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Clarinets Will Starting clarinet help or hinder saxophone sound and chops?

fibracell

Senior Member
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616
Hi, I've never played a clarinet, but it seems all the best sax players started on clarinet. I just wonder if doing some clarinet lessons and practice would help with sax tone and technique, or would it be a waste of effort?

I know clarinet is extremely difficult, but if it helps sax, them maybe it's worth while to put some time into learning?

what do you clarinet players, who started sax first, think?

thanks Rob
 

Colin the Bear

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14,745
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Burnley bb9 9dn
It can't hurt to learn clarinet. It's a more complicated instrument, fingering wise, but not difficult to play to a reasonable standard. Switching from clarinet to saxophone seemed simple to me but going the other way may prove challenging. I wouldn't take up clarinet to improve my saxophone. The only reason to take up any instrument is because you want to play it and like the sound. You can pick up a second hand clarinet for very little money. Then it's just a case of finding a suitable mouthpiece and compatible reeds.
 

BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
Hi, I've never played a clarinet, but it seems all the best sax players started on clarinet.
Yes, we did :-J. I suspect that's mainly because they started young and clarinets were more easily available and less fragile.

I just wonder if doing some clarinet lessons and practice would help with sax tone and technique, or would it be a waste of effort?
if you want to play clarinet, by all means learn it. But if what you want to do is play the sax, I think playing clarinet could even be counter-productive. I came to the sax after 20 years of clarinet in my youth and it took me a few months to stop trying to play the alto like a big clarinet. The embouchure is more different than you might think.

A minor point is the confusion between the registers (a 12th apart instead of an octave). I still occasionally think "C" and play a G after 3.5 years.

I know clarinet is extremely difficult,
Isn't everything, once you really get into it? That's what keeps life interesting :).

but if it helps sax, them maybe it's worth while to put some time into learning?
what do you clarinet players, who started sax first, think?

thanks Rob
Other way round for me, but here's my opinion anyway.
 
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saxnik

Member
Messages
381
Locality
Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom
Colin and Martin's points are seconded here - taking up clarinet to help your sax playing is a bit like taking up cycling to help your driving, there are crossovers but they're not that similar!

When I've tried to teach clarinet to sax players in schools, it's not gone too well, since the other way around is a shallower learning curve... But definitely worth it if you want to be able to play it for itself!

Good luck,

Nick
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Locality
Helsinki, Finland
One thing where the clarinet may be really helpful is if you live in an apartment and don't have enough time to play the sax during the day. A clarinet with a soft reed is easy to play very quietly, whereas a saxophone with any kind of reed or mouthpiece is certainly not. Even if only half of what you learn on the clarinet were transferable to the saxophone, you'd get half the practice instead of no practice at all. Going on a vacation it's the same, I always take my clarinet because it doesn't take up any space at all.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I started on saxophone at age 10 and studied the clarinet in college in order to be a music teacher. It was difficult because of the differences in embouchure, concept of blowing, and little finger key technique. That was after I had a high level of skill on the saxophone to begin with. I would not advise "doubling on clarinet" to improve your saxophone skills.
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
Locality
Twickenham
I started on sax 31 years ago, took up clarinet 10 years later, played it to a low standard for two or three years, then really decided to take it seriously 3 or 4 years ago. I play it OK-ish, gig with it often.

It is a somewhat different instrument. No point thinking of it as an aid to sax playing...you're better off practising sax for that.

However, if making yourself a more complete musician is an ambition, or just getting acquainted with another great instrument and making it sing gives you satisfaction, then don't hesitate.

It won't interfere with your sax technique. Just approach it in a thoughtful way and it will be beneficial, if anything.

Sent from my RM-892_eu_euro1_205 using Tapatalk
 

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