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 Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: pandaplane (---.229.180.22.res-cmts.flt.ptd.net - (PenTeleData) Blandon, PA United States)
Date:   2012-05-06 21:50

I've been playing the clarinet for seven years now (I'm in High School band) and I've never been a squeaky clarinet player, but lately I've been squeaking a lot on the middle b, d, and c (but mostly the b). When I first start to play the B, it makes this almost honking noise and then plays, or it doesn't play at all. I also noticed that when I play my G (the octave above open G), it squeaks, but that's not as often as my problem with the b, d, and c.

I have a Buffet E11 clarinet, and I've heard that a lot of people have trouble with going over the register on this clarinet, so do you think that my clarinet it the problem? I also use a 4 rico reed; should I try to get a different reed?
Any other suggestions?

Thanks!

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - (Verizon Internet Services) Langhorne, PA United States)
Date:   2012-05-06 22:15

pandaplane wrote:


> I have a Buffet E11 clarinet, and I've heard that a lot of
> people have trouble with going over the register on this
> clarinet, so do you think that my clarinet it the problem? I
> also use a 4 rico reed; should I try to get a different reed?

I'm assuming you mean the long B4, C5 and D5 at the clarinet bell.

It probably *is* the clarinet, but not because it's an E11 or that "a lot of people have trouble with going over the register on this clarinet." You've probably either developed a new major leak from a pad in the lower section or had a lot of small leaks gradually get worse until the cumulative effect is the same as a big leak. Have a tech go over it.

You can get an idea of where a problem might be and how much of leak is involved by holding each section separately as if you were playing it (with all of the holes covered), closing the end with the other hand and then sucking all the air (or as much as you can) out of the closed up section. If you can't get a strong suction for a few seconds, there's an air leak somewhere in that section, maybe because of a failing pad. It's also possible that you've managed to bend one or more of the long rods at the bottom of the clarinet, maybe when putting it together, which might push a pad and its cup out of position and cause an air leak.

Reeds could certainly be an issue, especially if you've changed reed strength or brand recently or the reeds you've been using are suddenly different. But if you've only had this problem recently and haven't changed anything, the most likely cause is a leaky pad and the fix (replace the pad or pads or straighten any bent key rods) is very easy for a competent repair tech.

Good luck,
Karl



Post Edited (2012-05-06 22:17)

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Ed Palanker (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net - (Verizon Internet Services) Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2012-05-06 23:04

Sounds like a little leak. Check the screw on the top of the A throat tone key and back it off a little. If it's even a tiny bit to low it opens the key slightly. If that's not it have it checked out by a repair person, it doesn't take much of a leak to cause this problem. ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Ken Shaw (---.dyn.optonline.net - (Optimum Online) Brooklyn, NY United States)
Date:   2012-05-06 23:40

Pray hard that the problem is the screw, which is very simple to fix. If the screw is the problem and setting it correctly leaves it easy to turn, put a dab of clear nail polish over it.

Check also for cracks. A small one one near the top can have the same effect as a leaky pad.

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Paul Aviles (---.ks.ks.cox.net - (Cox Communications) Manhattan, KS United States)
Date:   2012-05-07 01:23

For a problem that seems related to the physical lower part of the clarinet I tend to look down there first for a problem.

One easy fix may be that the 1-and-1 Bb linkage may not be quite right, causing the pad at the top of the lower joint to not come down all the way (check this by rotating the linkage off set and see if you still have the problem).

If this is not a fix (or indication of one) then you may have a leak at the Eb/Ab key. Chances are also good that this particular spring is too loose (if you only need to just barely touch this key with your right pinky to get it open.... then it needs more tension).




.............or just take it to a tech,





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



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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Bob Bernardo (---.proxy.aol.com - (America Online) , (null) United States)
Date:   2012-05-07 02:21

Repad the horn and check for a nick on the facing of your mouthpiece. If there is a nick on the mouthpiece kindly email me. Needless to say, have a repairman check out the horn and perhaps replace a few pads. It shouldn't cost too much unless the repairman recommends an overhaul.

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Lelia Loban (---.washdc.east.verizon.net - (Verizon Internet Services) Arlington, VA United States)
Date:   2012-05-07 13:31

I'm not clear about which "middle" B, C and D you mean. Are you talking about this C
[C4]
and the notes around it, or
[C5]
this one?

If it's the lower-pitched group, then I agree that the screw governing the A-Ab crossover keys may be the easy fix. But if it's higher-pitched group of notes, the real middle of the clarinet's range, then I think the problem is probably a pad leak, on "long" B or C. Typically when a leak gets started on one of those pads, it affects the notes above the break first, while the lower notes are still okay. The third-space C will squeak while you can still get a good note out of the F below the staff.

Another possibility is that when you put your clarinet together, maybe when you add the bell, you're holding the lower section in a way that puts pressure on one of those two lowest keys. Maybe that key has been pushed out of alignment just enough to let in some air, even though the pad is still good.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: mvjohnso (---.no.no.cox.net - (Cox Communications) New Orleans, LA United States)
Date:   2012-05-07 18:18

If it is C,B, and D and none of the options work, try checking the Forked F# pad for leaks. FYI the C below the staff is called middle C, this is because it lies in the middle of the treble and bass clef. I believe that you are talking about staff C.

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: JonTheReeds (91.224.27.---)
Date:   2012-05-08 15:14

I find that I have to be very careful with B, C and D otherwise they squeak. Are these difficult notes?

For instance, when I play open G up to the B/C/D quickly it often gives out a horrendous squeak. I'm still trying to find out exactly why: perhaps my fingers don't go down smoothly, or maybe my embouchure slips, or my air flow changes.

I do find that if I blow loudly there is less chance of a squeak, but if I play quietly you can almost guarantee a squeak

Any help with this would be very appreciated! I have been playing for more than a year, and it's very frustrating that I still can't play cleanly. I feel that it is holding me back and making me very cautious in my playing, which is stopping me from developing my technique

--------------------------------------
Perfect practice makes perfect

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Paul Aviles (---.okc.apc.army.mil - (Headquarters, USAISC) Bettendorf, IA United States)
Date:   2012-05-08 16:16

Dear JonTheReeds,

Sounds like you have been playing a shorter time. The transition from throat "A" (the whole horn open) to the next 'B' (all fingers down) is known as "the break." What happens here is that resistance changes. You do need to subtlely add more air (a bit more energy) at the 'B' to make this smooth.

If you can START on the 'B,' 'C,' or 'D' softly by themselves, I'd say you just need to get used to this slight difference of effort. If though these notes cannot come out easily by themselves, you may also be in need of some adjustment to your horn.

A handy trick to check if the horn is ok would be a "leak test." Take the lower joint (no bell) by itself, cover the holes with your RH (pinky on the 'B' key), hold your LH plam against the bottom, place your mouth over the top and suck in. The air should HOLD as if you had just done this to a coke bottle. If not, you probably have a leak at a pad that would need the attention of a tech.




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



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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - (Verizon Internet Services) Langhorne, PA United States)
Date:   2012-05-08 16:19

What happens when you go step-wise downward from F5 [F5] toward those notes? Squeaking going up to B or C over the break can involve lots of problems with fingers that aren't covering their holes cleanly. Going down from above should eliminate most of that influence. If you still squeak on B or C and you're sure your fingers are all covering well, have the clarinet checked. Those notes are not inherently unstable.

Karl

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: JonTheReeds (91.224.27.---)
Date:   2012-05-09 10:02

Thanks to Karl and Paul for your advice

To clarify: I don't have a problem with going over the break in either direction in a stepwise fashion - it is fairly smooth and getting smoother the more I practise. I am also able to maintain a reasonably consistent tone across the break. Are there any exercises you would recommend.

So, as Karl mentioned, coming down from F5 stepwise to the D5 is no problem, and likewise going from A5 to B5 across the break is okay (both with and without righthand fingers already down in position). But if I jump to B5/C5/D5, as for instance going from open G4, I often squeak.

I don't seem to be making any progress on eliminating the squeak. I have checked my clarinet and it seems fairly airtight.

It is not as if I always squeak, which in some ways is more frustrating as I'm always hesitating when playing these notes. If I could pinpoint the cause that would be a start, so I was wondering if anyone else had had a similar problem, and if so how did they solve it? I practise open G4 to B5/C5/D5 but I don't seem to be making any headway. I am looking to be able to play this transition with velvety smoothness every time.

So any advice would be much appreciated, even if it's just "keep practising, it's just a phase everyone goes through"

--------------------------------------
Perfect practice makes perfect

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Paul Aviles (---.ks.ks.cox.net - (Cox Communications) Manhattan, KS United States)
Date:   2012-05-09 10:12

Dear JonTheReeds,



Did we check for leaks?




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



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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: JonTheReeds (91.224.27.---)
Date:   2012-05-09 10:35

Hi Paul. I've checked for leaks and it seems airtight

--------------------------------------
Perfect practice makes perfect

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - (Verizon Internet Services) Langhorne, PA United States)
Date:   2012-05-09 13:18

Jon, since you can cross the break stepwise from A (and I assume likewise from Bb) but you describe a problem going specifically from G to B, have you tried other intervals as well? F#-B or C? G# to B or C? From F? Longer intervals - octaves from chalumeau to B4 or C5? Does starting with your right hand covering its holes make any difference in the squeaking compared to not covering?

The two strongest possibilities I can imagine without hearing you:

Your LH index finger may not be covering the top tone hole when you try to go from G but you are getting the hole covered when you play from A because it's already engaged and near the hole, maybe making it easier to locate and cover the hole.

The other is that the index finger on the A key when you go from A to B may be helping to stabilize the clarinet. When you move from another note without any left hand fingers contacting the instrument, either the clarinet may move or you may reflexively clinch your jaw to keep it from moving. Even covering holes with your RH may not eliminate this because the clarinet can still rotate slightly around your thumb, making the whole setup feel less secure. You might be able to test this by holding the clarinet's bell firmly between your knees to eliminate any instrument movement when you attempt G to B to see if having more stability makes anything change.

Try to figure out how narrow or general the problem is - which intervals trigger the squeak, which don't, etc... Also, it would help to suggest or rule out an instrument problem if someone else playing your clarinet has the same problem or doesn't.

Karl

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: JonTheReeds (91.224.27.---)
Date:   2012-05-10 09:34

Hi Karl. Thank you for your full discussion of possibilities. It definitely sounds like one of those could be the answer. I'll sit down this weekend in front of a mirror and check them out!

--------------------------------------
Perfect practice makes perfect

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 Re: Why does my clarinet squeak on the middle b, d, and c?
Author: Hgering (---.fv.ks.cox.net - (Cox Communications) Manhattan, KS United States)
Date:   2012-05-27 03:28

This happened to me during a rehearsal. Turns out there was just something on one of the pads in the lower joint. Take a small paint brush or something similar and try dusting them and see if that works.

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