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Topics - Skyfacer

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1
All about Clarinets / The Resonance Tube
« on: February 10, 2013, 02:39:14 AM »
We are all familiar with the obstruction within the upper section of the Clarinets bore but what\'s it\'s purpose?
It\'s called the resonance tube but there is hardly any information about it in the general literature concerning the instrument. I have Anthony Baine\'s \'Woodwind Instruments and Their History\' / Jack Brymer\'s \"Clarinet\'/ and W.T. Ridenour\'s \"The Educators Guide to the Clarinet\" and it doesn\'t get even a passing mention as far as I can see in those works.
I have heard that it is there for adding resonance to the throat Bb and that there is a different length to it between the Bb and A Clarinets.
Can anyone enlighten me as to it\'s importance in the acoustics of the Clarinet?
One thing I do know about it is that it is an obstruction in which one can get one\'s pull through cloth caught on.
I\"ve also noticed that the old fashioned wrap around speaker key mechanism partly solved the problem of this obstruction by having the metal bush of this tone hole elevated outside of the joint , hence less of an obstruction within the bore itself.
I have included photos of one of my Clarinets, the W.Schreiber 6010s which has a modern version of this old type key as a standard feature.
Note the raised metal bush in the third image from the right.
Also, the image on the second right of the two clarinets. On the Schreiber the speaker key tone hole is almost a centimeter lower than the more standard speaker tone hole.

2
All about Clarinets / Tom Ridenour\'s Thumb Saddle
« on: February 09, 2013, 10:06:30 PM »
Tom Ridenour\'s Thumb Saddle
               
I\"ve updated this thread. To see the photos please go to the original thread. (Same title)
Is Tom Ridenour\'s Thumb Saddle the best invention since sliced bread?
I purchased this item off Tom a year ago to try it out. Being a creature of habit, it took a while for me to \'warm\' up to it, but over a period of a few weeks I really began to like it. In fact, I ended up liking it so much I now never pick up the Clarinet without this \'Thumb Saddle\' positioned onto the thumb rest.
I had to replace the thumb rest that was on the Jupiter Clarinet as the original was unsuitable for the Ridenour\'s. I used an Oboe thumb rest which fortunately had the screw holes in the same place. I also use this rubber thumb rest on the Oboe.
I even purchased several more so I can have one in each case.
The Ridenour Thumb Saddle does just what Tom says it does, opens up the right hand for a more comfortable position.
The original one that I obtained was of a softer rubber than the later ones but that is of no concern.
* I have made a little modification of my own by placing a 4mm thick piece of \'self adhesive\' rubber strip on the saddle to keep it level. The Oboe doesn\'t need this modification.
The five instruments in the photos are , from the left , Howarth Oboe. Amati Clarinet. Schreiber Clarinet. Lyrique Clarinet. Jupiter Clarinet.

3
All about Clarinets / Tom Ridenour\'s Thumb Saddle
« on: January 03, 2013, 04:54:54 PM »
[attachment=156][attachment=155][attachment=154][attachment=153][attachment=152]
I\"ve update this thread.
Is Tom Ridenour\'s Thumb Saddle the best invention since sliced bread.
I purchased this item off Tom a year ago to try it out. Being a creature of habit, it took a while for me to \'warm\' up to it, but over a period of a few weeks I really began to like it. In fact, I ended up liking it so much I now never pick up the Clarinet without this \'Thumb Saddle\' positioned onto the thumb rest.
I had to replace the thumb rest that was on the Jupiter Clarinet as the original was unsuitable for the Ridenour\'s. I used an Oboe thumb rest which fortunately had the screw holes in the same place. I also use this rubber thumb rest on the Oboe.
I even purchased several more so I can have one in each case.
The Ridenour Thumb Saddle does just what Tom says it does, opens up the right hand for a more comfortable position.
The original one that I obtained was of a softer rubber than the later ones but that is of no concern.
* I have made a little modification of my own by placing a 4mm thick piece of \'self adhesive\' rubber strip on the saddle to keep it level. The Oboe doesn\'t need this modification.
The five instruments in the photos are , from the left , Howarth Oboe. Amati Clarinet. Schreiber Clarinet. Lyrique Clarinet. Jupiter Clarinet.

4
All about Clarinets / The Modern Synthetic Reed.
« on: January 01, 2013, 09:53:02 PM »
I\'ve been playing around with synthetic reeds now for over a year. My synthetic of choice is the Forestone. Here are my own conclusions of the pros and cons of this type of reed.
Cons
   They are consistent from one reed to another with perhaps slight differences which in my experience is a minor detail. They are consistent because they are \'clones \' having been formed from identical molds.
   They are \'perfectly\' balanced and shaped because of the reason already noted with \'perfectly\' even tips.
   They seem to last a lot longer than cane reeds because they do not warp or get \'waterlogged\'. This is because they are made of a mixture of plastic and bamboo pulp of varying degrees of mix depending on the \'resistance\' grade.
   As with cane reeds they come in a wide variety of resistance grades,from  F1 / F1.5 / F2/  F2.5/ F3/ F3.5/ F4/ F4.5/ F5.
   They do not need adjusting and can be placed on a suitable mouthpiece without any preparation except making sure that they are positioned properly.
   They can be adjusted as to resistance by slightly moving the reed up or down the mouthpiece. Slightly higher as in just showing above the beak will increased the resistance and slightly lower as in just below the beak  will decrease the resistance. We are talking a fraction of a millimetre here.
Cons.
   They are expensive but because they last much longer than cane reeds in general this extra cost evens out.    
   One has to get over a psychological hurdle in getting use to a synthetic reed as it feels different to cane reeds. There seems also to be different type of response to the synthetic reed. This takes time to get use to.
Conclusion.
   I have settled down to using this type of synthetic Clarinet reed over a period of time. Initially I did not like the feel or the resulting sound of the synthetic but I persisted till I eventually got an acceptable response and sound.
   During the earlier period whilst I was getting use to the synthetic, I was constantly going back to the cane reeds (Rico Royal 2 / 2.5) and still have a few of these as well as a small selection of other cane reeds such as Michell Laurie and Vandoren. During this period the cane reeds sounded a lot more richer and full bodied.
   The main problem with the cane reeds is that when one had a really good quality one you knew that it was not going to last all that long.
   I\'ve settled on the resistance grades F3.5 (with Vandoren B45 dot) and F4 (with Vandoren B45).
   I have now used the Forestone synthetic at several concerts (including with Microphone) and I\'m generally please with the quality of sound I get from them.
   I still think that if you are lucky enough to have a good quality cane reed , make the most of it, because it will not last for long. The remarkable thing about the modern day synthetic reeds is that they work as well as they do compared to the earlier synthetics.
     

   
   

5
All about Clarinets / A Beer Problem ?
« on: December 03, 2012, 01:23:47 PM »
I have noticed something interesting concerning the tarnishing of silver plating on musical instruments such as flutes and clarinets ect. and I have a theory about it.
Most of my clarinets except the Ridenour and Jupiter have silver plated key work and both my flutes are solid sterling silver and silver plated keys. They never tarnish, and this is even during the hot months when I do sweat and thus this gets on the key work.
I have seen other instruments , particularly flutes and clarinets owned by others which have not only tarnished but some of have tarnished to the extend that they have gone almost black, particularly sterling silver flutes.
Now I don\'t drink beer, never acquired the taste for it, but without exception the silver plated instruments owned by others that I know , including a jazz player (clarinet/flute/saxophone) and an instrument repairer are all heavily tarnished and they all love their beer especially the jazz player. And no doubt they all sweat during the hot weather.
Is there something in the formula of beer that has a trace of sulfur in it. I\"ve looked up the internet for beer formulas and I don\'t see any trace of sulfur mentioned. And it\'s complicated , for there are as many formulas as there are beers.
Is there something in beer that acts as a catalyst that caused silver to tarnish much worse than it otherwise would ?
So, I have this theory that beer drinkers have a problem with the silver of their instruments tarnishing much more quickly than non beer drinkers. Or in my case as a non beer drinker , I have no tarnishing problem at all.
I thought I\'d just bring this up as a fun topic to discuss.

6
All about Clarinets / Review of the W.Schreiber 6010s
« on: September 10, 2012, 10:23:49 AM »
REVIEW  Schreiber 6010s Bb Clarinet.(17 Keys / 6 Rings)
   Recently got my new Schreiber 6010s Clarinet from Sax & Woodwind of  Camperdown NSW in 2010. The cost of this instrument was $Aus595.($US522) and it will be used as another of my \'knock-about instruments for outdoor use ect. It was ready to play, straight out of the case, no adjustments required. The serial # is 411426 and is entirely  made in Germany. It is apparently a German made (Buffet) B12 with certain German features such as a wrap-around speaker key and possibly some sort of German bore.
    
   The  thing that I notice when first handling the instrument in it\'s case is the weight of it. At first I thought that the case was empty, but it turns out that this clarinet is a light-weight instrument, weighing in at only 690g fully assembled (minus ligature and reed) This Clarinet is a plastic (ABS Resin) instrument with a semi-matt finish giving it the appearance of ebony and it has silver plated key work . Silver plating on a plastic instrument !  Must be a European thing. Anyway the information states that the 6010 has Nickel Silver key work and Silver plating. The mechanism is of the lighter type that could be described as \'elegant\'. No chunky key work here. I have already did a weeks playing on it and the key work is strong. But then I don\'t use heavy handed fingering. It has a wrap around speaker key which is an old idea. Looks rather \'sexy\' . I have noticed that the resonate tube is about half a centimetre lower down the pipe than the other standard type and the bore intrusion is only about 2.5 mm. It is stated that there is improved intonation because of the special positioning of the register tube. This Clarinet does seem to play very well in tune across it\'s entire compass and goes to show that there has been considerable improvement in the making of plastic Clarinets in recent times. My own testing of the intonation is to play along with orchestral backing CDs. I have no trouble playing in tune with this instrument and no need to do any serious adjusting to play in tune, but I suspect that as this is a basic beginners Clarinet the intonation would be \'set\'. A nice safe\' Clarinet for beginners . It has a 15mm bore . It comes with one barrel (65mm) and is said to be tuned to A442. The usual student mouthpiece is supplied, a moulded plastic ESM.
 
    One thing I have noticed however is that the lower joint flares suddenly about one centimetre just before the bell. It appears that the makers have done some sort of a German type bore. However, the bell has a very small (less than 1mm) flange and this results in the  lower joint not matching up with the bell. When assembled and looking  into the bell you can see a \'step-down of about 1 mm. This doesn\'t seem to have any effect on the intonation
 
   Back to the key work , one nice feature that I have noticed is that the right-hand  E/B key is extended about 5mm further than the other keys of the right-hand \'pinkie\' keys. I think this feature should be on all Clarinets. The \'crow\'s foot\' is a bit on the thin side but has a nice layer of felt on it  (for quietness) which adds to it\'s strength. As for the rest of the key work, as I mentioned before , it is elegantly made with nice roundish (spoon like) keys. No skimping of metal underneath either. It has a  nicely made thumb rest with 4 adjustment positions. I assume that the elongated set screw is also for hooking on a neck strap for use by young players if necessary. This thumb-rest has no cork on it though but is nicely sculpted for the thumb.
 
   There is one feature that is a disappointment however in that this Clarinet has inherited that unfortunate  Buffet idea of using nylon pins for the left-hand E/B and F#/C# keys. Anyone who \'bangs\' down on these keys is going to find later on that they may very well shear off , and then it\'s a major repair job , perhaps to replace them with metal pins and gold-beaters skin. They are being used to give \'quietness\' to the action  and it must be said that all the mechanism has a nice quiet action to it.  The pads are of the double fish-skin type and seem to seal very well.

   All up , this is an excellent Clarinet for beginners to start on , light weight with nicely sculpted ergonomic key work and  the price will suit those on a tight budget but still want to have a well made Clarinet which is in tune with itself.
 
   But Ebonite or wood it ain\'t . I have a lot of fun with these fantastic plastic Clarinets , in  that I try to  improve on the tonal quality of them. Not that a plastic Clarinet doesn\'t have a nice sound , they do , but it\'s kinda on the bright (lighter) side of things. How to get a \'darker\' sound out of them and perhaps more projection as well ? Well, by matching these plastic Clarinets up with a higher quality mouthpiece and  a better quality barrel , the results can be very interesting. I\'m using a Vandoran B40 Lyra with one of Tom Ridenours fat Ebonite barrels on both this Clarinet and also the Jupiter 631 and I end up with a Clarinet that has a full bodied, lovely \'round\' sound , good enough for most of the jobs that I do , such as weddings, quite often outdoors in all kinds of weather, and the usual play outs at retirement villages ect.
 
    Welcome to the modern world of  quality non wooden Clarinets.

7
All about Clarinets / Review of the Jupiter JCL-631-II
« on: September 10, 2012, 10:14:50 AM »
REVIEW. Jupiter 631-II  Bb Student Clarinet.
    This is one of a number of good quality modern plastic student Clarinets that are being made these days. The one that I have (serial # K89616) I purchased in 2011 from the local music shop where I teach. It was ready to play straight out of the case , no adjustments required. The case it comes in is remarkable in that I don\'t think they can come any smaller.  It\'s a wonder that a Bb Clarinet could fit in it. There\'s hardly room for anything else.
 
   This is a plastic (ABS Resin) Clarinet with a semi- matte finish and nickle plated keys. It\'s a  standard 6 ring / 17 key  instrument . It comes with the usual molded plastic mouthpiece and one 65mm barrel. The key work (nickle silver) is quite solid and well sculpted. It is claimed to be ergonomic The needle springs are blue steel and the pads are the usual double skin type.  It has a heavy duty crow\'s foot for the right-hand keys, an important feature. There is a recess in the body of the instrument under the \'crows\' foot that is suppose to eliminate accidental bending of this part of the mechanism. It also has an interesting detail in that the linkage has a nicely made tiny ramp both sides of it which means that you can actually twist on both sections without depressing the second ring of the top joint. No more torn off adjustment corks.
 
   This Clarinet has a very well made adjusable thumb rest . The set screw clamps down on a rod that also has a ring for a neck strap if needed. This Clarinet weighs in at 726g.( minus reed and ligature) The thumb rest itself is oriented towards the hand , a nice feature.
 
   The tone of this Clarinet is the usual plastic tone, light and bright with average projection.  It has the usual 15mm bore. It is suppose to have undercut tone holes but it\'s difficult to see if this is so . The tone can be darkened and the projection  improved  somewhat by matching it up with a quality mouthpiece and barrel. I use a Vandoran B40 Lyra and a fat Tom Ridenour barrel with  good results.

   The intonation is quite good for a mass produced plastic instrument , but it\'s  the usual \'set\' intonation with not all that much flexibility using the mouthpiece that comes with it. It is tuned to A440. My method of testing for good intonation is to play along with a CD orchestral backing. I use the \'Guestspot\' series. There is no problem playing in tune with this Clarinet , obviously the quality of this brand has improved considerably.
 
   This is a nice \'safe\' instrument for a learner to start on and it is to be had at a good price ($AUS595) ($US517)  It is well made and sturdy.  It also makes a good \'knock-about\' instrument for those outdoor playouts where you don\'t know what the weather is going to do. I have added it to my small collection of quality \'knock-abouts

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