Improving Sound Quality

    
Improving Sound Quality    17:30 on Thursday, December 21, 2006          

cd4676
(11 points)
Posted by cd4676

Listening to other musicians better than myself playing has got me motivated to get better. I have been practicing for a while, improving my abilites to play scales and such, but there's one thing I notice that hasn't been improving - the sound that comes out of the clarinet. At times, it even sounds like an entirely different instrument. Their sound is very crisp, clean, and full, while mine still sounds like the noise that it gave off when I was somewhat of a beginner. What should I do to start improving the quality of the sound of my clarinet?

Currently I have no real idea about what to practice in terms of breathing or embouchure in order to improve this. Also, are there other factors aside from those two that help sound quality as well?

Thanks in advance for your replies!


Re: Improving Sound Quality    19:20 on Thursday, December 21, 2006          

z123carleigh
(3 points)
Posted by z123carleigh

First thing you need to make sure of is if your putting enough air into the instrument. You sound will not be full and your tounging will not be crisp if you don't put enough air through the clarinet. A good way to practice this is to try putting as much air as possible through the clarinet while playing scales without making you sound distorted or blaring.

The next thing you must be careful with is your reeds. You shold have at least 3 reeds that you play on consistently. Number them and use a different one everytime you practice. Any reed that is chipped must be discarded, especially if it is chiped on the side, because that will really effect the quality of your sound. Rinsing the reed off in a glass of water after you are done playing will extend its life and keep if sounding good, pluys it will prevent mold.

Also be sure your reeds are not to hard. When you are trying to improve your sound, I beleive it is best to start on a slightly soft reed and increase the strength as necessary, ie when your sound is too bright or wavery.

Mouthpeices can also affect your sound. When you get most of your reed issues sorted, try out a couple new ones with a good reed and choose the one that sounds best.

If you tell me what reeds etc. you use, I can probably help you better.


Re: Improving Sound Quality    21:46 on Thursday, December 21, 2006          

bobo
(84 points)
Posted by bobo

well my sound improve when i have new reeds


Re: Improving Sound Quality    15:47 on Friday, December 22, 2006          

kato
(66 points)
Posted by kato

Make sure you are playing on a wooden clarinet; that was a major stage in tone quality for me; you cant get good sound on a plastic clarinet, full-stop.
Also making sure you have a good quality mouthpiece is also a good step, i upgraded mouthpiece (to a B45) before i got the R-13, and since then my tone has only improved


Re: Improving Sound Quality    16:50 on Friday, December 22, 2006          

Ida
(60 points)
Posted by Ida

Maybe you should try to experiment with where you put your mouth on the mouthpiece. I had a new teacher this summer who asked me to change it a bit, and it helped a lot!

But I also agree on the reeds and the mouthpiece. But the thing about the wooden clarinet; I wouldn't say that the biggest fault is that one. You should be able to play kind of nice on a plastic clarinet as well But of course - if you want to be the best, you have to change that to


Re: Improving Sound Quality    18:55 on Friday, December 22, 2006          

cd4676
(11 points)
Posted by cd4676

I am currently saving up for a better clarinet, and have already gotten a new mouthpiece. This has helped somewhat. However, when I asked a more experienced musician to pick up my clarinet and play it, he was able to produce a much better sound than I could. What are the factors that enable someone to produce that clean sound that come out of a clarinet? Is it embouchre, etc? (see above) That's mainly what I need to know so I can start practicing that.


Re: Improving Sound Quality    10:01 on Saturday, December 23, 2006          

Ida
(60 points)
Posted by Ida

Yeah embrouchure... What else could it be?


Re: Improving Sound Quality    11:28 on Saturday, December 23, 2006          

z123carleigh
(3 points)
Posted by z123carleigh

"Make sure you are playing on a wooden clarinet; that was a major stage in tone quality for me; you cant get good sound on a plastic clarinet, full-stop."

No no no! yes you can!! Mouthpeice reed combination factors more into sound quality than plastic or wood. My band director swore my old plastic clarinet was wood until I told him otherwise. You should have seen the look on his face. Of course, when I got a wooden clarinet, he was impressed with the change in sound it gave me. He described it as much more full and dark. But, it is perfectly possible to have a clear, sweet tone on a plastic clarinet.

Embouchure is probably what is causing your poor sound, if your mouthpeice is good and so are your reeds. Why don't you try incorporating about 10 minutes of long tones into your practice routine? you can do scales and register jumps, those are very helpful.

Also be sure your reed is not too dry, because that will make your sound fuzzy. I soak my reeds in water for a minute before I play, it's quicker than wetting it in my mouth.


Re: Improving Sound Quality    17:32 on Saturday, December 23, 2006          

kato
(66 points)
Posted by kato

well, it looks like i've been over-ruled...
at the very least, i wasnt good on the plastic, and became good on wood, ill have to give the plastic another try then: see how it is


Re: Improving Sound Quality    19:36 on Saturday, December 23, 2006          

laeta_puella
(344 points)
Posted by laeta_puella

because the sound starts in the mouthpiece, the mouthpiece/reed is more crucial to good sound. it's say (and i'm sure true) that a professional, given the choice between a high-quality mouthpiece/reed/ligature setup and a low-end clarinet, or a high-end clarinet and inferior mouthpeice setup, would pick the former. always.

anyway, long tones are a good suggestion. also, make sure you aren't puffing your cheeks. i believe firm corners of your lips are important, as well. my lessons teacher tells me to keep my chin flat, which i remember learning on soprano in begining band, but apparently lost when i transitioned to bass.


Re: Improving Sound Quality    14:39 on Tuesday, December 26, 2006          

as086848
(75 points)
Posted by as086848

Also, if you're still playing on the ligature your clarinet came with or just a not so great one that could be part of the problem too. Oh, aslo try playing octives with a full sound. play a scale but instead of for example going CDEFGABC, start on the lowest C then slur to to middle C, D D, E E, etc.

-Amanda


   




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