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 Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Ben Shaffer 
Date:   2019-03-08 00:01

You know when I was playing today, I realized I never use the top 3 Trill Keys and don't think I'll ever use them in this lifetime
Is there reason why I can't just remove them and obviously tape the holes?
There is a practical reason I'd be up for doing this... I have super bad tendinitis in my left thumb, so any way I can reduce the weight of the Clarinet is a big plus. I've never seen this done
I only play in a couple of church bands so could care less how it would look.
This is somewhat common for folks playing Irish Flute to have one or even several holes taped up for keys never used and I can't say there is any difference in sound because of it

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-08 00:33

Besides losing the A natural to B natural trill, the A natural to Bb trill, the Bb to C trill, the second side key from the bottom is part of your alternate throat F# (Gb).



Of course you are probably aware of that. You are correct about keys adding a lot of weight but any more permanent modification (filling holes using epoxy or super glue and African Blackwood dust) would pretty much destroy your resale value.


You might try florist's clay or that soft, gooey gray artist's pencil eraser stuff to fill the holes yourself (as a temporary yet more solid than tape option).


Personally I'd address the tendinitis with that bigass Kooiman thumb rest (metal one) or even a neck strap (my suggestion for a last resort before taking keys off).


But it's an interesting idea. Let us know if it works for you.






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



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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-03-08 00:53

Actually just removing my alternate G#/D# key from the bottom joint makes a noticeable difference, so you are right- taking those keys off will reduce weight. And if you don't ever need the trills that Paul mentions above (plus, I have met very find players who don't use the F# chromatic option very often) you might as well try it out. You may find rubber plugs a good solution for closing the holes (a repair friend of mine has these for when he's testing the seal) or as a temporary solution blue tack etc. I'd advise against using the various forms of tape, but I suppose it would work.
Someone I knew who closed off the chromatic Eb/Bb key filled the hole with a carefully shaped cork, and this worked as a good permanent solution but was quite tricky to do (had to mill the cork to a cylinder that was just slightly oversized, and sealed the top side with shellac). This will also only work on holes that aren't undercut, but the trill keys usually are just cylindrical holes so that would work.

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Ben Shaffer 
Date:   2019-03-08 01:46

Update,
removed the 3 offending keys and Duck Taped the Holes
It sounds better and weighs less!
( at least in my mind and that's what counts!)
My Wife says however that the 3 squares of grey Duck Tape are pretty ugly

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-08 02:39

Black duck tape? Oooooo......or gaffer's tape (any Guitar Center)......no goo!





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



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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-03-08 03:11

You can buy rubber plugs and trim the excess so they don't go far into the tone hole or stick out from the clarinet body. Duct tape leaves a gooey mess.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-08 03:56

Any thoughts on intonation impact of filling the holes rather than capping them? Is it OK to fill them 5mm deep (like a rubber plug does) or would it be better to make a turned ABS cap with a 1-2mm plug and glue it with something reversible (like barge or contact cement).?

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Ben Shaffer 
Date:   2019-03-08 05:02

no intonation issues with the duct Tape. it makes sense to you this as it much like a pad,

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2019-03-08 05:31

Ben Shaffer wrote:

> no intonation issues with the duct Tape. it makes sense to you
> this as it much like a pad,

Hi Ben,
In your original post you said you had left thumb tendinitis.
Did you mean to say your tendinitis is in your right thumb?
If you do have left thumb tendinitis I cannot see how the weight of the three keys would make any significant difference since the left thumb does not carry much weight.
If you do have tendinitis in your right thumb you may try using a neck strap.
Of course, addressing the problem directly would be your best solution if it is treatable at all.



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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Philip Caron 
Date:   2019-03-08 06:23

There must be lighter weight materials that keys could be made of, no?

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2019-03-08 06:36

When Buffet's Francois Kloc came through Montreal, he gave one-on-one sessions with clarinetists. I asked him about the importance of cleaning out the residue in the top side trill tone holes. He became quite animated and explained that the acoustics of a clarinet are based on, among other things, its total internal volume. Kloc pointed out that this internal volume includes the space in all the tone hole "shafts" between the outside and inside of the clarinet. According to Kloc, the more those shafts have material in them, the more the acoustics of the instrument are thrown off, since the internal volume is reduced.
Kloc was referring to residue. If he is correct about the physics, I imagine the deleterious effect to which he was referring would be increased if you plugged the top trill keys with a material that entered the tone hole shafts, since you would reduce the total internal volume appreciably.

Just a thought,
Simon

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-08 08:38

Kloc's assertions sound reasonable but.........when you undercut a tone hole you remove material. This makes the total volume bigger (albeit a minute amount). But undercutting causes the pitch to go up......??!!??


I like the direction things where going when Phillip Caron suggested different key materials. Ya know, since the 18th century we have come up with a lighter rigid material called carbon fiber. Maybe we can put Francois Kloc on this for the next high end Buffet. Maybe we can call it the Tour de France.




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



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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-03-08 17:25

The tone hole volume issue did occur to me. Also, I don't know if the tone holes line up with any major nodes / antinodes. An experiment is in order.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-03-08 17:39

Ben Shaffer wrote:

> You know when I was playing today, I realized I never use the
> top 3 Trill Keys and don't think I'll ever use them in this
> lifetime

Well, if nothing else, losing the side Bb fingering would be too bad - if you've never used it, you should experiment with it. It's a much better-sounding fingering for throat Bb than A+RK for many passages that don't involve crossing the "break."

> Is there reason why I can't just remove them and obviously
> tape the holes?

I think the easiest way for you to get an answer to this question is just to do it and see what happens. If there are tuning issues that result, the keys are easily put back after any tape residue is cleaned up. You can experiment with tape, rubber stoppers, cork stoppers, etc. and see if if any of them works better or cause less of an unintended effect on response or tuning.

The answer you get will likely be more useful to you from a practical point of view than any educated guessing folks here will come up with.

Karl

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: RKing 
Date:   2019-03-08 18:02

Like the earlier post, I also assume you are talking about your right thumb and I certainly share your pain. My right thumb can hurt so bad after a few minutes that I cannot play on. So I have been working over the past few years to help myself alleviate the pain.

First, I have tried all the thumb rest cushions as well as the Kooiman with no luck.

Raising the thumb rest helped a lot. I now use a Buffet adjustable thumb rest with the strap hole and I have it positioned about 1/2 inch higher than the original.

I use a neck strap. Not the bouncy rubber ones, but a solid saxophone strap.

I have learned to balance the bell of the clarinet on my right leg.

Also for practice, I have switched from my R-13 to a lighter weight plastic Yamaha 255. It is only 2.6 ounces lighter than the Buffet, but it makes a world of difference in how long you can play before the pain kicks in. With my regular mouthpiece, I can make pretty good music through that lighter horn and if I were to start stripping trill keys, I would rather deface a $600 horn than one of my good ones.

I injured my right wrist in an accident and over the years I have gone through the usual pain injections with limited success. I finally went back to a hand specialist and learned that several of my carpal bones have been grinding together and the situation has gotten much worse. My hand hurts all the time - not just when I am trying to play the clarinet.

So I bit the bullet and am scheduled for surgery next week. The doctors are basically planning to "complete the fusion properly" and will fuse my trapezium and trapezoid bones to the scaphoid. If this works out, I should be free of pain and should be able to resume normal activities, including the clarinet, within a couple of months.

Best of luck with your situation, too.

Cheers,

Ron



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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Ben Shaffer 
Date:   2019-03-08 19:21

Hey Ron,
I can help you out with minimizing right Thumb pain.
Get a small board not thick about 3 inches by 15 inches.
Stick it under your right thigh and let about 5 inches stick out in the front.
You then rest the Bell of the Clarinet on the board.
You can certainly do this at home when practicing, I know I do.
You could bring it when you play in Public, you might get a funny look or 2 but if it relieves the pain thats great.
I have never had other Clarinetists even comment when they see it, that also goes for Conductors as well.
And no the sound is not muffled by having the edge of the bell resting on this board.
Its actually pretty discreet.
I use this when practicing and rarely use it in public.
Its allowed me to practice as long as I like and my right thumb during practice is pain free.



Post Edited (2019-03-08 19:24)

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: RKing 
Date:   2019-03-08 22:12

Thanks! Your idea worked quite well.

I had to add some more spacers to the end of the board to raise the bell and straighten my posture. I guess our torso heights are different.

But the board worked very well and it certainly helped save my thumb.

Cheers,

Ron

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2019-03-09 00:25

A small piece of black Gorilla duct tape, thick so it won't leak, every durable. Just use a small piece.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-09 03:25

I plug up the toneholes on keys that aren't used with cork pads around 0.5mm wider than the tonehole they're plugging as that's not going to contaminate the wood with sticky or damage the finish, or even tear out bits of wood when it's removed.

Some reduced keywork clarinets don't have the top joint trill keys or side F# key and if you can do without them if they are prone to being caught accidentally, your best bet is to plug up the toneholes and leave the keys on so it doesn't matter if you catch them or not. That way, the keys and screws are still where you know where they are instead of put somewhere else and may end up lost and replacements will be expensive. Leaving the keys on is also better as that will protect the tonehole from damage (unless it's a Buffet and the toneholes are already chipped anyway).

I plug up the top joint LH3 Eb/Bb sliver key on my clarinets and have done that for others who have trouble with that key as they either catch it accidentally (especially on Eb clarinet) or just don't use it and would rather disable it than remove it completely.

Chris.

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2019-03-10 05:49

I've got a bunch of old clarinets which I have "patched up" over the years just for something to practice on and keep the mileage off my pro Buffets. I have used various methods of covering holes, pads, etc. including various tapes including even scotch tape. Take the keys off since you don't use them and do some covering that works.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)


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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: audio96 
Date:   2019-03-23 16:28

Before you start messing with the removing keys, I strongly suggest getting a clarinet neck strap and try that out. It's just like a sax neck strap and costs about $20. It usually comes with a piece of leather with a cut in it that allows it to go around the thumb rest. I also find it limits the travel of instrument outward and helps keeps your head from dropping down. I've seen a number of players use these, even professionals. By using a neck strap, it also frees up the right hand and wrist to be more relaxed.

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: smp 
Date:   2019-03-23 17:15

I'll just echo the above and say get a neckstrap and keep the keys. But, if you absolutely insist on removing these keys for whatever reason: use something impermanent to cover the holes lest residue builds up and affects your tone.

Seth Price, student
“Alto clarinets are the violas of woodwinds.”

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Bill 
Date:   2019-03-28 18:55

Don't do this!

Bill Fogle
Ellsworth, Maine
(formerly Washington, DC)


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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-29 11:33

Neck straps/slings do bugger all for posture or weight bearing on your right arm if the weight of the instrument is an issue. You're much better off using a support such as the RDG Bhob, but you will need a thumbrest fitted with a ring that lines up with the bore instead of sideways (perpendicular to the bore).

With a sling, you still have to push up with your right arm to get the playing posture you desire, otherwise the instrument will just want to point due south. If you have a curved barrel or metal crook with a considerable bend in it like a curved soprano sax crook, that will help keep the mouthpiece at a decent angle even though the instrument itself is pointing downwards.

Straight instruments aren't really designed to be supported by a sling and will naturally tip forwards/downwards as they'll want to hang upside down given where they hang from the hook. The only thing stopping that happening is your right hand and your top teeth.

Chris.

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 Re: Removing the top 3 trill keys?
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2019-03-29 15:16

There's this thing too. https://www.reeds-direct.co.uk/clarinet-support-to-suppliment-the-use-o.html

It takes all the weight off the right hand. You can play an open G with both hands off if you really want to. Or play a one handed clarinet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vci-D7OmKU&feature=youtu.be

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