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Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
Hello to old friends and new ones (hopefully). I'm actually not a new member but an old member from back in 2013 but I've not posted on here much in the intervening years for one reason or another. Anyway, I hope to be more active here now and share my knowledge and experieces such as they are as well as learn as much as possible that I have not yet learned from you members here already. I play S,A,T and recently BC and am happy to share experiences about all of those.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
How are you getting on with the bass clarinet?
LOL....the answer depends on the day you ask that. Some days it's like a dream and I can play the clarion with nary a squeak or squawk and other days or even later on the same day after breaking for dinner it all goes to hell. IDK why either. The same reed that I was thinking was the ticket to glory and 2 hours later I'm looking around to find a replacement. **** it's perplexing. But I'm hanging in there man because I know it will get better.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
I have similar experiences with the saxophone.
Sorry to hear that, but hang in there. It ends sooner or later. Fortunately for me, that hasn't been the case for a long time and it's only with the BC because I'm new to it and don't have the option of a teacher given the current viral safety concerns. One thing though is that with all these reed instruments quite often the problems of getting a good sound boil down to a very minute issue with the position of the reed in relation to the tip, or of the tightness and/or position of the lig. Depending on the mpc and the reed how the tip is placed can make a difference just in 1mm either way. And then there's the leak issue with the mpc so I always make sure I get a good pop-test the second anything wonky or wimpy starts happening because the slightest leak blows your sound out of the water. I know this from having spent hours testing setups before going out to jam during the 6 years I was doing it here. I don't waste time on reeds that are balky or having a bad hair day because it's not worth the time. I just find another until I get that sweet one, which as you know, may only be nice to you that day at that particular time. To paraphrase the lyrics of a famous song by the Spinners, "Reeds don't love nobody".
 

Jimmymack

Member
Messages
272
That's good info but I've been at it too long to know it goes away. The worst is when you get a whole box that doesn't want to play, but you're spot on with the placement of the reed. I've been messing with a new horn and new mouthpiece lately and that's why I'm re-sensitised to it. With the old setup I would just make 'em work or chuck them.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
That's good info but I've been at it too long to know it goes away. The worst is when you get a whole box that doesn't want to play, but you're spot on with the placement of the reed. I've been messing with a new horn and new mouthpiece lately and that's why I'm re-sensitised to it. With the old setup I would just make 'em work or chuck them.
Ahh I see. Well have you tried synthetics, like Plasticover or Legere. They both work great for me on some mpcs...not all of course, but enough to make dealing with cane less of a headache. I do of course still play cane reeds but I have rarely thrown any away, so after all these years I have a collection of dozens and dozens for all my horns that I can call up (from the bench so to speak) to pinch hit. Often enough older cane does really great. It is only when I chip the tip or the edge tears off that I chuck them for good.

Oh yeah, one really great trick I learned years ago is one that somebody like Coleman Hawkins used....I read about it so long ago it might have been Dexter or someone else. When playing a new reed or one that has only been played a few times and only plays with difficulty...i.e. it won't open up and blow freely....it's tight, in other words.....I wet my thumb and with the reed on the mpc push down hard on it with the heel of my thumb from the vamp all the way down towards the tip causing it to flex against the rails. Do that a couple or 3 times and you'll be surprised how a reed that wouldn't play a moment earlier now will sing freely for you. It's got something to do with opening up the fibers or tubeules in the reed so they are less stuck together (is what I see it as) and can therefore vibrate more freely. Many reeds straight out of the box will work with just that little bit of tweaking.....no sanding, filing, shaving, etc etc.....I've gotten over that rigamarole as I've gotten old and have less time to waste. So if it won't blow with the thumb trick, I throw it back in the holders and choose another candidate.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
How are you getting on with the bass clarinet?
Jimmy, to tell the truth I was digging it and then took a few days off to play alto and tenor and when I went back to the BC I had problems with my finger memory that made me put it back on the stand. What I mean is that I have no finger memory yet for the BC because my fingers are very strongly stuck in Sax Mode. I was hoping I could adapt, but hey after only knowing a sax keyboard for 57 years it's a hard habit to break I guess. I was hoping that trying to learn it as an older....much older adult....read geezer....I could get it but it's proving to be more difficult than I thought.

There is a disparity between just free playing the thing and improvising as I can by ear and digging the music I am able to make for the fun of it and actually trying to learn it by the standard method of reading and playing from pages with dots. When I do the former it is fun. With the latter it becomes like being 11 again and feeling tortured by the chart and the instrument not coinciding in my body. What seems to be going on when I focus on the dots their layout on paper doesn't click with the mind/finger connection. I do know in my mind that RH3 is G etc, but then if I go to the next register I have to remember that I am now up a 5th and playing a layout like the sax again, unil I go up another register when it's another 5th above etc etc......That's even assuming I can voice those higher register notes and not have the goose come out and honk like on my own personal gong show.

The Other difficulty is that the pinky levers (I won't dignify them by calling them keys, because they are not) are a minefield waiting to honk if I mi**** the wrong one (the LH ones when your right hand i123 are not engaged). Given that there are more of them and they are not on any kind of logical table like on a sax and some of them are alternates stuck here and there in the bushes, I have to keep discovering them and remembering which ones they are. So trying to play songs I started getting bogged down (especially if the chart went below Eb which is the lowest note on my BC) just finding the notes on the horn that matched the chart. Too slow going and my brain overloaded that day.

So I began playing sax a lot, fell in love with my alto again because I have a new wonderful mpc for it. I began playing my Sop tons because I got a great Morgan Classic mpc for it and of course my Comm III tenor is always a joy. So I guess what it is that I felt like I was being rebuffed by the new love and went back to long time steadies who love me no matter what, and I them.

As typical of me, a long answer for a simple quetion.

I hope you are well and staying safe and having a good winter/fall/spring or whichever it chooses to be today. Here it's almost the end of November and I'm still wearing shorts and a tee.
 

Jazz Is All

Member
Messages
196
Good to see you here.
Hi Jaye,
We knew each other on SOTW, didn't we? The name with NM and the photo threw me off. Are you still there? I didn't know you live in Pastel Coyote Land. Where abouts are you, ABQ, SF, Lost Almost (Dr. G's old stomping ground)? You probably don't know but I used to live in Santa Fe. I spent 15 years there from 75 to 90.....well actually the last year and a half I was down in the Turkey getting my MA at the Center of the Universe. When I watched Breaking Bad last year it all came back to me like a rerun of my life. One thing I was glad for was not eating at the Frontier. I preferred Taco Bell for the 19 cent tacos w/ refried beans you'd get with the coupons in the Daily Lobo.
So how are things there now. I haven't been back since 1995 I think it was. I loved being there for the land and the mountains because I spent a lot of time hiking and skiing there. I used to hike up to the top of Santa Fe Peak in the summer and fall just to enjoy the view. Or up to the top of Baldy. Man that was great. Unfortunately I wore my knees out doing all that and now it's work just to walk up a mild slope in the city. The saying Use It While You're Young Because You're Going To Lose It When You're Old is definitely true.

Cheers man
 
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