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There's been a question on my mind, and that's the difference in the saxophone and the clarinet (specifically bass) embouchure. I switched a few months ago, and although I feel as though I'm going along my merry way relatively well, I started to wonder as a regular sax player what I might be doing wrong. I've been reading up all all sorts, some saying that it's better to use stronger reeds for the bass clarinet, and some saying that you need to take in a lot more mouthpiece.

I'm assuming as reed players there must be a few bass clarinet players out there which might be able to better explain to me what they feel in personal experienced between the two. I'm regularly on tenor sax and bari sax, so dealing with this delicate flower of a metal tube has really be a fun challenge.

Also: The instrument I am using is about twenty years old. It has been passed through a few people, but I'm suspecting that is has had more shelf life than playing life. From an older clarinet in storage, should I be looking for anything to make sure that it is maintained as it should be? (I might take a quick gander for leaks before I start ironing out the sqwuaks. Although to be fair I'm probably the problem. :bluewink:)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Plenty of threads about this, and it would help if you describe the problem you're having a bit more clearly.
I will say that bass clarinet is very unforgiving of any sort of leak, not so much in the chalumeau but very much in the clarion (2nd) register. So having a horn that is in great shape is very important. There is no rule about reeds or how much mouthpiece you take in.
They made great horns 20 years ago. Please state the model of your horn and the problems you're having with it.
 

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A lot depends on your setup. What I find is that playing the BC requires a lot more air pressure and a pretty consistent and firm grip on the mouthpiece. I find the sax to be much more free-blowing but requiring a lot more embouchure adjustment on the fly, especially with the bell tones.
 

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Nothing wrong with a 20 year old horn as long as it's in fine adjustment. And yes, bass clarinets are very unforgiving when it comes to leaks of any sort.
Reed strength and how much mouthpiece you take in depends on tip opening and lay just like with saxophone.
Embouchure is 'similar' to tenor, but more 'refined'.
Knowing what bass clarinet you are using, if it's a school owned/personal horn, and mouthpiece/reed combination would give us a little more to go on.
 

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I don't think that the principles of sax and clarinet embouchure differ. On both I set up with my teeth just at the break where reed and mpc meet, play with minimal pressure, keep bottom lip flat so the pressure is even across the reed, control timbre with the amount of lip cushion (how much lip between reed and teeth) and oral cavity (tongue placement in mouth - vowels). Practically, the amount of pressure used on clarinet tends to be more (or at least feels like its more as its against a smaller surface area of your lip), and I tend to use a little more lip cushion as I'm looking for a very round, darkish, focused classical sound on clarinet and usually a medium to medium- bright jazz sound on sax.
 
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