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 Clarinet buzz
Author: Aly 
Date:   2019-05-25 02:45

Hello. I have a vintage wooden clarinet, a Boosey and Hawkes Emperor. It has a problem with an occaisional buzzing resonating sound that comes with the over the break B. I have stripped it, cleaned and oiled it, reseated one pad (a different one), checked all pads are seated correctly and not leaking also it's regulation as in the two B and C keys are coming down together. I replaced the crows foot cork. Initially changing the bell seemed to help but there appears to be nothing wrong with the original. no loose rings etc. I was playing it with my vandoren mouthpieces but was advised to use a larger bore mouth piece to suit the large bore of the clarinet. I have a Boosey and Hawkes mouthpiece which if memory serves came with it a couple of years ago but is not the model that originally went with the emperor. The problem persists even with this mouthpiece that I don't really like anyway.
Has anyone any suggestions as to why this is happening and solutions please? Thanks

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-25 02:52

Only one - take off the register key and clean out the vent tube. It's the only hole that's open on the clarinet when you play long B(4).

Of course, we don't know from your post how you know the pads aren't leaking. How do you test the pads for a seal?


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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Aly 
Date:   2019-05-25 03:36

Hi. I recently went on a repair course and instead of cigarette papers was taught to use the tape from cassett tapes. As I reassembled I checked the seal on all the pads using this method and all seemed a good fit except the one I reseated. Im wondering now whether I should just go ahead and replace that one pad.
Thanks though. ill take the register key off again but I did give it a clean out.

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-05-25 03:54

If it's metallic buzzing there may be two keys that are in contact that should not be (such as the L "B" and "C#" levers).

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

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-05-25 03:55

Firstly, are the pads seating firmly enough? A weak spring allowing a pad to bounce can cause this. If that isn't the answer, try cutting a piece of plastic food wrap (Saran Wrap, Gladwrap, whatever) large enough to cover a tone hole and slide it under the large lower pads one at a time and see if this indicates which pad is causing the problem. The buzzing should stop when you find the bad pad. Sometimes a pad that looks OK will still cause a buzz if the surface skin is a bit loose or if it has a split which may not be readily visible.
With regard to mouthpieces, while the Emperor, Edgware, Regent and Imperial have a slightly larger bore than is normal today they will all play well with a standard French-style mouthpiece. I have example of all of these and I play them with either a Vandoren M13 or a Fobes CF+. The 1010 and the Symphony have a larger bore and require a require a different mouthpiece.

I endorse KDK's suggestions above.

Tony F.

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2019-05-25 03:59

I once had an issue with the side trill keys. They were touching and setting up a vibration.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Steven Ocone 
Date:   2019-05-25 05:13

Skin pads often have two layers that can buzz against each other. Sometimes ironing the offending pad can cure the buzz. I sometimes have success locating the buzz with a homemade stethoscope (a tube stuck in my ear). Some one else plays while I try to locate the buzz.

Steve Ocone

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Aly 
Date:   2019-05-26 14:45

Thanks. I was checking as I put all the keys back on. I will look again tho.

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: Aly 
Date:   2019-05-26 14:47

Thanks. They are leather pads forgot to mention in original post.

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-05-26 16:24

One of the screws holding a flat spring may want to be tightened - last time I encounters this problem (on a students instrument) this was the source of trouble.

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 Re: Clarinet buzz
Author: rdc 
Date:   2019-06-01 19:26

Since no one has mentioned it, I'll just throw this out.

Could your problem be a reed that is too hard and/or unbalanced at the point where the mouthpiece facing starts?

An embouchure that has to bite to compensate for either of these problems can produce a buzz in the sound that is especially prominent on the B.

Of course, since we can't hear the buzz, it could still be caused by the instrument as others have mentioned. The only problem that I would think you could eliminate would be a pad skin buzzing, since the pads are leather.

Robert Chest

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