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 Playing C5 and above on the bass clarient
Author: mmatisoff 
Date:   2021-01-21 11:04

I purchased a used Vito Reso-tone that was played in a high school. After purchasing it, I took it to my repair tech to fix several leaks, several bent keys, and sync the two register keys. I still have two problem areas. First, crossing the break from Bb to B (all keys down) is doable, but with much effort. B using the 2nd from top trill key (B) is easy, and using the right or left pinky E alone is better. Second, I try to play up to C5 (with noted exception), after which the notes break-up (crackle). When I play low C and close the lower register key, there is a lag between the two notes (I fingered the register key with right thumb for this test). Any suggestions would help. Thx.

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 Re: Playing C5 and above on the bass clarient
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2021-01-21 12:31

Are your issues with the long B (just over the break) just related to going chromatically to it from the Bb? If so, leave the right hand down on the Bb when you are going to the B and that way you just have to drop your left hand into position.

If the issue with the long B is that it doesn't speak easily no matter what, take the instrument back to your tech. That note is very stable on every functional bass clarinet I've played. Sometimes sharp and sometimes stuffy, but always stable.

When you say C5, do you mean that in terms of the sounding pitch or the written pitch? Does the 5 refer to the piano octave or the bass clarinet octave? Are you talking about the written C above the staff? An octave up? An octave down?

The lag you are describing when the register key is applied could be related to a mechanical issue if the register mechanism has slop, is binding or if the pad is sticking.

It could also be a voicing issue. The bass clarinet takes much more intentional voicing than the clarinet. If you are coming from the clarinet, you are almost definitely biting too much to try to get these notes to come out. The clarinet lets you get away with that. The bass clarinet does not. Evaluate your tongue position and try to be conscientious about where you are positioning the back of your tongue. Eventually, you should be able to get your instrument to move between the lower register, the clarion and the altissimo without using the register key at all. The notes will be out of tune without the register key, though, so that's mostly just an exercise in moving between partials.

It's tricky to diagnose these things based on the descriptions you've provided. If you have some experience playing the bass clarinet, I would say that your repair person did not do a very good job. I have run into that before, where the repair person just does not know how to make a bass clarinet work well and perhaps has never encountered a player who could tell the difference. Thankfully, my regular techs are excellent. That Vito is not going to set the world on fire, but in good, working order it should be a perfectly functional instrument.

If you can provide more detail about the issues you are having, it would be easier to give more specific advice.

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 Re: Playing C5 and above on the bass clarient
Author: mmatisoff 
Date:   2021-01-23 04:08

Going from Bb to long B. C5 is the sounding pitch using the
TonalEnergy Tuner. The problem only occurs going up an octave.

Another BC suggested that I check FE/B or F/C key to make sure they are closing properly. I discovered two problems. When I placed a piece of pad cleaning tissue under those keys (making sure to check the pad from all sides), I discovered that there is very little resistance in the E keys (left and right pinky). I also checked the lower register key. It, too, is not closing completely. I also noticed that when I play long E, I used my right hand thumb to activate the register key. There is a delay in action.

I've already laid out way too much money on repairs. I'm renting a Giardinelli bass clarinet from a local music store. That at least will tell me how much of the problem is me and how much is the clarinet.

P.S. I am coming from the Bb soprano. I will pay more attention to "biting." I keep throat open and moved my mouth higher on the MP. That help with the over sound.

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