Correcting playing flat: Then, r e l a x .

Sherman,

I am back again for your advice. I am currently playing an overhauled LeBlanc L7 (which plays great!). I am using a Vandoren V12 #3 reed ( I love the sound! I can’t believe what I am hearing). When I was younger and played on Mitchell Lurie reeds, I tended to go flat. Now I am having the opposite problem. I am going sharp. What can I do to stop going sharp? I played in an ensemble tonight (surrounded by professional musicians), and I was not happy with my sound. I was using my Vandoren, but I will admit that it was the reed in my rotation with the most wear. Unfortunately, I was the only clarinet, and there were not enough rests in the music to change reeds.
When I was learning to play (30 years ago), my instructors would say push in the barrel to bring up the pitch or pull out to take away the sharp edge. It has been so long, I honestly do not remember if adjusting the reed on the mouthpiece (Vandoren B45) will help alleviate pitch problems. I also changed the position of the instrument and that did not help. I have gotten rid of the offending reed and will not have it in my rotation
any longer. Also, in my depression, I ordered a box of Gonzalez FOF
reeds to comfort myself.Any advice you can give will be most
appreciated.
Thanks!

Hi again:
First, you will find the Gonzalez reeds to be much better than Van Doren.
These reeds have a thicker blank and will last longer and the cane is
better. I would say that your problem may be alleviated with only the change in reeds. Good luck with them.
Playing flat for a log period of time is most probably why you are sharp now. It happens this way: you learn to play in a certain way, your throat always in the position of attempting to raise the pitch, and you are always in this mode. The throat, the way you hold your horn in your mouth, the embouchure are always cognizant of the fact that you are playing flat, and more than any of them, your ears are telling all functions that you have to play sharper, and you do to a certain extent.
Then suddenly you change to a mouthpiece or reed that doesn’t collapse on you pitchwize.Results? You are hearing them now.
So your functionality must change starting with your ears and your mouth and all the rest of it.
The reeds, because Gonzalez are much better than VD (I have been calling them that for years) will start and your ears will soon lead you to a more correct pitch not governed by a reed that doesn’t play all that well. Then again, I have always found that VD mouthpieces play sharper than others, so do Selmer mouthpieces.You may be happier playing another mouthpiece or changing to a Van Doren M13 which is better in pitch than is the B45. You will like your sound more with an M13. It is made for playing at 440, and I think other VDs and Selmers play sharper than that, at least in my experience that has been the case. But actually you may be better just by changing to Gonzalez. It will take a little time, nothing is instant, which you’ll hear.
Hope this helps, L.
Play well and stay well.
Have a nice weekend.
sherman

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