft reeds have more give to them, and if your embouchure is used to over soft reeds, you have the double-bubble of finding harder reeds a bit tough, and, because your embouchure probably isn't sufficiently strong, the soft reed is making your tuning inconsistent.
I think you need to work on strengthening that embouchure. Lots of long tones and slow melodies for you. In the long run, it will mean you make a much better and more informed choice when it comes to upgrades.
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#5 ClarinetCadenza

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 18:33

Thank you Barry, do you think I should move up to using harder reeds right away or continue working at embouchure until it's stronger first? I do have some 2.5 reeds that I can put into circulation with the other 2 ones that I'm using...


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#6 barry-clari

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 19:06

Start mixing them in now, and persevere. Staying on 2s and only 2s much longer I think will mean your embouchure won't strengthen as quickly.

I know you mentioned you play on a 4C mouthpiece - though it may not be the flashiest thing in the world, it's a pretty hardy bit of equipment, and is forgiving.
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#7 ClarinetCadenza

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 19:09

Thanks Barry, this has helped a lot and it's inspired me to work even harder! :)


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#8 barry-clari

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Posted 31 July 2015 - 19:22

Thanks Barry, this has helped a lot and it's inspired me to work even harder! :)


No worries : do shout if you need more advice :)
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Clarinet, Ligature, Mouthpiece, Tuning