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Discussion Starter #1
Having attained some level of fluidity through to the top of clarion reg, had a go at altissimo on this horn. Very peculiar--after trying unsuccessfully for about 20 minutes, I finally emitted one clear B (over the bridge, if this is what it's called..?)...but couldn't get it again. Then, with experimentation suddenly it plays through to G (or G#--just thumb/vent key) so far, beautifully and fluidly..

What a process. Very frustrating for 20 or so minutes. It's amazing to hear the note beautifully...once...then not be able to reproduce it. It was like learning to drive a stick for the first time and not for the life of me able to get it into reverse or something..

Then, I actually strained my right hand depressing notes for a C or C#, the note came beauttifully, but it hurt. Ha!
 

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Keep practicing. Embouchure is everything. If the horn is in good shape, it'll all come in time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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Discussion Starter #8
Tried an actual bcl reed today -- wanted a Vandoren 3, but store only had 3.5. I'm not nearly as good with it -- with my tenor 3S reed, I'm good up to about E or G alt.

I was hoping for even more fluidity with it, but switched back to the tenor reed and found great comfort. Guess I'll need more practice. :bluewink:
 

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Reed strength should match the player and the mouthpiece, not some obscure masculinity scale. :)
I'd rather play the right size Tenor Hemke than the wrong size Vandoren on my bass.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not getting into relative gender and/or sexuality issues here. Only heard it said (in my 35 page research) that a bcl reed , and of that particular strength, has been generally recommended.

Figuring experimentation with reeds and strengths is beneficial. A newbie has to start somewhere..

I don't care if it's a rico 2 that works for me (although it didn't) -- i'd use it.

Is there such issue among players here, generally, regarding reed strength?
 

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I'd say that the bandwidths of (all brands and strenghts) of Bass Clarinet reeds and Tenor Sax reeds overlap in some bigger or smaller area, ie Brand W/Strength X BC reed *may* be indistinguishable from Brand Y/Strength Z TS reed. Beats a red face (and bitten lips, and biting in general) any time, if you ask me.

It is also recommended one does not drink Alcoholic beverages. A happy hour beer, on the other hand... ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Having spent the morning trying various reeds, it seems I have only consistent success with a Rico select 3S (a little squirrely yet in alt, but so far the easiest blowing and consistent for me.

It was my ambition to find the optimal reed among my current assortment. Also hoping it would make it easier to play alt consistently.

Well, for now, I'll have to procure an extra rico select I guess.
 

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The intonation of fingerings varies quite a bit from horn to horn so try several different options. Be careful with the WFG chart- they'll take contributions from anybody. I know the bass clarinet altissimo chart has some very weird fingerings that I submitted when I was in high school and didn't know much about music that are awkward, really out of tune, or both.

My favorite BC altissimo chart is Michael Lowenstern's, at www.earspasm.com.

Also, I see that you're in Missoula. I am in Bigfork for the summer, and if you're willing to make the two hour trip, I'd gladly give you some pointers. I have a pretty solid altissimo register on bc.
 

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Eventually you should be able to get chromatically up to the altissimo high C easily, and with a bit more effort to about the F above that (not that you'll ever need to!).
 
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