Elana Segal's Music Studio

Bass Clarinet Resources

Sunday, June 18, 2023 by Elana Segal | Clarinet

Bass Clarinet Books/Repertoire

The following books are staples to build your music library. These books are great for students with some experience playing an instrument and reading music notation.
  • Introducing the Alto and Bass Clarinet - Hal Leonard
  • Classic Festival Solos for Bass Clarinet Vol. 1+2 - Alfred Music
  • Concert and Contest for Bass Clarinet - Hal Leonard
  • Weissenborn Advanced Studies for Alto or Bass Clarinet - Southern Music
  • J.S. Bach Six Suites for Cello
  • Eugene Bozza Ballade

Bass Clarinet Accessories

Just like any instrument, a bass clarinetist needs the proper equipment and accessories. 
Here are my favorite products for bass clarinet:
  • Reeds - (Rico, Vandoren, Legere)
  • Mouthpiece (B40 or BD5)
  • Ligature - (BG France, Vandoren)
  • Swab - (BG France)
  • Mouthpiece patch
  • Cork Grease
  • Quality Case - (Protec, Bam)
  • Bass Clarinet Stand - (Hercules)
  • Music Stand
  • Metronome/Tuner (Korg TM60)

How to get a great bass clarinet sound:

  1. Air support!
  2. Relaxed embouchure for upper register
  3. Tongue placement and voicing (high tongue position, don't bite on reed)
  4. Practice SLOWLY (and with a metronome and tuner)
  5. Make sure your bass clarinet is in good playing condition
  6. Listen to great bass clarinet players to hear their sound
  7. Take lessons with a specialist

Common mistakes and how to fix them:

Problem: Tuning from the mouthpiece - I see many students adjust intonation from the mouthpiece. 
Solution: Keep mouthpiece completely inserted into the neck. Adjust intonation from the placement of the neck to the body. (Or adjust with the neck if you have a two-piece neck assembly found on some Yamaha, Buffet, Selmer and other pro-bass clarinet models.)

Problem: Thin and fuzzy tone quality (from not using enough mouthpiece and air support)
Solution: Find the point where the reed meets the mouthpiece (look at the mouthpiece side profile in the light) this is where your embouchure should rest on the mouthpiece. This place will vary from mouthpiece shape and reed cut. Work on breathing exercises and long tones with a tuner to improve your breath control and air support. 

Problem: Excessive squeaking, not being able to play high notes, etc.
Solution: The bass clarinet is not a big clarinet. Work with a teacher to adjust your embouchure, voicing and tongue placement to get a proper bass clarinet sound. Make sure your bass clarinet is in good playing condition. 

Reach out if you have any questions about the bass clarinet or want to take lessons with me.