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Topics - kurth83

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1
All about Clarinets / Starting a mouthpiece safari
« on: January 07, 2024, 05:05:40 PM »
I have a BD4 and a BD5, am going to order every VanDoren piece with the same size gap or smaller, but avoid the really short facing ones, as I am looking to put on a stiffer reed.  So I am opting for the longer facing smaller gap ones initially.

It means for the first round I have ordered:
M13
M13 Lyre
M15
M30 Lyre

I skipped the very short facing 5RV variants.

I'll keep y'all posted how it goes, should get them by the end of the week.  Probably take several weeks or more to really get them all dialed in to what reeds they like and to know if they are really better than the BD5.

My issue is the BD5 limits me to a 1.5 (or a 2 but with greatly reduced endurance).. I sound a *lot* better and have more control on the 2 though so I am looking for other options that might similarly help me but with less of an endurance hit.

One thing that helped is WWBW had open box sales on most of them, I don't mind a scratch or two while trying them out.

I am planning to keep them however, building the collection.  I have a great clarinet so not looking to upgrade there at the moment.


2
All about Clarinets / I can play a 2 now, up from a 1.5 woohoo.
« on: December 03, 2023, 07:44:41 PM »
Been right about 3.5 months since I started playing.  My technical skills continue to improve at a very satisfying rate.  I'm currently about 2/3 through sight reading the Klose cover to cover (at whatever speeds work, so very slow tempos).  Already read through several other easier method books (Rubank has about 4, and I did a few trumpet ones) to get me ready for the Klose.  Klose was a genius, lots of wonderful stuff in that book.

After about 3 months on a 1.5 (BD5 mpc), and repeated attempts to switch to a 2, it finally seems to have worked, I feel no less endurance on the 2 (every previous attempt the 2 wiped me out).  Everything else works better now.  Tone and volume is improved across the board, altissimo is easier (a lot easier), and the instrument is much less prone to squeak.  I don't hate the sound of the throat tones anywhere near as much.  Course I'm getting better at producing tone too.

My tone is now significantly better than the last chair in our local amateur concert band, I'll take what victories I can get haha. :-)

I think am also a really loud player too, (I can go soft easily enough), but as a trumpet player, putting a lot of air into it is easy for me and feels more natural.  I really like that I can get a fairly decent dynamic range out of it and I feel it is important to practice tone production at all dynamic ranges.  The 2 increased the max loudness nicely but I can still go super soft like a clarinet should. :-)

The CSVR is wonderful of course too, it has plenty of projection.

I am however still flat - even with a really short barrel - was hoping the 2 would correct that.

I am going to retry to find a teacher in january, a good one in our area is expected to have some spots open up then.

3
All about Clarinets / Clarinet Disassembly Tool :-)
« on: October 27, 2023, 08:21:39 PM »
My new clarinet has corks so tight I couldn't get it apart until I used this.

Don't panic though, I also used a neoprene pad (mouse pad) to protect it. :-)

I hope the corks loosen up soon.


4
All about Clarinets / I perceive a possible need for orthodontics.
« on: October 25, 2023, 02:41:19 PM »
I have a lower front tooth that sticks out, it makes playing in the upper register noticeably more painful as I am admittedly biting a little bit.

I already scheduled a dentist appointment as the teeth have sharp edges created by the many years of wear.  But I think a straight lower row of front teeth will also help, so am considering orthodontics too.

I am guessing I am not the first person to do this so I thought I would ask here.

5
All about Clarinets / Bought a YCL-CSVR to upgrade a YCL-255
« on: October 25, 2023, 12:11:46 PM »
You may recall I was interested in left Eb key models, and bought a Buffet E12FL.
I discovered immediately that I do not like left Eb keys, it gets in the way more than it provides benefits.  Yes I find this a bit funny, feel free to laugh. :-)
This opened my "want" list to much cheaper models.
I found the E12 easier to play than my plastic student model 255, so I realized I was ready for a better instrument and the E12FL was not "it".

I am not sure if this is funny or not, but the E12 has been in the shop constantly since I got it.
It has a very leaky pad making it unplayable, I had it "fixed", and it worked well for a few days, then started leaking again.

Given all this I started thinking about what I wanted in a nicer clarinet.  I wanted one that would play when it arrived.  And I wanted one that was bright or "projects", meaning could be heard in a section.  All that narrowed it down pretty easily to the Yamaha CSVR.  And I admit I am sympathetic to Yamaha as I have had good experiences with them on other instruments.

Maybe sometime I will buy an R13 too, I would love to be able to compare those two side by side.

A comparative review to the YCL-255 is simply the CSVR makes everything easier and sounds better.

It plays buttery smooth and by comparison the YCL-255 is a fight to get it the notes out, especially the B when crossing the break.

The blow is much easier in the sense the sound is immediate and requires less effort (air pressure).  It is superior to the E12 in this regard, although the E12 improved on the YCL-255 but it wasn't the huge leap the CSVR is.

The high range is more in tune, although the YCL-255's high range wasn't that bad.

Sounds nicer across the board, the improvement to the throat tones is especially appreciated (the E12 also had noticeably better throat tones than the 255).

Tonally it is closer to the YCL-255 than the E12.  I think this is to be expected, the CSVR is the "brightest" of their three lines (CSVR, SE, and CSG - from brightest to darkest as I understand it).  And as I mentioned, I wanted bright.

While it may be the brightest of the Yamahas it is still a pleasing sound with the relatively dark BD5 mouthpiece I am using.

I also have a Polaris barrel on order which is known to darken the CSVR sound a bit.  I want to have that in my toolbox.

And yes, it played perfectly right out of the box with no setup, as expected, same as the student model did. :-)

6
All about Clarinets / Check out my new E12FL, all the way from london.
« on: October 05, 2023, 11:13:33 AM »
The 'L' in E12FL means with the left Eb lever.

It needs a setup, but other than a pad adjustment or two seems fine.

7
All about Clarinets / Sticky thumb key, should I fix it myself?
« on: October 02, 2023, 09:21:12 AM »
So brand new to clarinet repair.  My thumb key is now sticky, after reading around I suspect the fix is to replace the thin leather strip with a teflon stick-on strip, aka this stuff:

https://www.dawkes.co.uk/ptfe-sheet-150mm-x-150mm-x-024mm-sheets/9486

Is there something easier like lubricating the cork/leather itself perhaps?

8
All about Clarinets / Yamaha CSVR and left Eb key (CSVR-ASP)
« on: September 25, 2023, 12:35:40 PM »
So I'm thinking forward to upgrading my Yamaha 255, and was leaning towards a CSVR, but I recently learned about the existence of left Eb keys, and I realize I want that, and the CSVR does not have it.

All the other pinky keys have left and right hand alternatives which are becoming useful to me as I am learning new patterns.  Seems like the left Eb key just makes sense to have.  Too bad there is no right hand C# (or Ab) key, or maybe there is that I just don't know about.

So now I'm thinking of the CSVR-ASP, which has the left Eb key.

It also has an option for the low note intonation correction, but I don't see anybody selling that model, is that necessary?

Curious what folks here think.

9
All about Clarinets / Just bought a BD4 to try out.
« on: September 19, 2023, 02:05:26 PM »
Compared to the BD5 it is more immediate, which is what vandoren and other ppl say about it.
Immediate means that articulation is easier, notes start easier, this makes fluid playing feel easier cross the board, the altissimo register seems a bit freer too, where it is more of a struggle on the BD5.
The tone might be a bit brighter than the BD5 too.  Some like that and some don't AFAIK.
I am liking it so far as fluidity and ease of play is important to me.

For fun I also bought a 5JB a while back to see what a really loud mouthpiece would feel like, it was louder, but was harder to play, less endurance on that one.

10
All about Clarinets / Starting on clarinet, bought a CSO, then a yamaha
« on: September 17, 2023, 08:54:37 PM »
I'm an aging classical trumpet player who is trying to learn clarinet as a more physically accessible instrument, I guess the jury is still out if that will remain true but on a rico 2.0 reed with a BD5 and a Yamaha YCL-255 I seem to be doing very nicely.  Been about a month of playing so far.  I started on a 1.5, and 2.0 felt terrible, I can play on a rico blue box 2.0 now reasonably well, so some progression is happening.

I was very surprised to find that much of what I know from trumpet playing transfers directly to clarinet (some mods needed but intuitive and easy for a trumpet player to learn).  Breath control, voicing (we would call it tongue level on trumpet), and the embouchure is very similar which was quite surprising to me.  Playing clarinet is like a duck to water, except for the break which I am still struggling with, does that ever go away?  I am guessing that rapid scale runs up and down over the break never become completely easy though.

So far a big encouragement is that I have a lot more endurance on clarinet than on trumpet and can access most of the range of the instrument, can do low E through high F reasonably well.  My upper range and endurance on trumpet is long gone, so I have some hope here at least.  The two embouchures synergize nicely, neither interferes with the other (as long as an hour break in between), and clarinet seems to help trumpet and vice versa.

I did play for a few days on a Mendini by Cecilio (CSO) from amazon before the yamaha came in.  The surprise is it actually plays, the tone is a bit thinner and more shrill, and the bottom three notes take less air than the Yamaha, but in retrospect it was pretty carefully tuned to be easy to play for a beginner and it worked perfectly, a very well thought out package.  That's a lot better than I was expecting from a CSO actually.  I had a similar experience with their flute, although I mostly learned I don't like playing flute and I do like playing clarinet.

So that's it, my "high there folks", I can pronounce Klose now too. :-)

A bit of humor, playing trumpet music on a clarinet is brutal, it ignores the break entirely, but it is nice to have the endurance to play through an entire 2 page st jacome etude (at 1/4 speed at best), been a long time since I could do that.

I went to the clarinet bboard first, but those guys seem not really oriented towards beginners to be polite...

I guess the main point of this is that brass players do get a leg up on clarinet as a double (and probably most woodwinds), and I am really enjoying playing clarinet.  I can make it sound quite musical within the level of technique I have so far, which limits me to slow lyrical passages and some basic ornamentation. but I can do a beautiful shmaltzy vibrato - feels the same as doing trumpet lip vibrato - and pitch bends come easy too.   Too bad vibrato is not called for in the classical clarinet style, still useful in other genres though.

Count me in as a clarinet lover for now.  My niece called me Squidward too, which I thought was pretty funny, I am guessing that is not the first time that has happened on this forum.

Until later.

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