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Author Topic: Clarinet newbie  (Read 270 times)

Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Clarinet newbie
« on: December 29, 2021, 03:33:04 PM »
Howdy folks.
Clarinet newbie here with a few questions.

I picked up an old clarinet almost 3 years ago with a view of giving it a try, but work & kids took over my free time, so I never got to play it and it went into the attic until a few days ago. Now it's back out of the case and in 3 days I went from hissing and squeaking to being able to blow an octave & a half (not quite in tune).
Hoping to get some lessons soon, but for the time being just trying to play a few sounds on it.

I found a "tonestro" app that apparently records your playing and shows pitch errors, which sounds like a great learning aid to me. The cost of the app, however, seems to be quite high and only available on a recurring subscription basis, so I tried looking for alternatives. Can you recommend any similar products?
I found Take7, but it does not show pitch errors. E.g. if I blow 30c off, it still shows that a correct note has been played!

I am mainly interested in the jazz side of the clarinet, with almost no interest in classical, so any advice on how to approach learning would be welcome. I would also appreciate the directions to the crossroads where I can sell my soul in exchange for that Edmond Hall or George Lewis sound.

Thanks.


Offline LarryS

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2021, 10:20:45 AM »
Welcome to the forum. I think I tried  the free version of that app when I was intent on learning the flute but didn't get on with it at all. In fact I found it pretty useless.
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Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2021, 05:33:52 AM »
Thanks.

I guess I can just record myself playing a scale and check the pitch in audacity.

If nobody's going to share the location of the crossroads, perhaps you can at least give some practice advice? ;) Or is it the route of getting a nice clean, solid sound first and only looking to "Edmond Hall" it at a much later stage?

Offline super20dan

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2021, 05:39:39 AM »
work on a nice clean sound first. the world dosnt need another acker bilk

Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2021, 07:55:18 AM »
I'm afraid there's no chance of that happening - I don't mind knocking my front teeth out, but I ain't switching to no boehm system.

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2021, 01:02:31 PM »
work on a nice clean sound first. the world dosnt need another acker bilk

Why not?   There isn't one any more.

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2021, 01:03:15 PM »
I'm afraid there's no chance of that happening - I don't mind knocking my front teeth out, but I ain't switching to no boehm system.

What the hell has the key system got to do with it?

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2021, 03:24:30 PM »
My real question is, where is Goony from where Boehm is not the standard?
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
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Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2022, 12:01:33 AM »
Dibbs - absolutely nothing. Just kidding. I'm not planning to knock my teeth out to get closer to Bilk's sound either.  ;)

Boehm is not the standard in my house.
I guess Germany, Austria, Turkey, New Orleans and parts of Eastern Europe would also fall into the Oehler/Albert category.

Offline LarryS

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2022, 03:44:47 AM »
work on a nice clean sound first. the world dosnt need another acker bilk
Oh but the world does!
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline delb0y

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2022, 12:22:14 AM »
Evan Christopher uses something other than a Boehm system, I believe, but many other jazzers use Boehm and sound great. I don't think it's essential to the jazz, or even the New Orleans sound, to use something such as the Albert system - although I do recall reading once the lack of rings around tone holes on other system allows more, or easier, bending of notes.

Here's a great article on other aspects of the New Orleans sound by the aforementioned Evan Christopher:
https://www.clarinetroad.com/new-orleans-clarinet-origins/

I also read that a lot of those ole New Orleans guys started off with a tutor by the name of Lorenzo Tio who schooled them in classical playing first...  So maybe there's the answer.

Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2022, 10:34:47 AM »
Thank you for the article - this one is to read & re-read.

My choice of Albert mainly comes from the fact that:
- The sound I like came from Albert players;
- Here in the UK one can pick up an Albert in decent shape for an equivalent of $30 + the cost of new pads. I don't care that much if it's not going to be perfectly in tune at first: right now it's just for me to noodle around at home, and I can "upgrade" to a gerry system if I keep on playing.
- I don't like the look of Boehm system.  :-\

I build, repair and restore musical instruments, so might as well take a stab at servicing woodwinds.

Offline Windsong

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2022, 09:20:27 PM »
Welcome-
I very much like Alberts, too.  I love their honest, clear sound, and their exceptional lack of heft.  I love that such a beautifully sculpted, simple machine could be capable of providing all that some of the greatest players ever needed. I have a decent number of them, at present. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Albert Bbs are a long reach, and a bit of a chore, even with reasonably large hands.
Forked fingerings slow my playing, because they consume my mind with contradictions, having been indocrinated on the Boehm system. 

I play by ear;  (blues, jazz, freeform) so I have the option of flexibility, but I confess, too, that I love the mechanical layout of a Boehm, as to me it seems more commonsensical.  I keep a B&H 2-20 and a Pedler Grenadilla full boehm (Bless you, Lisa) on the stand, and they get regular use, but my others typically wile away on stands and in boxes.
I absolutely love my LP Albert C, as keywork feels very natural, and the voice, divine, and it sees light semi-regularly.

Both systems bring me joy, and for very different reasons.  When I play a Boehm, I feel halfway decent
As a musician.  An Albert humbles me, but the experience is quite satisfying.

It's nice to have a bloke about who has not been swayed to a style out of convenience, but rather pursuit of a style and sound.  That should be one's guide, quite frankly.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 09:24:31 PM by Windsong »
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Offline Goonny_Bedman

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2022, 12:17:34 PM »
It's going to be my fourth instrument - I normally play the guitar, can do a bit of mandolin (poorly) and on some occasions torture a squeezebox, so might as well treat myself to a stylish gobstick.

Am I right to think that a clarinet in A has got the same range as an alto sax, so I can play along sax backing tracks, just need to transpose the sax part from Eb into A?
I've got a matched pair of E.J. Albert A and Bb clarinets cleaned up & waiting for new pads to arrive.
In the meantime I'm trying to learn the basics on an old stencil (looks very similar to old Hawkes & Sons) with a Fobes Debut mouthpiece in it.

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Clarinet newbie
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2022, 07:02:36 AM »
I prefer simple system clarinets too. I appreciate my Boehm's though !!

Again, mouth piece and reed combo will shape your sound waaay more than the keywork layout.

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