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Despondent with clarinet tone...

Clarinet Vandoren Tone Legere

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#1 hammer action

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 11:56

During the past six months to a year, I've noticed a change in my clarinet tone and I'm also sounding very flat.  I've played for around 30 years and have a relatively new Buffet RC with a B45 mouthpiece.  I use Vandoren classic reeds strength 3, however I've also been using Legere European Signature 2.5.  These sound fine for around a week or so and I liked how easy they were to play, but they seem to sound tinny, shrill and flat after not that long.  They're too expensive to last less than a month with light use so I'm not going to buy any more.  I practice regularly but feel despondent as my playing years ago was much better than it is now and I can't understand why.  Clarinet is one of the instruments I teach, and I'm feeling less than confident demonstrating in front of my students due to these issues. Is this a common thing to happen as one gets older?  I get jaw pain on the right hand side too, which I've never had before.  

 

Any thoughts on why my tone sounds so bad please?!  Is it the clarinet or me?  When I bought the clarinet and mouthpiece, my tone was fine.  I just don't know what's happened.


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#2 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 15:00

In my experience with a saxophone and a clarinet, a A Légère reed plays about as long as a whole box of nature reeds. 

 

I think you buy your Légère reed too soft. When they have been played in after about a week, they simply have become just too soft. 

 

Have a look here: https://www.legere.c...trength-charts/ You will see that a VanDoren 3 b clarinet reed is about a Légère 3 b clarinet reed European Cut. 

 

By the way, I use a B45 mouthpiece too on my clarinet and the funny thing is that I sound better on the much cheaper Légère Standard Cut than on the pricey European Cut.


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#3 Arundodonuts

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 15:54

You mention "light use". Does that mean you don't play clarinet much compared to your "playing years"? If so it would seem natural to me (as an oboist not clarinettist) that your tone would suffer. You might just need to find time to play/practice more and pay attention to your tone when you do.


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#4 hammer action

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 17:44

I did try a strength 3 European Signature but found it too hard.  I ended up with sore jaws just to produce a note.  Even with my classic Vandoren 3's, I have to file them a little before they play.

 

I maybe just need to practise more to re-build up my embouchure.  

 

One more issue...the Bb just before I go over the break is sounding incredibly wooly and unclear.  Other close-by notes are ok.


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#5 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 18:49

If you still got that reed, you may like to hold it for about 30 seconds in almost boiling water. After that it should play easier. Repeat when necessary.

 

As to the woolly Bb before the break, that's typical for clarinets. You can get a better Bb by adding some extra fingers.

The third option for the Bb mentioned in this clarinet fingering chart: https://www.wfg.wood...t/cl_alt_1.html  works fine for me.


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#6 hammer action

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 20:59

If you still got that reed, you may like to hold it for about 30 seconds in almost boiling water. After that it should play easier. Repeat when necessary.

 

As to the woolly Bb before the break, that's typical for clarinets. You can get a better Bb by adding some extra fingers.

The third option for the Bb mentioned in this clarinet fingering chart: https://www.wfg.wood...t/cl_alt_1.html  works fine for me.

 

Ah that's interesting, thanks.  Yes I've still got the reed so will try your suggestion (I'm assuming it won't melt or change shape!)

 

One of my students recently bought a Buffet E12F and what a lovely clear tone he gets from that Bb note.  I'll try some of the alternative fingerings and see if that helps.


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#7 sopsaxharpflute

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 08:36

One of my students recently bought a Buffet E12F and what a lovely clear tone he gets from that Bb note.  I'll try some of the alternative fingerings and see if that helps.

 

 

 

A few years ago Buffet  Crampon started using a better scale on its plastic clarinets, so probably it did the same to the more advanced models. And perhaps that's the reason his Bb note sounds more clear.


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