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Discussion Starter #1
I play sax since the 1980s , daily , and bass clarinet as well .
I really love my Kohlert 1930 bass cl, over a Selmer I played before.
So I thought why not try a alto clarinet ( I play tenor alto and soprano sax )
the one I bought is fresh overhauled and got open tone holes.
I have big problems to stretch my fingers , and playing is very uncomfortable
I never had problems with my hands, and I would not say I have small hands !
maybe I should have bought a alto cl with closed tone - holes...
I got a plain Leblanc alto mpc for it , and I would say it sounds horrible.
any advice?
 

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Sorry to hear the alto clarinet you bought isn't working out. You can have a tech install plateau (closed) touchplates, but it would be much less expensive just to switch to a different instrument. I've played a Leblanc mouthpiece before, and while it wouldn't be my first choice, it wasn't bad for a stock mouthpiece. Yours could be damaged, or you need to try a different strength reed, or just need more time with the instrument. If the problem persists, buy a new, medium facing mouthpiece. Forum members here can recommend. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your support, my playing getting better everyday on that clarinet, but I am sure I will never be able to play fast on that clarinet
 

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Many saxophone players have problems with the open tone holes when they start playing clarinet. You will get used to it after a while. I can't help you with the mouthpiece, but keep in mind an alto clarinet is much more like a 'real' clarinet than a bass, which can be played with a loose sax embouchure (sounds awful but it does work). For the alto clarinet you need to use more of a real clarinet embouchure and air support.
Best of luck, I love playing the little alto.
 

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Alto clarinet is a tricky animal, and it's really difficult to make it sound "clarinetty"...with that dark, woody timbre. What doesn't help matters for most people is that practically nothing but second-rate band parts are written for the instrument. It's that or playing transposed viola parts in transcribed string quartets.

However, the instrument itself, is a wonderful and magical thing. I LOVE playing it, on the rare occasions that I get to. Good luck...keep at it!
 

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Is there a local music store where you might be able to trade in your current alto clarinet? It's very difficult to concentrate on your playing when the finger position is uncomfortable. I've played all of the major modern brands of French system alto clarinet and the right hand finger spacing can be very wide apart. I can't comment on German system brands. If you can try out another model of alto clarinet before buying, I would definitely recommend switching to something that fits you better. That way you can concentrate on sounding your best.
 

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I recently had to sell my open-tonehole alto for the same reason. My closed-tonehole Noblet I can play without difficulty. My suggestion would be: give it 3-5 weeks and try to get used to it by playing it regularly, everytime a bit more and see if you can get used to it. Stop if it hurts playing. If in a month or so it is still uncomfortable, stop trying and switch to a closed-hole alto as suggested by other people.

Also, I found it is slightly easier to adjust if you use a floor-peg insted of a neckstrap for supporting the weight of the alto.
 
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