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 Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-20 22:53

I just got a new clarinet yesterday, and I noticed something when I tried to practice on it this morning. On some notes especially the C and Db(not the ones using the register key) I heard the sound of the note and air. I was told this can be an air leak, but I want another opinion. Anyone have any idea what this can be? Its kind of messed up that they would sell an instrument and it would have an air leak. I tried tightening my embroucher but that makes it so unpleasent to play and doesn' teven fix the problem but lessens the sound of the air if i play softer and tighter. So, is this the symptoms of an air leak?

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2006-08-20 23:22

Could it be the air blowing against the key/pad between the (chalumeau) C and B holes?

--
Ben

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: GBK 
Date:   2006-08-20 23:23

Start with a softer reed.

Check that the membrane of one or more of the pads is not torn or loose.

Check the seating of all pads.

Check the pad heights for proper venting...GBK

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-20 23:28

The softest I have is a 3=/. I tried the 3 and the air can still be heard. You think that it could just be the reed too? Because I havn't opened up my case of Vandorans(3.5s) @_@ yet because orchastra didnt start yet.


The pads look fine. Thats why I am confused if its me or the instrument. My old instrument plays fine though....so it can't be me. Can it? We're going to the store tomorrow to see if they can fix it. If not, I got marching band practice tomorrow...so i'll just see my band director/clarinet players for help.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-20 23:39

I reckon you're playing on way too hard a reed - this makes the low register very resistant and hissy, especially C, C#, Eb, E and the throat notes.

Try a 2.5 when you go to your music shop to see if this helps.

And don't feel pressured to use hard reeds because 'everyone else does' - we aren't sheep, we're individual human beings and we're all different. It's not a competition to see who can play on floorboards for reeds, and you're not doing yourself any good struggling with a reed that's too hard for you.

Chris.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-20 23:49

No...i've been playing on 3.5 for 2 years. I know how to play on them.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: hans 
Date:   2006-08-21 00:29

YourAverageBoy,

Are you using your old mouthpiece, or the one that came with your new clarinet?

Hans

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-21 00:41

The one that came with my new clarinet. My old one is being recorked.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-21 01:08

I just wanted to add that the lower register isn't hissy. Its like(grr i wish i could record the sound) you hear the note perfectly but you can also hear air too. So its like the note playing while you hair like a stream of air. Its odd, and very annoying.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Phaedra 
Date:   2006-08-21 03:30

I had the same problem with my new clarinet recently. There was a sound like air rushing out of the tone hole (as well as the sound of the note) when I played certain notes. Trills to and from the affected notes were awful, hearing that airy sound on and off and on and off etc. It was on the Chalumeau C#, Side Eb and forked B natural, but much much worse on the C#. I took it back to the dealer under warranty, and they fixed it by making the keys open up a bit more. This took care of the problem for me, but I have noticed that it tends to come back a little (not nearly as bad as it was) when I try to play a reed that's too hard for me.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: YourAverageBoy 
Date:   2006-08-21 13:22

Oh okay thank you. Yah, the problem with the air isn't that bad after all my arents can't hear it, but its enough to annoy me and make me stop practicing.


Thanks everyone for the help. I'm bringing it back today.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-08-21 13:34

"No...i've been playing on 3.5 for 2 years. I know how to play on them."

And how long have you been playing clarinet for in total?

Chris.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2006-08-21 14:23

New clarinet.......does this mean a new mouthpiece too? addendum.....sorry for the repetition! I would think this is mouthpiece/reed related problem.

Freelance woodwind performer

Post Edited (2006-08-21 15:04)

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: pewd 
Date:   2006-08-21 16:31

try your new horn with your regular mouthpiece.

the mouthpieces shipped with new instruments are , as a general rule, acceptable as paperweights and not much more.

a new mouthpiece and your comment about playing a 3.5 reed for 2 years makes no sense - you have to match reed strength to the mouthpiece. switching mouthpieces might result in staying on 3.5's, moving up to 4's, or moving down to 3.0's or softer. there is a lot of variance in mouthpieces.

put a different way, since you switched mouthpieces, you also have to try out different reeds to find a brand and strength that works on the new mouthpiece. what you played on the old mouthpiece is only a starting point - you may or may not keep the same type of reed on a new mpc.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas


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 fu@bar.com
Author: Flickerstaffe 
Date:   2006-08-23 15:05

Great thread!

I've been having these problems myself, and have just switched to a 2.5 reed which seems to do the trick...(although I'm only a beginner, the 2.5 seems to work an awful lot better than the 1.5 - not nearly as "breathy" a sound!)

Thanks!

Flickerstaffe

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-23 16:35

First thing you want to do is wait until you have your mouthpiece back and try it with the new clarinet and with the reeds you are used to. If this mouthpiece is (very) different from your regular mouthpiece it takes time to adjust, and you might need different reeds completely (sometimes even not just different strength).

If the problem still exists with your mouthpiece, then maybe the Bb/F pad is not open enough for the C, and the C#/G# pad doesn't open enough. By the way, the low C# note on all clarinets (at least Boehm, I haven't played German clarinets more than a minute so I can't remember) doesn't sound as good as other notes. Usually the air sound that you hear with the C# note is huge to the player in comparison to what the audience hears or what you hear on a recording.
A too hard reed will make this tiny difference between the C# and other notes bigger.



Post Edited (2006-08-23 16:39)

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-23 22:09

Just a long shot.... register venting. Diagnosis:

Take the register key off, check that there is no blockage in the vent, LEAVE the key off, and see if the hissiness is still there.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-24 04:07

Gordon, should he just close the register with the finger to try? Because the notes that hiss for him are with the register vent closed.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-24 08:49

Thanks, clarnibass. Sorry, I misunderstood, from lazy reading.

For C and Db (no register key pressed) I would definitely suspect the venting (opening) of the right hand ring key and C#/G# keys respectively, as others have said.

I find that inadequate venting of at least some tone holes is an issue with almost every new clarinet, including expensive ones.

The harder the reed, the more conspicuous does the fuzzy-sound symptom become, as others have said.

A good technician should be able to quickly deal with it.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-24 12:31

Gordon, I have a question - Am I correct that it is impossible to make the ventilation more without making the finger movement bigger on the C#/G# key? and the same question for the C/G pad (the one that closes when playing Bb/F).

Thanks.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-24 14:38

That would be generally true, unless you obtain the better venting by enlarging the tone holes.

Better venting can be achieved by decreasing key cork thickness, bending the key, installing the pad further into the key cup, or using a thinner pad. All of these increase the travel of the key, hence the travel of the finger.

However, if you have cork pads, then better venting can be achieved by rounding off the edge of the pad, almost to the sealing circle, as is commonly done with the register key's pad. This does not affect the travel of the pad or finger.

Of course, for the C#/G# key you could decrease finger travel by placing the finger closer to the hinge, but that increases the FORCE that the finger must apply.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Vytas 
Date:   2006-08-24 16:29

Gordon NZ wrote:
> **** "However, if you have cork pads, then better venting can be achieved by rounding off the edge of the pad, almost to the sealing circle, as is commonly done with the register key's pad. This does not affect the travel of the pad or finger". **** <

After all you've wrote about cork on the UJ and leather pad installation earlier now you are giving advice on rounding off the edge of the pad? You've got to be kidding?
http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=221244&t=221154

Gordon NZ wrote:
> **** "This problem is less for cork pads (which also are of smaller diameter than bladder pads), because there is a sharp edge at the edge of the pad, which is reasonably well supported by the firm structure of the cork". **** < http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=220971&t=220880

I (Vytas) wrote:
> **** "The problem is that they (cork pads) are too noisy (at least for my taste) and usually are installed incorrect, that is, without removing (rounding) the sharp edge of the pad. This creates a problem: With time these pads get compressed and become shaped like this: / \ ("A" shaped) The sharp edge creates unnecessary turbulence around the edge which affects the tone in a negative way". **** < http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=221244&t=221154

Gordon NZ responded:
> **** > "This diameter issue is also significant for the installation of cork pads. In many cases, a cork pad, once again because it is of necessity smaller in diameter than a bladder pad, is sealing very close to the edge of the pad, so there is no room to carry out the ideal of rounding the edge of the pad. As I mentioned, a frustum shape can be used for a register key, but that is only because the vent is much smaller in diameter than the inside diameter of the key cup". **** < http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=221244&t=221154

I hope you finally got it? LOL

Vytas Krass
Professional clarinet technician
Custom clarinet mouthpiece maker
Former professional clarinet player




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 Re: Air Leak
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2006-08-25 01:21

There is no inconsistency here.

Yes, cork pads can be rounded.

It is also true that except for register key pads, cork pads (special stepped profiling excepted) normally need to be of smaller diameter than the (normally-stepped) bladder pads, often leaving only 0.3 - 1 mm of clear cork around the sealing circle. I don't think there is enough cork there to do enough rounding to make much difference to venting, especially when the edge of the key cup itself is close by. To me that is an intuitive thing, based on my wide experience of pads and venting (especially register keys), and my formal studies and practical experience of fluid flow.

Register key is a different situation altogether, and I almost always use shaped cork pads. Actually I don't often round these, because the frustum shape is quite sufficient to give excellent venting.

Vytas, all the issues were well covered, often very unpleasantly, in the other thread. Do you really have to bring all that unpleasantness into this thread as well? It gives a bad taste to the forum. We can agree to differ in our perspectives, and present our cases, without the nastiness.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: graham 
Date:   2006-08-25 07:43

From the description it does not sound to me like hissing from too close a pad, because it sounds as though YAB is hearing the rushing of air under the reed (along with some tone) which is a very different effect. He seems to think his old clarinet does not do that even with the new (potentially bad) mouthpiece. Clearly, a return to the old mouthpiece or a better new one could solve all the problems, but I have a hunch that the instrument may have a couple of difficult notes which are causing the reed and mouthpiece to act inefficiently. Changing pad height might not cure that, so it could be that the instrument has an in built problem.

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 Re: Air Leak
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2006-08-25 09:22

I don't see the problem in Gordon's posts, they make perfect sense to me. He gave specific examples where cork pads don't work very good, and some cases where they do. In this thread he explained how you can increase ventilation in case you already have a cork pad, and had nothing to do with them being good or not, or anyone's opinion on them.
As a hobbyist clarinet repairer who is teaching himself, I came to the same conclusions as Gordon. I think anyone will come to these simple conclusions when using some sense. Just notice that those who argue actually don't contradict what Gordon says at all.

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