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Discussion Starter #1
Since taking up the bass clarinet last year I have noticed that whenever I play the Ab key with the left hand just below the break and my right hand is not already down, I have to grab hold of the instrument with my right hand to prevent it falling over to the right.

I showed this to my teacher and he thought the reason was because I was pushing the key from the left side and suggested that I push the key from more of the front of the instrument. I tried this but there is still some sideways force necessary to press the key so the issue still remains.

Is this a common problem or has anyone else experienced this? This is mainly a problem when standing using a neck strap (it has two hooks), not so much when using a peg. My instrument is a 1972 low Eb Selmer Paris.

Thanks
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Ken,

I have no idea if this will help or not.... I use a saxophone thumb cushion on my BC's thumb hook. It gives me a feeling of greater playing stability as well as comfort for my thumb. Don't know if it would help you with your Ab.

Also, have you had your BC checked out by a repair tech lately? Or, asked your teacher to try it? It sounds like you might be using more force than necessary to open your Ab key.

Roger
 

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I tend to use the single strap even with the double points on my selmer Bass to alleviate just that balance issue with the throat notes. Try jus thooking it off the lower thumb ring only and this should make life a little easier.
 

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My bigger bass clarinet balance issue is with C above the staff. On the school's Selmer model 33, the angle at which I have to hold the instrument makes it very awkward to play that note. I usually feel like I have to push the horn back into my mouth with the right hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, thanks. I'll give those ideas a go.

One other suggestion was to roll the wrist for the Ab so that you are using more downwards motion. Also holding your left elbow out like a chicken wing to eliminate pivoting the arm from the elbow.

Do any of you do this?
 
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