Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I tried a Bb Clarinet reed on my Bb Soprano saxophone. I did this out of curiousity and not for any particular reason. I was surprised when I found out that my clarinet reed fits on the soprano saxophone mouthpiece. Also surprising is the rich, dark sound my soprano has with the clarinet reed. I put the soprano sax reed back on just to verify. Why?

What is the difference between Bb Clarinet reeds and Bb Soprano saxophone reeds?

Is it just my particular Bb Soprano saxophone mouthpiece or do all Bb clarinet reeds fit on Bb soprano saxophone moutpieces.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,028 Posts
The clarinet reed is longer, the soprano sax reed is a bit wider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
402 Posts
I've heard of people doing this the other way around (using a sop sax reed on a clarinet), for dixieland. I've tried this a few times, and while it sounded OK, I never really cared enough to always do it and am back to normal Bb clar reeds on clarinet.

On Tenor (yes I know this is the sop sax section), I regularly use bass clarinet reeds for my classical setup and am very happy with the result.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,268 Posts
Bryan: My take is that one should try MANY clarinet reeds on his/her soprano before concluding that it works good enough to do it regularly. Personally, switching clarinet reeds for soprano reeds never worked all that well for me. DAVE
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,033 Posts
The problem is not the length or width, it is the vamp. A clarinet tends to be longer and it has the "heart" of the reed too far away. Also there is the dreaded lip pinch that can occur.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,600 Posts
I used my Bb clarinet reeds on my recently purchased sop sax until my sop reeds showed up. Clarinet reeds do have a longer vamp and are a tiny bit narrower (.53" vs. .55"). If the tip of the clarinet reed is trimmed to make it the right length, it shortens the vamp too much and would still be too narrow. So, you could make a clarinet reed out of a sop sax reed (although it would be .35" too short), you can't really make a sop sax reed from a sop clarinet reed even if you spent the time to rework the vamp.

Mark
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
I read somewhere that when Johnny Hodges was persuaded to play a soprano after many years only playing alto he took of the reed and replaced it with a clarinet reed. I wonder if that's all you could get in the early days.

As for this...

dburlone said:
I've heard of people doing this the other way around (using a sop sax reed on a clarinet), for dixieland. I've tried this a few times, and while it sounded OK, I never really cared enough to always do it and am back to normal Bb clar reeds on clarinet.
... the New Orleans players used Albert system clarinets (again because they were available) which are supposed to have a different tone. Maybe Boehm system players were trying to emulate this.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,268 Posts
Hodges allegedly studied with Bechet, although I don't know what kind of reed or mouthpiece either used.

As to Albert clarinets, that is true that many old timers from New Orleans played Alberts. And, some hard-core traditionalists today STILL play Alberts.

But to me, a clarinet is a clarinet, regardless of the fingering system. I have two Albert System Bb soprano clarinets and they certainly don't sound much different than my preferred Boehm clarinets. In fact, they all sound like me on clarinet. While I claim to be a traditionalist, I prefer Boehm System and don't believe the fingering system really matters as far as tone goes. DAVE
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
Dave Dolson said:
Hodges allegedly studied with Bechet, although I don't know what kind of reed or mouthpiece either used.

As to Albert clarinets, that is true that many old timers from New Orleans played Alberts. And, some hard-core traditionalists today STILL play Alberts.

But to me, a clarinet is a clarinet, regardless of the fingering system. I have two Albert System Bb soprano clarinets and they certainly don't sound much different than my preferred Boehm clarinets. In fact, they all sound like me on clarinet. While I claim to be a traditionalist, I prefer Boehm System and don't believe the fingering system really matters as far as tone goes. DAVE
Dave, how can you SAY that?? You'll be telling us next that artillery shells don't make Selmers sound better or - I can hardly bring myself to say it - that a silver-plated ligature doesn't sound much sweeter than plain brass.

To be fair, though, traditionalists seem to suggest that New Orleans Alberts may have had a wider bore affecting the tone and that the different fingering makes different phrases fall under the fingers.

In either case, apparently Bechet always played Alberts. Which proves that Hodges always used clarinet reeds. I think.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Champion of the C-Me
Joined
·
2,057 Posts
potiphar - I find that just polishing a plain brass lig helps with the higher notes...;) If you want to get 'down and dirty', leave the patina on ! I've never known what the fuss about ligs is, having something looking like a hyperactive titanium dental-brace, just in front of my eyes, is downright distracting.

I've used all sorts of reed combinations, clari > sop, sop > clari, clari > c-sop > Eb clari, and even slim Bb clari > Eb clari. Not to mention the larger varieties.

They all give differing results, especially in the comfort of a home - but used live, when the full dynamic range is explored with the adrenalin pumping, it's almost always back to the correct reed at the end of the day...

It has a lot to do with the vamp/heart/width not being quite right, and, as Bruce mentioned, at some stage a poor fitting reed will bite back ! :( Fun trying though, I always find that such tests usually confirm that what I was originally using is the best. Peace of mind, albeit momentarily...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,268 Posts
Let's throw Bob Wilber into the mix, as he also studied with Bechet. The conclusions to be drawn would be mind-boggling. Wilber plays Boehm, I think.

I agree that all sorts of reed/lig combos can be tried at home but when the rubber meets the road (a public performance) - THAT is what proves it all out - to the player.

I just don't buy the Albert vs. Boehm tonal thing, though, REGARDLESS of what the traditionalists claim. Sorry. DAVE
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
1,033 Posts
Dave Dolson said:
I just don't buy the Albert vs. Boehm tonal thing, though, REGARDLESS of what the traditionalists claim. Sorry. DAVE
Well, I could check it out once I've finished restoring my Albert system, if only I could find my daughter's Boehm system which is buried under 10 years of her clothes shopping!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I recieved a phone call from my friend, Ted McDowell, the lower saxophonist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and one superb repairman.

He got a call from Bradford Marsalis at 7:30 PM. Branford was going to solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra - the Copland Clarinet Concerto on Bb Soprano Saxophone.

Setup on his curved neck soprano? A metal mouthpiece of unknown brand and a #5 clarinet reed. Interesting.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top