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 reed placement question
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2021-03-12 05:47

Does the placement of the reed on the mouthpiece affect pitch? Is it one way to "tune" your instrument? I don't have an instrument in front of me that I can experiment with....I gave up trying to learn to play even though I was doing well, because I could not get it within 20 cents of pitch even with the short barrel. You can't go play in a group when you are that flat no matter what you do. Fobes Debut, Ridenour Lyrique 576, 2-1/2 reed. I tried LOTS of reeds, even the Legere soprano sax reed. Nice sound, 20 cents flat. No problem with range, just pitch. It has sat in a closet for about three years and I can't even get it together now and will have to take it somewhere but why spend the money if the pitch problem can't be fixed.

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-03-12 07:00

Have you had opportunity to let more experienced players see if they too are considerably flat on your instrument?

Are you more flat in certain parts of the scale that others? Are you flat on other instruments?

Experienced players will often make changes to reed placement to compensate for a reed that's too hard on one side relative to the other, moving the harder side microns towards midline. Additionally, slightly soft reeds can be moved up a micron (or too hard ones down). These extremely small changes don't normally affect pitch, so I'd look elsewhere for the cause of your flatness.

That said, I play flat on synthetic (Legere) reeds. What type of reeds, cane or synthetic have you tried?

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-03-12 07:13

The simple answer to your question is that placement of the reed should have only a small effect if any on pitch to the extent that it influences the amount of pressure you use to play on it. I wouldn't think a 20 cent effect.

Once we're out of the Pandemic and more people, both students and teachers, can feel comfortable with in-person lessons again, the best chance at solving this kind of problem is to find a knowledgeable teacher and have him or her try to diagnose the problem with all senses able to operate.

The main question that only a live session with an experienced player-teacher can answer: Does the problem travel with the setup, or can the teacher play in tune on the setup - exactly as you're trying to use it?

If the problem stays with the player, an experienced teacher can often figure out why when he or she can both see and hear you, see your approach to the mouthpiece, hear if there's anything in the sound that suggests an explanation for the flatness and test in real time whether any specific solution is helpful.

This can't be done effectively online in text-based discussion. It can't be done reliably over Zoom. It can be done in a single session - at least the diagnosis part - without a continuing commitment to the time requirements and the cost of regular, periodic lessons.


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 Re: reed placement question
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2021-03-12 07:47

There is no reason why you cannot just find a barrel that is 4mm shorter than what you've got.

There are custom guy out there that can make a barrel that is particularly short. I have a few from Dr. Allan Segal. His website starts with a counter that uses "flash player." Does anyone have a way to contact Dr. Segal?

Also there are really cheap, short barrels on eBay from China. Only downside is the wait for shipping (can be three months or so).

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

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2021-03-12 10:31

I would start by playing just the mouthpiece and barrel. If your pitch is around an F#5 on the tuner (same as a G# on the top of the staff on clarinet) than there may be a problem with your clarinet.

More than likely you'll find the note you are producing is a lower pitch. That would mean that the primary issue is with how you are playing, not the clarinet.

If it is you, that can be addressed - usually by using an "Eeee" vowel position for the tongue. The embouchure and reed strength can factor in, especially if the embouchure is way off, but hopefully this experiment will give you some more information. If you are used to playing with a lower tongue position it can take more patience to fix than you might expect, but it can be done with just a little persistence.

Either way, it's a solvable issue! Now is a great time to be gearing up to play in a group. The end of the pandemic is near.  :)


Post Edited (2021-03-13 03:11)

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2021-03-13 23:29

Thanks for the input. If and when it becomes possible I'll have an advanced player check the pitch of the instrument. It SHOULD be fine; it's a Ridenour Lyrique 576. Maybe it doesn't like the Fobes Debut I'm using, or possibly it is the Legere reed. I have no desire to use cane reeds; that was the point in switching from oboe and its nightmare of reed problems, to clarinet.

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-03-13 23:38

I'm sure you already know that Legere makes an oboe reed. They're pricey, but 1 or 2 might last indefinitely. Have you tried them? With a little time, their design may morph into something you're comfortable with.


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 Re: reed placement question
Author: Mr. Q 
Date:   2021-03-30 23:47

If it is a Lyrique, give Ridenour a call. Tom's son is generally the one answering the phone, and they will likely have the best answers regarding their horns. It might save you a lot of troubleshooting time. I do not know their number offhand, but it is listed on their website and is toll free. They are very helpful.

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2021-03-31 05:03

I agree that a little movement of the reed shouldn't affect pitch. I always put the tip of the reed just below the top of the mouthpiece, so that you can see just a sliver of black mouthpiece. This is harder to do with my Legere synthetic reed, and that one requires it to be pretty much ever with the top-- hard to see to line up.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers (available on amazon) (PDF samples here)
Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus

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 Re: reed placement question
Author: Burt 
Date:   2021-04-04 00:56

I also play flatter on Legere reeds; the solution was a shorter barrel. My guess is that, since the closed tube model of a clarinet is an imperfect approximation, the Legere reed is not as accurately a closed end as a cane reed is, and the closed end is somewhere inside the mouth. But the amount of second harmonic is the same for either reed, so that's not the whole answer.


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