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Strings 'n' Squeaks!

3026 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  bandmommy
Hey Guys, top o' the mornin' to you!

I have two unrelated, non-sax queries please, that you may know the answers to:-

  • My fiance's niece has started violin lessons and we picked her hired violin up for her at the music school and as you know, us musicians, we have to check these things out. I haven't played violin since 1983 but I gave it a go and I was immediately better than I used to sound back in the day! Anyway, my question is, this is a half size fiddle and it's steel strung! My strings were gut and I'd have thought they'd have been nylon now if anything, not steel - is this the norm now or only on student violins?
  • One clarinettist in our concert band, who has actually been playing I think for a long time, says he can't play very loud with out squeaking all over the place, when I was trying to get him to play louder in his solo. I'm not a clarinettist but can knock a tune out on one, being aware of using a difference in embouchure to sax but what can he do to play louder but squeak free? More bottom lip, maybe?
Cheers, guys!
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RootyTootoot said:
Gosh, Saxplayer, you are a dafty sometimes!! Leave the poor bugger alone. Of course clarinets are quieter than saxes + it may be to do with his setup etc. Don't start lecturing him about what he can and can't do with an instrument you can't play. Clarinets are prone to squeaking if you force the tone. If the band is overwhelming his solo when he's playing at his full volume then the band needs to learn to play a little quieter.
Well thanks a bunch, matey! Of course clarinets can play loud too, even flutes and oboes can. This bloke was lamenting the fact he couldn't play louder in general without squeaking all over the place.

Dafty indeed - with friends like you, who needs enemies!
Of course instruments have a dynamic range and so on. So you think trumpets are louder than saxes - so out the window goes John Dankworth's 'a saxophone can sound louder than any trumpet', from the radio programme 'The Story of the Saxophone'. Well, one can hardly hear our trumpet section, we can hear the flutes etc. more!

But I know clarinets can project more - trying to help this mush out, he WANTS to be able to use more dynamics, rather than playing pp all the time.
RootyTootoot said:
But I still think it's a little nutty for you to get into advising a clarinetist. How would you feel if one of the flutes approaches you with: "Saxplayer, I think your quiet playing needs attention. May I offer a few suggestions on saxophone technique?" Do you see what i'm on about? Really the guy should be seeking help from a clarinet player if he feels he needs help.
I would feel fine about it thank you very much. There are too many musical snobs in the world, they don't like this musical genre or that musical genre, don't speak to anyone in a band other than the saxes, flutes stay huddled together, oboes gather in secret, saxes aren't thought of highly in symphony orchestras - all this other garbage.

I'm out to change the preconceived notions that exist in the musical establishment. If I can help the clarinettist, fine, if he can help me, equally fine. I'm open to suggestions from anyone. No matter how long someone has been playing, there's always something new to consider and maybe learn, whether I've been playing 12 years (as I have) or 112 years.

But I understand your points, Root. ;)
RootyTootoot said:
I think i can agree with 1.

I'm working on a comic book based on 2. Would you like to hear an extract? Working title: "Sax Man Marvel: Scourge of the Musical Establishment".

Sounds great - Please get either Curt Swan, John Romita Sr. or Brian Bolland to do the artwork. Even better, how about Alan Moore for the story and Dave Gibbons for the art (met both before). :D
I dunno, I ask a serious question at the start of the thread and all I get is this bollocks.
Listen up Toot Sweet, there are only three people in this thread who have said anything useful, in addition to me. I'm gonna say something I'll regret soon so I'm adding you to ignore list for a while mate, til I feel like dealing with your own particular brand of manure.
Thanks Bandbabe, so the problem sounds about the same on clarinet as it is on sax - looks like I might have to invest in a clarinet to play myself (in about a million years when I have the funds!) - I don't know what Toot Sweet has replied since, as he's on ignore.

Mary had a little lamb
She loved her lamb of course
Rooty loved her little lamb
Especially with mint sauce
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