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 Saxophone to clarinet
Author: bronzor 
Date:   2018-03-10 07:02

Any tips for comfortability when switching from saxophone to clarinet? I can't seem to cover the holes with my fingers without having a significant amount of pain in the wrists and stiffness in the fingers.

Post Edited (2018-03-10 07:02)

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: anonrob 
Date:   2018-03-16 23:55

There shouldn't be any pressure involved in covering the holes. Make sure it is set up correctly and try to play in a relaxed fashion. Also, be really patient with yourself.

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: Jaysne 
Date:   2018-03-27 20:29


You have to be patient. Clarinet has a lot more challenges than sax in terms of fingerings. Relax your entire body, especially your forearms, wrists and fingers.

Take it slow. When I started learning clarinet after many years on sax, I was convinced I was never going to be able to do it. But I did and got really good at it. It just takes time and practice and patience.

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: concertmaster3 
Date:   2018-03-28 06:46

It sounds as if you're putting too much pressure on the rings. You don't need a lot of pressure to seal the clarinet (and you might need to have your sax checked out if you're using THAT much pressure on sax!).

Here's a great exercise to think about approaching the clarinet.
1. Allow your hands to go limp and to your sides (without the clarinet of course).
2. Notice how your hands naturally form a "C" shape.
3. Bend from your elbows to bring your hands in front of you (not from your shoulders). Are your wrists still relaxed? They should be.
4. Push your wrists forward, slightly, and you should have the shape of the clarinet in your hands.
5. Try this with each hand separately with the clarinet (because one hand needs to hold the instrument!).

This is a great way to approach any instrument, with a more relaxed approach, and not "reaching" for the instrument.

After that, long tones, long tones, LONG TONES! Really listen to yourself, and analyze what you hear. Record yourself to ensure you are getting the sound you are envisioning. Remembering that a lot of the clarinet sound that you hear from yourself has the vibrations from your teeth and jaw to your ear, that my professor calls the "trash" in your sound.

I hope that helps!


Ron Ford
Woodwind Specialist

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2019-04-12 07:06

Make sure your rings and ring key pads are set up correctly. If the rings are too high it can be difficult to seal the open holes. If they are too low you may be getting a leak at the ring key pads.

The clarinet pretty much always hurt my right thumb. It puts a lot of tension in your right hand.

A lot of saxophonists are used to slamming down the pads. Especially if the keys aren’t sealing well - and just because you can. The saxophone is more ergonomic than the clarinet.

The clarinet requires more precision and a lighter touch - not dainty, but light. It’s more awkward to hold and finger. (It’s harder, period.) Regulation problems and leaks affect the response of the clarinet more than the saxophone - but unlike the saxophone you can’t make up for it with muscle. If that’s what you are doing, it won’t work, and you’ll just get tired.

Take your clarinet to a tech to check it out. If it’s good, focus on getting a light touch, and when using the keys (as opposed to the ring keys), work on timing rather than speed or firmness.

- Matthew Simington

Post Edited (2019-04-12 07:16)

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: JAME 
Date:   2019-04-25 13:55

Ensure it is set up accurately and attempt to play in a casual manner. Likewise be extremely tolerant with yourself.

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: mark.pinner 
Date:   2020-10-18 07:11

Yeah, you're squeezing too hard.

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: Leonard Alterman 
Date:   2021-04-27 07:13

I went from sax to clarinet and had trouble covering the holes. i got a plateau clarinet which has keys like a sax instead of rings. It's so much easier. Hard to find but you can put in a search on ebay for plateau clarinet. A good is a leblanc normandy plateau. Also Rheuben Allen makes them new. You can google him to get his web site.

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 Re: Saxophone to clarinet
Author: super20dan 
Date:   2021-05-04 06:09

always start on clarinet first. very few make the transition from sax to clarinet succesfully.

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