Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
ok, I've spontaneously picked up the bass clarinet (many thanks Mr Rooty Tooty) and love it! I have very little idea what I'm doing but, what a sound these things make, its gorgeous.
I'm normally a tenor sax guy, with occasional bouts of soprano (and blues harps).. basically any tips on the bass clarinet- beyond practice/ get a teacher. Firstly- I'm making the assumption that a Selmer Bundy stock MPC isn't great and am thinking that I'm not likely to go wrong with a Vandoren... B45 or 46 (relatively wide to be vaguely in line with my 7* or 8 tenor sax habit)...So far my tenor sax reeds seem ok, is there any reason not to use 'em? Anyone got any other input on getting to grips with this splendid bit o' kit?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
Firstly- I'm making the assumption that a Selmer Bundy stock MPC isn't great and am thinking that I'm not likely to go wrong with a Vandoren... B45 or 46 (relatively wide to be vaguely in line with my 7* or 8 tenor sax habit)...So far my tenor sax reeds seem ok, is there any reason not to use 'em? Anyone got any other input on getting to grips with this splendid bit o' kit?
Brzzzt! The Bundy Stock mouthpiece (at least the hard rubber version with the Geo. M. Bundy signature) is a great mouthpiece, or, if it isn't, can be made into a great one by a competent refacer. Definitely worth that effort. Tenor Sax reeds are okay, no reason not to use them, if they feel good with your mouthpiece.

Now, for getting to grips...get yourself a good repertoire piece for warmup, eg. the Bach Cello Suite. Keeps your fingers warm and busy, and it has some nice register jumps, there's something to work on every day.
Then, long notes are cool, and important for your breathing. Besides that, just play your tenor repertoire, one thing less to worry (aka reading off the sheet).

Have fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
Um, well, lessons with a teacher would be wise to get you started learning how to properly play the instrument.

The first thing is NOT to play it like a saxophone. It does NOT go in straight in your mouth like a sax. A bass clarinet is supposed to be played sitting, with the mouthpiece going into your mouth like a clarinet mouthpiece does. And you don't hold it completely vertical. If you are sitting, the bell should be like right between your legs (like butt area) and then go in like a 70 degree slope up from there.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Um, well, lessons with a teacher would be wise to get you started learning how to properly play the instrument.
.
I'm certainly not disputing that, I was simply trying to pre-empt 'get a teacher' responses to this thread... which, while perfectly true aren't the kind of info I'd been looking for. Cheers for the tips- So far the Bundy MPC seems ok, though I'd be really interested in A/B testing it against some others (but, hey- at this stage- what do I know?!). I'd vaguely picked up on the angle issue, my low notes sound terrible if I treat it like my Berg Tenor piece!
Keep them coming, the more I work on this horn the more I'm loving it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
601 Posts
Look for a medium-faced mouthpiece. An open mouthpiece will cause control and response problems in the upper register. Selmer C star is good, but they've gotten expensive and inconsistent. I've never tried a Vandoren. I don't know if Clark Fobes' outstanding mouthpieces are available in the UK (maybe Howarth?), but even his Debut mouthpiece would be a big step up from the Selmer USA pieces. Do lots of long tones, low to as high as you can go, and work for consistency of tone from register to register. Don't be satisfied with a tubby low register and a thin, fuzzy clarion. I'm not sure about the 70 degree angle comment. The mouthpiece does need to enter the mouth at some angle, and lately Buffet and Selmer have been offering steeply angled necks, 35 degrees or so. Some players like them, some don't. The older horns are played with the bell back a bit to change the mouthpiece angle from none to a little more, but I can't imagine how you would play with the bell under your butt, especially with a peg. Tenor sax reeds have a different profile than bass clarinet reeds. If you don't have good access to bass clarinet reeds, tenor reeds will do in a pinch, but the real thing is preferable. Vandoren #3 or comparable French cut reed. Have fun!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,866 Posts
+1 on the cello suites, very good (and beautiful) practice material. Tenor reeds are ok, I use them too sometimes. When I started on bass clarinet my teacher had me do a lot of staccato arpeggio stuff up and down the whole horn. This works very well getting a feel for the different registers and their resistances.
I've seen people play the horn using all kind of angles. I have a Buffet with a steep angle which I like, but I also play a Leblanc which has a neck almost like a tenor. Works ok too, so ymmv.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
1,184 Posts
I will probably get slammed for writing this (and probably deserve it), but in my opinion, the world doesn't need any more crappy bass clarinet hackers -- please learn to play it well or don't play it at all. Take lessons from a real BASS clarinetist -- most soprano clarinet-only players have no clue how to play bass. And as ericdano wrote, bass clarinet is NOT a saxophone, please don't play it as such. End of sermon.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
"the world doesn't need any more crappy bass clarinet hackers"..Any more so than pretty much any other musical instrument or some specific beef with bass clarinets?
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
1,217 Posts
I will probably get slammed for writing this (and probably deserve it), but in my opinion, the world doesn't need any more crappy bass clarinet hackers -- please learn to play it well or don't play it at all. Take lessons from a real BASS clarinetist -- most soprano clarinet-only players have no clue how to play bass. And as ericdano wrote, bass clarinet is NOT a saxophone, please don't play it as such. End of sermon.
This isn't meant as a slam, but why does it matter what the world needs or doesn't need? The guy isn't grabbing a knife and fork to dabble in open heart surgery, he's just checking out another instrument. Kind of like marriage: How do you decide to make the considerable commitment to go at it seriously without first fooling around a bit?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009-
Joined
·
2,759 Posts
I'm going through this same experience. Check out the material on Ed Palanker's site, including "Bass Clarinet 101, Bass Clarinet for Dummies".
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
1,184 Posts
To answer the eagerly-anticipated flame posts, bass clarinet has been my main instrument since I was in the 8th grade (I'm 53 now) so I'm really passionate about it, and hearing the instrument played badly gets my knickers in a bunch right away. I'm still emotionally scarred from the practice (back in the day, maybe not so much nowadays) of taking the worst clarinetists in the school band and putting them on alto or bass clarinet. Gave us a bad reputation then and left a sour taste in my ear that persists to this day. If you want to sound like crap on your sax and nobody around you seems to care, have a ball -- but please don't sound like an un-oiled chainsaw on the bass clarinet or I WILL come after you! :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
If you want to sound like crap on your sax and nobody around you seems to care, have a ball -- but please don't sound like an un-oiled chainsaw on the bass clarinet or I WILL come after you! :)
noted :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #13

·
Registered
Joined
·
350 Posts
I second Ed Palanker's site. It helped me get Bass Clarinet chops. Other than fingering, it's not like a clarinet, so as a primarily sax player, you have an advantage over most clarinet players who treat it as such. It's not a sax either, but most clarinet players end up with a small, clarinet sound on the bass clarinet. Sax players aren't afraid to open up a little more, in my opinion...

My other suggestion is just to go through a lot of the clarinet etudes (rose, klose, etc.) and play through them. If you can play those with a good bass clarinet tone, you're pretty much set for anything that comes your way!
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
Joined
·
8,322 Posts
Good luck Jules. Wise move i think starting this thread even including the "brutal honesty" which is quite useful too, I think. You're already several steps ahead of where I ever got to on bass clarinet.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,364 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Good luck Jules. Wise move i think starting this thread even including the "brutal honesty" which is quite useful too, I think. You're already several steps ahead of where I ever got to on bass clarinet.
The Truth- I can just about handle the truth, I think!
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top