Transition to Eb Clarinet

Dear Sir,

I have recently began playing the E-flat clarinet at my high school. I have always played the second clarinet music so i am having a difficult transaction. I am determined to learn all of the fingerings to the higher notes and to be able to play all music clearly by the time school begins again, which is in a short 2 weeks. My biggest problem by far is getting the high notes. i can’t play them at all without starting on a lower note and playing up the scale until i get to them. I am having so much trouble getting the high notes to come out tone isn’t even an issue anymore. It is not a good thing.

My clarinet is not new, but i can’t afford a new one, and neither can my school. It is a Noblet Paris and my reeds are size 3 Rico Royal. My original thought was to just get a stronger reed, but another clarinetist I know told me that that would simply make me play out of toon. I don’t know what to do and i need help fast. I will take any advice that you have.

Thank You so much,


Hi Jessica:
The Eb can be a difficult transition especially if you are switching from a secondary part. Most Eb parts are in he high register or the principal notes of the melody.
So, having played many Eb parts in clarinet works, I suggest that first you try them on your regular Bb which hopefully will give you a better sense of the Eb part,
But better yet, the Eb reed you choose should be harder than the Bb reed, but not fuzzy or really hard to blow, (too much resistance)
What you want is a reed that plays easily but not with too much resistance. If you choose correctly you will not be more out-of-tune, but more intune.
You should not buy a new Eb clarinet, but you can well afford a good Eb mouthpiece, chosen with care.
I would imagine the mouthpiece you were given with the clarinet was really not too good, which may be the problem.
Buy a Selmer (Paris) Eb mouthpiece and make sure that it comes with a mouthpiece cap and a ligature. Try the HS* facing.
Really mouthpieces are much more crucial an issue than the clarinet itself and they are much less expensive than buying the clarinet
All mouthpieces play differently and you will have a difficult time finding more than one to try, however you will also find it is well worth the effort.
I hope this has been of some help. I always suggest buying a good mouthpiece for eith Bass or Eb and certainly Bb, for they make all the difference .
good luck, sf


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