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  1. #1

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    I have been playing clarinet almost as long as guitar. 40yrs guitar and 30 yrs clarinet. I still suck on clarinet, but I keep playing.
    I learned clarinet by copying what I play on the guitar. I never heard of anyone doing that but that is how I did it. I wonder what anyone else has done with the two instruments.

    For example I taught myself the A blues scale on the clarinet, then progressively all 12 blues scales, so I can improvise like on the guitar. I did this instead of learning to read music with the instrument. Since I do read SOME music, I did learn the clarinet scales in their "Clarinet" pitch. So I do play B blues scale against the guitar A blues chords.

    Then I discovered some easy cheats for transposing into modes (combines Clarinet to Guitar transposition with Major Scale to Mode transposition):
    In the Guitar key of A minor, the Clarinet A-Major is the Dorian (and so on for every scale)
    In the Guitar key of any Dom 7, the Clarinet 5th up Major scale is Myxolydian
    In the Guitar key of any Natural Minor, the Clarinet 4th up Major scale is Natural Minor (Aolean)

    If I don't know the 4th or 5th off hand (for example C sharp) I always have a guitar sitting around and I'll look at the fingerboard to get the intervals.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I used to play some trumpet/flugel, and I also "copied" what I played on the guitar. Years ago a pro trumpet player/piano player told me he pictures the keyboard when playing the trumpet so I felt that was some justification for my approach which was to picture the fretboard. Anyway, now I just play guitar...not enough hours in the day...but I sure do miss playing a horn.

  4. #3

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    I started learning the clarinet a few years ago. I chose to go the traditional way with Rubank method books and practicing major/minor/chromatic scales rather than just working it all out myself. While I have my eye on eventaully improvising on the instrument, I want to get my reading chops back. I used to play trumpet in the school band and could sight read single line melodies with ease. That was a very kong time ago, however.

  5. #4

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    I started playing the clarinet first, because all my friends decided it was a cool instrument, so we all started when were about nine or so. I was a lousy player, until I learned how to breathe through my diaphragm in a college vocal production class.
    When I became a HS band teacher, I had a lot of fun improvising with the band on clarinet. You can get away with a lot of jive on the clarinet that you can't get away with on the guitar, like holding notes out long, playing fast trills, slurring repeated note licks, etc... It's an easy transposition, just play a whole-tone higher.
    I learned how to read on the guitar with the Klose Method Book, because the guitar and the clarinet have the same reading range. I can play the 16th note etude on P.78 on guitar at about 144bpm, but I can barley play it as slow 8th notes on the clarinet. The clarinet is 20x harder to play than the sax, trumpet, guitar, piano or bass.

  6. #5
    So this is what you get when you cross a blues-based electric guitarist with a clarinet...

  7. #6

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    Hi, I,
    I played sax, clarinet, flute, and guitar for many years. I dropped clarinet since no one wanted it in the music. However, IMO, it is a much more expressive instrument than the sax. I sold my beautiful professional R13 Buffet in the early 70's and regret it. Still have my Selmer Mark VI and my Geminhardt SHJ flute. What a difference a day makes!!!!!!!!!! Good playing . . . Marinero

  8. #7

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    The clarinet has a beautiful tone. For some reason the sax took over the Jazz scene. I guess it was about acoustic loudness. I really miss the clarinet, nobody seems to play it anymore.

    I used to play Trombone, but chops long gone. I decided to focus on the guitar, but I don't listen much to guitar music anymore. I get most inspiration from keyboards and horns and think it has influenced my guitar playing.

  9. #8

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    One of the joys of playing in a big band is that the traditional repertoire features sweet clarinet in the spotlight on some great tunes. This Shaw arrangement is one of the favorites we play in a band I belong to.


  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    One of the joys of playing in a big band is that the traditional repertoire features sweet clarinet in the spotlight on some great tunes. This Shaw arrangement is one of the favorites we play in a band I belong to.

    Geez, CJ,
    If you were a betting man, would you ever think that hordes of untrained, 3 chord guitarists would ever replace this music? Must be progress, huh?
    Good playing . . . Marinero

  11. #10

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    I used to play the clarinet at school 50 years ago. Still got the clarinet and once in a while I get it out and think I really ought to get back into it. Then I hear a proper player and realise how long it would take...

    Still love the clarinet though. Listen to Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, Evan Christopher and Barney Bigard, Kenny Davern and Benny Carter and I think maybe...

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    I used to play the clarinet at school 50 years ago. Still got the clarinet and once in a while I get it out and think I really ought to get back into it. Then I hear a proper player and realise how long it would take...

    Still love the clarinet though. Listen to Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, Evan Christopher and Barney Bigard, Kenny Davern and Benny Carter and I think maybe...
    Hi, Digger,
    Returning to clarinet is not as difficult as you might think. The hardest task is to regain your embouchure which would take about 90 days by slowly rebuilding those muscles. Everything else falls into place quickly . . . even after 50 years. However, what are your performance possibilities once you've returned? And, then you have less time for your guitar. Good playing . . . Marinero

  13. #12

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    Clarinet was my first instrument when I was a youngster. I haven't played it much over the years but still own one and pick it up now and then. I've used it to play melodies and background parts to add color on home recordings. The biggest issue is my lip getting tired. It takes time to build that back up. I have no intention of becoming an accomplished improviser on the instrument - I have my hands full with guitar . I really enjoy listening to great players like Buddy DeFranco, Eddie Daniels and others.

  14. #13

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    Following the prompt of this thread I dug my old clarinet out and played for a few minutes yesterday and today. Didn't attempt to cross the break, but could remember the F / G / A / major scales / arpeggios without even thinking. The embouchure is indeed the thing. But I shall see - might try sticking with it for a few weeks and see if the idea snares me or not.

    With the guitar, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'll never be an improviser - I work hard to learn stuff, and it comes out in composed solos, but I don't think I've ever had, or ever will have, the knack of leaping into proper improv. But I'm happy with that, and on the guitar, much of my focus at the moment is on rhythm. So, although I'm spending a lot of time with it, I think there is space for a little clarinet, too, and I imagine having to learn scales and arpeggios properly will be a good benefit.

    As far as performance opportunities go, I doubt there would be any. But there might be a chance to add it to a few of my own future YouTube experiments, and especially if I can get the rhythm guitar thing going maybe some duets with myself!

    Cheers
    Derek

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger
    Following the prompt of this thread I dug my old clarinet out and played for a few minutes yesterday and today. Didn't attempt to cross the break, but could remember the F / G / A / major scales / arpeggios without even thinking. The embouchure is indeed the thing. But I shall see - might try sticking with it for a few weeks and see if the idea snares me or not.

    With the guitar, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'll never be an improviser - I work hard to learn stuff, and it comes out in composed solos, but I don't think I've ever had, or ever will have, the knack of leaping into proper improv. But I'm happy with that, and on the guitar, much of my focus at the moment is on rhythm. So, although I'm spending a lot of time with it, I think there is space for a little clarinet, too, and I imagine having to learn scales and arpeggios properly will be a good benefit.

    As far as performance opportunities go, I doubt there would be any. But there might be a chance to add it to a few of my own future YouTube experiments, and especially if I can get the rhythm guitar thing going maybe some duets with myself!

    Cheers
    Derek

    Hi, D,
    A caution to the wise: if you're going to start back on your horn, start with 5-10 minutes, 3x daily(if possible) for a couple of weeks. Then try extending your play time by another 5 minutes if it feels comfortable. Once you feel fatigue, put your horn down. Otherwise, you'll be back to square one(don't ask me how I know!). It's best to play scales, whole notes, and chords aiming for clarity and precision. Now that I'm back full-time to music(guitar) after a past forced respite from playing, I keep eyeing my master blaster Selmer Mark VI Tenor Sax in its coffin. However, it's guitar for now: Classical/Jazz/Bossa . . . unless, of course, some reincarnated Jazz/Rock horn band from the 70's banged on my door and wanted to hit the road again .. . what a difference a day makes. Good playing and dreaming . . . Marinero



  16. #15

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    I have a clarinet that I got in a trade, back in the early '70s. I traded a case of Coors for it, and I still think I got a good deal. I never learned to play it that well, but some time back I dug it out and replaced the pads, just in case. I sort of got the itch to learn clarinet from listening to Benny Goodman, and he made it look easy. It is not an easy instrument to play well. Perhaps that has something to do with the preference for sax, which I hear is easier, but I've never tried to play one. I do prefer the sound of he clarinet by a huge margin, though.

  17. #16

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    I much prefer clarinet to saxophone, I can't even tell you how much. I think the problem for me with saxophone is that every blasted jazz band has one. It is the most universal instrument in jazz and to my ears that makes it the most overused. And the clarinet blends beautifully with the guitar; if you haven't heard Lenny Breau's "Living Room Tapes" then you're really missing something.

    Sort of like the song ATTYA; I think I could go to the rest of my life without playing that song again because every blasted jazz band plays it. The most overused song in jazz IMHO.

  18. #17

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    It turns out that playing the clarinet from scratch (or, trying to get back up to speed on it) does remind one of how good one is on the guitar! This is a positive thing. I'm always quite down on myself over my lack of ability on the guitar, despite all of the years practicing. But a couple of days playing Yankee Doodle and Home On The Range on the clarinet does indeed highlight that what I can do on a guitar isn't so awful, after all!

    Derek

  19. #18

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    FWIW, I started on clarinet at around age 8/9 in school instruction. Started on guitar around age 10/11. I played clarinet very seriously at the solo level (Mozart, etc) all the way through grade school and then even in my college band. Even used the smaller Eb soprano clarinet. I give my clarinet experience huge credit for much of my guitar ability, especially reading. I haven't read this thread through, but for those who don't know, the clarinet range is around the same as the guitar, especially that it starts from low E. But now I haven't played it in at least 30 years. Wife tried to "resurrect" it for me a few years ago with an overhaul, but my embouchure was gone, kind of a shame on me. It still sits in the case.

  20. #19

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    I read the autobiography of jazz clarinetist Perry Robinson a while ago, and was surprised that he had studied with the Bop clarinetist Tony Scott, my fave clarinetist.
    I always wondered why TS sounded different than any other clarinetist I've ever heard, and PR revealed TD' two secrets.
    The first was his embouchure- he didn't keep his front, upper teeth on the mouthpiece, he covered them with his upper lip. This embouchure was also used by a noted classical clarinetist.
    The second was that he was born with a freak diaphragm. It was oversized, and able to hold tremendous amounts of air. It was so huge and hard, that he would lay down on the floor, and tell Perry to jump up and down on TS' stomach, as hard as he could! Scott felt nothing.
    This enabled him to get a kind of 'liquid' sound out of his clarinet, and enabled him to play longer lines than many other clarinetists.
    You can hear him on jazz guitarist Dick Garcia's only album as a leader, "A Message From Garcia", but he went under his real A.J. Sciacca, because of contractual conflicts
    He released an album called, "Both Sides of Tony Scott", one side featuring Mundell Lowe, and the other side featuring Dick Garcia. Here's an example of the mellow, liquid sound:

  21. #20

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    On Tony Scott, there's an awesome double CD of him with Bill Evans (and others). The first track is the standout from a Bill Evans perspective (Tony's playing is best on the track Gone With The Wind if you ask me) - dig Bill's solo from 4:45:


  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny
    On Tony Scott, there's an awesome double CD of him with Bill Evans (and others). The first track is the standout from a Bill Evans perspective (Tony's playing is best on the track Gone With The Wind if you ask me) - dig Bill's solo from 4:45:

    Yeah, that was before Miles Davis and Philly Joe Jones made Evans a junkie. Bill played more percussive and bop-like back then, just like his first album "New Jazz Conceptions". I bought the two live albums Evans did with Scott, "Golden Moments" with Jimmy Garrison on bass.

    The very first small group jazz album Evans ever played on was that Dick Garcia album I mentioned above, "A Message From Garcia".
    Scott was a character. He walked into the UN Building and tried to get a petition to have Charlie Parker declared the greatest human being of the 20th Century!

    A teacher I had told me a story about a student waiting outside Tony Scott's apt. for a lesson with him. He heard this clarinet playing louder and louder and just shrieking. When he walked in, Tony was getting a blow job from a chick while he was improvising on the clarinet!
    He wanted to see the effect an orgasm would have on his improvising.

  23. #22

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    I have those 2 lps, TS Both Sides and Message From Garcia, that record struck me almost as much as first hearing Billy Bean, outstanding player, so I started hunting for anything he appeared on (not a lot of output like Bean, though some if you dig down)

    Message might be one of my favorite lp covers as well, great cheesecake shot but w humor
    Those Dawn records were always hard to find in my record collecting days, probably cause it was a small co. w limited pressings, though Message isn't uber rare. Interestingly for awhile I wondered who Sciacca was cause it sounded so much like TS, a friend hipped me later, duh.
    And you're right "liquid" is exactly how he sounds.

  24. #23

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    I started out on the guitar at high school, just playing chords. A few years later I dropped music and tried to get a degree. Then about ten years ago I picked up the ukulele and the recorder, and found myself buying a clarinet.

    One thing I learned as a result of that - practise your long notes first! If you don't, your embouchure eventually gives out on you and you lose a lot of air leaking out of the corners of your mouth. I was pleasantly surprised to find that apart from the Bb clarinet being written for a whole tone lower than the guitar, it had the same bottom note as the guitar, so if I kept in mind that when you play low E on the clarinet, you need to play drop D on the guitar, and clarinet F# is where E is, I had no problem with reading the music for one on the other.

    Just my 0.02c worth!

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I have those 2 lps, TS Both Sides and Message From Garcia, that record struck me almost as much as first hearing Billy Bean, outstanding player, so I started hunting for anything he appeared on (not a lot of output like Bean, though some if you dig down)

    Message might be one of my favorite lp covers as well, great cheesecake shot but w humor
    Those Dawn records were always hard to find in my record collecting days, probably cause it was a small co. w limited pressings, though Message isn't uber rare. Interestingly for awhile I wondered who Sciacca was cause it sounded so much like TS, a friend hipped me later, duh.
    And you're right "liquid" is exactly how he sounds.
    Other than those two you have the only other Garcia LPs where he gets to play a lot are:
    Lenny Hambro-"A Message From Hambro"- Garcia sounds like Johnny Smith on this one, but more swinging.
    Joe Roland- "Vibraphone Players of Bethlehem Vol. 2"
    "The Fourmost Guitars"- Great duo with Puma.

  26. #25

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    John Jorgenson plays guitar and clarinet.


  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    Other than those two you have the only other Garcia LPs where he gets to play a lot are:
    Lenny Hambro-"A Message From Hambro"- Garcia sounds like Johnny Smith on this one, but more swinging.
    Joe Roland- "Vibraphone Players of Bethlehem Vol. 2"
    "The Fourmost Guitars"- Great duo with Puma.
    He gets a little space on Johnny Glasel's Jazz Session Lp. I have all the others you posted but the Roland Quintet lp I have on lp, I guess maybe you have a comp?
    btw the other guitarist on that Glasel record Perry Lopez is kind of a mystery too. We know he played w/ Goodman for awhile and he's playing rhythm guitar on the 10" Johnny Smith In A Mellow Mood. He was teaching @ Glassboro [now Rowand] College in south Jersey in the 80's as a couple of my friends studied w/him. I've only seen one picture of him, from a Gibson ad playing a custom single p.u. blonde L-5. No info I could find of him since but apparently still alive as is Garcia [and his ghost ]

    The Gibson L5 - Adrian Ingram - Google Books


  28. #27

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    The late, great Jimmie Giuffre is one of my favorite modern reed players with a large body of relevant clarinet work, always playing with the best...



    Also, clarinet was Bill Frisell's first instrument.

  29. #28

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    I did until I had to give it up 20 years ago due to health reasons.

    Doubling on another instrument can be a good thing. Trumpeter Alan Rubin was a prolific studio musician. In his youth he turned down an offer to play in a symphony orchestra on a US tour with Paul Hindemith in order to play a number of gigs with Peggy Lee at the Village Vanguard. He was also known by collegues for his dry wit. He is mostly known as one of the band members, Mr. Fabulous, in the "Blues Brothers" film and he earned good sum of money from that role. Back at his normal job as a studio musician, he drove up at the studio in a Mercedes "Gull Wing" on which he had spent a part of his earnings from the film. The conductor of the date took note of the gorgeous car, and when he a little later met Rubin in the band up in the studio, he asked:

    "How come you can afford a "Gull Wing"? You're just a trumpet player."

    Rubin: "Yes, but you see, I double on fluegelhorn."

  30. #29

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    Today, I got to the exercise in my 50 year old book where you slur up and down between registers, using the octave key. Okay going up, but coming down... very difficult. I think I might be on this page a while. I get there's a subtle change in embouchure needed, or at least that's the only way I can get the high note to slur to a low one. But I have absolutely no control over it. Still, very early days. :-)

  31. #30

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    I started playing classical clarinet at age 6 in first grade. I played for 6 years and reached first chair in our district youth orchestra. Then, at 12, I caught the blues bug - Howling Wolf, Robert Parket, Son House, Muddy Waters, and others were my idols. So this 12-year-old pink boy hitched into inner-city West Philadelphia to a famous pawn shop where I traded my clarinet even-up for a Harmony Sovereign acoustic. That night, my father asked me where I got the guitar. "I traded my clarinet." Silence for a full minute. "You know," he responded, we didn't actually own the clarinet, we leased it from the school." There went a year of shoveling snow and cutting lawns to make up the cost. Since then (I'm now 72) I've spent my life paying off new instruments! I'm still paying off a custom acoustic that won't be ready for another 2 years - just time enough to finish paying for it.

    The 6 years of clarinet taught me to be a skilled sight-reader of music (though I didn't learn to read chords until after I got the guitar). It was a great help in my 20s, when I was a studio guitarist and, whatever talent I had was enhanced because I was a fluent sheet music reader. I owe it all to that licorice stick.

  32. #31

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    A fortnight in, and today was the first time that I've actually played along with the guitar and it sounded ok. Nothing complex, just a slow ii-V-I in Bb so the clarinet is in C The intonation (probably my breath control, rather than the clarinet) is a little sharp so I've pulled the barrel out a millimetre and a half and suddenly it sounded ok.

    I bought a box of Rico 2s, as well. The reeds in my clarinet case are probably 45 years old. So far, only one of the new reeds is easy to blow. The rest are tough. Again, I suspect it's me.

    I've had to put a little bit of folded up paper above the crow's foot by the right hand cluster. There was a lot of movement when I pressed the left hand E/B key before anything happened. That wad of paper appears to have done the trick.

    Been working hard on crossing the break, little bits of technique and best practice are coming back to me, like holding down the B and C keys, and even the right hand fingers, once one gets into the throat register. Above G in the clarion register is sounding pretty shrill and horrible, but I guess it'll come.

    Great fun, though, and I enjoying just pulling out random songbooks and doing some simple sight-reading.

    Derek