Jittering sound on the low notes in the lower register

by Kellan Loew
(St. Marys, KS)

I have been playing for about nine months, and seem to have a good tone, except for an ear piercing jittering sound I get sometimes when I play the low notes of the lower register. These jittering sounds are not squeaks, as in a high pitched sounds of a totally different pitch, but they are high pitched, excessively vibrating sounds always an octave or two higher then the note I'm playing. If I play loudly with lots of pressure, tightening my embouchure more, I can eliminate most of them, but otherwise I cannot. I might get this sound simply when I crescendo on the same note. I also noticed different reeds make a big difference, but it's hard to believe that there are only so few reeds that work.

My clarinet is a very old Noblet that has been cleaned and repadded 9 months ago. I have been using Rico and Vandoren 2 1/2 reeds lately, and my embouchure seems fairly close to what you've demonstrated on your site. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you might have on this problem. Thanks for your time and for this helpful site!


Hello Kellan,

From your description, I feel somewhat stumped to give you an answer. It is possible you are popping the register key and going up a 12th interval, which is a range of playing on the clarinet. However, that does not explain the jittering sound.

So, what is the way ahead?

1. Play for a live person like your band director or an older clarinet student or a Clarinet Teacher. They will help you troubleshoot this problem in person.

2. See if you can try other equipment, like another mouthpiece, ligature, barrel, and/or clarinet. I’m glad you are trying different reeds.

You do not have to try all different equipment at once, just try a different mouthpiece at first and see if you have the same issue. Then, go to a ligature, then clarinet, or any order you have access to. As I mentioned in 1, if you ask a clarinet teacher or older clarinet student, see if they mind that you try their set-up.

Truth – yes, in a box of ten clarinet reeds, you will probably like 1 or 2 of the reeds best. However, I will tell you that you can adjust clarinet reeds on the mouthpiece and that one reed will play completely different (better and worse) with a slight movement. Go to the Clarinet Reed Adjustment page to learn more about this.

Wishing you well and hope figure it out. Once you do, send me a note at Contact or @ClarinetNow Twitter. Best.


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Clarinet-Now.com Questions.

Click through the below pillow link for custom clarinet products and daily deals and coupon codes
Clarinet Custom Monogram Black White Gray Photo Throw Pillow
Clarinet Custom Monogram Black White Gray Photo Throw Pillow
by clarinetnow

Follow Clarinet-Now on Facebook.
Sheet Music Plus Homepage