Problems with Sound

Hi Chris.

My name is Alberto. I'm having problems with establishing that 'natural, beautiful, and easy' tone on my clarinet. I just recently brought her in for an overhaul - pads, cork, action, springs and all - and found results at first; however, I am finding now that I am getting a very airy and almost thin sound. It's not the full sound I'm looking for. After hours of frustrating experimentation and looking up proper embouchure techniques online, I am wondering from you - what can I do to make my sound better? I know you cover it, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and read all of your guide. Perhaps you could shed a little light on this issue, as it has become awfully frustrating. Thank you so much for your time!


FROM CLARINET-NOW.COM

Hello Alberto,


Thanks for writing. Perhaps, since you found results immediately after the overhaul, you should consider letting the repair-person look at the clarinet again. One pad might have slipped or a new cork bumper could be off. If your sound is airy all over the clarinet, this flaw might show up in the upper joint.

I only think of this because you did feel immediate results after the overhaul. I do not like to blame the instrument. You should read all the way through the Poor Clarinet Embouchure page and look at the photos. I can almost boil clarinet embouchure problems down to not firm enough and not biting enough. I write this because your description of 'natural, beautiful, and easy' tone alarms me a little.

It takes a good deal of work to make the clarinet tone seem ‘easy’. I thought this as a college player. I’d hear great players and watch them and it seemed and sounded SO easy to me as they played. I would then go practice and barely have the clarinet in my mouth or barely blow and it just did not work.

Also, a well-balanced reed is hard to find. Check out my reed routine here. Make sure you are rotating your reeds well. You might have that well-adjusted clarinet, but have played the same reed too long and now you’ll have that “airy/thin” sound. So, do not forget to rotate your clarinet reeds.

Again, check out Poor Clarinet Embouchure and then read Clarinet Embouchure and find a mirror to analyze possible issues. Let me know what you come up with in your practicing. Best of luck to you.

Sincerely,
Chris
Clarinet-Now.com

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