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  #1  
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!

Regards
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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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Old 12-29-2007, 12:32 PM
Max1 Max1 is offline
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Not to be mean or anything, but I seriously doubt someone who's been playing for four years plays fine on a 4 1/2. But nonetheless she should plays what she likkes to play, but it's always good to listen to your tescher as they tend to know what they are talking about. But if your uncertain just check with a tuner.

*devilish times in the bathtub*
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:02 PM
Kurt12 Kurt12 is offline
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Reed stiffness will have a much more pronounced effect on the tone than the intonation - unless there are severe embouchre problems.

I always recommend that my students play on the stiffest reed they can and still produce a full tone.

(When I play clarinet, I use a Vandoren 3-1/2...but since I'm primarily a bassoonist/violist, ymmv.)
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:18 PM
RainTurtle RainTurtle is offline
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Default Clarinet Reeds

Hi, all.

In some places, you'll find that the only people who play on 4 1/2 reeds without seriously altering the reed with a knife are the high school students. The last time I played on a 4 was in grade 7. I usually play on a 1 1/1 or a 2. Sometimes, I'll use a 2 1/2 if I'm playing something in the altissimo register and I feel like being lazy. At university, typically the clarinet majors use 2 1/2 or a 3 depending on the brand of reed, so you won't need to feel inferior if you are not playing a 4 1/2 or 5 or whatever.

That said, if you like playing on an unaltered 4 1/2, and you get a good sound with it without too much extra effort (or even if it does take a lot of extra effort, but you just want the bragging rights), there is no real reason not to do so.

Stiffer reeds make the highest notes easier to play, so if you need a "crutch" to get the high notes to speak, having a stiff reed in your reed-case may be handy.

Softer reeds give you more options. There are things that can be done with the dynamics and tone that a stiff reed simply won't let you do. For example, that trick of coming in on a pianissimo note so softly that the audience can't tell when the note starts.... Also, it is much easier to get a lovely tone, even when you are not in top form. (If nothing else, that is something to remember if you ever need to play an exam or festival when you are sick.)

By way of explanation, although I'm new to the forum, I've played clarinet since 1983 or so, and I have a degree in Music, majoring in Woodwind Performance.

Have fun.

RainTurtle
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2009, 12:33 AM
repjm repjm is offline
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Default I agree

The size or the reed should not affect the sound as in sharp or flat its how the player and the instrament is tuned not the reed i used a 2 when i started and i moved to 2 1/2 now i play 3's and it sounds the same for the most part
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