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 Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: mmatisoff 
Date:   2020-11-25 04:35

I've been playing the Bb soprano for years. Recently (a few months ago), I decided to wanted to learn the low Eb bass clarinet. After sending it (Vito Reso Tone) to two technicians. The first one didn't see the bent keys, the synchrony of the two vents, or the large number of leaks. The second tech replaced the bent keys and fixed all the leaking pads. He is a clarinetist AND a repair tech.

Now, the onus is on me to learn to master the bass (if master is the right term). I have a B50 MP and I'm using 2.5 Vandoren V12 reeds. The only place I'm still struggling is going from throat Bb to C. The rest are fine. I checked the notes against using Tonal Energy's analyzer.

Would using a beginner's MP help me with this problem?

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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2020-11-25 04:58

mmatisoff wrote:

> Would using a beginner's MP help me with this problem?

IMO, no.

What distinguishes a good "student mouthpiece" from a good mouthpiece generally is its price. Student mouthpieces are meant not to strain students' or their parents' budgets. *Good* student mouthpieces are meant to give most of the advantages of a higher-end mouthpiece but with less hand-work and less expensive materials. So you don't in my experience gain anything special from a student mouthpiece. I don't honestly know of a mouthpiece that is explicitly for beginners, nor can I imagine what advantage one could offer a beginner that a better quality mouthpiece wouldn't.

There is a development stage below which a beginning student can't really take advantage of some of the finer qualities a high-end mouthpiece offers. But there's nothing (in my experience) musically or technically to be gained with a student mouthpiece except the cost saving. A better mouthpiece won't throw obstacles in the player's way as he or she progresses.


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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2020-11-25 04:59

While a good mouthpiece can make things better, I would suggest two other things to check. First the mechanism - is the register key set up working correctly or is there yet another leak somewhere? Second, if your bass has a small hole in the left hand 1st finger key are you covering it while making the transition from Bb to C? This gets me in trouble often. So give #2 a try as correction would be easy.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music,

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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-25 19:03

Also I think it helps to approach the bass clarinet as the unique instrument that it is. The sort of things you do on soprano to get a good altissimo are NOT what you do on bass. I'd concentrate on getting a good bass clarinet sound on the middle of the staff C through the next higher G FIRST. Then worry about the transition between those notes and the chalumeau. The rest of the clarion and altissimo notes are yet a bit more different from the initial clarion. It's a matter of "feel."

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

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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: kilo 
Date:   2020-11-26 13:12

Ed Palanker's articles (he's on this BBoard) were very helpful to me — I always recommend them to beginning bass players and I still consult them from time to time.

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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2020-11-26 18:55

I appreciate the compliment from,Kilo. I've often suggested to people in your position to take a lesson with a professional bass player, have them try your instrument to identify which problems are you and which are the limitations or problems of the instrument. It can be the best investment you ever made. It certially worked for me.


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 Re: Learning Bass Clarinet
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2020-11-28 16:10

Thank you kilo for pointing this out and thank you Ed for writing this great article which I found very insightful. I'm starting on the alto (with a nice old LeBlanc with a wooden mp) and I knew from the moment I picked it up it was going to require a different approach. Ed has got it in a nutshell! I am enjoying this very zen learning and playing experience.

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