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As a beginner I thought I would start off with a low cost clarinet and if I like the instrument I can move to an up price Yamaha like my different saxes. I notice that even with the barrel, MPC etc. pushed right in the clarinet still plays as shown on the meter very, very flat. I thought this was my embouchure but on trying another clarinet I found it to be spot on. Is this normal for lower cost clarinets and is the only solution scrapping or buying a shorter barrel.
 

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Ronish said:
I notice that even with the barrel, MPC etc. pushed right in the clarinet still plays as shown on the meter very, very flat. I thought this was my embouchure but on trying another clarinet I found it to be spot on. Is this normal for lower cost clarinets and is the only solution scrapping or buying a shorter barrel.
Did you use the same mouthpiece/reed? What note(s) did you measure against? It is, btw, not the normal behaviour for lower cost clarinets; "student class" apparatuses tend to play sharp in order to compensate for the underdeveloped embouchure.

Clarinets play flatter when cold. Mine plays A=440 when cold and creeps up to A=442 (what we're playing here) when at operating temperature.

Just out of curiosity - what setup are you using?
 

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Using a shorter barrel (or having one shortened) that's much shorter than the manufacurer specifies will only cause intonation problems with the clarinet.

The best thing to do is get a good mouthpiece and play on the stock barrel that comes with a clarinet from a reputable make - this way you'll build up your chops and you'll be playing in tune soon enough through practice.
 

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What do you mean by low cost clarinet? If you can name the brand of clarinet and the brand of the mouthpiece you are using, it will help others to answer your questions.

John
 

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When going through R13-itis, i went an intonation mission. Different barrels, mouthpieces and reeds. What had the most effect on bringing pitch up? Stiffer reeds. Shorter barrels and shorter R13 specific mouthpieces had almost no effect.
To use a stiffer reed you will need a closer tip mouthpiece and a developed embouchure. Right now I play on 1.02 mm mouthpiece with Rico Reserve 4 reeds.
Weird, but true.
 

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I'd put my worries to rest for a few months until I was sure that my embouchure was up to snuff. It is common for cross-over players to have the flat problem, since they are not used to the much more "stressed" mouth position needed to play the clarinet. Only after I was well into clarinet playing (say after a month or so of constant practice) would I start fiddling with the mouthpiece/reed combination.

Oddly enough, I moved down on my clarinet setups (both bass and soprano) once I started playing sax more regularly. I was in 3.5 Van Dorn territory for just about forever, but now play 2.5 (with a more open mouthpiece on bass than before). It's not as "secure" feeling as the old setups used to be, but the tone and intonation is a lot better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It always amazes me; you post a problem and folk from around the world hasten to help. Says a lot for International friendship and cooperation (I live in Aus).
The current setup is a Legere 2.0 reed on a Hite Premium MPC attached to an Artiste clarinet. These sell for about US$330 here, altho` I added the Hite for another $40.
No I didn`t try the MPC on the other clarinet. It wouldn`t fit., but I did use the same reed. I checked the pitch on low F then on E (first E on staff line), then a D & G (up top of staff lines). On an average all are about 50 cent below 440. Not much difference if I use the MPC supplied with the Artist. I was checking one clarinet against the other (belongs loal band) all at the same room temp.
OK on advice of diff barrel or cutting piece off. Thanks, Russ
 

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Ronish said:
The current setup is a Legere 2.0 reed on a Hite Premium MPC attached to an Artiste clarinet. These sell for about US$330 here, altho` I added the Hite for another $40.
For my taste, a #2 Légère on a Hite Prem is a tad on the soft side. Do you still have the stock mouthpiece that came with your horn? Any difference using that one?
 

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You might try comparing the length of the clarinet you played in tune with the Artiste clarinet. Compare the length of the clarinets with the barrel off and then with the barrels on. It would take several millimeters difference to create a flatness of 50 cents on the tuner (1/4 step).

Another idea. See if when playing the Artiste barrel and Hite mouthpiece without the clarinet you can play an F# Concert pitch. If you can, try this embouchure and airstream on the whole clarinet and see if that helps bring the pitch up.

John
 

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I had forever played a 4 reed on a normal setup. A couple years ago I went softer just becz i had gone softer on sax. I went flat across the board on clarinet .. different mpcs, etc. unless I used a smaller volume mpc (or shorter barrel). But I went back up to 4s and no problems since. Since then I also went harder on the sax. playing about a 4.5-5 on a 8 tip tenor - though still use a normal alto setup (hard on small tip like C** and soft 2.5 on larger tip like D/Es)

I asked a question like this on the clarinet BB board and they gave some pretty nifty answers on why a softer reed plays flat (can't remember what they were though)
 

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stevesklar said:
I had forever played a 4 reed on a normal setup. A couple years ago I went softer just becz i had gone softer on sax. I went flat across the board on clarinet .. different mpcs, etc. unless I used a smaller volume mpc (or shorter barrel). But I went back up to 4s and no problems since. Since then I also went harder on the sax. playing about a 4.5-5 on a 8 tip tenor - though still use a normal alto setup (hard on small tip like C** and soft 2.5 on larger tip like D/Es)
I've noticed that a lot of sax-doublers will play with #4s even thought they play softer on sax.
One of the best moves I ever made on clarinet was switching reed strenght from 3.5 to 4 , it made a world of difference.
 

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daigle65 said:
I've noticed that a lot of sax-doublers will play with #4s even thought they play softer on sax.
One of the best moves I ever made on clarinet was switching reed strenght from 3.5 to 4 , it made a world of difference.
More important than reed strength is the fact that some clarinet nouthpieces tune sharper or flatter than others due to the difference in the internal volume in various mouthpieces.
Vandoren 13 series mouthpieces tune flatter than traditional mouthpieces and usually play flat on the long stock barrels that come with most new clarinets. Doublers should have a shorter barrel so as not to be flat when picking up a cold clarinet. As the clarinet warms up and the pitch sharpens you should pull out the barrel or switch to a longer barrel. I find it embarasing playing flat until the clarinet warms up after about 8 bars.
 

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"I find it embarasing playing flat until the clarinet warms up after about 8 bars."

Then blow warm air through it for the imaginary 8 bars BEFORE you play. Or get/make a heated clarinet stand.
 

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I think he is referring to a pit orchestra situation where there is no time between switching instruments to warm up the clarinet. I'm interested in how you would make a heated stand. Would you care to elaborate?

The book in one show I played had an oboe solo in the second act with no time to warm up the instrument. I finally solved the pitch problem by wrapping a heating pad set on low around the oboe until it was time to play the part. As you know there are no "short barrels" for oboes. :)

John
 

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A small box of some sort, with a clarinet stand mounted on top, with a vertical hole through it. Hole(s) somewhere low on the box for air to enter. Inside the box is a light bulb of a few watts, along with a battery of some sort. The light heats air which rises through the clarinet.

I have not used one myself, but one of my customers does.

What I found a big problem playing in shows, was in a very cold pit, playing a long passage pp. The top of the clarinet holds warm air, while the bottom 2/3 holds cold air, throwing the scale badly. Fortunately this did not happen too often.
 
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