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 Question about A clarinet
Author: charles 
Date:   2002-07-28 04:36

ok well this may be the dumbest question ever. I know alot about clarinet from reading and experiencing and I play alot. But I am now stepping into orchestral playing for the first time, and loving it. Well here is my question, I am trying out a number of A clarinets next week. I have 5 Buffet greenline R13s and 3 Greenline Festivals ( I love the greenline, my r13 is so beautiful) anyways. What I want to know, is for an A clarinet do you have to get a diffrent mouthpiece. I know some of you are smacking your heads right now, or rolling your eyes. But I dont know if it has a special sized mouthpiecce or what. Right now I use a personalized Pyne, and I am wondering if I should get a seperate for my A, or if it needs its own, thanks for your help.

Charles Munden

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: ron b 
Date:   2002-07-28 06:06

I am rolling my eyes and smacking my head. My actions have nothing to do with your post, however :| I just listened to a playback of my latest practice session :
Now, seriously, no matter what you or anyone else says to the contrary, Charles, I've yet to read a 'dumb question' at this site. In fact, I've never heard one elsewhere - as much as I keep looking and listening (I've been told there is such a thing), it just hasn't happened for me. Funny ones, sure; dumb(?) -- nope.
Oh, well...
To the best of my knowledge A clarinets use the same mouthpieces as Bb ones do. In any case some mouthpieces work better than others, depending on a hundred (more or less) different factors. For all practical purposes the mouthpieces are interchangeable.
For tryout purposes you current setup should be fine as long as it's a snug fit to the barrel.

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2002-07-28 11:01


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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: John O'Janpa 
Date:   2002-07-28 12:40

Based on what I have read (not personal experience), if the mouthpiece you have works well on both instruments, the only reason you might want a second mouthpiece would be to simplify fast switches from one instrument to the other. Apparently this can sometimes happen during performances.

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2002-07-28 13:38

Ron, Gordon and John say it well, its a matter of personal choice to satisfy the demands of what music you play. With plenty of time to change horns, using the same mp is prob. the best solution. You may need to use a metal ligature so as to NOT disturb the reed location in the switching of the horns. You might be able to switch mp with barrel attached [more to hold-on to], IF the UJ tenon sizes permit [check for the close matching of both the inside and outside tenon/socket diameters]. IME [in my experience] if the switching must be rapid, only a few measures/seconds, two mps and a "peg" to hold the second cl, with reeds at least damp, is the only solution. Good luck, Don

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Richard 
Date:   2002-07-28 16:11

Have you noticed that boxes of reeds are marked Bb clarinet, but not A as well? Is this an example of French deception?

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2002-07-28 16:49


This is not a dumb question by any stretch of the imagination. As I understand it, the answer is "it depends." A clarinets typically have a smaller bore than their corresponding Bb version. The reason is that the smaller bore allows the "tube" to be shorter which in turn allows for a more comfortable finger-spread. Because of their smaller bore size, A clarinets tend to be more resistant. Therefore, a mouthpiece that seems optimal for one of the clarinets may not necessarily be comfortable with the other. This problem may be exacerbated if the entry bore of the Bb barrel is not the same diameter as the entry bore of the A barrel. In theory, then, it seems to me that a different mouthpiece should be preferable though a mitigating factor is that, if you use a different mouthpiece on both clarinets, you may have to switch suddenly to a "cold" mouthpiece with a dry reed.

In practice, particularly if you are careful in your selection of the A clarinet, the difference in resistance between your Bb and A may be so slight as to be unnoticeable. Therefore, for most players (myself included), the same mouthpiece works fine on both instruments. If you find that your current mouthpiece also plays well on your A, you are set. If you don't like it nearly as well with any of the A's you try, you might want to experiment with a different (probably less resistant) mouthpiece/reed combination. I don't know of any mouthpiece manufacturers who specifically make an A-clarinet mouthpiece. It appears that A clarinets are designed to work with Bb mouthpieces. However, it is possible that you may prefer a different Bb mouthpiece for your A clarinet than you do for your Bb. BTW, although there are a few mouthpiece makers who make mouthpieces specifically for the C clarinet, most players that I have come across use a Bb mouthpiece with that instrument as well.

Best regards,

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2002-07-28 20:37


"The Literature" has much to say about this, a lot of which may be confusing. For that matter, changes in bore size near the top end of the Clarinet can make an enormous difference in several playing characteristics. However, David Pino relates in his book that he was fortunate enough to discover --purely by accident -- a single mouthpiece/barrel combination that performed marvelously, good intonation and all, on each of his primary instruments, Bb and A.

I strongly suggest not holding your breath while waiting to duplicate that feat.

Regards and good luck,

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: charles 
Date:   2002-07-29 01:55

Thank you all very much for your responces, and your information and help. As well as the tolerance of the dumb question haha. I am extremely happy with the equipment I use now mouthpiece wise. I use a pyne mouthpiece as well as a pyne barrel. Good old Bonade front faced ligature, and V12 3 1/2 reeds. So thank you all again, and I cant wait to actually try them out.


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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: ClarinetQween 
Date:   2002-07-29 17:46

Sometimes you really wish that you had two mouthpieces, at least I do!

-ClarinetQween :)

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Paul Harris 
Date:   2002-07-31 05:43

One way to help in changeing the mouthpiece from clarinet to clarinet in a hurry(useing the same mouth piece for both horns), is to change mouth piece and barrel as a unit. If your clarinets are matched and tuned, you probably can use the same barrel on both instruments. I know that the Selmer Recitals that I play have the same bore size at the barrel on both the A and Bb. (I checked using inside micrometers)
Also the instruments match well enough that the same barrel pull puts both instruments in the same range of tuning.
New from the factory, this wasn't the case, but a good tech man was able to make is so. So back to your orginal question, I think that matching your present Bb instrument if you are happy with the way it performs is the most logical route to take, and then having the chariture of the instrument matched to your present horn by a qualified professional tech person. In otherwords, if your are happy with your Buffet (heaven forbid) then by all means get another Buffet of the same model pitched in A. Have it worked to play the same as your Bb and switch mouthpiece and barrels together when you change in the orchestra. This will be as fast as the mouthpiece by itself and you still can use any ligature that you like. If the music goes by fast enough that you can't make the change this way, the only other solution is to transpose the music to one or the other clarinets (This is done fairly frequently).

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Gretchen 
Date:   2002-07-31 14:51

I have problems with reeds more than mouthpieces. If a reed on my Bb feels fine, it's too hard on my A...however, if a reed is fine on my A, it's slightly too soft for my Bb. I found that I had some leaks on my A, which after being fixed, made the difference between the horns not so drastic, but there was still a difference. what's up with that!?

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 RE: Question about A clarinet
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2002-07-31 19:19

The resistance you feel when you play the clarinet is the combined effect of many factors, some but probably not all of which include:

reed strength -- "harder" reed, greater resistance
mouthpiece tip opening -- greater tip opening, greater resistance
mouthpiece facing length -- shorter facing, greater resistance
clarinet bore -- smaller bore, greater resistance

To some extent, an increase in resistance from one source can be offset by a reduction in resistance from some other source.

As I mentioned in my earlier response to this thread, A clarinets frequently have a smaller bore than their companion Bb (and, in general smaller bores than Bb's), this translates into greater resistance if you hold everything else constant. If your A clarinet is inherently more resistant than your Bb, a reed/mouthpiece combination that feels good on the Bb may very well feel too stiff on the A and a reed mouthpiece combination that feels good on the A may very well feel too soft on the Bb.

You can compensate for the increased resistance in the clarinet either with the mouthpiece or with the reed you're using (or both). In other words, if you have a mouthpiece you really like, you can use it to play the Mozart Concerto on your A or a Weber Concerto on your Bb by choosing an appropriate reed. However, if you are playing a piece that requires you to switch clarinets in the middle, this method of compensation probably won't work very well because you usually don't have time to change reeds. ("Uh, Conductor. Oh, Conductor! Could we please pause here [in the middle of this symphonic movement] so that I can change my reed?" ;^) ) If the difference between the two instruments isn't too great, you may be able to find a reed that strikes a happy medium between the two. Then you can use the same mouthpiece/reed with both. If the difference is so great that you cannot find a "happy medium" reed, then you will need to use a separate mouthpiece for each. (Though it could conceivably be two mouthpieces of the same make and model but with different reeds.)

Best regards,

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