Sharp 20 cents when warm

Dear Mr. Friedland,

Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful and insightful web page. I have been playing the sax for 35 years and recently began playing the clarinet. I purchased a new intermediate YCL550Al Yamaha clarinet. When beginning to play, the clarinet is perfectly in tune both with itself and at 440. After about 20 minutes of playing the clarinet gravitates to about 20 cents sharp. I’ve tried various mouthpieces with the same results. Is this something inherent in all clarinets, is it my particular clarinet or is it me?
This problem is absolutely driving me nuts.
Thank you in advance, Bill
Hello Bill:
Thank you for writing in about your Allegro, a clarinet I happen to like a lot. Though no longer made, I have had several of them.
The clarinet is playing 20 cents sharp when warm. It depends upon several things, I think first, what mouthpiece are you playing with it? This can make that difference. Van Doren mouthpieces will in general play sharp. This goes also for a Selmer .
You must try the Yamaha mouthpiece which may tune slightly lower.
Otherwise, I do not think you ought to be that concerned about it. A longer barrel may help/Perhaps 66 or 67 mm.
Most players have to pull the barrel a bit when warmed up as the open g will be sharp and also the rest of the throat.
See if pulling the barrel lowers the clarinet any when warm. You may have to ad tuning rings as well.

Actually, this could be an embouchure matter after playing the sax. Simply put, you could be taking in too much of the clarinet mouthpiece, which will certainly cause you to blow sharp.
Try these suggestions to determine if any of them help.
But again, go slowly and don’t be too concerned. Depending upon where you live and the ambient temperature, the clarinet will keep playing sharp. And it all depends upon whom else is in the group.
In matters of intonation, on a new horn, it doesn’t have to be you who is the problem.
Let me know who you are playing with and on what mouthpiece. *

Best wishes, Sherman
*A friend once told me thatone can not tell if a car burns oil for at least a month after buying it. I would suggest the same basic principle for the clarinet.


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