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Thread: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

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    Default Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I am a fairly new bass clarinet player (1year), so am still developing my embouchure. I have been playing with Vandoren 2.5/3 reeds then switched over to Legere 2.5/3 reeds for most of my year. I preferred the consistency and tone of the Legeres but at some point they seemed to not have enough 'thrust'. One of my band leaders, a devout cane man, recommended going back to cane and trying the Vandoren jazz ZZ tenor sax reeds (3). Right off the bat I loved the sound and the consistency of the reeds within the box (as opposed to the two playable cane reeds in a box of Vandoren bass clarinet reeds). Now I am practicing for a pit band and the charts have more than half the music in the upper clarion and lower altissimo registers. Challenging for a novice but I am happy to say that my horn can reach it (Buffet 1393, thanks to all who advised this!). My problem is squeaking occasionally, particularly around G in the clarion register.

    I read elsewhere in the forum a recommendation for baritone sax reeds on bass clarinet. I am practicing long note embouchure and scales through the upper registers. Is there any experience out there that might recommend a different reed type for this upper work? I am playing on a Grabner moutpiece (both a CX and LB, doesn't seem to be much difference).

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I have not tried bari sax reeds on bass clarinet. However, I have tried tenor reeds and found bass clarinet reeds to be much better on bass clarinet. From my perspective, bass clarinet mouthpiece facings are designed for the specific profile of a bass clarinet reed. Based on that, it does not make logic sense to me to use bari or tenor sax reeds on bass clarinet. That said, some players do and if it works for them more power to them.

    In case you don't already know, Legere made changes to all of their reeds last year. The old versions have a smooth appearance with horizontal wavy lines. The new versions have a pattern in the material that's similar to the appearance of Legere Signature reeds. There's no difference in the packaging. I've found the new versions to be greatly improved from the old ones...more resonant sound and much better response. With the new version, one typically needs to move up to a 1/2 strength stiffer reed. On bass clarinet I went from a 3 to a 3 1/2. I'm extremely happy with the new versions of Legere reeds. I'm very impressed with what they've done for me on bass clarinet and my other reed instruments.

    Another thought.... Legere reeds do not work well with SOME ligatuares. Based on Walter Grabner's recommendation, I use an Optimum ligature on bass clarinet with reed plate #1. This has proven to be a great set up with the Grabner LB mouthpiece.

    At some point in time Theo Wanne has plans to make a bass clarinet version of his new ligature. I'm very impressed with the lig on saxophone (especially, with the solid silver reed plate) and I've been after Theo to also make it for bass clarinet. He told that that it's on his radar but it will probably be awhile. Until then, I'll continue to use the Optimum.

    Good luck!

    Roger
    1936 G.H. Huller alto saxophone, Ralph Morgan 6C mouthpiece, #3 1/2 Legere Signature reeds, Theo Wanne ligature
    1969 Couesnon Monopole Bb clarinet, Walter Grabner K14 mouthpiece, #3 Legere (old) Quebec, Klassik string ligature
    Yamaha bass clarinet, Walter Grabner LB mouthpiece, #3 1/2 Legere standard tenor, Optimum ligature
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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I used Fibracell tenor reeds on bass clarinet in the pit. It worked far better for me than Vandoren blue box bass clarinet reeds OR Java tenor reeds. I have no explanation, but the difference was huge. I do not like synthetic reeds normally, and only tried the fibarcell because I had one and because I get paranoid about reeds drying out in the pit.
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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Some tenor sax reeds will work surprisingly well — I've had good luck with Fibracells, too — good to know in case you're in a pinch, but Legere b.c. reeds work fine for me. Baritone reeds extend beyond the rails of my mpc and the heel won't slide past the neck ring so I didn't bother investigating any further.
    Yamaha TS62 - Warburton LA; P. Mauriat 66R - Sakshama FL; Legeres
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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Squeaking in the G-A-B range of the clarion is a problem for every player. Lots of long tones and a relaxed embouchure. You don't need to tighten to get the high notes to speak. Edward Palanker's website has some good info. Reed-wise, I can't use sax reeds. They don't work for me, but some good players like them. They have a different profile, and I can't get a decent sound in any register with a sax reed. You only get 2 of 5 Vandoren blue box reeds to work? Join the club. Give Grand Concert or Gonzalez reeds a try.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    You are probably squeaking because the bass clarinet doesn't have another vent for the upper register. Meaning, you probably have a student bass clarinet. That is part of the problem.

    The other is that, as you said, you are starting on it. Then don't dick around with reeds. Use proper bass clarinet reeds make sure you are playing it like a clarinet and not like a saxophone. Meaning the mouthpiece needs to go into your mouth like how a clarinet mouthpiece goes in, and the clarinet will be held a 70 degree angle rather than a 90.

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericdano View Post
    You are probably squeaking because the bass clarinet doesn't have another vent for the upper register. Meaning, you probably have a student bass clarinet. That is part of the problem.
    He said he has a Buffet 1393, so I assume he meant the 1193, which is one of the best professional models. Anyway it should be possible to play without squeaking on almost every instrument and setup.

    Randomseeker, did you squeak in this area with the other reeds too, or only with the newer ones you are trying? Maybe you just didn't use this range much before?

    Definitely check if you have leaks. A small leak at the top could be almost unoticable in the lower range but the upper clarion can be terrible.

    For practice, I would start with the usual excercise for this: Start on a note that you are comfortable with. Then play up a scale up to a note that is problematic. I imagine it would be ok when playing to it. Then stop playing but keep your mouth and everything else the same. Then start this problematic note, trying to copy the way you played it when you played up to it. Then continue to another note higher, etc.

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I use a bari Fibracell on bass clarinet. I just had to cut about 1/4" off the back of the reed to allow it to fit. It works well for me.

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    You said you had a buffet 1393? Do you mean a 1193? If so, and it's been serviced, you can pretty much rule out the horn as making the upper register harder than it needs to be. You've got first rate mouthpieces, so get to it and work that upper register. BTW, a single register key mechanism will make the lower clarion stuffy and sharp, but any decent student horn should be able to get up to the lower altissimo with practice and a good mouthpiece/reed combo. I used to play a 30 year old Bundy (from the inventory of the school I taught at) in a professional concert band, and whatever problems I had with it, range wasn't one of them.

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    bari-tenor sax soft for me
    runyon mouthpeices-no need to look elsewhere

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    As we've posted here in the past, here are reeds of equivalent size you can use:

    Alto clarinet -- alto sax
    Bass clarinet -- tenor sax
    EEb contra-alto clarinet -- baritone sax
    BBb contrabass clarinet -- bass sax
    Dave Spiegelthal

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Thanks to all for the input. Yes, it is an 1193, and quite new (fully broken in at last . After reading the postings and following up some of the reference links I have switched back to the Vandoren bass clarinet reed from the tenor sax, and immediately things improved. (I went from Legere to the Vandoren tenor sax and haven't been on bass clarinet cane for months.) With the recommendations for embouchure and the reed change, I already have not only less squeaking, but better tone. So I conclude that my inabilities are just that, my inabilities. I have ordered some Grand Concert and La Voz reeds, and will try the new (patterned) Legere reeds as well. I was in the store today and examined them and can see the difference. I also ordered the Vandoren Optimum ligature, I currently use Grobner, but I like the idea of the plates. Thanks for the tip Roger! Gonzalaz are no where to be found. Does anybody have a source online?
    Robert (Bob) Harris
    Buffet Prestige 1193
    Grabner CX and LB MPs

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    David,

    I agree with you comparisons
    Alto clarinet -- alto sax
    Bass clarinet -- tenor sax
    EEb contra-alto clarinet -- baritone sax
    BBb contrabass clarinet -- bass s

    except in the case of the EEb contra-alto to bari sax. That would work on the Selmer, I have the Vito EEb (Leblanc) and it uses the same mouthpiece as a BBb contras do. Oddly enough I have purchased reed that are marked "contra bass clarinet/bass saxophone" I do have to say that the BBb reed options are aweful. ended up on Legrere for the contras. Have you ever run into this problem.

    On the Alto Clarinet I purchased a JD Hite mouthpiece and it is marketed to be used with Alto Sax reeds. Makes for many more options. I recently purchased Backun barrels for my Eb soprano that are notched to allow you to use Bb reeds on the Eb soprano though I have not tried.
    Bobby Mac McClellan
    Eb sop, Bb, C, A, Basset A, Eb Alto, Basset F, Bass, EEb &BBb clarinets
    Flowood, MS

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Gonzalaz are no where to be found. Does anybody have a source online?[/QUOTE]
    Weiner Music has them. http://shop.weinermusic.com/GONZALEZ...oductinfo/RO4/

  15. #15

    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    For me Vandoren V16 tenor sax reeds work well on bass cl. Sometimes a box of them is better than a box of Vandoren bass cl. reeds. I usually play a Grabner mouthpiece. I also like the regular Legere reed on bass cl. If things aren't right (embouchure, mouthpiece, horn, reeds) then yes clarion G or thereabouts will show it.

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I'll use Fibracell tenor reeds in some settings, like if I'm in the pit and have big gaps between bass clarinet cues. Otherwise, I've gone back to cane (blue box Vandoren) on my bass because it evens the scale out and gives me a woodier sound. I've also traded in my B46 for a vintage Selmer mouthpiece, and I'm liking the combo a lot.
    "Nothing is worse for a musician than getting an opportunity you aren't prepared for." - Quincy Jones

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I took Roger's advice and purchased the Vandoren Optimum ligature for bass clarinet and I couldn't believe a ligature could make such a (positive) difference. Great input, thanks. I need a little help on the Legere reeds. Looking at my stock, some have light vertical lines and other have the vertical lines in slight wavy patterns as they ascend the reed. Which are the new ones? I have also tried Grand Concert and La Voz reeds since my posting. Neither is available in the Toronto area for bass clarinet so I had to order them on the internet, and saved a pile of money. Anyway, the Grand Concert were not that noticeably different from the Vandorens I was using, but the La Vos ... wow! It took off immediately and responds as evenly as the Legere with the warmer sound. So, I am still trying out the reeds, but my set up is greatly improved and my control around upper G is also greatly improved. Thanks to everyone!
    Robert (Bob) Harris
    Buffet Prestige 1193
    Grabner CX and LB MPs

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    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    Would someone please comment on their experiences using bass clarinet reeds on tenor. I would truly appreciate it.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    i had a hard time figuring out which reeds to use on C-melody and wound up with bass clarinet reeds

    in your case seeker i would experiment with different brands of bass clarinet reeds before looking any further

  20. #20

    Red face Re: Sax reeds on a bass clarinet?

    I'm using a Fibracell tenor sax reed successfully on bass clarinet, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by shotgun View Post
    Some tenor sax reeds will work surprisingly well — I've had good luck with Fibracells, too — good to know in case you're in a pinch, but Legere b.c. reeds work fine for me. Baritone reeds extend beyond the rails of my mpc and the heel won't slide past the neck ring so I didn't bother investigating any further.
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