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Discussion Starter #1
I recently brought my CT Selmer clarinet for some repairs. I had some hissing problems on certain keys so my tech replaced the pads in those areas with beveled cork. It worked great on the C#/G#, the hissing disappeared, but the problem was still there on the chromatic B/F# (trill key).
He was stumped and said that he would do some research to figure it out.

I was in a rush, but as I was leaving he said that maybe it was the modification to the A/E tone hole that I had done to correct intonation (a small crescent of poster tack in the A/E tone hole because low Bb was very sharp). His theory was that it prevented proper venting in that area.

Any thoughts?
 

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Very possible. As he has mentioned not only have you shifted the centre but you have also reduced the venting ability. By reducing the abilty of a key to vent correctly you can create a hissing sound.

However In your situation, I think the location of the crescent may be causing a point of disturbance within the instrument and in turn disrupting the standing wave for playing B .. F# .. C trill

Simple to check, remove your G#and A key off and remove the crescent and see what happens
 

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Discussion Starter #3
.... remove the crescent and see what happens
That's what I'm planning to do.
I just don't want to be faced with the dilemma of choosing between hissing and intonation if that's the cause.
I also have a crescent on the C/G tone hole because chalumeau D was also very sharp...and there's a bit of hissing on side Eb/Bb as well :cry:

Chalumeau D and Bb were so sharp it was driving me crazy and the crescents really helped so I would like to keep them.
 

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The notes and fingerings you mentioned can sound "stuffy" when the key does not open high enough. If the sound is not stuffy but loud and clear with a "hissing" sound, then you are looking at some other acoustic phenomenon besides key venting.

I would suggest you go over to the Woodwind Forum and post that question to Steve Sklar who has a lot of knowledge and experience in the area of clarinet acoustics.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
.... If the sound is not stuffy but loud and clear with a "hissing" sound, then you are looking at some other acoustic phenomenon besides key venting.....
My tech did make sure that they opened enough. The notes aren't stuffy at all so it's something else then.
 

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Very interesting. If you are comfortable removing keys, try taking the fork F#/B key off completely and playing that note both loud and soft in both registers and compare. If the hiss disappears, you do have a venting issue. If the hiss remains, you also might try the following with the key off or suggest it to your tech.

- First clean the tone hole thoroughly using a Q-tip and alcohol. Make sure there are no cotton fibers left on the inside edge of the tone hole.
- Using a Q-tip with a bit of Carnuba wax polish, the inside of the tonehole. You can put half a Q-tip in a Dremel at low speed if you have one.
- Buff the surface with a clean Q-tip, again making sure there is nothing left on the inside edge.

Sharp edges on the interior portion of tone holes can create acoustic issues. Smooth rounded corners are always preferred over sharp edges inside the bore. Some of the top clarinet techs I know use a bore scope to see the inside of the clarinet under magnification the way the sound wave "sees" the inside of the bore.

If a solution is found, please let us know what worked for this hissing issue.
 

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Years ago on alt.music.clarinet I posted about a similar buzzing issue that had my repairman totally stumped. A clarinetist with some opera company down south said that if the horn has one buzzy note, I ought to just get rid of it! No amount of counter-argument worked on him - 'cause, see, this was a metal clarinet. A beautiful-sounding 1929 Conn. And it was garbage, he said, because of ONE NOTE.

I kept it. I still play it. It still has a bit of a buzz on that throat G#. So what?

I just found that guy's website on...get this...SmugMug (how appropriate) :lol:
 

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Just following up to myownself...(yes, bad form, I know...'scuse please)...

Has any clarinet tech tried smoothing a metal tonehole? Are the tools too specialized to wood? Would the chimney just weaken and leak or crack?
 

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I am not sure whether you mean smoothing the inside of the chimney, or the inside edge of the tone hole inside the bore. You could smooth the chimney by wrapping some 1000 grit wet or dry sandpaper around a wooden dowel (pencil?) small enough to go inside the tone hole and rotating it or moving it up an down.

If you want to round the inside edge a small round swiss file would work. You would need to be very careful not to file the top of the tone hole. Perhaps wrapping some masking tape around the upper part of the file would be a good idea.

That said, "buzzing" is most often caused by a traditional pad on which the bladder has stretched or come loose. Before doing anything to the tone hole, I would recommend installing a new pad to see if that helps. A "Valentino" synthetic pad that doesn't have a bladder skin would work the best.
 

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Assuming it's a Conn 4 piece metal clarinet (either the 524n or 624n) the problem seems to be inherent to the horns internal geometry. I've owned three over the years and still have one which I was playing on last week, and have worked on several more for friends and on referrals.

They are very picky as far as mouthpieces. I've tried test playing it with the F# pad completely removed; still hissed. I polished the inside of the tonehole; still hissed. I painstakingly rounded the bottom edges of the tonehole chimney (half round swiss file with tape over the upper portion); still hissed.

Tried a Selmer C85 120 with VD 3's; worked like a champ. No hiss or trace of a hiss, no tuning issues; quite a nice horn in many regards.

With a Vandoren B45, LeBlanc Eddie Daniels, a Morgan Jazz, and a LeBlanc Combs it hissed from mildly to wildly depending.

It also plays OK with the original Conn ( What a surprise. Eagle, Steelay...? Currently resides in a shoebox.) though I am not otherwise enamoured of that mouthpiece.

Why this occurs is beyond me- but based upon a sample of several horns (at least two of them set up by a "pro" as opposed to yours truly) the hiss was an issue and the right mouthpiece made it a non issue.

As an aside, I've played a lot of metal clarinets over the years (have four camped out in the music room as I type) and this Conn is the only one with this issue. A really nice horn otherwise- but there it is.
 

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Yes Henry, the hiss affected both of the 524Ns I've played.

Conn literature on the 524N suggests the R&D department really went to town on this clarinet. They made much of how the octaves were brought into better tune and resistance cut down in the altissimo (suggesting IIRC that you try jumping E3-E4, F3-F4, etc., on your current clarinet, then on the 524N where it would be much easier).

So with all this re-engineering, they could easily have put themselves in a corner as far as one throat note, introducing an acoustic glitch of some kind. It seems to vacillate between throat F#, G, and G#, usually most persistent on G#.

I don't recall the same issue on my 624N. That's the "armored" model with the hard rubber core. But I haven't played it in a while.

Joe Muranyi, the wonderful trad jazz player, played my 524N one night sitting in in New York. He loved it.
 

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Paul-
Given the hoopla- and the overall pretty darned good performance- it's really an annoyance. Seriously though, try a variety of mouthpieces, what worked for me might not for you but I'd think the "it's a mouthpiece/ reed/ clarinet interaction issue" would still apply.
Exactly why it's an issue still puzzles me. Perhaps the tonehole needs to be a bit larger (larger than just carefully polishing the interior renders it) and a hair lower (so as not to run sharp) but that's a pretty major tinker given the construction of the horn- certainly beyond my scope.
If I get around to it perhaps I'll try the old end of a needle spring down the hole trick. Embedding a needle spring tip in the center of the cork pad over the register vent frequently works wonders with a hissy register vent- where dome shaped corks and more open venting have failed a 3/16 inch needle projecting into the vent opening sometimes works wonders. Assuming I can get a needle tip embedded in the F# pad (I have leather pads and so a careful insertion with a drop of super glue to stabilize might work fine) it might have an effect; now whether a good effect or bad effect ....

PS Misspoke on the armored model- I was thinking only of the Conn four piece metal thin models.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
.....If a solution is found, please let us know what worked for this hissing issue.
I'll try your suggestions when time permits and I'll let you know.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So I removed the poster tack from the A/E tone hole (not as easy as I thought it would be) and the hissing is still there.:cry:
 

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.... If I get around to it perhaps I'll try the old end of a needle spring down the hole trick. Embedding a needle spring tip in the center of the cork pad over the register vent frequently works wonders with a hissy register vent- where dome shaped corks and more open venting have failed a 3/16 inch needle projecting into the vent opening sometimes works wonders. Assuming I can get a needle tip embedded in the F# pad (I have leather pads and so a careful insertion with a drop of super glue to stabilize might work fine) it might have an effect; now whether a good effect or bad effect ....
A needle may be fine for the very small register vent, but If you are experimenting with this much larger tone hole, may I suggest the greater diameter of a pointed kebab stick. The theory behind it AFAIK is to reduce turbulence - the larger cross-section of a given hole, the more likelihood of turbulence - which interferes with good venting. (Not unlike having multiple exit tubes for a rocket engine?) Ref: "Reynolds number".
 

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Gordon-
Great point. I hadn't gotten around to doing anything in regards to this- as I indicated earlier there is no issue for me with the proper mouthpiece/reed combination on the horn (and it's one of several)- so I'd need to specifically come up with a combo that doesn't work to trial and then tinker around.

If I have the time this week I'll mix up a batch of five minute epoxy and see if I can draw out a couple of "peaks" in it just before it starts to harden. Out of a dozen or so candidates I ought to come up with one that has a nice pointed top, a base of appropriate diameter (and I can affect that by choosing the trim point of course), and just the proper concave profile from base to tip.

Again- while I anticipate some effect I'm by no means certain it'll be salutory...
Henry
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So last week I spent a good 2 hours with my tech Marc Jean to try and eliminate the hissing.
On advice from Bernd Schille we went at it step by step; undercutting the tone holes, gluing sandpaper inside the tone hole, opening up the keys.
While Marc was working on my clarinet, I played it with the B/F# trill key removed and the hissing disappeared completely, so we figured that it needed to be really opened up.

In the end all of this considerably reduced the hissing, there is still some, but I can live with it.
 
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