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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000788.txt from 1997/12

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re:
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 11:12:59 -0500

J & K Morgan wrote in response to Sarah Rodgerson:
> The open sound is what my instructor wants on the bass. I am constantly
> trying to relax my mouth so as to produce a deep dark sound in all
> registers on the bass.
> Try a different mouthpiece - Vandoren B44 seems to get me a more focused
> sound - the B45 was more open.

Sarah Rodgerson origianally wrote:
> > I find
> > that when I switch back from tuba or bass clarinet, I have the most
> > open sound, which in my opinion, and my former lesson teacher, seems
> > to be rather undesirable! I wonder exactly how much is just letting
> > go going to help me. [SNIP] I have found in my limited experience
> > that whatever you learn on one instrument can potentially transfer to
> > another. These are just my views on the matter! If anyone else can
> > give me a few hints as to how to utilize this idea of letting the air
> > do the work, without overdoing it, and sounding like the loudest, most
> > unfocused clarinet, please let me know!


Many people confuse free-blowing and open with good. There is no question
that the bass clarinet tone/sound needs to feel free-blowing, and there is
plenty of reason to feel that the sound is "open" (whatever that means!).
However, all of the qualities that you hear in a good clarinet tone
(whichever tone you prefer that is) are the qualitites that you should
strive for on the bass clarinet.

If I am reading your question and statement correctly, you do not want a
sound with an undue amount of edge - it sounds like you are asking for a
big sound without the edge. The mouthpieces that have been recommended to
you, the Vandoren B44 and B45 are excellent mouthpieces, but they will
give you more edge than a Bay or a refaced Selmer C* (Sayer facing). All
things being equal, if you play with a good embouchure, take plenty of
mouthpiece and are blowing tons of medium slow to slow air, the setup
(mouthpiece, reed and neck) are the determining factors to edgy, dark,
etc. (again....very difficult words to assign sound to).

Playing with a big sound means exactly what you are looking for....letting
the air do the work. Finding a way to relax your body without negatively
affecting the amount of air you get IN will help you sit down on the air
and allow it to work for you. Tension, whether it be in the stomach,
shoulders, throat, what will detract from your air

Continue to work the long tones and slow scales......continue to see how
long a phrase you can sustain, consider the Left Hand studies in Bk III of
Langenous Clarinet Method, and strongly consider a premium specially faced
mouthpiece for your needs. Stock mouthpieces will give you a stock tone!

Roger Garrett

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