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Discussion Starter #1
does anyone know whether alberts are designed to favor soft reeds and boehm harder reeds?

I've always found that my R-13 plays wants to be flat unless I use a 3-4 reed which seems to be what most western classical/jaz players use on boehms. I enjoy playing soft reeds on it but 440 can be hard to reach w. soft reeds.

I've wondered if the eastern maqam players favor albert systems in part because they favor soft reed style / flexi embouchure?

Likewise I'm wondering what type of reeds a european classical player
in the pre-boehm era would have used?
 

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Ernie: I know a few guys who play Alberts in jazz, but I don't know what reed strength they use.

I have two Alberts and use my standard clarinet mouthpieces on them - the same one I use on my favored Boehm clarinet (an RC Prestige Buffet - also have an R13 - same mouthpiece).

I doubt that the fingering system has anything to do with what reed one chooses. Albert or Boehm, it would be the mouthpiece and the player's embouchure that dictates the reed strength. At least that's the way I see it. DAVE
 

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ernie tollar said:
I've wondered if the eastern maqam players favor albert systems in part because they favor soft reed style / flexi embouchure?
Players using the middle eastern maqamat generally use instruments designed to play quarter tones (i.e. not clarinets), although there are definitely quarter tone fingerings for clarinet. I guess it might make sense to use soft reeds in middle eastern music, if only for the flexibility of tone.
 

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ernie tollar said:
does anyone know whether alberts are designed to favor soft reeds and boehm harder reeds?

I've always found that my R-13 plays wants to be flat unless I use a 3-4 reed which seems to be what most western classical/jaz players use on boehms. I enjoy playing soft reeds on it but 440 can be hard to reach w. soft reeds.
Try a shorter barrel or a different mouthpiece. Some combos are flatter than others.
 

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http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=212152&t=212152

EXCERPT:
"... The thinner reed, due to it's inherent lower frequency of vibration capability, simply cannot keep up with the resonant frequency of the mouthpiece clarinet system (mpc, barrel, & remainder of instrument).

I believe thicker wood has a higher inherent oscillating or vibrating frequency and because of this, has no problem in keeping up with the resonant frequency of the instrument.

Here's another way of looking at it. In your mind, visualize a diving board of 3 inch thickness. Strike it hard on the end and it will have a natural vibrating frequency. If you were to replace the board with a 1 inch thicness piece of timber, striking it hard on the end will, of course, make it vibrate up and down, but, because of the thinner plank, the vibrations will be much slower.

I believe there is a direct correlation between thinner and thicker reeds. The air pressure is striking each reed at the same moment (time = 1 / frequency), but the thinner reed simply cannot vibrate as fast as the instrument wants it to."


in other words,
thinner reeds play flat on a clarinet not designed for it. you can use a higher 442 pitched mpc and a softer reed to play at 440 (or close to it). The above link was due to when I went from hard reeds to soft reeds and went flat across the board on all mpcs, instruments. using a 442 designed mpc will alleviate this problem.

For example, Vandoren sells 2 type of mpcs - the 13 series at 440 pitch (such as M13, M15 13, B40 13, 5RV Lyre 13), and their Traditional pitch (such as B45, 5RV Lyre, B40). They also recommend certain strength reeds for each mpc to accomodate that pitch but if you use softer reeds you can use the higher pitch mpc and bring it back down to 440.
 

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DougR said:
This is deeply and seriously misleading.
It is ?

I also understand how shorter barrels etc resolve the issue. But why going from say a 4 reed to a 3 reed does everything go flat. Of course, this also includes maintaining the same embouchure position.
 

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I believe thicker wood has a higher inherent oscillating or vibrating frequency and because of this, has no problem in keeping up with the resonant frequency of the instrument.

Here's another way of looking at it. In your mind, visualize a diving board of 3 inch thickness. Strike it hard on the end and it will have a natural vibrating frequency. If you were to replace the board with a 1 inch thicness piece of timber, striking it hard on the end will, of course, make it vibrate up and down, but, because of the thinner plank, the vibrations will be much slower.
No-one is likely to have time to pull all of the mistakes from this - it could easily be the subject of a fourth year dissertation.

The principle horror is the board analogy - while you will get a higher resonant frequency from a free end board when comparing thicker with thinner, this assumes that there are no other changes - this is grossly unfair as there are many more variables among which are:
The length of the lay
The form of the curve of the lay
The degree of muscular support
The position of the support
The mass distribution in the reed tip.
The degree of damping from the players lips....

and on and on and on.

The process of matching - horn/mouthpiece/player with the musical demands is very very complex and that which might be unplayable to one man may be perfect for someone else.

Dave D. said this
I doubt that the fingering system has anything to do with what reed one chooses. Albert or Boehm, it would be the mouthpiece and the player's embouchure that dictates the reed strength. At least that's the way I see it. DAVE
and I think he just about nailed it.
 

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I've spent a lot of time on all three systems for the clarinet (Albert, Boehm and Oehler) as well as on both Albert and Boehm (which should be called Sax, but let's not quibble) bass clarinets. In general, I have used the same reed strength regardless of horn if the same mouthpiece is used.

With the German clarinet ("Oehler") the mouthpieces that I have used are fundamentally different (chamber and facing) than the ones used with the other two systems. This in turn dictates a harder reed. When playing 2 1/2 on the others, I use 3 to 3 1/2 on the Oehler.

When I was young (and gay, but straight, as Nathan Lane might add), I played 3 1/2 strength on both bass and soprano clarinets, with 2 1/2 on saxes. However, I am older and wiser now.

Push comes to shove, you can accommodate almost any reasonable combination of reed and mouthpiece with a little practice. Here, I'm not talking a 4 on an open lay mouthpiece, but generally you can go up or down a half-strength and still "make it work" if you have to. Comfort, of course, dictates that we go with what works best and the easiest.

Occasionally, I will go up a strength or so if I have been playing on a particular horn for a long time. (On baritone, I always have a 3 or two waiting in the wings for the end of a New Year's Eve job, for example.)
 

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The most commonly forgotten thing on clarinet (Boehm, Albert or Oehler system) is air support, the amount of air you use when supporting your sound typically dictates the size of reed you use when considerations of mpc choice are also factored in. If you are needing much more than a #3 1/2 or #4 then it is time to move up a mpc tip size.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks all. still don't understand why 99% of maqam clarino players use alberts with #1 reeds. Dave Dolson's comment 100% makes sense however my theory is this:

Alberts were made in decades where the typical reed strength was lower therefore the maqam/greek/turkish style of playing (with very soft reeds) works better on these OLDER instruments. AND/OR they fingering system works more conveniently in spots such as moving from 5 fingers down to 4. ( the interval is a tone versus a semitone... and it's easier to move the higher note down a quarter tone than up using lip/breath. cheers
 

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ernie: OLD thread - I'd forgotten about this. Since I last posted here, I bought a new Yamaha German System clarinet (much like an Albert but with extra venting - a simpler Oehler, I believe), sold one Albert, acquired another (in C) and tried like heck to like the new Yamaha. I gave up on it after some build-quality issues. I need to get it fixed but haven't bothered - my Boehm clarinets are serving me well.

However, I'd like to comment that the Boehm System is just as old as the Albert (close enough in start-dates to make it a non-issue). I don't have the exact dates at hand but I have a couple of reference books that would back that up.

Next, the mouthpiece that came with my Yamaha was truly unplayable - for me. Even the hard reed that came with it and other hard reeds I had could hardly make a sound. Vandoren advertises specific German and Austrian System mouthpieces and even the most open tips measure like very closed-tip Boehm pieces. My Boehm mouthpieces played much nicer on the Yamaha (as well as my other Albert clarinets).

The barrel on the Yamaha was VERY short - much shorter than a short Boehm barrel. And the upper and lower joints were different lengths compared to Boehm, so there is a huge difference between Alberts and Boehms, besides the quirky fingering (I know, to seasoned Albert players, Boehms are quirky).

If anything, I think early jazzers who played Alberts used very hard reeds, but I don't have back-up for that opinion. Still, I don't think the softer-reed thing you mentioned is really valid. For sure, I don't think it is the age of the instrument. DAVE
 

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Well, I play both Boehm and Oehler ('advanced Albert', basically) clarinets and use the same mouthpieces and reeds on both. No difference in response, only some differences in fingerings.
 

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thanks all. still don't understand why 99% of maqam clarino players use alberts with #1 reeds. Dave Dolson's comment 100% makes sense however my theory is this:

Alberts were made in decades where the typical reed strength was lower therefore the maqam/greek/turkish style of playing (with very soft reeds) works better on these OLDER instruments. AND/OR they fingering system works more conveniently in spots such as moving from 5 fingers down to 4. ( the interval is a tone versus a semitone... and it's easier to move the higher note down a quarter tone than up using lip/breath. cheers
The Turkish players commonly use a clarinet in G, made from either metal, plastic or wood. They come with a mouthpiece with quite a large tip (at least mine did). The horn sounds best with a #1 reed. The mouthpiece does not work on a Bb horn; the second register is WAY too low.
 
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