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Belated hello, and lots of waffle about what interests me

Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Hi All,

I joined the forum a while ago, but didn't get around to posting a doorbell thread.

I've often searched this forum to find answers, but I've usually found them, so I didn't really feel the need to add anything.

I've been a member of the saxontheweb forum, for a couple of years, maybe longer. It's a useful resource, but I got tired of being verbally assaulted by the same self appointed expert on everything, almost every time I said something, so I haven't posted on there for a while.

I like to play wind instruments. I'm more than happy to have a go at playing anything you blow through, and generally that takes the form of me buying one, often second hand, so I can try it over an extended period of time.

I'm not all that fussy about quality. I expect them to work, and I expect them to have quirks. I expect there to be a range that's fairly easy to play, and ranges above and below that, that aren't. On the whole, I've found the more expensive ones tend to be more likely to work, and have less quirks, but the difference often isn't all that important, to the likes of me, or worth the extra expense. I'm still wondering why someone would pay upwards of £200 for a penny whistle, for example, when I can buy a Generation or Feadog one for about a fiver... or even make my own.

The difference seems to be more important with saxophones, and I love my second hand Trevor James The Horn Revolution II alto ("Trevor", for short), but there's no way I'd pay the price of a new one, and I'm still happy with my ultra cheap Chinese "Venus" curved soprano.

I currently attempt to play;

clarinets (in order of size): Eb, C, Bb and roughly Albert system G - I'm intending to try (i.e. buy) alto and bass, at some point. For now, I am very slowly building an ultra simple system bass in C, instead of the usual Bb.

saxophones (in descending order of frequency): alto and soprano - I bought a tenor, which turned out to be faulty, so I sent it back. I'm still not sure if I'll ever get another tenor. A sopranino would be interesting.

trumpety things (in no particular order): cornet, trumpet, flugelhorns (3 valve and ultracheap 4 valve), tenor horn and single French horn, usually with a longer slide to make it Eb instead of F. I own a cheap picollo trumpet but it's pretty much a lost cause. I'd definitely like to get into bigger brass, but I have neighbours and too little sound insulation. I get little enough practice time as it is.

flutes: a Trevor James XIII, with a Yamaha curved head fitted, an Amati something or other (nice, but I struggle to play a straight head C flute - it's just too uncomfortable for me to hold one), an Nuvo plastic Jflute, with the optional C footjoint fitted, and now fitted with a silver plated curved flute headjoint (fun, very quirky, not really keen on the foot joint), a genuine Irish D rosewood flute, made in Pakistan, some Chinese Dizis in different keys, with the membrane hole covered up, a concert style picollo, a simple system D picollo in high pitch, a couple of simple system Irish style "Bb's", a simple system F ... I could go on. I expect you'd rather I didn't. Basically, I'm really bad at playing flutes, so I keep buying them in the hope of finding one that will let me play it properly.

recorders: the inevitable plastic Yamaha descant, as used by school music teachers to convince children they have no musical ability, Aulos and Yamaha altos (aka trebles), an Aulos tenor, a wooden tenor or unknown origin, an Aulos sopranino, a Thomann sopranino, and a Thomann bass, which is essentially a copy of the Yamaha one, and much better value for money - I'm crap at playing recorders too. On the whole, I find the sopraninos and the bass the most fun to play. The alto/treble is probably the best size in terms of playability. Descants are just horrible. There ought to be a law...

whistles: I think I have every size of Generation they make. I don't know why they insist on calling them "Flageolets". Flageolets are beans, as far as I'm concerned, and these make a much nicer noise. They're whistles. I also have some other D penny whistles (D is the most traditional size), made by Walton, Feadog and Clarke. I have 25mm plastic conduit low D whistles by Tony Dixon and Shearwater (D is the most popular low whistle size - low whistles are not traditional, they started being made in the 70s, AFAIK), and a Shearwater low G, plus a no name bamboo low G. All of those are cheap, chearful and worth the money.

I like the idea of making my own instruments, but I am extremely lazy, so I haven't got very far with that yet. I made a low D barrel to fit the whistle head from my Shearwater low G whistle, using the same type of heavy duty 20mm plastic conduit. A low D would normally be made out of wider pipe - usually 25mm conduit, if it was plastic, but I did that deliberately to make a quiet one. I made another one to fit a flute head joint I once bought on ebay. Good cheap, wholesome fun.

I've been meaning to make a low F barrel too. That makes the fingering similar to an alto sax without using low C or below, but playing a D scale instead of a C scale (D E F# G A B, not D E F G A B) - like an oboe, or almost anything keyless.

I started making myself a C bass clarinet, a few months ago, partly to make use of the tenor sax mouthpieces I bought to go with the tenor I returned. Clarinets are quite narrow bore, so I used the 20mm heavy duty plastic conduit - insider diameter about 18mm (from Wickes, also sold at B&Q).

Initial progress was very good. I bought some Buffet plastic tone hole inserts so there's something for the pads to close against, and to make it easier to adjust holes for pitch. I've attached them for now with a ring of UHU White Tack, which works surprisingly well. I've been able to adjust the pitch of the holes upwards by enlarging them, mostly from the top edge, then put the tone hole insert back. When I've finished, I'll seal around them with epoxy.

I went with the larger Bb sizes of tone holes inserts. The volume is quite low (a normal bass clarinet has bigger holes), but that suits me. I play for myself, and if at all possible, not for the neighbours. I got the length right to play the low Eb by trial and error, then got the low E right by guesswork and adjustment, then I worked out where to drill the other holes by ratios - the way to do it is to start at the bottom, and work your way up, basing the position for each hole on the previous one, once you've got that right, and the ratio between the two frequencies. You start by drilling a small hole, which will hopefully be a little flat, then decide which way to enlarge it. A bigger hole is always sharper, and louder. A hole nearer to the mouthpiece is always sharper than the same hole lower down.

So, I got as far as making all the holes for the right hand except the index finger, because that needs a key to reach it. The hole for the little finger (closed to play a low F) is placed so I can close it with the inside of my right knee. The low E and Eb can currently only be played using something to cover the holes, like tape or more White Tack - or maybe an accomplice.

I bought the cheapest Bb clarinet keys I could find, from Dawkes (which have been out of stock ever since - sorry about that, if you wanted some), and some synthetic pads, direct from China. I haven't yet decide how to mount the keys, but I'm thinking plastic curtain rail blocks to take the hinge rods, and probably separate rods for each key. This thing is not going to be pretty. That's not something that concerns me though.

I don't expect the clarion register (2nd register) to work all that well with a tenor sax mouthpiece, and I very much doubt if the altissimo will, but you never know. I have a cheap register tube waiting to be fitted. I thought I'd finish the chalumeau register first (lowest, chocalatey sounding register on a clarinet).

If it was practical to make my own saxophone, I'd have a go at that too, but I think it's probably beyond me. Clarinets, flutes and whistles are all tubes, which makes things a lot easier.
 
Jeanette

Jeanette

Organizress
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Welcome to the cafe :)

We don't tolerate unfriendly behaviour here so relax and enjoy

Jx
 
Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Thanks, Jeanette, that's good to know :)
 
ProfJames

ProfJames

Elementary member
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12,186
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Berkshire, UK
That's not true Andy.....some of them have been mean to me! >:)
 
Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
I feel your pain, professor :)

I'm betting it wasn't in the same league as that (presumably american) guy on the other forum though... I think I incurred his wrath by not massaging his ego while I had the chance. After that, there was no getting rid of him.
 
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ProfJames

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,186
Locality
Berkshire, UK
I started on SOTW a couple of years ago but whilst I am candid I also take umbrage! This forum is full of great people who are always willing to help in any shape or form. Get along to one of the meets in Manchester (up norf) or London (dahn sarf).
 
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Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Thanks. I didn't know there were meets. I've just done a search.

Heald Green is do-able, for me. I'm not very good at predicting how I'll feel on any particular day in the future though, so paying £25 to book it is a bit of an issue. Also, I've been trying to give up the evils of Paypal, but I keep getting dragged back in.

I'll give it some more thought.
 
SaxDon

SaxDon

Senior Member
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Portsmouth, Hants
Hello Andy, welcome to the cafe.......... Is Hornblower your actual surname? How cool would that be! lol
 
Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Hi Don,

Sadly, no :) I could change it by deed poll, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to.

Incidentally, I like using "Horatio" as a term of abuse for motorists who prefer the horn button to the brake pedal.
 
SaxDon

SaxDon

Senior Member
Café Supporter
Messages
700
Locality
Portsmouth, Hants
Hi Don,

Sadly, no :) I could change it by deed poll, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go to.

Incidentally, I like using "Horatio" as a term of abuse for motorists who prefer the horn button to the brake pedal.

I've got some extra time on my hands these day, will have to investigate! My nickname at school was Donkey Don..... so Donkey Don Hornblower it is...... rolls off the tongue!
 
Targa

Targa

Among the pigeons
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I've got some extra time on my hands these day, will have to investigate! My nickname at school was Donkey Don..... so Donkey Don Hornblower it is...... rolls off the tongue!
Nickname because you were stubborn, had a strange laugh, big ears or some other attribute?
 
Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Good luck with that. You have my full support, Don :) I'll be interested to know how you get on with changing it. Pictures of the expression on postmans faces once you've done it would be good too.
 
SaxDon

SaxDon

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700
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Portsmouth, Hants
Nickname because you were stubborn, had a strange laugh, big ears or some other attribute?

Unfortunately not for the inferred latter, for that you needed to speak to my old mate Tripod Tony :)
 
SaxDon

SaxDon

Senior Member
Café Supporter
Messages
700
Locality
Portsmouth, Hants
Good luck with that. You have my full support, Don :) I'll be interested to know how you get on with changing it. Pictures of the expression on postmans faces once you've done it would be good too.

They already give me strange looks......... just coz I open the door with my Mickey Mouse underpants on
 
Jeanette

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
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Locality
Cheshire UK
That's not true Andy.....some of them have been mean to me! >:)

Oh no we haven't :)

Thanks. I didn't know there were meets. I've just done a search.

Heald Green is do-able, for me. I'm not very good at predicting how I'll feel on any particular day in the future though, so paying £25 to book it is a bit of an issue. Also, I've been trying to give up the evils of Paypal, but I keep getting dragged back in.

I'll give it some more thought.

I believe you can pay by card as well as Paypal, if it is a stumbling block PC me and we can sort something out :)

Jx
 
kevgermany

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
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Big welcome from me. Nice comprehensive set of instruments you've got. Time for an oboe I think.
 
Andy Hornblower

Andy Hornblower

Member
Messages
325
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Thanks, all.
Nice comprehensive set of instruments you've got. Time for an oboe I think.
Damn! I knew I'd forgotten something. Yep, I have an oboe too. It's a Regent, made from genuine 1970s plastic. I can see it clearly from where I usually sit, but I don't play it much. Possibly because I have to move the electric guitar and the 4 valve flugelhorn to get to it...

I bought the electric guitar because it's a true stealth instrument - played with headphones only. Nobody knows I play the guitar, or try to. It's probably just as well. I bought Yamaha "Silent" mutes for my trumpet/cornet and flugels too (the SB5 trombone one fits), for the same reason. Unfortunately, they're not silent enough for my liking. They replace a loud, more or less in tune noise, with a quieter, but potentially much more irritating one, that the neighbour living directly above my flat can probably still hear.
 
Bolding

Bolding

Senior Member
Messages
448
Locality
Denmark
Welcome to the cafe Andy! Great intro, i learned quite a few things tbh, and what a glorious instrument collection.
Hope you will enjoy your stay here, it's quite a breath of fresh air coming from sotw, totally different atmosphere.

Regards Kasper B
 

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