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 Strange high-pitched squeaking that sounds like an air leak
Author: Chalumeau 
Date:   2017-09-10 23:42

Hi everyone,

I have been having an unusual problem the last few days. When I try to play notes in the altissimo register, there will be this shrill little squeak instead of the actual note. It's not a normal clarinet squeak - it sounds like there is air leaking somewhere. However, I checked the seal, which appears to be fine. It was just overhauled, and there should not be any cracks. It almost sounds like it's coming from the mouthpiece, but my mouthpiece is not damaged. Has anyone else experienced this? It is very frustrating and quite an awful sound.

Thank you.

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 Re: Strange high-pitched squeaking that sounds like an air leak
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-09-10 23:47

Are you biting?

Chris.

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 Re: Strange high-pitched squeaking that sounds like an air leak
Author: Chalumeau 
Date:   2017-09-10 23:55

Well, this problem came on suddenly. I have always struggled with biting but haven't had this squeaking problem till now.

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 Re: Strange high-pitched squeaking that sounds like an air leak
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-09-11 02:17

Since this came on suddenly, the cause probably is something that changed somewhere in the system.

Does it happen with all reeds or only the one you've been using since the squeaking started? Are there any new dings in the mouthpiece rails (especially tiny ones in the tip rail - use a magnifier)? Is there anything (dirt, lint, fuzz from a q-tip used to clean it) in the register tube or the LH index finger hole (both are open for altissimo D6 and up)?

Can you get your hands on another clarinet? Try your mouthpiece (and reed) in the other clarinet. Does the squeak follow you?

If changing clarinets with the same mouthpiece/reed gets rid of the squeak, something's wrong with your instrument, overhaul and successful seal test notwithstanding.

If the squeak moves with the reed/mouthpiece to the second clarinet, and changing the reed doesn't help and the mouthpiece rails don't show any damage, only then should you consider that the problem is something you're doing. The most common causes of squeaks (after bad reeds, damaged mouthpieces and leaks) of any kind are pinching the reed and not covering tone holes completely.

Karl

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 Re: Strange high-pitched squeaking that sounds like an air leak
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2017-09-11 04:46

When this was happening to me, I eventually decided it was the combination of mouthpiece & embouchure. When I tried another mouthpiece, the problem went away.

In the course of learning I made some not-intentionally related embouchure changes, and when I later returned to the problem mouthpiece the high-squeals were gone - almost. I still got them once in a greater while.

At that point it seemed to relate to my jutting my lower jaw slightly forward, one way to pressure the reed that isn't normal biting. If I slightly retracted the lower jaw away from the mouthpiece (more toward an over-bite position) the squealing stopped.

I haven't tried it lately, but I seem to recall being able to "turn on or off" the squeal with jaw positioning as I describe.

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