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 Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-16 00:14

Happy MLK day!

I just got back from a long winter break and finished a long rehearsal with a guest conductor. Rehearsal hours were long so as the conductor was talking to the brass, even though I should've been listening, I got some time to do some thinking and reflect on some random questions.

Tarnish) During the winter break, I sent my instrument to a music store to get a yearly check up. It's a pretty popular music store in my area so my instrument was there for a good 2 weeks. During this time, the clarinet built up some pretty nasty tarnish some that is even blue and brown in color, especially on the trill keys so it's pretty hard to reach. I don't mind it but if I don't get it cleaned, will it damage or remove the plating over time if I don't get it professionally cleaned? How do I prevent this in the mean time? I'm pretty sure i'ts my mouthpiece because most of the tarnish is in areas where it is close to the mouthpiece in the case.

reed strength/biting) In the band, our repertoire consisted of 2 slow pieces. I noticed that during those pieces, my mouth was tired and my lower lip hurt because I was biting on some of the notes. I also noticed that although my upper register sounds very full, my lower register notes were dull and fuzzy and while initiating a note, my tongue would come off the reed and there was a spitty sound 50% of the time. I believe those are all symptoms of having a reed too hard. Although I'd like to move to a softer reed, I think it won't let me sound as good on the upper register and play altissimo notes.

Thoughts?



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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-16 02:54

If you use a good approach to embouchure and the right reed strength for your mouthpiece, there's no reason why you'd need to sacrifice one register to improve another. If you can't produce a full, controlled sound over the entire compass, it's time to get help in reevaluating your approach to producing the tone.

Karl

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2018-01-16 16:54

Substantial tarnish in 2 weeks is unusual. The shop may need an exhaust system for their acid bath.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-01-16 20:16

So, Winter break and your axe was in the shop. Don't draw too many conclusions until you're back in shape. Two weeks is a long time for an embouchure.

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-17 04:08

Yeah, after a couple of rehearsals, my embouchure is getting back to shape all my complaints are going away.

However, I'm sort of concerned about the silver tarnish. I think my clarinet has a more "sensitive silver." I've realized that my clarinet easily tarnishes. Even before leaving it in the store for 2 weeks, my clarinet showed some pretty bad signs of tarnish from brown/gold colored tarnish on the thumb rest, and the 3 "ring" key on the lower joint. Is there a solution to this? I feel like my CSVR might not have the anti tarnish coating or something because the other clarinets in the section look fine.



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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-17 06:46

They sell polishing cloths for silver. All you really do is wipe the cloth over the silver area a few times and it's gone. for the tight areas use the cloth and maybe cut a piece of the cloth to fit that area and a small object to to fit into the area and rub the cloth using that object. Sometime a piece of a broken reed is ideal.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-17 08:20

Biting is never a good thing. Try a lighter strength reed. Your lips shouldn't hurt.

At the ClarinetFest 2017 I saw a number of mouthpieces with patches on the beaks of the mouthpieces and holes dug through the patches. This is pretty much wrong and these players need new instructors, because they won't ever get that sweet clarinet sound. Another issue I was these really thick patches right against the tip of the mouthpiece, so the tip of the mouthpiece was way too thick. These patches should be placed behind the tip and shouldn't really be very thick.

It kind of saddened me when I was at the Fest. Seeing college kids buying expensive gear with the hopes that their sound would be fixed! Not so. $500 to $700 mouthpieces, $10,000 clarinets.

Also if you bite in general, you will most likely bite harder above high C to hit these notes. Mainly G, A, B, and C, plus the sharps and flats between these notes.

It's not your fault! I think everyone goes through this rough time and frankly not enough music has been written for these notes. So try playing violin etudes.

Hope this helps concour the biting problems.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2018-01-17 08:25)

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2018-01-17 10:38

I'm trying to imitate Anthony McGills sound, especially the sound he makes in the Copland Concerto and Brahms sonata in this video. I really like his sound and I'm trying to get it to sound like that with a little more emphasis on the tongue and projection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyXm0__laLY

I feel like I can sound like him when I use harder reeds because it makes my clarion register sound really nice. The sacrifice I have to pay is that the Chalumeau register sounds fuzzy and it's a bit harder to play. I'll try a box of 3.0 reeds and see how it goes. Any idea how he manages to sound that rich and mellow even in the lower register?

As for tarnish, I'll buy a silver polishing cloth and see how it goes. However, I don't think this can be a long term solution. I'll try to talk to my repair man and see what the problem is.

I do agree with Bob. Although I try to keep my setup as simple as possible, it does get overwhelming some days because you just don't sound good and you think your gear is holding you back. I try to to have a simple setup with no fancy ligatures, barrels, etc. I feel like there is a sense of pride when you can make a basic setup play really well which is why I even thought about playing my marching clarinet to show my classmates that don't need a professional instrument to sound good.



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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: gatto 
Date:   2018-01-17 19:22

By the way, in this video McGill plays an RC Prestige, right?

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-01-19 04:43

I use the 3M anti tarnish strips in the case for my instruments with silver plate or solid silver. They stay perpetually shiny. If I leave, for example a flute,on the stand for a couple of days I will notice that the shine fulls but if I catch it in time a fresh strip in the case will clean it.

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-01-19 08:41

I've recently started using those 3M strips. How do you know when it's time to replace them?

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 Re: Just some random questions: biting, reed strength, tarnish, etc
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-01-19 09:14

Only had blue keys once. Bit the bullet, pulled them off, and used the same stuff I use on the inherited silverware from my dad. There's a whole industry out there devoted to tarnish on silver, though unfortunately it doesn't concern itself with the effect of its products on fish skin clarinet pads. So, caution is advised. But on the upside, the blue never came back.

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