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Messages - philpedler

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All about Clarinets / Re: Unmarked Buffett Crampon?
« on: August 29, 2022, 01:12:42 PM »
I would say that this might be a Couesnon clarinet.
But I don't see the lock screws that jdbassplayer mentioned.

All about Clarinets / Re: need replacement lower joint for VSP
« on: May 25, 2022, 06:33:45 PM »
Hey, JC, glad you came here to ask the question!

My suggestion: Try a newer or 1980s plastic Vito joint. You might be surprised!

Cool! Very nicely done. I agree: Really great for teaching.

Do we still have someone who is a wizard on metal clarinet issues. Silver Sorcerer are you listening?

I can't answer your questions, but I would appreciate knowing who we have in the forum who can answer questions that I sometimes receive about metal clarinets.

Anyway, Ken, I hope you get good answers.

I would love to see the pictures!

All about Clarinets / Re: Playing by Ear
« on: February 02, 2022, 02:02:34 PM »
The way to learn to play by ear is to, well, do it. (Or keep trying to do it.)
If you are making up counter-melodies, it helps a whole lot to understand what key the song is in, and to be able to hear the main chord structure. (In music terminology I mean the Tonic, SubDominant, and Dominant chords. Those are labeled I, IV, V. In the key of C, it would be the C, F, and G chords.)

Ken, you are trying to do a good thing in imitating a voice. This means that you may tongue the notes much less than you would in printed band music. Slur more. Make sure each phrase arrives at it's goal.

I don't think it helps much to think in terms of right and left brain. (I heard somewhere that the left/right thing is kind of disproved.) There comes a point where your skill with the basics meets up with your being willing to trust yourself to play something without seeing notes.

Bump! Wow!
I really need responses to this question.

All about Clarinets / Re: High pitch Boehm systems - mostly butchered?
« on: January 31, 2022, 11:45:19 AM »
Yeah, people assume that they can just lengthen a bit and come up with a clarinet that will play in tune. It doesn't work, as you well know.

Shortening actually seems to work better, for instance to make a HP A into a Bb. Even that is not perfect.

Hi everyone!

Dave Watson is off on an adventure in the service of the USA government. So he is not servicing clarinets at this time. Also the information in the page here at the forum, Recommended Clarinet Tech Services, is probably out of date. I have one person who has asked for recommendations about tech services. (And I also no longer service clarinets.)

SO who do you all recommend? Are there any of you who would be willing to start doing this for 'fun and profit'?

All about Clarinets / Re: jean paul clarinet
« on: January 24, 2022, 02:48:09 PM »
Heavens! I totally disagree that a 2.5 reed is too hard. One has to figure in that my friend Windy has jaw problems, as he himself freely admits. Windy, I never suggest less than a 2.5 reed for beginners who have normal jaws.

One pad up at the top of the clarinet not seating well will make the whole clarinet play stuffy. Sounds like you got a used clarinet. It could have MANY problems. I would suggest finding some student in a Jr. High school who can verify that his/her clarinet plays well. Then sterilize the mouthpieces and switch clarinets and switch mouthpieces. (I know. I'm out of date. If you like, wear a mask while testing!)

Try a suction test on each joint of your clarinet. If you close all the holes and the bottom bore and suck all the air out of the clarinet (like sucking all the air out of a bottle), how long will it hold the suction?

All about Clarinets / Re: Horst Moennig Low C bass
« on: January 18, 2022, 12:25:12 PM »
What amazing things you do, Windy!
Cool information in this thread.
I even listened! Good sounds, and especially when you have the jaw issues that make it necessary to make modifications.

All about Clarinets / Re: Buffet ca. 1888
« on: December 09, 2021, 01:58:22 PM »
Way to go, Ken. Happy playing that antique.

Review of the Roland Aerophone Pro AE-30
comparing it to the Yamaha YDS-150

In my last review of the Yamaha Digital Saxophone, I mentioned that I would be getting a Roland Aerophone Pro. So here now is my review of the Aerophone.

The Aerophone Pro comes with 305 easily selectable ‘Scenes’, which is Roland-speak for what we might call ‘instrument voices’. Over half of these sounds are in the Zen-Core set, which are the selection of synthesized voices, and the smaller half is in a group called SuperNatural, which (I am assuming) are supposed to be based on real instrument sounds. I must admit that I haven’t delved far enough into the various Roland keyboard synthesizer videos to learn more about the two sets. See more about the sounds below.

The keys of both instruments are very clicky, with a feel like depressing one to nine keys of a computer keyboard all at the same time. That is such a different experience than playing a real clarinet or even a saxophone. Although I didn’t get to play both instruments side by side, I would give the Key Action award to the YDS. The YDS has a very sax-like set of keys. The Aerophone is just plain weird, but has the keys positioned like a sax. One huge advantage for the Aerophone (and something hard to get used to) is that it has four octave keys, two below and two above the center thumb button. These can be set to play 7 octaves, with holding down two at once. I preferred to use the 5-octave setting, so I didn’t have to be particular as to whether two keys were being held down at the same time, or just one of the two. As a clarinet player who also plays sax, I found that the octave key situation caused a lot of mental gymnastics. I decided not to confuse myself with using the right sax-like pinkie keys very much, or the left hand side keys. This means I needed to train myself to switch octave keys when passing C or C# going in either direction. Once I got used to that, I found it to be a wonderfully logical system. The Aerophone can also be set to use EWI recorder-like fingerings (with the un-recorder-like addition of the octave keys).

There are TONS of settings for the Aerophone for all sorts of things. Like do you want the tone to growl when you depress the thumb pad? Or do you want it to turn on the vibrato? Do you want a different effect if you raise the Aerophone? Or what about if you tilt it left or right? You will want to set how the pitch bender works (also operated with your right thumb). There are settings also for controlling Midi settings. And most importantly, how changes of lip pressure affect the pitch and vibrato. The settings are totally bewildering, and the user manual is next to useless.

Of course there are many demo Youtube videos for the Aerophone. If you are serious about getting an Aerophone, before ordering be sure to listen to those by Alistair Parnell. If you actually get an AE-30, you really must watch his video on making the initial settings and updating the firmware.

Lip pressure affecting pitch and vibrato:
I was looking forward to being able to make my own vibrato on the Aerophone. I found that it was not as easy as I thought it would be. (The Yamaha Digital Sax had the option of automatic vibrato on or off.) On the Aerophone, one thing I wanted above all was good intonation. But if you are going to have good vibrato, one needs to be able to change the lip pressure at least +/- 20 cents. That means that if I get sloppy with maintaining my lip/jaw pressure, I could find myself playing 20 cents flat! I was surprised that this 71 year-old clarinet player wasn’t as good at maintaining a steady lip pressure as I thought I would be. I probably could have made better settings for changes of lip pressure. On my clarinet, I do play with vibrato, but my jaw movements are very slight and my vibrato is not wide. With the Aerophone, I found that I needed to make jaw movements more like I might on an alto sax. This is just something one will need to play around with changing several different settings to find the best one for you.

Sound quality of the ‘Scenes’:
If you are interested in hearing how realistic the saxophone sounds are between the three brands (Yamaha YDS-150 vs. Roland Aerophone AE-10 vs. Akai EWI Solo), I suggest watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf4910pIG34
The video is in German with English subtitles. This is one of the clearest sound comparisons I have heard, because the player in the video made sample saxophone quartet recordings for each of the different instrument brands. All four similar-setting parts were played by the YDS, then played by the AE-10, and then by the EWI Solo. In this case, the fact that guy was playing the earlier model Roland AE-10 versus the AE-30 probably makes no difference. I wish we had a similar video with comparisons of all the clarinet sounds.

Clarinet: I am so disappointed that Roland didn’t do a better job of capturing really natural sounds of real instruments in the SuperNatural set. They probably took a sample of a Japanese player’s tone. How many notes did the player record for the clarinet sound? Maybe just one and not more than four! Then the rest were mathematically extrapolated by increasing the beats per second. The ‘Classic Clarinet scene’ doesn’t display any difference of sound in the throat tone area, as it would if they had captured some sounds in that range. The low chalumeau sounds are totally ugly. Any reedy boldness of a real clarinet in that range is absent, and the tone gets kind of buzzy. The SuperNatural Classic Clarinet sound would be about right for playing the clarinet part for the Antiques Road Show theme music. It won’t do for the Mozart clarinet concerto. It is certainly better than some of the so-called SuperNatural sounds for other instruments.

Other instruments:
harmonica: This scene is pretty good. The harmonica voice I picked was from the Zen-Core set, which sounded a bit fuller than the SuperNatural harmonica. But both were pretty good.
flute: Very disappointing in several different options for this instrument. I chose the Zen-Core synthetic alto recorder sound to use for flute. Problem is, it kind of has overtones of clarinet and harmonica.
tenor recorder: This had kind of a reedy sound. I have used this sound for a flute substitute also. Evidently the SuperNatural set cannot be pushed much beyond the normal range of the instrument intended.
oboe and English horn: The oboe was too thin sounding. Very ugly. By combining with other sounds (as one can do on the Aerophone), I was able to combine the English horn scene with a different synthesized sound to get a rather nice oboe/English horn sound. The sound gradually morphed to be more like a harmonica in the upper register.
bassoon: I was able to use this voice. It got kind of metallic sounding in the highest octave. Again, it is better to add something to the bassoon to get a better tone.
French horn: This scene is also rather good. I preferred to combine it with another sound, or just choose a somewhat similar synthetic sound.
trumpet: Yuck.
violin: Double yuck. It is really strange how a violin sound can begin to sound like a thin soprano sax or harmonica when a sax/clarinet player is trying to imitate a violin.
percussion: If you need to play timpani on your wind instrument, I thought that the sounds in the percussion section were pretty good. You’ll definitely get people’s attention with them!

Synthetic Zen-Core scenes:
Many of these are outstanding! There are a lot of these that are totally weird. I was mainly interested in finding sounds I could use in worship services, so I rejected all the ones that reminded me of bad sci fi television shows from the 1970s. The Zen-Core scenes start with Hard Lead and Soft Lead scenes, then there are Zen-Core scenes that mimic all sorts of instruments, even various Asian ethnic instruments I have never learned about.

My favorite Zen-Core scenes:
The thing I liked about the Hard and Soft Lead section of synthesized sounds was that they were full-bodied sounds that kept their boldness even over 5 octaves.

Somewhere from long-ago information about early synthesizers I vaguely remember hearing about the Saw Wave and the Square Wave. A lot of synthesized sounds seem to be combinations of those two basic waves. I mention these two because it seemed to me that scenes including the Saw Wave might give a sort of brass-instrument sound. And the Square Wave must have odd partials, because it sounds quite like a clarinet. And I don’t mean a thin ugly clarinet. My favorite scene of them all was combining the Square Wave with the Classic Clarinet sound. That is truly beautiful! I wished that I could play my real clarinet with that consistent sound over 5 octaves. And imagine being able to play extremely high notes at a triple pianissimo! Of course, at either extreme end of the five-octave range, the scene no longer sounds like a clarinet.

I have played the Aerophone Pro in our worship team for four Sundays now. Since this is such a different animal than anything I have ever played, it was a significant outlay of my time to learn to play it. My family— who are my best critics— were unstinting in their criticism.
Too much reverb: This had not bothered me until my son complained about it. If you are going for authentic instrument sounds, there is way too much reverb in the settings for many scenes for this instrument. I think the over-reverb became obvious when joining a group where the other instruments do not have much reverb going. There is an effect called Tap Pan Delay enabled on my Aerophone scenes which causes an echo 3-4 times after playing an ending note. I quickly learned how to disable that one.
My wife characterized my tone as often being buzzy and harsh. She said, “Why would you ever want to play an instrument that sounds like an early electric piano?” My son said everything I played sounded like a harmonica. Another person from my small group said that it kind of sounded like an electric guitar. All these comments were true, depending on which sound I was playing.
My wife only gave me one plus for the aerophone, “Well at least now you are always in tune.”
This last Sunday, a young woman who played saxophone in school asked what that ‘thing’ was that I was playing. When I asked her to say more, she said, “It looks like a cross between a saxophone and a vacuum cleaner. Kind of sounds like a synthesizer.”
For some reason, the Aerophone sounded lovely when playing along with professional artist recordings of the upcoming Sunday’s arrangements, but when playing the same sounds with the team using our worship center’s excellent sound system, the low partials of my tone seemed to get soaked up by the other instruments, leaving the high buzz of the upper partials. This made the different scenes I was playing for each song sound more alike than different. OK, like a harmonica.

So it turns out that I am a very poor person to play or review this instrument. If you listen to Alistair Parnell play, you will be able to hear that the Aerophone is a fantastic instrument for synthesized jazz. The other thing is that the Aerophone is terrific as a Midi controller. In that way, you can have access to richer real-instrument sounds and many other options that I have not explored. Others have, and you can hear some fantastic playing on YouTube videos.

For the rest of this review, I am sharing sound combinations that some of you might like to try if you get an Aerophone Pro.
And it is much easier for me to make a table at the clarinetpages.net site. So please click the link to see that part of this review:

Combining the SuperNatural sounds with others can be tricky, whether that be another SuperNatural scene or one of the synthesized ones. The reason is that combined sounds may not all react the same way to differing breath pressures and lip pressure. The result will often be slight intonation problems between them. Or if the mixed scenes are in tune, they often sound like multiple instruments playing together. (This can be fine, but it was not what I was shooting for.)

Thanks to Ken Ewald, I was able to review a Jean Aubert clarinet. In Penzel-Mueller's later years, they made several partnerships, and I think one of them was with Malerne in France.

See the review and pictures here: https://sites.google.com/clarinetpages.net/clarinetpages/composite/vintage-plastic-composite-clarinets/penzel-mueller-dyna-tone/aubert-jean-late-penzel-mueller?authuser=0

Ken is doing a great job with his retirement hobby! Take a look at his Etsy page here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KennyWhosKlarinettes
See his video to view what a real clarinet workshop looks like!

My two sound settings for the tenor sax are below.

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