Changing horns, how to tune, whom to tune?

I am a community conert band player and have played both alto sax and clarinet in this band for the past several years. Recently, I upgraded a clarinet I had been playing for many years, a Selmer Signet Soloist, for a new Buffet R-13. The old Selmer always played on the sharp side and I used a longer Eddie Daniels barrel to help deal with the problem. I got a great tone from the old Selmer using a Vandoren B-45 mouthpiece and a Vandoren V-12 31/2 reed I now get a great sound with the Buffet using the same mouthpiece and reed. However, intonation has now become more of an issue. I tune the throat open G with the barrel and the middle C by pulling the middle joints. After I get these in tune the CDEF just below the open G play flat while the upper tones from middle C on up are fine. I recently tried a new Portnoy BPO-2 mouthpiece and did not find any changes in intonation. I have a new Vandoren M-13 mouthpiece on order but it has not arrived yet. Do you have any suggestions for me or is what I am experiencing normal for this instrument. Thanks very much for your help, DB
Hi D: How do you tune? With an electronic tuner, or to a person or pitchpipe or what? One needs to know.
If you have a meter with a needle on it, you may very well be tuning sharp because the needle goes past the correct pitch and then returns to being right on. If you tune when you are cold, you will of course tune flat and then go way above the pitch. If you are tuning in a band, what do you tune to?
I have found that tuning is the most heinous of chores especially when one want to be right “in tune”, which is by the way an impossibility because the clarinet does not have exactly the same temperment as other instruments, in fact the piano and the clarinet are really basically tuned far away from each other. It has to do with 3rds and 6ths which are one way on the piano another way on the clarinet.
The best way to tune is with yourself. Get an “A” from somewhere either reliable or the ruling force and tune one note to it.
Buffets have certain characteristics which are very consistent.
They are sharp in the throat and the Bb, in tune in the second register and flat in the altissimo….or they tend in these directions. The low E is also flat, but so too are most Selmers.
It is too bad that Buffests are expensive and not terribly well-in-tune, except oif course if you have it tuned or choose from ten or twelve. They are not terribly consistent one to the next.
Selmers tend to be more in tune, however the sound is a bit less focused than Buffet.
Mouthpieces can be of course crucial.
In general the M13 is a very intune mouthpiece. It has been mine, at least my prncipal mouthpiece for the past several years and most of my students seems to like them or choose them.
Supposedly the 13 connnotation is for the R13, or some say, American pitch. I do not know the exact derivation of the number, but either root has a nice ring of truth about it.
I find the Hawkins mouthpiece or the Gregory Smith mouthpiece to be very excellent for pitch and the sound is superb as well. Natually there are many others. I have played Clark Fobes and that plays well, although I don’t seem to stick with it. And many many more. The C85 Selmer is great, but Van Dorens sell more.
One can play beautifully and in tune on a Van Doren or a Selmer or any good mouthpiece, which incidentally do not have to made in a dark laboratory or with a secret recipe or a very special blank, all of that is kind of , well hooey, if you will.

Dwell in intonation in the realm of the ear. best of good luck, sincerely,


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: