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Strings 'n' Squeaks!

3030 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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A clarinet expert can give a better answer, but in my case, I would get squeaks when trying to play loud because my reed was too soft, or, my mouthpiece was too closed. In either case, the reed would basically "close off" under the higher pressure of trying to play louder resulting in squeaks or no vibration at all. I've read discussions here and elsewhere that say on a clarinet, a larger tip opening does not automatically mean louder (like it usually does for a sax) but in my case it helped "open things up" and I can play louder with the more open piece.
It could also simply be a poorly-placed reed or ligature.
I know it's more prudent to look at the player first, not the equipment, but if this guy really has been playing a while, maybe it's time to consider different equipment.
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