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Messages - kurth83

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All about Clarinets / Re: Starting a mouthpiece safari
« on: February 23, 2024, 10:40:44 AM »
Wow thanks for that, I tried less tightening on that ligature and things opened up noticeably.

My teacher wants me to play on a 5RV and it's working well now on a 2.5 by just loosening the ligature a little bit.

The BD2 was a bust, gets a slightly nasally sound to my ears when I play it regardless of reed strength.  I was hoping a 3 would clear it up but it didn't.

The 5RV has a sweeter (slightly darker tone) than the M13 (which is very bright) for me, and better control up high.  It gets a solid usable A for me and goes quite loud so the darker tone can be overcome easily enough.

I'll stick with the 5RV for a bit to see if it can work endurance-wise.  Vandoren's literature has a great quote that my teacher agrees with:

5RV: "The time-proven standard for professional musicians."

I might add that it is an easy to play mouthpiece.  To me easy is important.  The equipment is supposed to support you, not give you a fight to get what you want out of it.  My CSVR clarinet is the same way, the ease of play is fantastic.  The new ligature also made things noticeably easier.  I am hoping now that the equipment issues are mostly settled I can focus on playing, although reed twiddling seems to be in my future, and will hopefully be the last major equipment issue.

High-end Yamahas have a reputation to be easy to play compared to other brands, don't know about the 650, but any of the CSVR, SEVR, CSG's are reportedly fantastic in that regard although I only have experience with the CSVR.  Frankly, after my clarinet safari I would rather have one really good clarinet than a bunch of not so good ones, the playability difference was amazing.

If it was me I would buy a 650 from wwbw (with their wonderful 30 day return policy) to give it a try.

All about Clarinets / Re: Starting a mouthpiece safari
« on: February 22, 2024, 10:36:01 PM »
I am on my second lesson.

On the positive side I am told I have a good tone...

Everything else is stuff I need to work on:

I am told I have many bad habits, crossing the break by putting the right hand down when I hit the G going up is new to me.  Now I am assigned exercises in the Rubank Intermediate method to work on holding the right hand down for all throat tones G and up.  Also working on other alternate fingerings and playing habits.  Working on exercises for lifting two fingers together smoothly, chromatics (which use different fingerings than scales), breath and articulations.  It's great stuff.

Apparently clarinet staccato can be stopped with the tongue, something you would never do on trumpet in a classical setting.

She also recommended the VD 5RV Lyre mouthpiece, which I bought, and it was not for me, but the BD2 is looking good, perhaps even better than the M13, but it needs a stronger reed, a box of 3's is arriving tomorrow to try.

I too have a good vibrato which is important to me, and if a stronger reed inhibits that I may not go too much stronger.

She recommended the Vandoren Optimum ligature, I bought that and it was a home run, fantastically better than the stock ligature that came with the clarinet.  The difference was a big as a mouthpiece change, I had no idea a ligature could make that kind of difference  I am using the #1 plate.

I was also taught maintenance, including using cleaning paper to clean sticky pads, didn't know about that either.

She told me I need to learn how to work on my own reeds, something I have been avoiding by buying the disposable daddario (rico) ones.  She emphasized you can craft reeds that fit your playing, and that cannot be bought stock.

In short getting a good teacher is everything I had hoped for.

Seeing as this thread is about the mouthpiece safari, the BD2 is the 'softest' feeling Vandoren I have played on, or the easiest if that word means anything.  Won't know how it plays until I get the #3 reeds, but I am hoping the combo works.  Then I won't get flak for not playing on a proper reed strength any more.  But the reality is I will have gamed the system by fitting a mouthpiece to a reed (Clarinet Ninja did that too, matched a mouthpiece to his reed of choice - vandoren v12 #4).

And FYI a 4.5 on a B45 would wipe me out in 30 seconds or less. :-)  But I know of band directors that make all their clarinet students play on a B45.

All about Clarinets / Re: Starting a mouthpiece safari
« on: February 08, 2024, 09:52:37 PM »
Well, progress continues to be made, after the switch to the M13, and some adjustment, I find have developed enough to play on a 2.5 reed.  Loving the better tone, control, and range it provides (I can squeak a Bb, and the G# is usable, so about a half-step improvement over the 2 - I want a double C someday).  Have to rest a bit more but overall the endurance is sufficient for my practice schedule.

So I am now in the realm of a "normal" student clarinet player, according to one of my band director friends. :-)
I'll consider that my official graduation from rank beginner.  Nothing like 2 hrs a day of practice to move things along,
that and 40 years as an amateur classical musician to build on.

What a difference the mouthpiece change made, so glad I did the exploration.

I finally got a good teacher too, she is a player (I heard her perform the Weber concerto #1 recently), was principal of the Juneau symphony a few years back (yep, Alaska).  First lesson next week.

So we'll find out soon how much of what I've done passes the "teacher test". :-)

I also got a BD2 in, but haven't tried it yet, as the M13 is working well for me for now.

All about Clarinets / Re: ABRSM Clarinet Grade 8 Piano Accompaniments
« on: January 18, 2024, 11:48:06 AM »
Seems like the Brahms one would be easy, if it is still published on it's own outside of ABRSM.
The rest would be dependent on the same thing, if the original composer wrote a piano part you might be able to get it.

It seems Brahms wrote more than one sonata for clarinet though, so it would help to have the opus number, or at least the key.

I found this, is it the right one perhaps?

Edit: I guess I misunderstood, you want a recording of the accompaniment parts?  I am a trumpet player, and I used to create MIDI piano accompaniments back in the day when I did stuff like that.  Maybe that is a possible alternative, pay someone for a digitized version.  That doesn't take any musical skill.  It tends to work better on pieces with fixed tempos.  You could probably do it yourself with any number of programs out there too.

All about Clarinets / Re: Starting a mouthpiece safari
« on: January 14, 2024, 02:46:01 PM »
Here are my initial impressions (with a #2 reed), remember my goal was to find something better than a BD5 on a 1.5 which wasn't working for me, nasty tone, and high range was more of a struggle than it should be, on a 2 the BD5 is great but my endurance was too low to stick with it.

First the M13, the smallest gap (with long facing) VanDoren makes, so theoretically the easiest mouthpiece they make to play on.

It's loud and bright, so presumably good for section playing in a symphonic band for example where projection matters more than tonal subtlety.
With my pitifully weak embouchure it plays very well with a 2.
High range is nice.  Better than what I had with the BD5 on a 1.5.  The BD5 on a 2 had great high range too, but my endurance suffered, so I get most of the benefits of a '2' on the BD5.  I actually like the tone as an amateur symphonic band is likely the first venue I will play in.
So overall this one is a big win over what I had.  Since it's the easiest to play of the bunch, it seems a good logical step up from a student mouthpiece.

M13 Lyre - slightly larger gap, 'lyre' series specifically aimed at darker tone.
Slightly darker version of the M13, slightly larger gap makes playing slightly harder on the same reed.  I think this is the general expectation for this mouthpiece.  High range is there but just feels different, can't express it better than that.
Playing soft on this one is better than the M13.  But not as much projection (darker = softer) is the tradeoff.
Also did fine on a 2, but my endurance is going down as the gap gets larger.
If I need a darker tone, this one would be the goto (over the BD5) now.

M15 - still more gap over the m13 lyre.
Tonally somewhere in between the M13 and the M13 Lyre although closer to the M13.  It has the power of the M13 but slightly darker, so I like the sound.
High range is the most finicky of the bunch and my endurance is dropping, so this one may be too much gap for me for now.
This one is good for soft and loud, really seems to capture the best of the M13's combined, but not as dark as the Lyre.
The high range finickyness put this one out of the running for me, but if I could learn to control it it would be a great all-arounder.

The M30 is next but has not arrived yet.  It's larger gap may put it out of my endurance range for playing.  We'll see.  Given that larger gaps seem to be trending down in playability for me I am not expecting it to be a win.  The M13 is on a 2 is a big improvement over the BD5 on a 1.5.  Although if you can handle it, the BD5 on a stiffer reed was fantastic.

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 Lyre
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.

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.

All about Clarinets / Re: Recommended mouthpiece upgrade?
« on: November 17, 2023, 01:33:45 PM »
When I was looking to upgrade from the 4c, which for me was the student mpc that came with my 255, I ran into Dawkes Music (very large UK instrument store) claim that the vandoren BD5 is by far their best selling mouthpiece.  It is well regarded by many top classical players and since that is my primary genre it seemed like the perfect first (so-called professional-level) mouthpiece to try.

Long story short, it is a great mouthpiece, I have bought a few others to try (notable the 5JB and the BD4), and the BD5 has stood the test of time, although the BD4 was very close and I played on it for a while.

I had intonation issues (flat) and switched from the BD5-13 to the BD5-non-13.  The non-13 is working best for me these days.

A small warning, I spent very little time with the student mouthpieces, tried a 4c, and a clark fobes debut, and within a few weeks realized I wanted something better and bought the BD5 cuz the herd is probably right, or right enough I figured it would at least be reasonably decent.

All about Clarinets / Re: The very first CSO?
« on: November 08, 2023, 11:58:00 AM »
Looks a lot like Squidward's clarinet. :-)

All about Clarinets / Re: Clarinet Disassembly Tool :-)
« on: November 01, 2023, 09:46:18 PM »
Ok, I did that, it was a lot of sanding for a small change, one of the two tight corks is now ok, although still tight, the other one (top of the upper joint), is still too tight, so I'll work on it more tomorrow, but at this point I'm sure I can do it, and so far I haven't damaged the finish on the wood. :-)  I'm pretty good with my hands, but new to clarinet.

Edit: did some more work today and it seems good.  I didn't scratch the finish so I'm happy.

All about Clarinets / Re: I perceive a possible need for orthodontics.
« on: November 01, 2023, 09:43:42 PM »
I had the first round today, where they refinished my front teeth and smoothed all the rough edges.  They did a fantastic job, I've been lucky with them as they appear to do first-rate work, which was part of the reason I decided to do this.

It only helped my clarinet playing a little bit, but was a surprisingly larger improvement for the trumpet playing.

They have an orthodontist in the office and he looked at my lower front tooth that sticks out (this one hurts the clarinet playing more), and he said they can fix it with the kind of braces that are like a retainer you wear for 22 hrs a day.

I told him I practiced up to 2 hours a day and he was like I would have to keep it down to 2 hrs including eating.  I think that will be tough, and it will be closer to 21 hrs a day (my days vary though, so some days it will be 22 hrs no problem), we'll see if that will work.  Fingers crossed.  Starting the orthodontics next January.

All about Clarinets / Re: Clarinet Disassembly Tool :-)
« on: October 31, 2023, 09:47:23 PM »
Ok, so I think I do need to work on the corks as they are not getting any better.

This video seems the best method I have found, wondering if anybody knows what brand and grit of sandpaper he is using.


If in doubt I will probably start with 150 grit which I already have.

All about Clarinets / Re: Thoughts on current instrument market?
« on: October 31, 2023, 12:24:14 PM »
WRT to developing your kids, I was told when I was young that I "must" play an instrument, and take private lessons.  My only choice was which one.  I chose trumpet cuz my dad played it.

I didn't become voluntarily committed to music until a few years into it when band (and eventually orchestra) became fun.  So personally I am a fan of this draconian method - might not work on all kids though. :-)

All about Clarinets / Re: Bought a YCL-CSVR to upgrade a YCL-255
« on: October 29, 2023, 09:34:27 PM »
Hmm, well the best price I could find on Buffets is from an online house that carries them all, namely thomann.  It's pretty easy to see them all, and their UK pricing is better than Yamaha's USA pricing (dramatically better in some cases), and unlike Yamaha it is not prevented from buying in the UK, just be sure you get a 440 model if buying for stateside use.

I've spent a lot more time analyzing the Yamahas.  So I understand their lineup better:

They have three professional lines in order from bright to dark tone (this is oversimplified I know):

Standard model and (USA) price Oct/2023 - Yamaha will not let foreign sellers ship to USA, otherwise you could get them for much less out of the UK or Korea.  Not sure why we pay more here.
CSVR   $3700 - 17 keys, silver
SEVR   $3700 - 17 keys silver
CSGIII $3800 - 18 keys silver (low pitch correction key).

Up-sell artist models:

CSVR-ASP - $6500 - 18-19 keys, silver (left Eb standard, low pitch correction key optional)
SEAM       - $6500 - 18 keys, silver/gold (left Eb standard)
CSGIII/HL - $5200 - 17 keys, gold (Hamilton plate - left Eb key and low pitch keys are optional, price is without either, the upsell part is the gold plating which has a better sound according to it's fans).

Both the CSVR-ASP and the CSGIII/H models offer "improved" tone over the base models, not sure if the SEAM actually sounds different than the SEVR.

Some of the up-sell Yammies are more popular in A, as they are considered the best A's that can be bought right now by many but there is not as much consensus on the Bb's.

Some of the upsell models are hard to get, don't know why.

It is also worth noting that the CSVR ASP has a slightly different bore than the CSVR.

We could also talk about the 450 and 650, similar to E12 and E13 I guess, but I didn't research them as much.

I can find principals in symphonies around the world that use them all (not the 450 and 650) - (mostly the upsell models AFAIK), but none of them are dominant from what I can tell, as all seem to be useful to somebody.

I don't think cost/benefit applies much here, it's what you want and are able/willing to pay for.  One person's 'benefit' is another's 'yuck' from what I can tell.

Buffet is playing the same game, the R13 hasn't been their flagship model for a while now.  And their other models similarly cost way more, especially in the USA where the price seems to almost double in some cases.  Tosca(nini) anyone?

All about Clarinets / Re: I perceive a possible need for orthodontics.
« on: October 27, 2023, 10:41:17 PM »
Thanks for that, my front tooth sticking out definitely presses into an embouchure like you describe, so I don't think I am doing anything majorly wrong.  As my embouchure develops I am managing to get by with less pressure, but I think I want that tooth fixed anyway at this point.

I am hoping one of the removable retainer like devices will be enough to correct the single tooth.  Will maybe find out next week from my dentist.

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