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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000665.txt from 2001/04

From: "Miriam Williams" <>
Subj: [kl] clarinet support for pain free playing
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 12:36:04 -0400

(This was posted to the doublereed list, but the support I designed
applies to clarinet also)
..To my knowledge, the only mass produced aids for supporting the
while playing are neckstraps (elastic or not) and Quodlibet's FHRED.
Since both of these rely on fastening to the thumbrest ring, both suffer
from not allowing the oboe to stay balanced while playing; the reed
tends to push up into the palate. A nonelastic neckstrap limits one to
a single triangle while playing, so any change of oboe angle causes the
reed to shift its position in the mouth. Neckstraps work best when the
instrument is held close to the body like a clarinet, sax, or even
English horn, but do induce neck strain. The higher the horn is held,
the less weight the strap actually supports. I have seen devices that
rest between the waist and the thumbrest while using the neckstrap to
this weight. Most oboe players hold their instrument too close to the
body to lessen the weight on the thumb, causing bad neck angles in the
effort to balance the reed between the lips.
Various "bell" devices have been designed, such as the Weightlifter
that rests on the floor, or a seatscrap concept, but I dismiss these as
being unstable with a fulcrum so far from the reed. Quodlibet's FHRED
is a post device that rests on the chair and adjusts in length to
accomodate a desired angle of the oboe. It is NOT balanced. Yes, it
readily clips to the thumbrest ring, but hangs below the horn
interfering with floor stands. Without knowledge of the FHRED, my first
idea 3 years ago was to bend the end of a long bicycle spoke so it held
the thumbrest ring and rested on a small lapboard held on top of your
legs. Very cheap and simple, but that's when I realized the balance
problem. I'd credit Ray Still with making the first actually balanced
post device (floor resting), since it has a piece of velcro at the top
that attaches to a piece on the horn BELOW your right thumb. Carolyn
Pollack, a former student of Ray's now in the New Jersey S.O. uses this
in concert, but it can't really be used standing, is noisy to disengage,
and is rather conspicuous. The FHRED can slip on the chair, and to use
it standing, one needs a "cup" on a neckstrap or waiststrap to hold its
bottom. Both the neckstrap and other post devices make it difficult to
"cue" or lift the horn while playing.
About 3 years ago, I posted to this list my idea of using a post
device that can't slip at the bottom due to a hinge on the chair or a
chairpad, and it is balanced due to a hinge placed below the right
thumb. Since it telescopes freely while playing, one can cue/emote
safely while playing, and to clean or place the horn in a floorstand, it
easily separates due to a rod hanging off the hinge that slips into a
small funnel on the post. Works the best, but fastening a hinge below
the thumb is a turnoff to some (I use doublestick mounting tape), and
they use velcro to put the hinge on. All post devices put the support
fulcrum below the horn, and must deal with the uneasy feeling of having
the instrument "roll" or flop from side to side. My hinge limits this
play so one can play an open C# with just one hand, or the other left
hand notes while adjusting your glasses or the music. Since my MUTS
(acronym for Michael's Ultimate Thumb Saver) is made from recycled
bicycle wheel spokes and tire valves and common hobby shop items, one
can make it if handy with soldering and gluing. Yes I do custom make it
when asked, but don't advertise; please contact me offlist for pictures
or further information. There are those who will raise a hue and cry
about "commercialism" on the list (got bumped off the IDRS list), but
I've never really made money on this and happily have put its design in
the public domain. I happily invite other designers to criticise mine,
for it is from such that improvements arise.
I don't advertize at the
moment, but will make one when asked. I need to know whether it's just
for clarinet,oboe, English horn, or for doubling. The prices are
as follows: $20, hinge that goes on the horn via mounting tape; includes
the rod that slips into the funnel of the support; $20 for the
telescoping tube support for oboe ($15 if just for EH); $20, sit-on
pad/storage with attached pivot and extension for oboe; the EH version
is $15; no pivot or extension needed, but a strap is sewn on for the
support to slip into. Thus it's $60 for oboe or clar., $50, EH.
Postage, priority, $5. If you play
standing up, I make a pivot that slips over your belt for $8. For
Doubling, one needs 2 hinges, a pad with both pivots on it, and a single
support tube for EH. $100 includes shipping.
I also need a measurement of the distance between the front of the
chairtop to 1/4" below the right thumb when playing normally.
MUTS = Michael's Ultimate Thumb Saver
__,--______==__________________/| Michael Benthin
>>>--(_%____"o_o_o|_o_o_o_*_*__|*____ | 24 Poor Farm Rd
" == | Pennington, NJ
zip 08534
ph 609-737-3867

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