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 Why adjustable thumb rest
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-17 17:01
Attachment:  images (3).jpg (30k)

Hi! I guess all clarinet players have issues with thumb "rest" (commas are because the thumb never rests, actually). Generally, in factories, the thumb "thing" is placed much lower, than a normal physiological position, which causes a lot of pain after a couple of hours, especially with heavier instruments. Logically, an adjustable thumb rest is a good solution, not only for convenience of the thumb, but also for positioning of the clarinet to the body. And here I want to stress upon that issue, not less important than the thumb pain. A natural angle of the instrument to the body is easily fixed by the adjustable thumb rest. You can hear a variation of sound and intonation, as the angle changes (of course we speak of very fine tuning here, not for people, who have stepped upon their ears). The position can vary according to barrel length, mouthpiece and reed strength. But once you've found the configuration between these components, playing is already a lot easier and more pleasant, and most clarinets sound well tuned.
Good luck and indulge!



Post Edited (2020-12-04 14:09)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Qladstone 
Date:   2020-11-17 18:09

The issue I have is that my adjustable thumb rest at its highest position is still too low! Since the adjustable thumb rests are made to adjust downwards rather than upwards, if they are screwed onto the same position as typically for the regular thumb rest, then the highest position will be the default position and we can only adjust it lower. So I still need to go through the trouble to drill holes in my instrument! I guess the main benefit is fine tuning later on after having re-positioned the thumb rest.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-17 18:21

Of course, drilling is inevitable in this case, but I think the point is to neglect the old default holes and drill you own holes wherever you like, so that the up/down movement is from your convenient lowest to highest position. And old holes can be filled, of course, this is a miner issue, according to me. You can give a try, nothing to lose! Best regards!

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-17 19:13

And I would throw out that to avoid causing thumb pain, you should actively use those muscles and have the thumb "at rest" in a position horizontal to the floor......at minimum, and even perhaps more at a slight angle pointing "up" (drawing a line from base of thumb to tip) as taught be Elsa Ludwig-Verdehr.





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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-11-17 21:24

Buffet have only put their adjustable thumbrest baseplates in the same holes as the previous fixed ones, therefore they only offer downward adjustment which doesn't suit most players who prefer the thumbrest to be raised higher.

The location of the baseplate can only go so far north before the screw holes intrude into the socket which is far from ideal as that can cause socket cracks. The safest distance for the screw holes to be drilled into the lower joint is from 5mm or further away from the base of the socket.

If you plan in relocating your thumbrest to get more adjustment, then measure the depth of the socket and mark that distance on the back of the lower joint, then drill the new screw holes below that. You'll also have to drill a larger blind hole for the locking screw tip to locate into otherwise tightening it up will either damage the threads or rip the baseplate screws out from the wood.

Chris.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-17 22:00

Paul Aviles, I absolutely agree that the thumb should be at least horizontal to the floor, or even pointing up, but most of default rests are far from that, some even pointing the thumb down, which is far from convenient.



Post Edited (2020-11-18 01:41)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-17 23:02

I'm sure Chris doesn't want to take the heat for any of my suggestions.



:-)



But yes, the thumb rest needs to be positioned even higher up on the bottom joint to accommodate the "Verdehr" upward pointing posture...........still worth the trouble to make those adjustments. I went from having what I thought was carpal tunnel after 20 years of "bad" thumb position to being able to practice/perform all day with no fatigue whatsoever. And I am no spring chicken by any means.






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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 02:09

Chris P, thanks for the tips of placing the thumb rest plate! Anyway, I was referring to proper positioning of the very thumb rest, not so much the plate. My focus in the first statement was rather on the relation between height of thumb rest and proper instrument angle, resulting in a good tone quality and intonation. Whereas a higher rest would result in a more horizontal clarinet position, and a lower rest - in a more vertical one (if you follow my logic). Also a different barrel length is needed in both cases, so that to keep the distance between mouthpiece bite and thumb rest, where a higher rest would need a longer barrel, and vice versa. I'm sure some will doubt this "conspiracy", but it's been proved a thousand times during my practice, for I practice for hours playing very short passages, just experimenting with the sound.
Good luck and indulge!

P.S.: I forgot to mention, despite the angle of the instrument (which depends on the height of the thumb rest and barrel length), the starting point of all sound variation, e.g. the register tube placement, which defines the previous two dimensions.



Post Edited (2020-11-18 12:16)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2020-11-18 06:05

Again I've learned something new after playing since 1964. I have never adjusted any of the thumb rests on clarinets I've owned, nor did I realize this could be done. I can't recall getting a painful thumb even after hours of playing. Last 20 years or so I have used a neck strap at rehearsals (but not at concerts), just because I have one and it seemed like I good idea back then.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)
Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus


Post Edited (2020-11-18 06:05)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-11-18 09:25

What is described as the better position for the thumb (or thumb rest) can be very wrong. It depends and each player can test it themselves.

About 20-30 years ago I moved the thumb rest higher. My teacher back then suggested I tried it since it helped her and some other students. After a few months I gradually started feeling terrible pain. It got worse and worse than after a few more months I couldn't play for more than maybe ten minutes.

The pain wasn't exactly in the thumb, but I'm not sure why I didn't suspect the thumb rest position sooner. I tried a few things that never helped. Luckily, not too long after, I considered that it could be the thumb rest, moved it back down, and the pain gradually past and eventually disappeared.

The lower position forces me to relax my thumb and the problematic muscle. The higher position was forcing me to basically have it flexed all the time I was playing.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2020-11-18 10:24

I have had a same experience as Clarnibass. Moving the thumb support (a good name?) upwards caused pain. I came to these conclusions:

Try to find what feels natural, effortless and relaxed.

If the thumb support is too high up, you end up supporting the instrument by raising it up with your thumb. Result: pain. If the thumb rest is too low down it bends your thumb down. Result: pain.

Misplacement of the thumb support causes tension to the rest of the fingers. Result: difficulties in finger action.

You might want to think opposite which finger you want your thumb to be. Index or middle finger? For me it's about middle finger: i get a feeling, that the instrument is hanging in my thumb and i am not supporting it with my thumb. Or something like 50-50%

The only reason i would give suggestions about thumb placement to a student is if there are problems. And even then i would try to find a way that feels natural, effortless and relaxed. To him, not to me.

Jarmo Hyvakko, Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 12:54
Attachment:  unnamed (7).jpg (58k)

Thanks for all the comments, appreciate it! Anyway, I don't remember saying "too high" or "very upwards", of course it's the other end leading to a new problem. The point was for a "proper" position of the thumb rest, which doesn't mean that all clarinets a bugged by default. We only speak only of the ones that have it too low, which I believe is lower than the side cup of the forked B/f# (pic. below). Part of the problem comes from the thick rubber pads put on the thumb rest, which make the thumb pointing downwards. That wouldn't be the case if a 1mm of cork is attached, and maybe that was their idea when they put it in the factory where it is generally - to the lower edge of the side cup. Some instruments have it a lot lower, e.g. student instruments, like they didn't bother to much where the rest is. I have a Buescher Aristocrat plastic clarinet with a thumb rest of 1cm below the side cup, when I put the rubber on it goes even lower. Very uncomfortable! So, I think the optimal position for this "thing" is around from the lower to the upper edge of the side cup of the forked B/f#, and I believe many will agree. Cheers!



Post Edited (2020-11-18 12:56)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-11-18 13:55

For me at 73 years old it isn't a problem of pain in my thumb. It's more about how easily I can reach all the RH keys. Having the thumb rest too low or too high affects how reliably I can reach RH E/B without pulling fingers off of (and opening) RH 1st or 3rd fingers. It didn't seem to be a problem even 30 years ago.

Karl

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-18 14:33

I want to address that freaky picture posted by "mamanvatsa."


Probably done just to have a clear "shot" but it is a left hand (thumb) with the picture inverted (side keys are on the wrong side).


But this brings me to Karl's post. For me, in my humble opinion, in my experience, it is the relationship to the side keys that is affected by the position of the thumb rest. For example, if the thumb rest is placed too low on the lower joint, one cannot reach the "Eb/Bb" (lowest side key) with the right index finger able to close the first tone hole (but I doubt if any was ever THAT low). The problem for pain comes in when the thumb rest is placed too HIGH on the lower joint relative to how one plays. If the "Eb/Bb" side key is lower than the side of the right index finger when comfortably placed on the first tone hole then what one winds up doing (unconsciously) is to push against the thumb rest with the thumb to get the rest of the hand LOWER so that the right index finger can reach the lowest side key properly (which we use ALL THE TIME).


I hope that makes sense.





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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 15:59

Ok, it seems everyone here has a different point of view on what I initiated as a topic. Looks like some didn't quite read all of the comments, but just giving an opinion, which is ok. Somehow the focus blurred and swirled around thumb pain and other senses. To put it another way, the right hand key work has it bugs also (as the left one), and thumb rest is part of that puzzle - e.g. how to reach easily the right hand pinky keys. If the thumb rest is too low the right pinky E/b is a challenge. I think all that comes from the fact that the Boehm system clarinet was originally a full Boehm, having one more key to reach downwards - Eb/bb, which is quite a stretch. So, all the other 4 keys have to be higher. But it's a compromise. In my opinion, the MAIN problem about right hand pinky keys is that they are in one line, and 2 floors. The 2 floor positioning supposes that 1st floor keys are in between the 2nd floor keys (as on the oboe, diagonally overlapping). Cheers!



Post Edited (2020-11-18 18:05)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-18 16:25

I don't see any issue with the RH pinky keys..........curve your pinky. Where is the problem?






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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 17:32

Paul Aviles, why not, it's a possibility, but anyway not logically placed. I wouldn't do it that way. That's why I won't mention also the left hand bugs, for we should open a whole new topic. Only would make a hint about the little cup valve digged in hole below the left point finger A, which makes a sharp and fuzzy open G, hence the stuffy throat Bb. And let's not forget the side RH trill keys, being also hardly reachable and somewhat sharp (3 and 4 trill), which is a good way to stab your point finger in the eye. Cheers!



Post Edited (2020-11-18 18:01)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-11-18 18:12

Paul Aviles wrote:

> But this brings me to Karl's post. For me, in my humble
> opinion, in my experience, it is the relationship to the side
> keys that is affected by the position of the thumb rest.

The most important words here are "For me" - everyone's hands are different and the fingers on each person's hands are unique, both in the length of the fingers and their proportions to each other. Your experience and mine (and others') **will** differ. Which is why fixed thumb rests got moved before adjustable ones became "a thing."

Karl

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 18:42

Kdk, we do not speak here of people with "malfunctions". "For me" is simply an expression for me, which doesn't mean that I didn't discuss all that with a dozen of professional clarinet players, and they all sing the same song - thumb pain, thumb rest, throat Bb, side trill keys, big stretch between left point and middle finger, very close to the middle finger 3rd left finger Eb/bb and more... My opinion ("for me") is that the point is how the player holds the instrument, and there comes the trouble. The truth is that everyone holds it different, and it's not build for either way - whether for perpendicular to the instrument fingers or at an angle. There are maybe about 2-3 makers, mainly handcrafting (not to mention names), that have considered on these issues, and do something about it. I didn't invent the hot water, just like to use it. Cheers!



Post Edited (2020-11-18 19:45)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-11-18 19:34

mamanvatsa wrote:

> Kdk, we do not speak here of people with malfunctions. "For me"
> is simply an expression for me, which doesn't mean that I
> didn't discuss all that with a dozen of professional clarinet
> players, and they all sing the same song - thumb pain, thumb
> rest, throat Bb, side trill keys, big stretch between left
> point and middle finger, very close to the middle finger 3rd
> left finger Eb/bb and more...

My post wasn't meant to contradict anything you've offered in this thread, and I apologize for any such implication. Nor was I writing about "people with malfunctions" (I was writing about myself - I don't think I have any particular malfunctions). My post was a response to Paul's response to my post simply commenting about the interaction between thumb rest position and RH pinky comfort.

Karl

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-18 19:51

And just to clarify, I agree that most players would in fact need to move their thumb rest somewhere else........but that should be based on getting to the keys properly and having a healthy stance that does not encourage fatigue.







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

P.S. I'll say it.......Patricola's top of the line horns put the adjustable thumb rest at a point where MOST people would benefit from it.



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: mamanvatsa 
Date:   2020-11-18 20:49
Attachment:  thumbrest1.jpg (25k)

Paul Aviles, I agree. Generally that was my idea if we conclude. And my bad, I didn't know side trills should be on the right. Here is a pic. (especially for you ) of a proper right hand joint, with side trills on the right. I think it just expresses all I wanted to say in a sentence! Cheers!



Post Edited (2020-11-18 22:56)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: LFabian 
Date:   2020-11-18 21:51

Did you know that Backun is offering an optional thumb rest for their high end clarinets? The Kooiman replaces the existing adjustable thumbrest. They listened to our complaints.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2020-11-21 14:57

Concerning the "ideal" positioning of the thumb for each player, how about using a completely relaxed hand (without holding a clarinet) and the position of the thumb in relation to the index finger at that state as a starting point? In my case the bottom surface of my thumb is then more or less in line with the left surface of my index finger (when looking at the "upside" of my hand). Thus not the right surface, which is where the usual thumb rest position forces it. By the way, the former is also how the l.h. thumb is positioned in relation to the l.h. index finger while playing, since the tumb hole is a bit higher up than the first finger hole.

In practise this means that my r.h. thumb is most relaxed when I place it on top of the existing thumbrest, instead of below it. In my case this placement also eases up the movements of other r.h. fingers, and recently I've actually started playing this way - supporting the bell with my knee and using a neckstrap.

This way the thumbrest of course becomes useless as a support of the instrument, but I've been considering moving it about 2 cm upwards (good input from Chris about the socket, since I've been wondering how much margin there should be between the socket end and the thumb rest screws).

Those of you who have gotten problems from a higher than usual r.h. thumb placement, how is the relative position of your thumb and index finger when your hand is relaxed and not holding a clarinet? Does a higher than usual thumb rest position "force" your thumb away from where it's relaxed?



Post Edited (2020-11-21 15:47)

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-11-21 16:41

The LH thumb placement in relation to LH finger 1 is only a result of the tonehole locations which are fixed.

On non-Boehm systems (including chalumeaux, 5 key Classical era, simple/Albert systems up to Oehler systems and everything else in between), both the left thumb hole and LH1 tonehole is positioned much higher up the top joint which means open G issues from the thumb hole on them and F# issues from LH1 tonehole. On Boehm systems, F# issues from the thumb tube and F natural from the LH1 tonehole (the G issues from the tonehole underneath the throat A touchpiece).

Chris.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-21 16:46

..........and with that.........the right index finger should basically be hovering over the last side key (and no further up), a key that is used all the time.



I seem to recall moving my thumb rest further up the lower joint after reading an article in "The Clarinet" that referred to the "relaxed thumb position," but did not bother to relate that to any hand position relative to the KEYS........the most important factor. That led to my hand pain. DON'T MOVE THE THUMB REST IN A VACUUM (and I speak to others reading this, not you Micke.




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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-11-21 16:51

In a vacuum, no-one can hear your Bb-C trill.

Chris.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-21 20:21

who didn't see that coming








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



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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2020-11-23 12:50

I never understood why they don’t all have a really nice adjustable rest that goes up and down as standard. It doesn’t seem like a major feat of engineering, and pretty much all clarinetists have pain because of it at some point. ... Of course if you fixed the thumb rest you might have to fix the lower joint regulation, or the bridge, or the register key, and it might never end...

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2020-11-24 19:10

With Buffet it's simply a case of reprogramming their CNC machine to drill the thumbrest screw holes in a better location further up the lower joint rather than sticking with the exact same hole locations they've used for decades with fixed thumbrests.

Even the Prestiges from the '80s had the tall pillar-style adjustable thumbrest screwed in the same position as the fixed thumbrest and only offered downward adjustment - you'd have thought in that time it would have dawned on them that it's not the best location for it unless people just put up and shut up instead of even daring to complain. Too scared if slaying the sacred cow I'd suspect.

The whole point of an adjustable thumbrest is being fully adjustable - that's adjustable both upwards as well as downwards instead of just downwards. Maybe they ought to rename it as downwardly adjustable but will have to be relocated at your expense if you want any upward adjustment.

Chris.

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: alanporter 
Date:   2020-11-28 08:41

I unscrewed my thumb rest, checked the position I wanted it to be in, and then superglued it there. It has been perfect, and cost me about a dollar from a superstore.

It ain't science.

tiaroa@shaw.ca

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 Re: Why adjustable thumb rest?!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-28 11:04

If your clarinet has any worth to it, I'd have a technician go ahead and add screws to the thumb rest at that position. It would be a shame for the glue to wear out over a concrete floor.





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



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