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Beginner Volume Breakthrough


Finger Flapper
Isn't it strange how things sometimes suddenly slip into place?

Since replacing my mouthpiece, I've really struggled to play at any volume other than 'quite loud'. I had learned to control the 4c quite well and could just about play at a nice restrained volume that at worst annoyed my Family, rather than completely p****ing them off! To be fair, even at full pelt, the Yami volume was quite restrained.

However with my new Vandoren piece, which has a considerably bigger tip opening, I was even beginning to annoy myself with the amount of unwanted volume I was producing. Subtle, I was not. Every time I tried to play softly I ended up just blowing and making, well...a slightly amplified blowing sound!

In order to try to rectify the problem, I read Pete's Chapter on Subtone again this morning. Now, in the Chapter he explains that subtone is different to just playing softly, but I had to find a method of lowering the volume, so irrespective of the differences, I had to give it a go.

After reading the Subtone Chapter, I thought 'I've tried that before, it doesn't work!' However, I thought I'd persevere and try again and, low and behold after a few blows on the recommended low G, a nice silky(ish), soft sound started coming out of the business end! Maybe even a little bit smokey like Stan Getz (Ok, maybe not) After half an hour of working my way to the bottom notes, I'm now starting to produce some sweet low tones that don't threaten the woodwork around the window or act as a mating call to local Elephants

I'm not really concerned at the moment whether I'm producing true subtone, or have just managed to relax my jaw and lower lip enough to allow the reed to emit a soft sound, but it feels good to break down another learning barrier!


New Member
Manila, Philippines
I also have been practising subtones for that smoky, gentle sound. You might want to look into Harvey Pittels lesson on subtones on youtube. Actually, I recommend you look into his entire lesson series, its quite an eye opener for newbies like us.

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