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Trying out clarinet after playing saxophone

Discussion in 'Other Instruments & Players' started by EthanZ, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. EthanZ

    EthanZ New Member

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    I have my sisters clarinet lying around, so I thought I might as well learn how to play it. Is there anything I should know about it, like a different embouchure, I tried playing it and I couldn't get into the higher register without squeaking. Any thing I should know about the clarinet please tell me.
  2. Fraser Jarvis

    Fraser Jarvis Well-Known Member

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    Cant help you with an answer but i recently thought about getting one and after a bit of digging around it seems the Buffet is the Selmer of clarinets, and in particular the R13 (again i guess the MK6 or ref 54 of Buffet's) so am still looking for a nice example at reasonable money.
    But here lies the problem...if we stray from the sax to the clarinet then onto the flute then the guitar piano etc are we just digging ourselves a deeper hole and risking becoming a jack of all trades and master of none?
  3. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    Yes. They're a PITA.

    It's not a saxophone.

    Practice.
  4. BUMNOTE

    BUMNOTE Member

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    Think maybe when you younger,you may have the time to try different instruments and if talented be a multi instrumentalist,but if you start out late like me in middle 50s,with work and other commitments think better to try master one rather than dabble in plenty,i wonder how people manage to fit in learning different insruments when you have ,work,home and family to deal with.Dave.
  5. jonf

    jonf Well-Known Member

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    The clarinet, AKA the misery stick.

    Embouchure's different, and tip opening is closer. Make sure you're taking enough of the mouthpiece in your mouth - playing just on the tip is a sure fire recipe for squeaks. Try a slightly harder reed, and watch your fingering. A clari is an open holed instrument, so imperfect fingering gives squeaks. Practice chromatic scales from bottom to top. Scale of C is also good for developing a clari embouchure. Just remember a clarinet is a harder instrument to play than a sax, and you can't expect to just pick it up and master it. I've been playing clarinet for 35 years and I'm still not very good at it.

    Jon
  6. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    Quite.

    Ha! Beat you! I've been playing the death stick for 40 years and I'm still carp.

    Agree with all the rest - especially about the open holes.
  7. EthanZ

    EthanZ New Member

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    I don't really want to master it or anything, I just thought I might as well learn to play it though, thanks for the advice
  8. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    Go for it.



    Can't hurt.



    Much.




    ;}
  9. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Hi Ethan. Don't let these guys put you off. Clarinet is a different instrument to the saxes, despite the similarity in some areas. Played properly it's a super sound and played badly it's not so nice. But the same can be said of all instruments.....

    My son's been learning the clarinet for about 6 years. And the high notes were quite late on the agenda - because they're hard... Needs quite a lot of embouchure development before you can get them. And once you start getting them, it takes a lot more work before they sound good. Clarinet has a big advantage over teh sax - the keys don't move far - so speed is higher.

    Have a go.
  10. old git

    old git Tremendous Bore

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    Yes, give it a go Ethan. Need to hear the slow movement of the Mozart again. Too lazy to wind up my gramophone, so next week okay with you?
  11. Saxman123

    Saxman123 Member

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    Well the squeaks could also be that you think you should hear an octave eg. G on sax with octave key down is G up the octave. well on a clarinet it is C on the lower section of the clarinet and a G on the upper section. Well whatever , love the slow movement in Mozarts clarinet concerto as well!!!
    Richard
  12. tenorviol

    tenorviol Well-Known Member

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    I would have thought you preferred basset horn?
  13. old git

    old git Tremendous Bore

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    True TV. Have a recording with all baroque instruments and that basset horn really tears my heart out. Must do the same to the dog if was it made from.

    T'other side one of the horn concertos, on invention horn.

    Should we kill Böhm and Sax?
  14. Jack

    Jack Member

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    embouchure of a clarinet and soprano sax I find very similar. pitfalls are that there are holes in the clarinet that you have to cover with your finger tips. Not covering correctly can prove interesting.
  15. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    I don't.

    But I guess that depends on your definition of 'similar'.
  16. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    So you are a big fish in a small pond after all...........................................;}
    Thus hake Wyverthruster.........................................:thumb:
  17. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    Yup, Sittingbourne's the right plaice for that.
  18. Jack

    Jack Member

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  19. TriumphV8

    TriumphV8 New Member

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    I've been playing clarinet since I was 7 years old and have just started out on alto sax. You should progress quickly. BUT accuracy is very important and practise jumping between notes over the break (e.g. A-B). Embourchure is tighter.

    I would advise a few lessons with a clarinet specialist or for a clarinettist friend to check your technique. :)
  20. jbtsax

    jbtsax Old and opinionated

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    From a teaching standpoint there are a few important differences between the saxophone and clarinet in terms of embouchure and tone production.

    Saxophone

    • mouthpiece goes straight into the mouth
    • embouchure "EE" muscles pull out "OO" muscles push in, "OO's" win the tug-o-war
    • chin is "rounded" slightly
    • bottom lip stretched over the bottom teeth just enough to cover
    • played (generally) with warm air
    Clarinet

    • mouthpiece goes down at a 45 degree angle
    • embouchure "EE" muscles pull out "OO" muscles push in, tug-o-war ends in a tie
    • chin is held flat
    • slightly more bottom lip over the teeth to provide a "cushion" for the reed
    • played (generally) with fast cold air
    The clarinet input pitch with the mouthpiece + barrel should be F# concert or slightly higher (on a short barrel).
  21. adrianallan

    adrianallan Member

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    So how do you change the type of air than you blow in? (last bullet point).
  22. XasGotan

    XasGotan Member

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    While I broadly tend to agree with BUMNOTE I think it is worth picking up the clarinet. I used to play it very badly many years ago, and after I had learned some tenor and soprano sax picked it up again. First, I thought there was an old sock in it, but with tighter embouchure and overcoming the blow resistance, it suddenly sounded better than ever before. So, I think they do complement each other and I would encourage people to practice both - if you have the time.
  23. AndyWhiteford

    AndyWhiteford Senior Member

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    ...
    an intriguing question - "Do I want to be jack, or master"..I've asked myself many times, since I played a lot of tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, then bought a bari, then a few clarinets and some violins. But I like to think that the skills acquired learning a few different instruments contribute to my overall "musicality", [no laughing at the back, please]-- and if anyone is thinking of working in musicals / shows, the ability to 'double' between saxes , flutes & clarinets is pretty much essential...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2012
  24. TomMapfumo

    TomMapfumo Well-Known Member

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    I think you are quite correct that your overall musicality will develop. I had made a start on jazz grades for both alto sax and trumpet and after a year on each I was up to Grade 3. When I started on Trombone I was up to Grade 6 after a year.

    I do see myself as beyond the Jack/Master issue - perfectly able to play Grade 7/8 pieces on sax/trumpet, and Grade 6 on trombone with plenty of improv. etc. I just did learn that stringed instruments were not the best for me to play, such as guitar and piano; sticking something in my mouth and blowing away is not a problem.

    The real enjoyment for me is to be able to play the best instrument on a particular tune, so Trombone on Ska, Trumpet for lead parts with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Nat Adderley etc., and sax for Jan Garbarek, Dave Brubeck, Wayne Shorter and lots of other stuff. I suppose being a "Master" and being a "One Trick Pony" are too close for my subjective comfort.

    Kind regards
    Tom
  25. jbtsax

    jbtsax Old and opinionated

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    It is done mostly with the speed of the air. Blow a fast cold airstream against your hand, and then a slower warm airstream with a bit more open throat. Then duplicate that as you blow into the instrument.
  26. AndyWhiteford

    AndyWhiteford Senior Member

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    I rather suspect the air is actually at the same temperature, it just feels 'hot' -( on one's skin?) , when slow, and feels 'cool' when fast...
  27. dave mainland

    dave mainland Member

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    It could be the same temperature but warm and cold air are more of a concept than a measure of absolute temperature. So air that feels warm is the sort you can use on sax. Warmer and more open throat the lower the notes you play.
    Incidentally - if you are playing a low note you will almost certainly at the same height as if playing a high one ;)

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