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 Resistant clarinet?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-12-10 12:05

As I was organizing my reeds I noticed that all the reeds that I play well with all have a couple of similar characteristics. They all have a very low "heart", and after a couple minutes of playing, they all are fairly transparent. Although I might be wrong, this tells me that the reeds I'm playing on are the softer than the other ones in the box. After doing some thinking, I believe that my setup might be too resistant. Just wanted to note I play on a CSVR + BD5 mouthpiece, and a regular Rovner ligature

1) One of my weaknesses is that I cannot play anything higher than an altissimo F consistently. I think the main reason is because my reeds are so soft because I need to compensate for my setup being too resistant

2) Every so often, during fast passages on the lower clarion register that we need to tongue, I find my instrument "squaking". It's not squeak. It's more deeper and has a buzzing sound. It's hard to explain... I find this to be resolved my tightening my ligature but I just wanted to state this so that you get more information.

3) As mentioned before, reeds have a low heart and get clear, but not waterlogged fairly quickly.

After the break, I'll talk to my teacher about it but for now, it would be helpful to get some feedback so we could discuss some possibilities

Thanks :)

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2017-12-10 14:07

What reeds are you using?

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-10 20:00

I don't like the tip of reeds being too thin because for me it allows my high notes to not sound as shrill and thin. Maybe you should try some reeds that have a thicker tip. It would be nice to know what reeds you are playing on now.

As for the mouthpiece, the BD5 can be a little resistant/stuffy/fuzzy sounding. But I don't know if that is the case with your BD5, as no two mouthpieces are the same. I would suggest trying some different reeds first, and if that doesn't really work, look for some closer tip mouthpieces perhaps?

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-10 21:28

Eric, I'm not sure what you mean by "a very low heart" or "fairly transparent." Yet you say they aren't waterlogged. Are you describing what the reed looks like when you hold it up to a light? How are you looking at the reeds to see these things?

You don't say what reeds you're playing, but most of the commercial companies cut their reeds to one single set of dimensions - one profile that's the same for all strengths - and then grade them according to the hardness/density/flexibility of the cane after they're cut. I suppose a softer reed tends to absorb saliva more quickly and would become water-soaked (waterlogged) more quickly than a harder reed, but that would cause the appearance of a dark area extending from the tip, and, again, you say the reeds aren't waterlogged. The *shape* of the heart is a defining part of a reed's design - what makes one brand and even one model within a brand different from another.

As to your instrument's resistance, you should have the clarinet checked out by a competent tech if you think the resistance is unusual. At the least, have you done any DIY checking for leaks? Can you get a good suction when you close everything in each section and suck out the air from the top?

Notes above altissimo F(6) need more than the right reed strength, though too soft a reed does make them more difficult. "Voicing" and air flow are important. Random squawks in the clarion register *can* be a sign that you're taking too much reed into your mouth, which can, it's true, be a reaction to using too soft a reed but there can be other causes including plain habit.

Your teacher can hear you and may be able to give more accurate feedback about your instrument, your reeds, your mouthpiece and your approach to producing a tone.


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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-12-10 22:22

Post Edited (2017-12-10 22:35)

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-12-10 22:22

Post Edited (2017-12-10 22:35)

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-12-10 22:22
Attachment:  IMG_20171210_101609.jpg (1062k)

Wow I'm sorry! I forgot to add the most important information! I currently play on Vandoren Blue Box 3.5s.

To clarify, I said that the reeds have a low heart and are fairly transparent, I found that they have a shallower lower end of the reed when I placed them in my reed case. They tend to stick in the case a couple of millimetres more than my other reeds. I guess the might now have a lower heart but are just lower in general.

When i said they were transparent, I noted that because after warm-ups, when I brought my reed into the light, they were very easy to see through. I never mentioned that they were waterlogged because, after 4 hours of playing, they never felt softer or degraded in playing qualities.

Here is a picture of my reeds. From left to right, good reeds to outstanding reeds.

Could this also be because it's winter time so the instrument is more resistant?

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 Re: Resistant clarinet?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-10 23:08

GenEric wrote:

>I found that they have a shallower lower
> end of the reed when I placed them in my reed case. They tend
> to stick in the case a couple of millimetres more than my other
> reeds.

You realize, don't you, that the blue box VDs are made from "traditional" (thin)blanks as distinguished from the "thick blank" reeds that include V.12, 56 Rue, Gonzalez, and, I think (but I haven't measured them - Bob Bernardo, correct me if I'm wrong) Steuer Exclusives and Classics as well as Rico Grand Concert Thick Blank reeds? Not only would they go under those case restraints farther, but ligatures need to be closed down farther to hold them. That's a design feature. Have you tried any of the thick blank reeds?

In theory, BTW, the thicker blanks are supposed to produce more vibration and less resistance than thinner ones because the cut goes deeper, into softer wood farther away from the hard outer bark. A #4 "Traditional" (blue box) reed is expected to feel harder than a #4 V.12, for example.

Your reactions to anything in the equipment realm are always individual and players use all of the alternatives or, as I've already suggested, the manufacturers wouldn't make them all.



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