I recently came across your website and would appreciate any time you could offer my question. I played bass clarinet for about 5 years through school and was always pleased with sound quality and growth through my private lessons. After not playing for about 6 years, I have recently started playing again in a local band. I was happy with my ability to pick right up the first week. However, the second week I had tremendous difficulty. I started out fine but after about 45 minutes was really struggling to get any sound out of the instrument. I noticed particular problems around the upper part of the lower register- C D and E in particular. I found that the only was I was able to keep producing sound was to not tongue anything. For awhile, I was unable to get much of any sound out. I am not sure what I readjusted, but eventually the lower register “came back” except for the top few notes. The higher register wasn’t consistent but it was coming out if I didn’t tongue. I worked hard to maintain strong airflow, but it didn’t seem to matter. I’m using Vandoren 3 reeds. Of note, I used a different instrument the second week, but since I was fine for the first half of the rehearsal, I’m not sure if it’s the instrument or something I’m doing. Any suggestions on what I should look for in the instrument or in me? I found myself quite frustrated and puzzled after getting good quality the first week and through the first half of the second week.
Thanks so much for your time
Well, a lot of this could be the result of a horn which is not adjusted properly or one that is leaking. I wold certainly have this checked if possible. The least little leak could cause terrible problems with resistance.
Another thing is the fact that when you first restarted playing you were quite satisfied that you could. Then of course, you began to listen and you try to improve right away and it doesn’t happen.which is quite normal, especially on the bass.
Then, you must use less resistant reeds on the bass as it plays much better and more easily with a softer reed,/Support and not biting is quite important especially where you are experiencing difficulties.
Mouthpiece could also be a problem.
The volumes you are expected to play or feel pressed to play are also important, especially in a band. Do not play that horn too loudly, as it is not necessary. Play for yourself.That will be just fine.
I hope these things will help in some way. .
best wishes, sherman