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 Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-12-07 14:27
Attachment:  bluetac.jpg (744k)
Attachment:  bluetac2.jpg (689k)

Hi,

I have discovered that putting a little bit of sticky tac on the pinkie keys improves grip a lot.

It's great because I no longer have to tense my fingers to stop them sliding off. That means less pain, and much more headspace left for thinking about the music.

I wondered if anybody else does that, and if there is a more suitable grippy substance to put on?

I attached photos so you can see what I mean.

Thanks!

Jennifer

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Nelson 
Date:   2022-12-07 15:30



I have one pair of Leblanc instruments where the small LH f/c pinky keys are extremely smooth and slippery...much more so than on my other B&H pair where that key is etched and slip-proof. My repair technician did a wonderful job on the Leblanc in gluing a very thin layer of cork over the entire top contact area, shaping it, and it's worked wonderfully well

Nelson

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-12-07 20:43

Hi Jennifer:

I smiled when reading your post given the irony that a player or two, this one included, has been known to take a tad of grease from behind an ear on a finger, and spread it over the two top right pinky keys to facilitate the very slide your discussion hopes to reduce/eliminate.

As you can probably appreciate, the occasional musical notation, especially for players lacking a left pinky Ab/G#/Eb/D# lever, finds the need, or at least the greatest ease for the player to player to slide from one of these top keys to the one immediately below.

For example, in case I've lost you, lets suppose you've been tasked with playing, the notes [D#5] , [C#5], [B4] and [D#5] in rapid succession.

In the absence of a left pinky [D#5] key, one often takes the [C#5] by sliding the right pinky down, followed by the [B4] with the left pinky, and the [D#5], as mandatory, with the right pinky.

One could also do a mid note pinky swap on the [C#5] or [B4] but the prior method has "gravity on our side."

Cheers  :)



Post Edited (2022-12-07 20:43)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: donald 
Date:   2022-12-07 20:53

I don't have problems with slippy keys but my wife did back when she was at Eastman and her teacher suggested the cork dealio described in the last post (POST BY NELSON ABOVE). She had it done by a repair tech and it has lasted more than 20 years.



Post Edited (2022-12-07 23:18)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: NOLA Ken 
Date:   2022-12-07 21:33

On instruments where I have this problem I just cut a small piece of mouthpiece patch to size and afix it appropriately placed on the key in question. It works fine for me and usually stays in place for several months. Easy to replace or reposition as needed.

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-12-07 21:43

Hi SecondTry,

Thank you very much for taking the time to type all that out, so I can plan ahead for it.

It sounds as though I need to find an intermediate level of grip, so my finger isn't sliding around totally out of control, but still has the option make a sharp exit when needed. The bluetak plan wouldn't allow me to do that slide.

I'll factor that into my planning.

Thanks!

Jennifer

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: kilo 
Date:   2022-12-07 22:08

There's a product in the USA called "Nerd Wax" which you smear on the nose pads of your eyeglasses to prevent them from sliding. The only drawback I can see is that the tube is very similar to a tube of cork grease and an inadvertent substitution could cause a problem!

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-12-07 22:28

Thanks for all these great suggestions. This is really helpful. :-)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-12-07 22:42

SecondTry-- Funny you should say that. Back in college I used to spit on my pinky when I knew the "slide" was approaching. Sounds silly I know. Haven't done that in 45 years.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/ Amazon, Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001315, Sheet Music Direct.

Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001314.
(902)-225-3276

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: lydian 
Date:   2022-12-08 00:17

Seems like making keys sticky that you're supposed slide on is a bad idea. How would you ever play the posted examples? If you're sliding off unintentionally, maybe your grip is too hard or you're using the wrong part of your finger.



Post Edited (2022-12-17 02:03)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: StanD 
Date:   2022-12-08 05:53

How about, when a “slide” is in the near future, just brush your little finger briefly alongside your nose. That should impart enough skin oil. A bit more subtle than reaching behind one’s ear? Don't know about that “spitting” thing, though.

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-12-08 06:40

Actually, I just licked the pinky... no spitting.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/ Amazon, Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001315, Sheet Music Direct.

Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001314.
(902)-225-3276

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-12-08 08:30

Tom H wrote:

> Actually, I just licked the pinky... no spitting.
>

As many people know, Tom has a terrific etude book out (he did not ask me to plug it, and I am not compensated) called the Most Advanced Clarinet Book.

The name is not an exaggeration. In the best way I can describe it, and I mean this in the best way, Tom's etudes have a near perfect level of randomness in notes, rhythms and accidentals that make the ability to memorize content extremely difficult such that the player much CONCENTRATE and make zero assumptions about the notes coming up.

Some time spent in this book makes the melodic and repetitious nature of works designed to be more pleasing to the ear than advance the technique his work strives to do, seem...easier.

Anyway, after the last etude in the book Tom, (which he aptly named "The Roller Coaster" for its wide range in pitch of its notes) I'd like, "in version 2 of your book," to add a page gratis I'd like you to call "Pinky Swaps n Slides." :)

In it the reader will be forced, even if in possession of a left pinky Eb/D#/Ab/G# key, to do all the sliding and mid note pinky swaps necessary to line up a right pink [D#5] or left pink [G#5]!

We can add user playing guideslines that say that if, say, a [C#5] is taken with the left pinky in the first play of the etude, that it is taken with the right in the second go around!!!

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-12-08 09:51

SecondTry-- Thanks for the unsolicited plug. This idea for an etude is interesting. Actually, in the etudes (and in my playing sometimes at rehearsals/concerts), I occasionally mix up the L-R combinations if I get bored. Such as go L-R the first time then R-L when the situation reappears. It would be interesting to include some of the more unusual slides -- such as RH Eb/Ab to the right to RH C/F. And perhaps even some more awkward ones just to get you thinking. I think the R-R and L-L slide combinations would have to be written out above the notes throughout the etude to make sure you did all of the possible combinations. Some of these would be like my advice to play the flute (ring) fingering for low B/top line F#-- aside from these having a fatter tone than the middle finger, it's another way to train fingers to do the unusual, making the usual that much easier.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/ Amazon, Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001315, Sheet Music Direct.

Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001314.
(902)-225-3276

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2022-12-08 12:10

I have a copy of that book. :-) I will write the new exercise on the inside back cover so I am ready for it when my fingers get there.

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: kilo 
Date:   2022-12-08 19:55

The discussion about swapping and sliding reminds me of something that's occurred several times when working on an etude, especially the more melodic ones. I'll be immersed in some Jeanjean study, dreaming about France, and suddenly I'm in one of those "pinky conundrums" where I have to stop and carefully work out the order of finger placement and pencil in "L-R-slide R-L" and I'll catch myself condemning the composer, "Didn't this guy realize how hard this is on a clarinet?" And then, of course, I remember, "Oh yeah, it's an etude!"

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2022-12-08 20:05

Tom:

You reminded me. I really have to get back in the habit, when doing my (daily?) Bearmann III to not just use the pinky that makes play easiest, but to use that time to develop better motor skills with some pinky experimentation.

For example, [C#5] to [E5] is easier for me to do when the [C#5] is taken with the right pinky.

Perhaps that is exactly why I should use the left pinky now and then do work on better inter-hand coordination.

A few years back I installed one of these on my R13: https://www.clarinetworks.com/product/bolt-on-alternate-e-flat-key/

....a retrofit left pinky Eb/D#/Ab/G# lever.

I'm glad I have it but mostly for things like the opening passage of Messager's Solo De Concurs Candenza, where the speed of the notes make mid not pinky swaps hard.

But the key does open up the possibility to take and practice certain note patterns more varied. For example, a decent clarinetist sees the notes [B4], [C#5], and [D#5] as a group and knows to take the [B4] with the right pinky.

But this pinky order need not be the case with the key. Still more with one of Stephen Fox's R1 C#/G# Touchpieces http://www.sfoxclarinets.com/Accessories.html#clar%20acc responsiblity for that C#/Db/G#/Ab note's play can also fall on either hand.

Sigh..Drucker had his left pinky Eb/D#/Ab/G# lever removed. As the story goes, he would have been content with an R13, bur Francois Kloc sold him on getting a Festival because at the time the wood on the Festival was taken from billets that years ago would have been used for an R13 that given the good African Blackwood shortages, less quality wood than in year's past was now being used on R13s

The Festival had that key and Drucker felt it just got in the way, having learned to live without it from years of play where such features were simply never offered on clarinets.

..the good old days where there were 3 ligatures choices....How on earth did we survive? ;)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2022-12-09 02:41

Second-- Yeah, I can see Drucker's point. I wouldn't want to begin to learn the new possibilities with that LH Eb key. Would be great if I were a lot younger or just starting out. With the RH C#/F#, I have for many years looked to use that instead of the LH one-- reasoning that it's easier to move fingers of one hand than to coordinate 2 hands worth. So, though I learned LH C# when I started out as a kid, now I throw that one in just for the challenge of clean playing moving 2 hands.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/ Amazon, Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001315, Sheet Music Direct.

Boreal Ballad for unaccompanied clarinet--Sheet Music Plus item A0.1001314.
(902)-225-3276

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-12-09 07:05

If you want to really experience a Spartan key system you should try the Oehler. You need to depress the C key and what passes for the LH B key simultaneously to get Low E and B. You'd think the rollers make life easier......they don't. You just need to be more facile.






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



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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: donald 
Date:   2022-12-09 13:52

Yeah but on Oehler youcan go b to c# (e to f#) just by lifting the c finger. B major and e major scales are much easier (and the arpeggios only slightly harder...)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-12-09 14:51

The problems we discussed above are NOT with the standard running scale but with the interrupted scales (four and five flats plus Gb).




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



Post Edited (2022-12-09 15:50)

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: crazyclari 
Date:   2022-12-19 03:09

Hi, just as a thought you may wish to consider the amount of tension/force that you are applying to the keys. Practice relaxation techniques to minimise the force you apply to the keys. Aim to relax rather than other goals, visualisation techniques also.

Your hand position may also be worth considering. I tend to prefer to concept of fingers being angled towards the bottom of clarinet and the thumb being angled up. Similar on right hand but not quite the same. This should lay your left index finger over the A/G# throat keys. This can open out the angles around the left little finger keys and provide a less cramped option.

You can also ensure that left C/F key is angled approximately parallel to your C#/G# key and that all of bumpers are in place so that the key does not angle down excessively when you play. Same for the other keys if they use bumpers.

As discussed above sliding across keys can be a strategy that is used, so removing the opportunity may not be ideal.

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 Re: Improving grip in keys - sticky stuff?
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2022-12-19 22:19

Sorry for not reading all the posts in this thread.

I may have missed something or this may have already been covered, but I think that technological solutions miss the mark and are not necessary.

The problem is not that they key is slippery, it's because your finger position is at fault.

What you need to do is practice alternating between the note or notes you're slipping on and other notes on the instrument, playing VERY slowly over and over and over and over (ad nauseum) until your finger hits where it should on the key all the time. I repeat: VERY SLOWLY and OVER AND OVER. Give your brain time to register the correct position.

I had this same problem when, after nearly 60 years of playing, I started using an instrument with an auxiliary left-hand Eb/Ab. It took me a couple days of this slow, repetitive practice to make hitting that key accurately automatic, but I have no problem anymore.

My mantra: Look to yourself first before looking to your equipment.

B.



Post Edited (2022-12-19 22:21)

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