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 A Clarinet troubles
Author: SymphonyofMajesty 
Date:   2018-09-01 02:56

I have borrowed a very old Buffet crampon r13 A Clarinet from my teacher, and it doesn't seem to be functioning properly. It worked fine during our lesson and the day after, but it has been wacky since. When I play the lowest notes, they come out 12 notes higher as if I pushed the register key. Also, the altissimo notes and any note involving the c# key do not speak. I have examined the instrument and nothing seems visually wrong. It has not been outside and has been cared for properly. I have heard it may be the alignment of the joints, but even if I alter the alignment, something goes wrong. I am able to play the full range of the instrument on my b flat instrument, so it has nothing to do with my technique. I also have an audition in a week in which I must play the Mozart clarinet concerto, the first movement and I need to be getting used to this foreign instrument, not scrambling to fix it. Maybe because it's a junior Philharmonic they will allow it to be played on my b flat?



Post Edited (2018-09-01 02:58)

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-09-01 03:23

My guess is a leak. Try a negative an positive pressure test to the upper and lower joint. I would further guess a higher pad is malfunctioning. Look at the LH "G#" key. If the adjustment screw is too far in, that pad will leak (there should always be a little play between the "A" and "G#" key." Also the pad below the "A Key" can be hard to visualize unless you take of the "G#" and "A" keys.





................Paul Aviles



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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-01 05:31

Also, when you check that the pad for the a key+g# is closing, check that the flat spring under the a key is allowing it to close--I have had problems with this, where it worked fine one day, the next it was "dragging" plus also may have dug a little groove into the plate... Writing on phone in hurry, but I think you can work out what I mean

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-09-01 06:47

You have an audition in a week, so you don't really have time to spend trying to figure this out for yourself. Certainly, check to see that the throat G# is closing. Cut a very narrow strip of thin plastic wrap, put it over the hole so the pad closes on it, and see if there's a tug or if the plastic just slides out. Test at least four points around the circumference of the pad - 12,3,6 and 9 o'clock. If there is good contact between the pad and the pad seat, then that isn't probably where the leak is. You can try the same thing to test whether other pads are seating (this is more specific than just doing a pressure or vacuum test, which will only tell you if SOMEthing is leaking or not).

But, apart from perhaps adjusting the screw in the G# key if it turns out not to be closing firmly, you'll be better off getting someone who knows what he or she is doing to fix whatever has gone wrong.

How accessible is your teacher? Is there a repair shop nearby? If you take the instrument to a repairman, ask your teacher first - it's his clarinet and he may have a preference of repair people or may want to look at it himself first. Don't spend too much time trying to figure this out for yourself. You need to practice on a functioning instrument.

Whether or not the audition judges will accept your playing it on a Bb clarinet without a penalty depends completely on the rules and the judges (obviously, they can't stop you from doing it, but they will know you're playing in the wrong key and may dock your score). If you have a way to contact someone in authority with the junior Philharmonic, you can always ask. The worst that can happen is that the answer will be "no."

Karl

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-09-01 06:54

SymphonyofMajesty wrote:

> Also, the
> altissimo notes and any note involving the c# key do not speak.

As I think about this, I have to ask - which "C# key" do you mean? And regardless of which key, what notes other than C# involve the key in question? Which specific notes are you saying don't speak?

> I have examined the instrument and nothing seems visually
> wrong.

Not everything that goes wrong is easy to spot visually. And, of course, you need to have a good idea of what things are supposed to look like when they're right. That's not meant as criticism - you don't necessarily have the experience, from your own self-description, to know if everything looks OK or it doesn't. Get someone with more knowledge and experience to help. You're too short on time to make this a DIY project.

Karl

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: SymphonyofMajesty 
Date:   2018-09-01 08:08

Thank you for your advice, Karl. The music shop he takes his clarinet to has a 1 month wait for repairs, so I watched a couple YouTube videos but I still don't feel comfortable changing the pads on my own. I contacted my teacher and he said it might be that the instrument hasn't been played in several years or the joint alignment.

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-09-02 00:03

SymphonyofMajesty wrote:

> It worked fine during our lesson and the day after...

It sounds like something changed, not the kind of problem that comes up from disuse, which would be obvious immediately.

You borrowed this one because you don't own one of your own, I assume. It's also possible that you just aren't used to playing an A clarinet. The finger stretches are **slightly** wider, so you may not cover everything without practice. Also, historically, A clarinets at one time tended (with exceptions) to be more generally resistant than Bb clarinets. Is this one an old instrument?

None of this would explain why it seemed to play well when you first tried it but then stopped working two days later. Unless you've simply begun to tense up as the audition gets closer.

Have you tried playing slow, smooth diatonic scales on the instrument? Do you have problems with the same notes that you mentioned in your original post? You may have already tried it, but if not, spend a half hour or an hour away from the Mozart, just playing slow scales and whatever other rudiments (scales in thirds, arpeggios, chromatic scales, etc.) are part of your normal routine. Not new material, not Mozart and not fast. Be sure you're covering the open holes completely. You'll find out more easily which notes have response problems. Or that when you're careful about fingering, the problems go away.

Try, if you haven't already, checking the throat G# key's closure as in the previous posts. Also, check to see (with the piece of feeler plastic I described) if the register key pad is closing firmly. If it's binding, it might not close when you release it after playing clarion or altissimo register notes.

Getting a firm handle on what exactly isn't working may be hugely important in fixing the problem or finding a workaround (a mechanical first-aid solution to get through the audition).

Because of your restricted time frame, there really still isn't a good substitute for getting someone knowledgeable - your teacher ideally - to try the clarinet and see if the problems you're having are mechanical ones.

Again, from my last post, "which 'C# key' do you mean? And regardless of which key, what notes other than C# involve the key in question? Which specific notes are you saying don't speak?" If we knew which specific notes are involved, it might focus any ideas about what the problem could be and what might fix it.

Karl

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: SymphonyofMajesty 
Date:   2018-09-02 09:15

Thank you again. I have figured out that nothing seems to be wrong with the g Sharp key, but the low notes E, F, F Sharp, and g come out as if I've pressed the register key and all altissimo notes above the a above the staff come out strangled no matter how I change my embrochure or air support. The c Sharp key is the one after the third hole on he instrument that is also used for g Sharp and the altissimo f.

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2018-09-02 11:23

So take the top joint (by itself); cover the holes with your left fingers as if playing; plug the bottom with the heal of your right hand (fleshy part at base of thumb); then place mouth at top and blow. What happens?


You should feel the pressure against your fingertips, but no air should leak out and you should hear no air leaking out. This is the positive pressure test.


Now do the same thing, but drabs of air IN (using tongue....if you do this sort of thing with a coke bottle, your lips and teeth will eventually start to be pulled into the bottle). What happens?


You should feel the tips of your fingers being pulled down into the tone holes, the heal of your right thumb being pulled into the bottom and your lips being pulled into the top. It should hold this pressure until your release your lips (or fingers or heal of right thumb). This is a negative pressure test.


You can do the same thing with the bottom joint. You just need to hold the right hand "B" key down as well as cover the holes with your right hand.


With the bottom joint, you do get the "Ab/Eb" key to flop open with positive pressure, but it should take a little effort.




.............Paul Aviles



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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-09-04 03:58

Google how to check for a leak on the lower register. There's a few threads.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: William 
Date:   2018-09-05 01:09

cork grease tube stuck in bore???

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 Re: A Clarinet troubles
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-05 08:25

"cork grease tube stuck in the bore?", I actually had that with my A clarinet a week or so back... was quite alarming for about 10/15 sec....

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