Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Something that has been very strange is, my (wooden) bass clarinet plays fine in the morning, but often is impossible in the afternoon. I'm trying to find reasons why there would be such a disparity. I've been diligently observing factors to rule out, and I can't find anything other than environmental changes: we don't control the temperature in our home, and it fluctuates (along with the humidity) between morning and afternoon. Could this be a factor, for either the horn or the reeds? We live in the Western US where it is very dry and warm in the afternoon, but cools down considerably overnight. Not until we experience some cooler temps and a few days of precipitation will I be able to make a comparison.

I also notice a similar effect with my soprano (again, wooden), but less pronounced. When I also noticed this with my soprano is when I began speculating on the environmental issue. I've never experienced this with my saxes.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,268 Posts
I lived in Whitefish for three and a half year and never experienced those issues with my soprano clarinet. I played it inside and at gigs away from home, winters and summers - even returned several times to play after moving back to SoCal. Could it be the reed or the mouthpiece rather than the instrument itself? DAVE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Oh yes, it could be any number of things. But I haven't been able to isolate any other variables. I only noticed this very subtley with my soprano, btw. But it's a profound change in my bcl's performance between morning and late afternoon.

I just can't imagine what would change so drastically -- in my mpc or the horn -- other than these climactic factors. It just doesn't seem to be the horn (or me, for that matter) as it plays perfectly fine each morning. I've been carefully observing this to rule out my imagination! :|
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
601 Posts
We live near Reno NV (somewhat similar weather), and yeah, those changes in humidity do a number on my Selmer 33 and its reeds. Register mechanism, in particular, doesn't like those 10% to 60% humidity swings. The tech at a shop here kept the horn for several days and re-checked function a few times to insure it was adjusted right. Possibly a crack is opening and closing, or just pads swelling with use and blocking other pads open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Yep--my experience too--especially the register changes. Yes, I would think those things are likely occurring. This horn could be right on "the edge" of functionality in a number of ways--since I dug it out of a pawnshop where it sat for I-don't-know-how-many years. I'm sure it could stand a going over!

I don't recall this being an issue back in April when I acquired the horn--which makes sense, as the fluctuations aren't so pronounced until the mid-summer (i.e., now). And the room where it stays tends to fluctuate temp-wise especially this time of year.

Well thanks for the validation. I'm guessing, at this point, this could likely be what's occurring; the evidence seems to corraborate it. Morning will be my practice time for bass cl for the time being. We'll see what happens this fall...maybe it will be "self-healing" like my old subaru. :wink:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
It's the reed, usually. Especially when Summer swings into Autumn or Spring into Summer. It's a temperature-moisture discontinuity and your reed is trapped in a so-called fricative vortex (vθ). In layperson's terms, that is.

Do fool around with different reeds (it's always nice to have one each of a notch stronger and softer at hand). Do consider buying a "plastic" reed (Légère, Fibracell, Forestone, ...), even if just for determining "is it me or the reed?".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Heavens. If this is how sensitive this makes my horn...I'll glady try a reed affording more consistency. Thanks for the recommendation.

Then again, I really shouldn't complain: it could just as well be volcanic ash causing complications, and will be for someone around these parts at some time ahead, no doubt. I've learned to survive this long...bcl could be the instrumental "canary in the coal mine".. <shrug>
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top