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 Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-23 03:13

When I took some lessons my teacher said I was playing flat and should get a different barrel length. At the time I was only interested in learning to play and not in flat or sharp. And the music store did not really appreciate his suggesting I change components on a rental clarinet. Now I have a Buffet E-11 Germany and the barrel that came with it measures 64.12 mm on my digital caliper. If I were playing flat and wished to improve is there a suggested barrel brand or length to try or do I just go to a music shop with my pitch meter and try different barrels until I find one that suits. Not a big issue but I have been curious ever since. I only play for myself, not with group or band or in public. Any suggestions?

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-23 03:27

Check with a tuner to see if you are still flat on your E11 Germany, because chances are you might be pretty in tune now. I have a E11 France and a R13, and my E11 France plays sharper than my R13. Maybe you don't need a new barrel.

You also need to test the barrels out for yourself to see exactly what length you need. Depends on how flat you are too. And there are just so many barrels out there with different tapers. You won't know which is the best unless you try for yourself.

If you want a barrel that will allow you to play pretty much in tune in any circumstance, maybe take a look at the P&S Zoom Barrel or the cheap version of it, Berkeley Freedom Barrel.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Burt 2017
Date:   2017-11-23 04:03

The choice of barrel length will affect the throat tones much more than the notes with many holes covered (such as third-space C). There are different barrel tapers, which can affect the relative pitch of clarion vs chalumeau registers. So when you try barrels, look out for these 2 factors as well as the absolute pitch.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-23 04:10

I have a very important question. You play flat. What notes are flat? All of them? Before you buy some barrels, spend $20 and buy a tuner and see what notes are flat.

Often it is the mouthpiece. Sometimes the actual instrument needs to be adjusted by a repairman. So don't rush out and buy a barrel that can cost as much as a mouthpiece and you may find that the barrel is NOT the problem.

You can download a tuner App off of the internet too, to your phone. This I have not done, but I know it is possible. I've seen a lot of players who have these.

If you are playing on a Vandoren mouthpiece the M13, M15 any M series they are made longer. So they play flat. Thus it could be your mouthpiece or your horn.

Just be careful here, you can spend around $1000 and still play flat! We don't know what the problem is yet. It could be something simple such as dirty key holes. This is where a good repairman is needed. Start with a tuner and then a repairman. You may save a lot of money.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-23 04:12

I also remember you saying you use soft reeds. This alone can cause you to play flat. I think you play on Rico 2 1/2 reeds? These are pretty light reeds, usually for beginners.

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2017-11-23 04:20)

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-23 04:49

I have lots of reeds 2, 2.5, and 3 that are Rico but also have some Steuer 2.5 reeds. I was not referring to any specific reed but I do think it a good idea to actually test all the notes ans see just which ones may or may not be flat and how much. I have not really explored this but it just stuck in my mind what the teacher said and I thought I would look into it. I do wish to play as correctly as possible even if do not really need perfection. And if off, at least be aware of what and how much.

I had no idea this was so complicated. And the teacher onlyheard me as beginner playing the Yamaha student rental clarinet. No one has heard me play the E-11 but I see from my tuner is id a bit flat on many notes and also pitch varies a bit. My teacher had a tuner app on his phone as I recall. I will test this out a bit and post back later.
Oh...and I do have a M13 Lyre mouthpiece and the original OEM E-11 mouthpiece but have never compared them.



Post Edited (2017-11-23 08:04)

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-23 11:40

This is very general. The higher you go on the clarinet with softer reeds and the Vandoren mouthpiece I think you will begin to play a shade flat in the upper register and above the break of high C.

I'm not too fond of the Buffet mouthpieces. I'm not sure if these will solve your pitch issues, but surely give it a try.

As for the Steuer reeds, if you got them from me they are probably well played out. I think I gave you a free box. I'm the US distributor so I don't think you got them from anyone else. They would be about a year or 2 old.

If you find that part of your problem, based on the upper notes going flatter, look around for a mouthpiece around a 1.04mm's to 1.05mm's and use a 3 strength reed. I think this would be an ideal setup for you. Later on you can try a 3 1/2 strength reeds from assorted reed makers and see if one of these fits you well.

Hope this helps!

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2017-11-23 21:09

In truth, as long as you are playing by yourself and don't need to match pitch with anyone else, you don't have to do or change anything.

You didn't say where you are located. In the US we generally tune to A 440, European countries generally tune higher. Is your current tuner set to A 440? or a pitch appropriate for your location? The higher the tuner is set, the more you'll appear to be flat.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-24 01:32

This may sound crazy but I simply wanted to try to be "correct", or "exact as possible", with reasonable effort. If too costly or too time-involving or not worth the effort then nothing is lost.
First I have to decide if I really am playing flat and how much and on which notes, then if it is enough to warrant more work on it. Much more complicated than I thought, but I felt I had to ask.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-24 01:38

you can easily get a tuner on a smartphone. there are many free ones. let us know which notes are playing flat, and by how much. the tuner shows how off you are with + and - readings.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-11-24 05:25

BGBG wrote:

> This may sound crazy but I simply wanted to try to be
> "correct", or "exact as possible", with reasonable effort.

Not "crazy," but maybe misdirected if you don't play with other people. The "standard" of A4=440 Hz is an arbitrary one set by the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Organization_for_Standardization, not a natural law. A440 isn't "correct." It's just one widely accepted standard. It matters to instrument makers and to musicians in ensembles. Many places in the world of Western music use other pitches than 440 Hz for A4.

If your flatness isn't uniform - if the altissimo notes are flat to the rest of your clarinet or if specific notes are out-of-tune with the notes around them, then the musical result may be less satisfying. But that may, as others have suggested, not be a barrel issue.

Karl

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-25 03:04

I guess you are saying if I am not playing in a group or with others or trying to match a recording I should not be concerned so long as it sounds OK to me, and I should spend my time on more meaningful things. If so, I would accept this view and continue on with other pursuits.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-29 04:45

Actually it is not quite as bad as I thought. I went back to my original buffet E11 mouthpiece and meatal ligature and watched the pitch meter and it was within +/- 20 which likely is good enough for my needs.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-29 05:58

If you play in an ensemble that would be a huge issue. If you're playing by yourself, it makes it a little better. +/- 20 is still a lot, maybe try to see if you can get it to within +/- 10?

Some notes are just sharp/flat on the clarinet, and you will need to adjust your embouchure. Like throat tones (notes from G#4 to Bb4) are usually sharp, so you can actually put some extra fingers down to flatten the pitch, and make the sound better as well.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-11-29 21:23

I don't have perfect pitch, so I live in front of an old Korg AT-12 tuner ... constantly checking my pitch ... start with MM=40-50 and play chromatic scale as per Bob Springs warm-up recommendation, although I use a slower tempo. I usually play this twice and then look at tuning in a room that is at about 72 degrees F and make my joint pulls at this time. Be sure you are really well warmed up in a warm room ... this may take as long as 15 minutes of playing.

Bob B. is correct ... you can get a good tuner that lives in you clarinet case for about 20-30 bucks. Use it, it will really help and can be a revelation.

Tom

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-11-29 23:05

BGBG:
I certainly can appreciate the notion if you're playing alone, then tuning is not uber crucial...though you should plan in tune with yourself and try to correct the horn's natural idiosyncrasies.

I hope as you improve and gain confidence, you'd love to join a group to share your talent and skills. Tuning will be of the utmost importance. I think it's wonderful you're focusing on intonation early on. Train your ear now and your life will be easier playing in an ensemble. I always love sitting beside someone who's passionate about intonation. Definitely makes a more enjoyable playing experience.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-11-30 02:32

Bob B....You are correct-you gave me a free box and they ARE played out. I purchased a box but have not opened them as of yet.

Maybe my problem is, I am not really sure how to go about evaluating, practicing, and working to improve the pitch. I can play a single note and adjust my mouth and make it on pitch but as I play it will vary.
Can anyone suggest a systematic procedure for testing pitch, practicing, observing, and working to improve? Iwould LIKE to improve it but maybe just do not know how to go about it. Thanks for any help on the matter.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: fromsfca 2017
Date:   2017-12-03 08:00

I do not at all agree with “its ok to not be in tune, if you don’t play with anyone else”.

Part of the joy of music is playing and sharing with others. Part of improvement is “hearing” your sound, tone and tonal intervals and adapting to correct.

All clarinets have out of tune notes: typical throat tones and low notes. With a tuner, can you get a middle d, a a 5th above and low c in tune(a = 440)? If so, you are in tune. Next, play a scale to find relative intonation for each note. Many clarinetist (me included) refuse Buffets due to wide individual intonation swings between instruments (for the record, I play a Yamaha CSG-II and a LeBlanc Opus II, both incredibly consistent instruments).

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-03 08:16

Why is the 440 Hz standard so important? What do clarinet students in Berlin learn to match? What about students in Moscow or Leningrad? Does every bar band in the U.S. (not to mention the world) play at A=440? Did Bach's organ play at A=440?

Of course, a good musical result depends on having the notes of your clarinet be in tune with each other. That's not what the OP started out asking about. His teacher said he was flat and needed a shorter barrel. He may be flat to 440, but where is the harm if he's playing at 436 or 438, unless he's playing with other players and everyone needs to be tuning to the same pitch?

Karl

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-03 08:53

I agree with Karl. If BGBG is playing by himself, it doesn't matter if he decides to tune to A=415 hz or A=452 hz. Pitch is relative. It is set by human beings, and we are all human beings. If we are not forced to do so, we should be given the opportunity to tune to whatever hertz we want to.

So if you are indeed a little flat, BGBG, then see how flat you are. Adjust the tuner's settings and change the pitch lower a tad, going by a hz at a time. See what pitch reference makes most of your notes (and the important notes) in tune and select that. Rule of thumb is that throat tones are usually sharp, so worry about them later.

For the notes that are still not in tune, like the throats, try alternate/resonance fingerings. And then you need to be mentally aware that those notes are out-of-tune notes on your clarinet so that when you play those notes without a tuner, you know if you need to lip down a bit or pinch a tad.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-12-04 02:54

I know almost nothing about this technically and would like to earn to play more "in tune" or "on pitch" but need some sort of heplful suggestions on how to go about doing and practicing this. Like a procedure, not simply blowing a note and see if green light or red light comes on. Right now I am using a Korg CA-1. Maybe this may not be the best, or an online tuner would be better. Simply do not know how to approach the matter and do not want to go out and get a teacher just for this purpose. If someone could outline what to do or where I could get a book to learn I would appreciate it.

P.S. Whatever anyone else thinks or agrees with, I did not mean to imply I do not wish or care to play well - just as I said, I do not know how to go about it at this time. Perfectly willing to focus on technique and practice even if no one else ever hears it.



Post Edited (2017-12-04 03:04)

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-04 03:46

BGBG wrote:

> Like a procedure, not simply blowing a note and see if
> green light or red light comes on. Right now I am using a Korg
> CA-1.

The most important thing is to ditch the visual indicators and practice listening to your pitch against sound. It takes practice and a lot of listening to develop a sense of where each note in a scale should tune.

I don't think the CA-1 produces aural pitches. Assuming that it doesn't, buy a tuner that (a) produces sound over a full chromatic scale and (b) has an adjustable reference pitch. If the tuner is fixed at A=440, you will have to find the way (where this thread started) - shorter barrel, different mouthpiece, different reeds, etc. - to bring your pitch up to be in tune with a 440 A. This isn't (IMO) necessary if you can adjust the tuner to match your general pitch - not just your tuning note, but the majority of notes on your clarinet.

Once the tuner is calibrated to match your starting point, you can start at the bottom of a scale, play it on the tuner, and play it on your clarinet. If the pitches match, go on to the next note. If they're different, you have to adjust yours up or down. If you do this enough, you'll get used to which notes on your instrument are out of tune and what you need to do to compensate for them.

Related to this, probably after you've matched pitches for awhile, you can set the tuner to play the tonic note of a tune you want to practice, then listen to how true the intervals sound between each note you play and the tonic sounding on the tuner.

Wanting to play in tune with yourself is musically commendable. I would only suggest that you be careful not to let yourself mono-focus so much on the correct that you forget to enjoy playing for its own sake.

None of this will be a quick process.

Karl

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-12-04 07:35

Is there a recommended tuner, perhaps inexpensive if possible? I just picked this one up awhile back for it was in the music store and I wanted one..knew nothing about selecting one at the time or even now.
So far I think I was just concentrating on the playing itself rather than improving technique and result and sound. Used to play guitar while in high school and branched out to mandolins and banjos in adulthood, never with bands or groups however. Just a hobby. I do have a laptop with video camera and I can make recordings of myself if wish. I have done so but not really to study but to see what I sounded like. Now I am motivated not to be satisfied with copying notes onto a sheet and playing them but to actually sound correct in timing and pitch. As you know some notes are hare to play quickly so I either slow tempo down or stick to slower tunes, which I believe is not the best approach. I do wish to improve.

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-12-04 08:27

BGBG - In about 10 seconds most of the advanced players here can tell you what to do.

Can you post an F major scale, 1/8 notes on this board? Not too fast. I promise we will figure out and fix your issues. Tell you if it's the horn, the mouthpiece, the barrel, all of the 3. or maybe partly you, and set you up in the correct direction. Let's get you set up correctly and solve this.

Cheers! Bob

STEUER REEDS Importer played by Sabine Meyer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: jonathan.wallaceadams 
Date:   2017-12-05 18:58

BGBG, as for an inexpensive tuner, if you have a smartphone, there's a lovely $3-4 app called "Tonal Energy Tuner." It features a tuner that is as fine as you'd like, as well as a metronome that can be set to any subdivision you'd like (like swung 8ths, quintuplets, any mixture of 16ths, etc.)

Just an aspiring student.
Buffet Tradition
Bonade Silver Cut-out, Moba Barrel, M13L, Behn Arias

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 Re: Barrel Question
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2017-12-06 07:32

I will have to read up on using tuners to best advantage. Maybe playing long notes on scales trying to keep the pitch constant.Maybe it will naturally vary if I alter the embouchure. My tuner has a green light and a red light on either side with a number dotted curve with -20 and +20 and dots the rest of the way. I just watch it as I play but I think that is a too-passive approach.

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