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 Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: kj2008 
Date:   2019-11-16 22:17

The low(est) notes E and F are out of tune during playing.

Here's what I observed with a tuner:
1. When I do long tone practice, these notes are somewhat close to the tune. All other middle and high notes are in tune during this practice.
2. During the playing a music piece, when I move from middle/high note down to those two low notes, they go out of tune (very flat). Moving around middle/high note are in tune.

Any suggestions what might be causing the problem?

The equipment: Buffet E13, Vandoren M13 Lyre, Rue Lepic 56 3.5 reed, Rovner 1R Dart and 1R versa

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-16 23:12

I'm not totally sure what the problem is yet. However most likely the horn can be adjusted. When hitting the octave key is the middle B and C in tune?\ or are these middle notes flat too?

There are a few things you can try, try some different barrels. Maybe look for a barrel with a reverse taper, such as the Moennig barrels, but they aren't always made correctly., meaning the taper is off. The Vandoren M series mouthpieces are a bit longer than other mouthpieces and the bore may be too large. So try another mouthpiece. If the B and C notes are low in pitch try a shorter bell.

So you have to experiment a bit and see if you can get to pitch doing the above ideas. If this doesn't work see a repairman that is great with tuning horns. This is tricky finding the perfect setup. It can take time and patience. I don't know the bore dimensions of the E13 so I can't fix the problem at this point. But if you follow the above information you should be able to fix this yourself. The first thing I'd do is try some other mouthpieces and see if this helps.

A few repairmen have had interesting results with moving the octave key forward on R13's, but no idea if this will work on an E13.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-16 23:47

If you are relatively new to clarinet or new to tuning with a tuner, it is helpful to know that the Boehm system was basically designed so that the middle line "B" and "C" would be slightly sharp and the corresponding (same fingering) low "E" and "F" would be slightly flat. If you're set up is adjusted so that you are "just in tune" for a majority of notes (riding that line of just so, but almost going flat) then your low "E" and low "F" will always be really flat.

I tune so that the open "G" is comfortably "in the middle." By that I mean that I can adjust about as much SHARPER as I can FLATTER with my normal, relaxed embouchure keeping the pitch in the middle. Even with that, I find loud iterations of the low "E" and "F" being sometimes a bit flat. But that is the nature of the Boehm system.

Now if you're a more experienced player and have used a tuner for years and are now just experiencing this odd turn of events............we need more information.

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

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: kj2008 
Date:   2019-11-17 02:41

Bob & Paul:
Thank you for your insight on my question.
Bob's comment on possible adjustment of the horn gave me an idea of trying my old B12 (which I hardly use now). Guess what, those low notes are all in tune (yet slightly flat as Paul indicated their tendency but nothing like I experienced with E13) and the rest of notes are pretty much in tune. So, E13 will need to be adjusted by a professional repairman.
On Paul's comment whether I am new or experienced, I picked up the clarinet after my retirement 5 years ago as my hobby and for pastime. I am a DIY learner and took some online training courses from Michelle Anderson's (both beginner and intermediate). Not much more aspiration beyond just enjoying myself for learning, practice, finding good music pieces to learn,etc.

Once again, thank again for your input.

Kijoon Kim

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-11-17 07:37

I wonder if it’s something to do with the wood. As we all know, grenadilla wood is not stable, so that could have lead to tuning issues that weren’t there before.

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-17 09:00

Michelle is very cool. Tell her hi if you talk with her.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-11-17 19:11

E and F being relatively flatter than the middle B and C is a consequence of the acoustical design of the clarinet. It is a result of there being only one register tube on most soprano clarinets (saxes and oboes use at least two) and it is oversized so that it can double as a throat Bb key. That being said, the problem may be able to be corrected somewhat.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-17 19:21

I don't mean to be a noodge, but German clarinets only have one register key and they are built so that middle line "B" and the "C" are perfectly in tune, but the corresponding low "E" and "F" are considerably flat. Their professional horns then add a tone hole (same size as the lower four we all know and love) whose cup us triggered by a key under the right hand thumb.

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

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2019-11-17 20:25

Well, some German clarinets have separate vents for E and F, and others just have a hole with no pad for both. Often, makers offer different options for that with correspondingly different prices. The horns I got recently do tune B and C slightly high, but with the A especially, it's still very good to get the low note correction tone holes.

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2019-11-18 04:45

You need a stiffer reed so you can blow the notes in tune. An extremely tight embouchure and you can lip them up.

For instance, on the Eb Clarinet, low E is way out of tune but composers don't write for that lowest note, so there's no reason 2 tune it. Now the third space C is way out of tune on Eb as well.

I would suggest going to a strength 4 Vandoren and ditch the Rue Lepic. They are way 2 soft and easy 2 over blow. Try the 21s or the V12s and you'll b fine.

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-11-18 15:04

Low E and F being flat is normal and something you just have to put up with. If they were in tune, your upper register B and C would be sharp, so it's a compromise as it's better to have those notes in tune than having them being sharp.

Live with it - it's part and parcel of the majority of clarinets.


Post Edited (2019-11-18 21:37)

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: MichaelW 
Date:   2019-11-18 20:23
Attachment:  IMG_1399a.jpg (119k)

In German and Oehler clarinets low E and F are always flat, except some modern constructions (S & S, Leitner & Kraus). so professional level Oehler type clarinets mostly have extra vents for E and (the better ones) F correction, with a key for the right hand thumb. see foto.

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 Re: Low E & F notes out of tune
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2019-11-19 18:51

There is also the "extra" low F correction r.h. pinky key on Buffet high end clarinets, the automated version connected to the register key on some Backun models, as well as the Yamaha r.h. thumb key. There are also similar after market solutions, as those offered by Loeff & Pfeiffer. To me that in itself confirms there is a "real" problem in this regard, also on Boehm clarinets. However, the cost of such a mechanism would probably be at the same level as the price for an entire student level clarinet, especially as retro fitted and hand crafted.

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