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 Bb to A Clarinet Problems
Author: the3n9 
Date:   2018-04-07 17:37

Hey everyone,
So for a chamber music group I am in (first rehearsal starting tomorrow!), I had to switch from my Bb clarinet to an A clarinet. I've never had problems with squeaking on my Bb (a good Normandy model), but am having trouble with the clarion register C sharp, C natural, and B flat coming out right on my A model (which I've only been playing for three days or so). I blow fast, strong air into my instrument, but it starts that unwanted buildup to the squeak, and the notes sound like that bridge between airy and squeaky. Does anyone know how to fix this? And is there usually a change the clarinetist has to go through when going from Bb to A? (I've played bass clarinet before too without squeaking issues)

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 Re: Bb to A Clarinet Problems
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-04-07 19:44

It sounds like there's a leak, since the clarion C#, C, and B are all long-tube notes. what about the notes a 12th below, without the register key?

-- Ray Zhang

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 Re: Bb to A Clarinet Problems
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2018-04-08 00:37

The first action is to have the instrument checked over for any obvious problems.

You don't say if your A clarinet is the same make/model as the Bb. In general the A can be a little more resistant than the Bb but not enough to cause any problem and something you should quickly adapt to.

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 Re: Bb to A Clarinet Problems
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-04-08 02:09

I'll second (third?) naming a leak as a likely culprit. This could be something you've gotten used and have learned to accommodate, and now the change in resistance between the A clarinet and the Bb is upsetting your accommodation.

If it isn't a leak, it could be the slightly different finger stretch between the two instruments. The A clarinet RH will be slightly more spread than the RH will be on the Bb. You could be missing a hole by a hair. That's something that you just have to get used to. One thing to do is always practice your music on the instrument you'll be using to perform it. Make the instrument switch even when woodshedding at home so you get used to the feel of each instrument in the music you're playing on it.


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 Re: Bb to A Clarinet Problems
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2018-04-09 01:09

Good suggestions from Karl.

I would go even further and suggest you do at least 50% of your regular practice on the A instrument.

1. it aclimatises you to the A
2. it makes playing back on the Bb seem even free-er
3. it spreads the wear across the instruments

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