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 Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: Rhythmacres 
Date:   2007-09-03 01:44

I primarily play clarinet, but am also having fun with the alto clarinet in my quartet, and I even have one student doing alto. I have found that it's hard to find a reed that works, and I have much better luck with alto sax reeds than alto clarinet reeds. Is it just me? I'm on a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece. The Bundy mouthpiece didn't work well at all.

Also, right hand position is very uncomfortable. I feel like I'm begging for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I might just move the thumb rest up about an inch and hold my thumb almost parallel to the instrument. Anyone else want to share alto clarinet experiences?

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: marcia 
Date:   2007-09-03 04:32

I did play one in high school but that was so long ago I don't remember what make it was or how I felt about it at the time. More recently I have played on a Buffet alto. It was a struggle all the way. Was not a plateau key instrument and the hand position was awkward in the extreme. More recently again I purchased a Leblanc alto which has plateau keys and the hand position is very comfortable. It is quite free blowing when it is in good working order. Being an older instrument it needs to make more frequent visits to Morrie than my A and Bb instruments. I found that with just a neck strap it was quite awkward to hold in the right position. Using a floor peg eliminated that problem altogether. You might think about getting one if you don't already have one.

My 2 cents worth.


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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: jmsa 
Date:   2007-09-03 04:43

My main instrument is a 1959 Buffet Radio Model professional alto that was specially designed for The French Radio Orchestra. I have found that a Gigliotti 3 mouthpiece, Heimke #2 alto sax reeds, and Rovner dark ligature work best. I use a Contra alto floor peg so there is no stress on my fingers and wrists. This is a superb instrument in every way and is perfect for my style of blues and jazz.


Post Edited (2007-09-03 04:44)

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-03 05:58

I can check again later but if I remember right the alto sax and alto clarinet reeds from Vandoren are exactly the same. I'm using a Vandoren mouthpiece and it's good with Vandoren alto reeds.

Do you use a neck strap when you are playing alto? If not that might help a lot. I don't use a peg (too restrictive plus I play standing) and it is very comfortable. Though some altos have much more comfortable keys than others. If you are playing an open hole model maybe you'd want to switch to a closed hole model.

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-03 13:44

I love my Selmer-Paris B series with a Pomarico 3 mp and a [reg.] Bonade lig, soft alto sax reeds, and I play seated with a neck strap, no peg. The peg for my Sel bass is great, but somewhat awkward in length. Having med. size hands, my right finger reaches are a bit long, and my head position could be improved. I have been trying to find a Leblanc "swan-type" [double curved] neck to see if it might be better than my "tunable", so would appreciate any comments form alto players. TKS, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: Mark Horne 
Date:   2007-09-05 17:39

As a part-time player, I find the combination of a Vandoren 5RV mouthpiece with old-stock Rico V-2.5 reeds to be a good combination for balancing clarity, range, and tone.

I have an older Leblanc wood alto with the "swan neck" and also a vito resotone with the conventional bent neck. The double curved neck makes a tremendous improvement in the right hand position. The length and shape of the neck brings the instrument up and more "out front." Every time I switch to the Vito I can feel the awkward angle of my right wrist.

Using a neck strap kept fairly snug works well. I also have a seldom-used Bundy alto that has two anchor points for a neck strap, and in combination with a double hook strap (Neotech), provides a very secure and comfortable playing arrangement - either sitting or standing. I may consider adding another anchor point to my Leblanc to get the same feel.

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: William Hughes 2017
Date:   2007-09-05 18:03

Right hand position: When I first bought my Linton/Malerne alto, the right hand position made it virtually unplayable . Dave Spiegelthal improved it, including adding a second strap post, and I have since tweaked the thumbrest even more to put my right thumb at almost a 90 degree angle to the body of the horn, directly opposite my right fore-finger.

Reeds: I love Vandoren Java Alto Sax reeds on my Hite mouthpiece.

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 Re: Alto Clarinet Issues
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-05 21:56

TKS, Mark and Wm, your comments are what I was hoping for ! I play my Sel-P comfortably with a dbl neck strap, just wanted to make AC life a bit easier. Unless I can find a [fitting] neck or a "neck-maker", I may have to find one of those Leb altos and TRY. Help will be appreciated. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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