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Old 09-05-2006, 11:55 PM
wl551 wl551 is offline
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Question Reed sizes and tuning

My daughter is in the 9th grade and has been playing clarinet for four years. The band instructor told her last week that she was flat and it was because she was using a size 3 1/2 reed and made her go down to a 3. She was playing very well on a 4 1/2, but her 8th grade band teacher made her go down to a 3 1/2 saying the same thing. I got upset about this and took her and her clarinet to the local music store and he tuned her clarinet on the 3 1/2 and said she was dead on to a little sharp. He also said that the size of the reed would NOT make an instrument flat, only squeak if the musician couldn't play a thicker reed.

She went back to school today after Labor Day and a fellow student told her that the band teacher was right, a reed COULD make an instrument flat and the music shop owner was wrong.

I don't see how a reed could affect the tune of an instrument, but I'm not a musician. I would greatly appreciate any input! Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2006, 01:19 AM
CDH35 CDH35 is offline
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i agree with the music store owner, i dont think that the strength of a reed could really affect your tuning unless you couldnt handle the thickness, but if your daughter seems to be fine on 3 1/2 reeds and isnt struggling to blow out the notes, the tuning shouldn't be a problem....maybe it has something to do with her embochure, to tight maybe.......
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:37 AM
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Thorolf Thorolf is offline
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First, reed thickness is not one thing: The traditional Vandoren reeds are stiffer that their V12 reeds. Approximately, thickness 3 Traditional equals thickness 3 1/2 from the V12 variety.

Second, ligature placement and tightness is also a big issue. Amateurs tend to put the ligature too close to the the tip of the mouthpiece, and/or tighten it too much, with devastating consequences for pitch and tone quality.

The shape of the mouthpiece is also of great importance when it comes to tonal stability and pitch. People always talk about the reeds as if that’s the whole story. Also, the embochure is very important, of course. None of these three are independent of the other two.

I suggest the band teacher try the mouthpiece/reed combo for himself. If he can play in tune, it’s your daughter’s embochure that needs a workee. If not, I suggest that she changes to a more open mouthpiece: Vandoren B45 is open, and allows great freedom when it comes to adjust pitch during playing. It’s heavier to blow, and professionals always uses a thinner reed when using an open mouthpiece.

Most intermediate level performers will do well using the mouthpiece/reed combo B45-2 1/2 or 3 Traditional Vandoren or B45-3 or 3 1/2 V12 Vandoren. Why an amateur should want to play on a 4 1/2 reed beats me totally!

And be careful with the ligature!

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Old 10-06-2006, 12:36 AM
TheWhiteVixen TheWhiteVixen is offline
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If the band teacher can play a clarinet. My band teacher learned how to play every instrument.....but that was 20 years ago. And we found out yesterday (as he attempted to play evryones instrument) that he can't even make sounds out of some of them. He can play piccolo trumpet like a god though
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:06 AM
AllanMc AllanMc is offline
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Default Re: reed sizes and tuning

The issue of intonation is most likely to do with embouchure, although I think there's a more likely explanation given the ability to satisfy an electric tuner.

If your daughter is not playing with a vibrant tone, it will sound as if she's flat even though the pitch is correct. This is because every sound is made up of multiple harmonics, and a dull sound is the result of inharmonicity, that is the harmonics are not in tune with each other. Make certain that she has good tone and the tuning issue very likely will resolve itself.
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:08 AM
RM Clarinet RM Clarinet is offline
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I played a 3 my freshman year, now I play a 3 1/2 (sophmore) She need to practice more on 3 if she is out of tune. then move back up. It also depends the tuning of the band. I also recomend her playing 3.
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