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Clarinets Keys not responding properly

Petlyn

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Hi thanks for calling in.

I've been 'asked', can I double on clari on Saturday of course says I but now thinking 'oh 'eck why did I say OK ?? haven't played clari for a L O N G time, just got my clari out which was recently overhauled and find whilst the lower reg is fine anything above G# (above the stave) squeaks something awful. Thinks !! could be a pad leaking but pushing this and pressing that makes no difference. Tried different Mouth Pieces and Reeds in desperation but alas squeak.

Need to get it right quickly as I need to check out the dots but need it to play musical notes not Mickey Mouse impressions.

Great if you can help THANKS in anticipation.
 

Stephen Howard

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If the lower register works, it's unlikely to be a leak in the top joint - but it's easy enough to check.
Take the tops joint (only) finger a G/C, place your palm over the lower end of the joint, press the upper end to your lips and give it a firm but not super-strong blow. You should feel an immediate resistance. If you blow hard enough you will probably blow the G# or side Bb keys open.
If you don't feel a resistance, you have a leak.
 

jbtsax

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One thing to check would be to open the throat A key and see if there is a bit of "lost motion" before it contacts the Ab key. If there isn't, use a small screwdriver to back the screw out about 1/2 turn.

I always go back to the "tone producer" to eliminate the possibility of player error. The mouthpiece + barrel should produce a F# concert or slightly higher if it is a shorter student model barrel. Playing the barrel, try both holding the note as a long tone using fast, cold air and then try tonguing a group of notes to see if the back of the tongue going too high or if your jaw is moving as you tongue.

If the "squeak" starts on high G#, first play low C with a full tone and open the register key to make it go to high G. If that is successful, next play low C# and do the same to see if high G# speaks properly. If you are getting a squeak on the high note, but not the lower one, make sure you are not "biting" or changing your embouchure as you go from one register to the other. The only change as you go from the low to high register is to raise the back of the tongue slightly in an "EE" shape and increasing the speed of the air.
 

Petlyn

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Wirral NW UK
Thanks SH

I am au fait with that test and it seems to 'pop' fine however I've just put the clari through its paces and it is improving think I've left it unused too long. Thanks again P !!
 

Petlyn

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78
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Wirral NW UK
One thing to check would be to open the throat A key and see if there is a bit of "lost motion" before it contacts the Ab key. If there isn't, use a small screwdriver to back the screw out about 1/2 turn.

I always go back to the "tone producer" to eliminate the possibility of player error. The mouthpiece + barrel should produce a F# concert or slightly higher if it is a shorter student model barrel. Playing the barrel, try both holding the note as a long tone using fast, cold air and then try tonguing a group of notes to see if the back of the tongue going too high or if your jaw is moving as you tongue.

If the "squeak" starts on high G#, first play low C with a full tone and open the register key to make it go to high G. If that is successful, next play low C# and do the same to see if high G# speaks properly. If you are getting a squeak on the high note, but not the lower one, make sure you are not "biting" or changing your embouchure as you go from one register to the other. The only change as you go from the low to high register is to raise the back of the tongue slightly in an "EE" shape and increasing the speed of the air.

Ah thanks for this 'interesting' reply. I think it probably is ME having always played Sax and the 'sudden' change to a totally different embouchure, I'll get it right by Saturday the squeaks have reduced in the past 30 minutes. THANKS
 

Stephen Howard

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UK
Thanks SH

I am au fait with that test and it seems to 'pop' fine however I've just put the clari through its paces and it is improving think I've left it unused too long. Thanks again P !!
Often the way!

One little gotcha to watch out for - and it's admittedly an extreme rarity - is that the speaker key tube can come loose if the clarinet's been in storage for a long time. In most cases it'll stop the instrument dead in its tracks - but every once in a very blue moon the speaker key pad will stick to the tube so that when its in the resting position it more or less seals up. When you press the speaker key, however, the tube comes out of the wood and you get massive over-venting. As soon as you let go of the key, it seals back up. It's such a ridiculous fault that hardly anyone thinks to check for it.
A similar thing can happen on saxes, where the solder on the body octave key pip breaks down....or a careless repairer 'pops the pip' when using a dent bar down the bore.
 

Dr G

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Northern California
Ah thanks for this 'interesting' reply. I think it probably is ME having always played Sax and the 'sudden' change to a totally different embouchure, I'll get it right by Saturday the squeaks have reduced in the past 30 minutes. THANKS

Be also aware of inadvertently touching side keys, chromatic keys, and such.
 

Stephen Howard

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And how would you know that? :rolleyes:

You're not careless.

Players' in distress came to you after a service/repair gone wrong.
That's usually how it happens - but I don't mind holding my hand up and admitting that I've popped a handful of pips in my time. It's because working with a dent bar/ball down the bore means you have at least three areas to concentrate on, and you're always (hopefully) going to be concentrating mostly on the dent and the area of tube opposite.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
The thing to remember when returning to Bb soprano clarinet is that it isn't a saxophone. It requires its own peculiar embouchure and air support. The squeaky bar steward. :mad:
 

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