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 Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-14 14:16

Hello all,
The last weeks have been somewhat crazy, and some commitments might turn overwhelm me eventually,
Anyways, I'm going to play bass clarinet in our symphonic band.
Getting to know this instrument in such a short time - our concert is in the last week of march - I'm looking for some general tipps on embouchure, voicing, mouthpiece choice. Don't ask me why people think this a good idea, seems like they expect it to work... A little ambitous with pieces like "Hymm to the Sun", I suppose.

Some basic observation on these instruments in my opinion is that the air column that you can feel vibrating within you, all the way down to the diaphragm requires you to "open" your embouchure in order not to squeak with the low notes. Other than that, I'm not really sure what must be considered playing these instruments? Am I supposed to "just do it?"
I have a Vito alto here for another project and have gotten used to it very well, with a B44 mouthpiece, there's little to do wrong, IMHO.
What can I expect from bass?

These questions might seem ridiculous and I did already try out bass clarinets, but not really practice on them! Unfortunately, there still needs to be a decision on much our orchestra is going to finance the rent - there's a Leblanc and another low C instrument to chose from, but they let me wait till handing them out - and I'm expected to pick one instrument more or less instaneously.
On alto, the B44 should go at least with 3 strength reeds, which is not at all tiring. For starters, what kind of mpc/reed combo is affordable? So far, the only alternative is to play on is a stock Buffet prestige mouthpiece that the other bass player received with his clarinet, and I'd like to avoid using that, knowing how terrible these mpc's are....

Best regards

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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2018-02-14 18:05

My best advise is not to appoach it like a clarinet especially when you go above the staff. Keep your throat as opened, that's relaxed, as possible, voice more like the low register of a clarinet when you go up high, not like you might normaly do with your clarinet. It's imperative that the instrument does not leak and that the automatic register key works properly. I always suggest taking as much mouthpiece as you can and than back off little by little until you find your comfort spot. It's OK to be a little flexible, taking slightly more or less in the upper and lower registers, experiment. The higher you go the lower you should try to voice. Some people take to it easily and some don't, hopefully you will. As far as a mouthpiece and reed, if you have a choice try as many as possible, if you don't, try to match the reed to the MP as well as possible. Some take a stronger reed, others a softer reed, no way to tell you what you will need. Good luck.


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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2018-02-14 18:59

For voicing, I found overtone exercises helpful. Try fingering C4 (T123). Then without using the octave key play a G a 12th higher. Then an E above that. Play these 3 notes up and down a few times. Then try a fingering 1/2 step up or down. Ascend and descend until the notes won’t speak. Try to extend your range the next day.

After doing this I find the notes really lock in (voice) when using the normal fingerings.
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC

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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2018-02-14 22:11

May I add i have more informantion on my website, check it out. I've taught many clarinet players and doublers how to play correctly very successfully.


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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2018-02-15 17:38

My advice is:

Don't expect to be proficient in less than a month. Voicing on the bass clarinet is very different than the Bb. As Eddie says, it comes easier to some than to others. A firm embouchure is necessary, but any biting will lead to immediate disaster.

Two things are essential. The bass clarinet must seal. If you inherit a leaky old school owned bass clarinet - well good luck. Also, don't fall victim to the tendency to use too soft a reed. A softer reed will make you sound big in the lowest register, but will not be able to support stable tone production in the clarion.

I have some extensive tips on my website under "Bass Clarinet Tips".

Walter Grabner
New Arrivals of Buffet R13's, Festivals, and Legendes

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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-16 13:53

Thanks for the advice everyone. I too found out that a leaky bass clarinet is particularly difficult to play and don't really look forward to an older instrument that I'm not allowed to service in any way (but have to give to a guy who thinks more of himself than knows of clarinet repair... sigh...). It seemed like it came relatively easy to me, but still!

So if if any of these factors (my skill, the instrument, time) turns out to be insufficient, I'm going to cancel this project. That being said, the gear4music low C bass looks interesting, probably being identical to the Kessler and Sons bass and it might just order one for trial, as they have a 30-day-money-back guarantee.

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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-20 03:00

Got the Leblanc 930 Low c bass today. Great instrument, but came with a B45 - better then nothing. I could play all notes pretty well during rehearsal and didn't eel like having a problem with the different voicing and embouchure - in fact, it feels pretty awesome and people seemed pleased with the sound (my bass colleague sure was!)
Of course the instrument had to have been overhauled in a mediocre way, with the lower pads lacking height and thus the LH pinky levers touching each other. The clarion B didn't respond well, but that wasn't me.
3 1/2 Vandoren reeds seemed a bit too much, and I had one or two squeaks with he lowest notes, which again might be due to one pad not sealing ok.
Seems I'm going to do some adjustments "illegally", but otherwise, it's a great instrument and incredibly much fun to play. For now, I'll order a couple of Pomarico MPCs for trial and practice scales and low notes

Post Edited (2018-02-20 03:02)

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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-20 03:02


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 Re: Becoming a bass player in less than a month
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2018-02-20 03:08
Attachment:  IMG_20180219_234412.jpg (877k)
Attachment:  IMG_20180219_234340.jpg (986k)

Here's a picture of the problem. I'm either going to have to increase the pad height with glue or increase cork height of the connector of the RH C/F Key.
If this was done professionally, shame about the €€ spent.

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