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 Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: scd79 
Date:   2010-05-20 02:26

I'm about at my wit's end and am dangerously near giving up playing because I am getting so frustrated with my tuning problems.

I play a Buffet R13, I use a Gregory Smith 1+ mouthpiece, an Eddie Daniels ligature, and generally Vandoren V12 3.5 reeds. I also use a Chadash barrel, 670 mm. I am ALWAYS sharp. Even with the longer barrel, I have to pull it out a lot to be anywhere close to in tune. I've tried using a softer reed, but it doesn't have the sound I like.

I don't know what to do. I play in my community bands' rehearsals, and in each one, I get so frustrated. I go crazy because I know it can't be me all the time, but then when I check the tuner, I'm so sharp. I don't know what to do.

I would love any advice, any insight into reasons why this might be happening... anything!

Thank you.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-05-20 03:02

The only two logical things it can be are the clarinet or the mouthpiece. Certainly the ligature is not the problem and I really doubt that the reed is either. You could be voicing high but I doubt that would make it todo sharp. Try tuning the clarinet, once it's warmed up, with a different mouthpiece just to see if it's still very sharp. Remember, the clarinet get's sharper as it gets warmer so play it for at least 10-15 minutes to get a good reading. It is possible it's the mouthpiece even if others don't have that problem with the same type.
If it's not the mouthpiece then it's obviously your clarinet. You could try some different barrels to see if they make a difference but make sure they are at least 67 or 68mm as the one you have now. If all else fails get a 68mm barrel and pull out the middle joint about the thickness of a quarter. I have an old Buffet Bb R13 and I have to use a 67mm barrel pulled out slightly once it's warmed up and I had a ring built on the middle joint about the thickness of a quarter because I always had to pull it out that much and it wobbled. It plays very well in tune. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2010-05-20 03:09

On my Buffet RC (when warmed up), I end up with the barrel pulled out about 3-mm and the center joint about 1-1/2 mm.

Try tuning your open G with the tuning barrel and then tune your third line C and middle C with the center joint.

Then check the rest of your right and left hand clarion register notes. Compromise to get a good balance amongst the other notes in your scale.

Although I end up with pretty big gaps in the bore at the bottom of the barrel and between the joints, nothing bad seems to come of them. I have not used tuning rings because I need to fiddle with my tuning and sometimes such as when cold or following the strings up in pitch, need to push in from these nominal "pulls."

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-05-20 07:04

What is your tuner set to (e.g. A=440Hz) ?

What does your community band tune to?

Many community windbands play flat [there are exceptions; my own band 'tunes' to about 443 if you let them, more if the room's hot :) ]

When you pull out 'a lot', how much is that? Most people have to pull out 'some' to be in tune.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2010-05-20 10:19

Are you biting?? This will have a drastic effect on your intonation and yes you should play pulled out.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: salzo 
Date:   2010-05-20 11:30

It could be too much pressure with the lower jaw/lip, which might make one play with too narrow a throat/air passage.
Try practicing keeping in mind to "keep the chin down to the floor". This helps keep one from putting lower jaw pressure and also helps to open the throat and mouth, which in my experience, lowers the pitch.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-05-20 12:53

Also, are you sure that you don't have an R13 tuned to European pitch? Just try someone elses horn with YOUR mouthpiece at you next rehearsal to check...... or have someone else tune on your horn

Generally the Smith mouthpieces play LOW if anything and a 67mm barrel is on the long (low side) itself.

Biting is an issue, but you'd still play pretty well at pitch on throat F or Low F and Low E. If your pitch is extraordinarilly high on everything, I would suspect the horn.




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2010-05-20 22:24

How sharp are you?
How much do you have to pull out to be in tune?

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: RAB 
Date:   2010-05-21 12:47

I have had several customers come in with this problem.

The majority of the time they are playing well in tune @ A 440-442.

After taking a tuner to band they reported that the ensemble was no where near A 440- 442

Just a thought. Better to check to see if there is problem with you or the ensemble.

Rodney Berry
Repair Dept
Muncy Winds Music Company
Boone, N.C.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Tony Beck 
Date:   2010-05-21 13:50

The ensemble wandering pitch issue seems to be common in community bands. My Couesnon Monopole is European pitch (A=444) and is very sharp when we warm up, even with the long barrel. After the first piece (which is usually the Star Spangled Banner, and I play Eb for that) I’m in tune.

Put a Korg on your stand and watch your ensemble’s pitch tendency. It’s probably changing as the session progresses.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-05-21 16:49

I have NEVER experienced an ensemble the plays FLAT.........EVER!!!

Particularly any ensemble that has trumpets.


Of course the wandering pitch thing (many times manifested from section to section) actually presents a challenge that can make your playing better by learning to compensate (be VERY flexible) for the pitch "of the moment."



..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-05-21 21:12

>> Particularly any ensemble that has trumpets.

Well that goes without saying. :)

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-05-23 02:50

Looking at your setup (without playing on it myself or hearing you) I would say that it should be possible to play in tune.

I am bothered when threads start about intonation and the responses are all about the setup.

Responses like "The only two logical things it can be are the clarinet or the mouthpiece". That means it is not logical to consider that the player may be to blame? Honestly....lets take a step towards reality.

If the player can't hear where they should be, they have no chance.

If the player doesn't know his\her setup well enough to be flexibile in tuning, they stand no chance.

If the player doesn't practice with tuning and flexibility in mind, it will be extremely difficult to match pitch consistently.

Anyone have anything specific to say that's not setup related?

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2010-05-23 15:13

WRT mouthpieces: My in 1961, my Full Boehm R13/(16-1/2) came with a mouthpiece gauge. It was a piece of glazed cardboard about 10-mm wide and (guessing!) about 52-mm long. With a reed on the mouthpiece, you were supposed to poke the gauge into the mouthpiece and be sure that the mark lined up with the end of the mouthpiece tenon.

For my instrument, if the mpc did not closely match the gauge, the horn had an uneven scale.

If you like, I think can find the dimensions of the gauge.

Meanwhile. It might be worth trying some mouthpieces with different internal volumes.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-05-24 02:01

Are you playing very quietly because you are insecure about your pitch? That can make the pitch go up.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: clarii 
Date:   2010-05-24 08:09

hi stop tuning to concert A or Bflat. use your tuner and tune to ANY NOTE!
tune to the tessatura of your part. if your playing ist cl. tune to G above staff. 2nd cl. compromise tune 2nd space a and third space c. 3rd. clar. compromise tune low c and low g. we use concert a and b-flat because of the tuning fork yrs. before the e. tuner. AND tune behind stage before you sit in your ensemble. the ensemble will tune to the tuner anyway. there you go. be smart. try tuning to the PART with a cl. quartet etc. IT WORKS.
your welcome. cheers.

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: tdinap 
Date:   2010-05-24 09:57

I had a problem nearly identical to this recently. It turned out that my mouthpiece was so old and abused that it played about 15-20 cents higher than a new one. This was one of the few times that getting a new mouthpiece actually did solve the problem immediately (I changed models, too, but I'm pretty sure I tried a new mouthpiece of the same model that was much less sharp).

There are certainly a variety of things that can cause this type of problem, but one way to find or eliminate the easy ones is to try different mouthpieces, barrels, or instruments to see if it's just an equipment issue.

Tom

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Gandalfe 
Date:   2010-05-24 17:19

Hmm... this question was asked by a person with only one post. I wonder if they couldn't find their way back here. :O)

Since the profile doesn't give me an indication of the poster's skill level, I recommend that they see an instructor who can sort this out. There are a lot of great people out there who can cut through the haze.

Jim and Suzy

Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns
Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra
Seattle, Washington

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2010-05-24 18:12

I'm of the mind that the original poster might be causing the issue and not the equipment he or she is using.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Intonation and Tuning Issues
Author: Ron 
Date:   2010-06-07 21:51

If you are not taking lessons, find a qualified teacher and take some lessons to work on your intonation. When you get as frustrated as you sound, you may be very tense when your play, be pinching in addition to the usual supects (already stated in the above comments) that make clarinets go sharp. Let someone help you to sort this out and hopefully you will find the solution. Good luck.
Ron

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