Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thoughts on the Vandoren V16 A6S

Fluid simming and not in the mood to do anything more so I'm putting down some thoughts about the new mouthpiece and listening to music.

First, I start practice sessions with mouthpiece exercises. Some other terms include Buzzing the mouthpiece. Basically, playing the mouthpiece on its own. With the AL4, hitting the notes is relatively easier as I've been practicing these exercises for awhile. The V16, not so much. I can hit the correct pitches, but I can't hit it exactly, and needs to be corrected. Nothing a few months of practice can't sort out.

Intonation wise, this piece is totally different from my AL4. My main gripe with the AL4 is middle D, ah lovely middle d. The note well known for being stuffy, and out of intonation. On the AL4 and my Hanson SA5, I can get it down to maybe 30 cents sharp. Lipping down basically causes the note to go down an octave, even with the octave key pressed.

The V16 otoh does not share this peculiarity, and it is possible to bend the note so that it plays in tune. Note that I say possible to; getting it to stay at the "correct" pitch is nigh difficult, I was wavering all over the tuner :P

Pretty sure practice will fix this. For most of the range though, I felt it was easier to blow - perhaps this is due to the longer lay? I felt quite confident with the low notes, even down the Bb.

On the flip side, is intonation in the higher registers. Roughly above high F, I though I had difficulty getting the proper intonation. High Eb up, it required a much stronger embouchure to play the notes in tune. Hmmm. Most of the time it seems sharper than expected. Lipping down works but it seems to take a lot more air. Also, I felt that the notes did not seem full as the notes on the main stack. The AL4 seemed much more stable for intonation on the higher notes.

To combat this, I've temporarily moved up to a harder reed, a 2.75 from my regular 2.5. Experience on other pieces showed that a week or so on a harder reed strengthens my embouchure much faster, and when I come back to the softer reed I feel it is much easier to play.

Oh well back to tweaking sims...

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