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 Stuffy Bb
Author: Gardini 
Date:   2006-08-15 23:33

I have a old, recently overhauled SML clarinet. I love the tone and in general it serves me well - as I'd much rather play my Bass. The main problem I have is the horrible sounding stuffy Bb. Is there anything that a good tech can do to tune and clean up the sound up a bit?

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2006-08-16 04:49

Try using a resonance fingering.

Play the "Pinch" Bb and put down some or all of the following:
Left hand middle and ring fingers,
Right hand middle and ring fingers,
Right/or Left long F/C lever.

Fiddle a little to get a great sound --and keep the darned thing in tune. Often adding all those fingers flattens the note more than you can compensate.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: GoatTnder 
Date:   2006-08-16 05:45

A tech can also replace the register pad with a cork pad. From there, the edges of the cork can be sanded or filed down to shape it more like a mound than a flat cork. This lets air out of the register vent more easily. That combined with the resonance fingerings should do the trick for you.

-Andy Cabrera

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-16 07:01

Use the lower of the trill keys wherever possible for a clear Bb (easier said than done, but well worth the effort), but still use resonance fingerings.


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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: kev182 
Date:   2006-08-16 09:16

yes, you can bevel the octave pad. When someone did that for me it made a huge difference! and you can also use the second lowest side trill keys


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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Tony Beck 
Date:   2006-08-16 12:26

I too vote for the trill key Bb. The fingering is throat A, no register key and B trill key. Even after cork padding and beveling the register key, the trill key fingering still sounds much better. Intonation varies from instrument to instrument. Mine happens to be in very good tune. If throat Bb stands out in the ensemble, the trill key fingering is the way to go.

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Koo Young Chung 
Date:   2006-08-16 13:26

Take out the register key and bend a little bit so that the opening gets

bigger.Important thing is bend 'a little bit' not much.

Don't use pliers.Wooden vise is best.

Post Edited (2006-08-16 13:27)

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2006-08-16 14:01

Before doing anything drastic, have you checked to see if the Bb register vent is clean? Lint and gunk accumulates in there and can effect the tone quality and intonation.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music,

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2006-08-16 15:44

I don't have first hand experience but.........there is the Galper octave key tube? This might clear things up.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2006-08-16 16:09

Arnoldstang wrote:

> I don't have first hand experience but.........there is the
> Galper octave key tube? This might clear things up.

The Galper tube/key combination is very specific to the R13, unfortunately.

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: jim S. 
Date:   2006-08-16 16:24

Every R13/mpc combination is different regarding resonance fingerings. Try every conceivable combination of fingers down and pinky keys. There will probably be one that is virtually as good as the trill key fingering, with good air support and a relaxed embouchure, and not be as clumsy. Once you fix on one that is good and not too intricate, and get into the habit of using it, it will become second nature in slower passages.

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-08-16 19:40

Yes, Galper patented his solution , believe it was intended for Buffets. Search our Archives. In this same time period, both Selmer and Leblanc came out with their solutions [quite good IMHO], by putting ?half? of the register tube outside of the cl body, decreasing the "intrusion" into the bore, quite satisfactory to me. Yes, sustained Bb s are best with the A key plus the "next to top" trill key. For "Full Boehm" sops and alto/bass cls, try the "low Eb " with reg. key, it may be even better, but different ! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2006-08-16 23:03

But, before beveling pads and bending keys, playing a long Bb (which I never find up to par on the full Boehms that I've owned) or flopping fingers about, first take off the register key and clean out the frigging register tube. As someone said above, things get pretty funky in there on older clarinets, and I've found some sort of buildup in every older horn that I've ever examined.

It's the sort of job that pipecleaners were made for. A couple of passes in and out, and your tube should be pristine.

Then, try playing it and see if the stuffiness has gone. If it is still there, proceed to plans b and c. Otherwise, send me the money that you have saved on a service call.

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-16 23:27

"Leblanc came out with their solutions [quite good IMHO], by putting ?half? of the register tube outside of the cl body, decreasing the "intrusion" into the bore, quite satisfactory to me."

My LL full Boehm had the half-in-half-out speaker bush with the large domed top (similar in shape to the kind found on German systems), but I had loads of trouble with gurgling on normal throat Bb AND using the overblown low Eb as Bb as well as condensation got into the tube too easily - so I recut the recess and sunk it deeper into the body so it's almost flush with the surface of the joint (and obviously much further into the bore) and this has cured the gurgles. And having the cranked end to the speaker key, the speaker pad is now of a much thicker set and resembles Mount Fuji with it's steeply bevelled edges.


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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-08-17 01:42

Well said, both Terry and Chris, we "stirred the pot" a bit, didn't we ? Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: BbBabe 
Date:   2006-08-17 01:49

Another thing to check for is that your first ring is not too low. If you play your throat tones and they all sound stuffy, then make sure the travel on your first and even second rings are not too low. While some keys are considerably softer than others and can be bent with just the gentle force of your fingers, its best not to bust out the pliars yourself for the thicker keys-- take it to a technician!! LOL

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Terry Stibal 
Date:   2006-08-17 02:20

I second the "don't mess with the rings yourself" statement. There are some mysteries not meant to be understood by mere mortals.

You can handle some minor key work on your own, but there are too many things working together with the ring system (or "brille" (eyeglasses), as they say in der Altland). You might drop the ring height some, but at the same time you could also bend a key arm and get a pad out of whack, or (worse yet) bend an axle.

Some things are better left for the professionals.

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra

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 Re: Stuffy Bb
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-17 14:25
Attachment:  Cimg1996.jpg (181k)

What a great collection of remedies.

First approach for me is making sure the register vent is clear.

Next approach, using a thick cork pad for the register key. Shape it like a frustum (decapitated cone) so it has diameter at the vent end, only sufficient to cover the vent, and round the edge (of the cork around the vent) slightly as well. You will probably also need to bend the key so that it opens further. See attachment for diagram, where cork is a little too thick if anything.

In my experience, this is very, very successful in almost every case.

The problem is incresed by a too-hard reed, especially if there is insufficient breath support.

The problem is reduced if more lower lip pressure is applied to the centre of the reed, IMHO.

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