Tips Posts

Basic Tuning Tips for Woodwind Instruments

We’d like to talk about the basics of tuning your woodwind instrument. While this may seem oversimplified there are some important details about the different families and the instruments within that are important to know.

All brass and woodwind instruments are designed around the A440/A442 pitch and can be adjusted higher (sharper) or lower (flatter) to a certain extent. Adjusting too far either way will affect the scale of the instrument and can actually cause playing problems.

On this blog we will start with the woodwinds.


Flute/Piccolo-Where the head joint tenon fits into the  receiver at the top of the main body tube is where the tuning is done. You would normally start by inserting the tenon all the way in and then pulling it out about 1/8-3/16 inch to start tuning. Then you would push in more to raise the pitch or pull it out to lower. Never use the head crown assembly for general tuning. For more info about the head crown assembly see our post titled "There’s A Cork In My Flute. What Does It Do?".

 

Bb-Eb Clarinets-Where the barrel fits onto the top of the upper joint is where the primary tuning is done. After assembling the clarinet pull the barrel out about 1/8-3/16 inch to start. Then you can push on further to raise or pull out to lower the pitch. The mouthpiece should always be all the way into the barrel.

 

Alto/Bass Clarinets-These depend somewhat on the make and model of the instrument. Basically the tuning is done by adjusting the way the neck fits into the receiver. Out if it is sharp or in if flat. On pro models the neck is usually in two pieces with a slide attachment to do the same.

 

Saxophones-All the saxophones have a cork on the neck that the mouthpiece fits onto and the mouthpiece itself can be adjusted on further to raise and pull out to lower the pitch. An alto sax mouthpiece should go on about ¾ inch to start with and tenor/baritone sax about 1inch.

 

On clarinets and saxophones the mouthpiece itself can affect the tuning also. Different brands have different lengths so if you are having an extreme problem being too flat or sharp to begin with a different mouthpiece can help out.


Oboe-Oboes have a cork tube that is part of the reed. This can then be adjusted in or out of the reed receiver at the top. Different brands of reeds also have varying overall lengths which can make a difference.

 

Bassoon-Bassoons have a little bit of adjustability in or out where the bocal fits into the receiver of the body. However, it is limited because the whisper key on the body must be able to cover the whisper key riser on the bocal.

 

Bocals come in three different lengths to help facilitate tuning. #1 (the shortest), #2 (most common) and #3 (longest).

bassoon-vocals


As I stated in the beginning these are just some basic details about the tuning of your instrument. Nothing is more important than carefully listening and learning “how” to play your instrument in tune with others. It is constantly changing and you must learn how to adapt to your different playing environments.

4 Easy Options To Get A Band or Orchestra Instrument For Your Student

School Band and Orchestra Rentals at Paige's Music

This is a repost from this time last year, but is still great information on the best ways to obtain an instrument from Paige’s!

It’s the beginning of August. The sun is shining, the wind is warm, it’s the height of summer. In Indiana, school is starting. For many students, this means that English, math, biology, history come roaring back from the long summer. For a growing number of students, this also means the beginning of the musician’s journey!

At Paige’s Music, we have partnered with many schools throughout the state to become the supplier of school band and orchestra instruments. For many families, the easiest option is to rent. Renting with Paige’s Music is a great opportunity to participate in music-making. We make rental easy and convenient and provide you with peace of mind.

All of our band and orchestra rentals include free repair and replacement, free deliveries and pick-up, exchange, return, and early purchase discount options.

We have several convenient options for renting an instrument on our Debut Rental plan.

Tips On Caring For Your Trumpet

Daily care and maintenance of your instrument is very important to how well your instrument performs. Watch this quick video below for a few, quick tips on caring for your trumpet.

D’Addario Clarinet Reed Guide

 

Rico by D’Addario
Rico by D’Addario reeds are unfiled and feature a thinner profile and blank. Designed for ease of response, they are ideal for students, revered by educators worldwide, and are a favorite among jazz musicians. D’Addario’s state-of-the-art machinery and reed-making process have resulted in unprecedented consistency in today’s Rico reed.

Vandoren Saxophone Reed Guide

One of the questions we frequently receive is “which reed is best for me?” Vandoren has forged a reputation as an elite maker of quality reeds for clarinet and saxophone that work right out of the box. Each type of reed is designed with a specific sound quality in mind. If you were wondering what each reed is designed for, here is a detailed description for each type of reed!


“Classical” Reeds

Traditional
This reed is designed to produce a quality, extremely pure sound due to a very thin reed tip (the area of reed with maximum vibration), balanced by a solid vertebral column (more cane in the area which climbs gradually to the heel). Traditionals feature the thinnest tip with the thickest heart, resulting in crisp articulation with a full, dark sound.