All profit supporting   special needs music

Clarinets Question About The Clarion Register On Bass Clarinet (the torture register)

rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,126
Locality
Surrey, UK
I don't know for sure but I strongly suspect it's because the bore is too big. Ideally the bore diameter should should be multiplied by the square root of 2, doubling the cross sectional area, to go down an octave. Using round figures a soprano clarinet has a bore of around 15mm which would imply a corresponding bass clarinet bore of around 21mm. Actual Boehm system clarinets have a bore of over 23mm. That's about 10% too big. They probably ended up like this to give them a bigger sound in the low register. When they were invented nobody expected expected them to play high notes much.

Some older German system basses have a bore size around 20mm which is out the other way. I've never played one but I strongly suspect that the clarion is a lot more stable on those instruments.

I have a metal bass clarinet made by Uebel that has a bore of about 19mm. It is quite a different beast to a normal, modern bass clarinet, including that the special mouthpiece fits over a corked neck, like a saxophone mouthpiece. The original Uebel mouthpiece isn't very good so I spoke to Ed Pillinger to see whether he could make me a one-off replacement. Here is what Ed told me about the bore.

Uebel bass clarinets had small German bores c. 19mms. I still have one of these, a low C bass that played wonderfully well, lovely tone and an agility enabling one to soar up to the upper reaches of the instrument with ease. Mine came with a small bore German bass clarinet mouthpiece designed traditionally for the reed to be held on with string. The only real drawback with this instrument was the lack of power when up against French big bore bass clarinets (usually c. 23mms). I tackled this problem by adapting a French style alto clarinet mouthpiece, enlarging the bore to the German bass mpc size and giving it a sort of C*-ish alto sax facing for alto sax reeds. I got a lot more power and overall dynamic range but the tone was rather poor compared to the German setup. I cured this to a great extent by making the chamber of the mouthpiece much smaller and again more like the internal volume of the German mpc. This made the sound much better, more focused and I arrived at a setup that could compete in a symphony orchestra. I made this mouthpiece for a number of players including Tony Pay.

Rhys
 
D

Dibbs

Member
Messages
764
Cool. How does the clarion play compared to wide bore instruments? Is it less squirrely or am I barking up the wrong tree completely?
 
rhysonsax

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,126
Locality
Surrey, UK
Cool. How does the clarion play compared to wide bore instruments? Is it less squirrely or am I barking up the wrong tree completely?

I'm really not a clarinet or bass clarinet player so I don't know ! Most of my time is spent struggling with my saxophones ('nino down to bass, but SATB most of the time) and I just don't put in enough time on clarinets (or flutes) to know what I'm doing.

What Ed Pillinger wrote and I quoted above is much better informed than any view from me.

In normal times I would be happy to let any forum member have a play on my Uebel bass clarinet.

Rhys
 
D

Dibbs

Member
Messages
764
Fair enough. I'll tentatively take "an agility enabling one to soar up to the upper reaches of the instrument with ease" as favourable evidence for now then.

I'd love to try it one day.
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
If only they were as simple as on a saxophone they wouldn't go wrong quite so often. They switch on R3 rather than L3 so have a very long linkage that can bend and have extra mechanics to enable the pinch Bb. Mine's never been quite right.
Not only that but the other day I found that one of the rods on the lower section had worked itself out of the post. I am really anal with my instruments but this escaped me until I realized that something wasn't working. Easy fix but I was scratching my head at first since I never had anything like that on a sax whereas after looking at EarSpasm's Youtube videos this seems to happen relatively often.
 
Jazz Is All

Jazz Is All

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
758
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
What MPC are you using? Also, how do you define the "flush with the tip" alignment? What I found was that I get the best result, both on sax and BC if I fasten the reed and then bend it to close with the tip rail and it is almost flush (it never aligns 100% because of the shape of the reed vs. the tip). Only reason I ask is because I have seen different descriptions, most of which didn't make much sense to me.

One more thing I found to help with getting into the clarion register is to double lip with very little embouchure pressure but I am only a beginner myself and probably way behind your level of playing.
A Vandoren B44. By flush with the tip I mean with no tip showing at all if possible. Of course not all tips are the exact shape of the tip on all reeds but this mpc seems to be better than some. As long as the reed is cane and not a Plasticover, it's easy to see. The standard reed placement taught to beginners is to leave a fraction of an inch or a mm or two or a hairline of daylight of tip showing. However, that's just a rule of thumb and all mpcs may need the reed moved up or down from that position depending on the exact combo and or the player's embouchure. Noting in sax playing comes in a box marked one size fits all and depends on all the variables, the most variable of all being the player. Even so, I have read, and heard said on YouTube tutorials that for the BC the reed tip should be right up there with nothing of the mpc tip showing.

I don't follow dogmas like that if a reed is misbehaving because it could be having a bad hair day, or it's that reed's time of the month. They are ruled by Venus and the moon you realize and so you have to futz with them....push them up above or down below as needed for squeaks or too hard or too soft or just ornery behavior as the case may be. I also might move the position of the lig up or down depending on the specific setup as well, and always only tighten it just enough. One thing that may have a bearing is if the table of the mpc is not flat, which you will know if the reed doesn't stick to it after being licked and played for even a short while. On this B44 mpc all the reeds get stuck to the table just from me sucking them for half a minute and licking the underside. Tightened just enough to hold them to the mpc, if I go to change the reed for a different one even as little as 3 minutes later, the reed is stuck fast and I have to use force to unstick it. So I know that what ever I get is not due to a mpc problem as may be in many cases.
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
On this B44 mpc all the reeds get stuck to the table just from me sucking them for half a minute and licking the underside. Tightened just enough to hold them to the mpc, if I go to change the reed for a different one even as little as 3 minutes later, the reed is stuck fast and I have to use force to unstick it. So I know that what ever I get is not due to a mpc problem as may be in many cases.
I don't even know what MPC it is that I have. It came with the BC and I am not sure if it is good or bad but I know Ron Coelho worked on it, so it is probably good. When I first got the setup I was totally frustrated and got myself a Yamaha 4C which was much easier to get started but then I moved back to the (probably LeBlanc). The table is flat and I have the same experience of the reed just sticking to it after a few minutes so that I need to pry it off after removing the ligature.

Leaving a hair or fraction thereof of the tip makes it a little bit easier to control but it also deadens the tone - and that may be just the way my embouchure is. Anyway, thanks for starting this thread, it reminded me of the instrument, when I had my hernia surgery I wasn't allowed to play anything for about 2 months and I "cleaned up" my studio and the BC ended up in a corner. Out of sight, almost out of mind but there was so much to catch up with that I didn't touch it again until I started following this thread. And now I am trying to get back to where I was last year :cool:
 
Jazz Is All

Jazz Is All

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
758
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
Not only that but the other day I found that one of the rods on the lower section had worked itself out of the post. I am really anal with my instruments but this escaped me until I realized that something wasn't working. Easy fix but I was scratching my head at first since I never had anything like that on a sax whereas after looking at EarSpasm's Youtube videos this seems to happen relatively often.
Actually this can happen on a tenor too. One day I noticed that the rod for the side E key on my Comm III had popped out of its holder and was thus pulled out of shape. The holder is simply a post with a U-shaped piece at the top which the rod sits in. It was probably due to me holding the horn too tightly around the upper body tube while carrying. That's why I (almost) always try to carry it by the rim of the bell and the bell to body brace.
 
jbtsax

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,978
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Not only that but the other day I found that one of the rods on the lower section had worked itself out of the post. I am really anal with my instruments but this escaped me until I realized that something wasn't working. Easy fix but I was scratching my head at first since I never had anything like that on a sax whereas after looking at EarSpasm's Youtube videos this seems to happen relatively often.
Generally speaking a "hinge rod" that unscrews itself from the post is a sign there is friction in the key, either from being dry and needing cleaning and oiling, or if something is bent. If you feel comfortable doing it, the way to diagnose the problem is to remove the key, clean the inside of the tube with a cotton pipe cleaner with a few drops of alcohol, and clean the rod with a paper towel. Then insert the rod into the hinge tube to see if it goes in and out without binding. If it passes this test, simply put a few drops of key oil into the hinge tube and replace the key tightening the rod to be "mechanically tight".

American to British repair term translations: :)
Hinge tube . . . . Key Barrel
Hinge Rod . . . . . Rod Screw
Post . . . . . . . . . . Pillar
Spring Cradle. . . Nipple
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,809
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
No such language as British. The Welsh have their own language as do the Gaelic speakers. Some Scottish English speakers sound like it's a different language but that's just the dialect. ;)
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
Generally speaking a "hinge rod" that unscrews itself from the post is a sign there is friction in the key, either from being dry and needing cleaning and oiling, or if something is bent. If you feel comfortable doing it, the way to diagnose the problem is to remove the key, clean the inside of the tube with a cotton pipe cleaner with a few drops of alcohol, and clean the rod with a paper towel. Then insert the rod into the hinge tube to see if it goes in and out without binding. If it passes this test, simply put a few drops of key oil into the hinge tube and replace the key tightening the rod to be "mechanically tight".

American to British repair term translations: :)
Hinge tube . . . . Key Barrel
Hinge Rod . . . . . Rod Screw
Post . . . . . . . . . . Pillar
Spring Cradle. . . Nipple
Yes, I am doing quite a bit of restauration myself so I am aware of it. What an odd language, though (I won't say which one :cool: )
One of my babies below:

14
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
After practicing for a few more hours yesterday, I think I came up with a new description for generating the "Clarion" air stream that I have not read yet. (I know you need to hear three different versions of everything until it makes sense). Make your tonsils (or where they used to be) the center of your airstream and try to voice the "ch" as in "Berberechos". I've been struggling with all the other descriptions but this one seems to work just fine for me.
 
Jazz Is All

Jazz Is All

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
758
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
After practicing for a few more hours yesterday, I think I came up with a new description for generating the "Clarion" air stream that I have not read yet. (I know you need to hear three different versions of everything until it makes sense). Make your tonsils (or where they used to be) the center of your airstream and try to voice the "ch" as in "Berberechos". I've been struggling with all the other descriptions but this one seems to work just fine for me.
My tonsils were removed when I was 7 or 8, and I have to admit that I had no idea back then where exactly they were located other than back down my throat. 69 years later I have even less of an idea where I should be aiming my air-pistol in order to hit the space they occupied. Interesting that you chose Berberechos as the key word when you could have used Chow Mein, chopped liver, or Cheerios instead.
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
My tonsils were removed when I was 7 or 8, and I have to admit that I had no idea back then where exactly they were located other than back down my throat. 69 years later I have even less of an idea where I should be aiming my air-pistol in order to hit the space they occupied. Interesting that you chose Berberechos as the key word when you could have used Chow Mein, chopped liver, or Cheerios instead.
Berberechos was probably not the best choice, I just listened to the Google phonetics and they pronounce it indeed like Chow Mein, whereas, when I was down at the Costa Brava everybody pronounced it more like in "Achtung Baby" or José. The main reason I remember the word is that I had a supervisor and her name was Berberich and she was ah old maid of the worst kind :cool:
 
Jazz Is All

Jazz Is All

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
758
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
Berberechos was probably not the best choice, I just listened to the Google phonetics and they pronounce it indeed like Chow Mein, whereas, when I was down at the Costa Brava everybody pronounced it more like in "Achtung Baby" or José. The main reason I remember the word is that I had a supervisor and her name was Berberich and she was ah old maid of the worst kind :cool:
Jeeze man, you're cruel , lol :D ;) Was that because she looked like a berberecho? A scary though I iknow.

BTW do you know the origin of the word Berberrechos? It's a composite word for Berber Derechos, which are the rights of the Berber people to have a homeland. Buying those little clams aids them to achieve that goal because 15 centimos of every euro spent on that product is donated to them. Isn't that interesting?

Also do you know that there are men with the name Jose (without the tilde)? Which is to say that the stress is on the first syllable-- JOse --rather than on the second in the more common José. I found it strange to have to pronounce it that way. Worse however are the people in California whose name is Jimenez (Hih mein es), but they pronounce it Gym in ez like Gringos do, most likely for being beaten down by years of having it mispronounced by so many dumb Americans who think that California was first settled by Norwegians and Germans. I worked with a guy who actually corrected my pronunciation when I pronounced it like it should be in Castellano. That was a real surprise.
 
LostCircuits

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
758
Locality
Black Forest
She did... And I was wondering about the Berber people. Most people in the US won't know what a Berber area rug is, nor have they read Elsa Sophia von Kamphoevener's books about the Night Fires at the Caravan Serail. And California is not the Camargue, home of the Mediterranean Vikings. Do they still have the Gipsy Festival in Saintes Maries de la Mer? I was there in '76 and it seems like half a century ago
 
Targa

Targa

Among the pigeons
Messages
9,940
Locality
KIC 8462852
BTW do you know the origin of the word Berberrechos? It's a composite word for Berber Derechos, which are the rights of the Berber people to have a homeland. Buying those little clams aids them to achieve that goal because 15 centimos of every euro spent on that product is donated to them. Isn't that interesting?
Rather more civilised than their historical money making efforts as slave trading pirates.
 

Similar threads (maybe)

arock
Replies
54
Views
9K
kevgermany
kevgermany
ColColt
Beginner Squeaky Tenor
5 6 7
Replies
137
Views
8K
ProfJames
ProfJames
F
Replies
18
Views
3K
compound
C
Saxmole
Replies
9
Views
832
Jez Watson
Jez Watson
C
Replies
5
Views
883
Jazzaferri
Jazzaferri

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom