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 New Bug says Hi

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nuluthier
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PostSubject: New Bug says Hi   Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:06 am

Hello folks,

I'm Steve from the UK. As the keen-eyed among you may have guessed that my first love is strings, but I've recently got the woodwind bug and had a blundering attempt at making a simple unkeyed clarinet (which looked great but wouldn't blow even for a playing friend!). I've recently nipped down to the local garden centre for some bamboo and am currently trying to tune a low C# flute.
The mid octave comes out ok but I have trouble finding and keeping the low octave. I think it may be to do with the size and shape of the mouth hole but I'm clueless!

Any suggestions gratefully accepted

Regards Steve
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Bill
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PostSubject: Re: New Bug says Hi   Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:13 pm

Hey Steve,

The low register is always hard for me, especially on irregular surfaces. How smooth and clean are the edges of the hole?
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nuluthier
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PostSubject: Re: New Bug says Hi   Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:58 am

not very I'm afraid. This is my first project and I'm just learning the trade!

I'm not sure the mouth hole is even the right size / shape / angle.

I may have opened it too much (it's currently around 9-10mm) but that's in line with an on-linbe article I found on Mother Earth.

When I do the wooden ones I'll start with much smaller holes and work up.
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Bill
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PostSubject: Re: New Bug says Hi   Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:40 am

Well, my knowledge of the fine points is very basic, but I do know that just about any bottle will sound nicely and the only thing they have in common is a smooth clean edge. Various sizes, shapes and undercuts can have an effect on the timbre or voice, but if it's not making a sound, especially on the low octave, it might be a rough surface.

I've been practicing on a piece of straight pipe, trying to learn/compose tunes which use the "Harmonic Series" and I've really come to appreciate the effort it takes to reach each separate register dependably. The amount of energy in the higher registers sometimes allow you to pull a note out of a pipe that just won't do the root note.

I visualize it this way, although I may be really wrong on the science. I figure that the lower notes have a larger wavelength, and so it is easier for it to be disturbed by very small cracks and bumps, which throw in extra waves that you don't want. However the high notes, being exponentially shorter, can kinda slip in between the bumps, absorbing the extra waves into themselves.

It seems to be the reverse in the length of the pipe, where an irregularity can disrupt the high notes (by putting in a node or pressure point where it doesn't belong) while a long low note simply rides over a drop of condensation or speck of dust without noticing it.

Hope that helps...
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PostSubject: Re: New Bug says Hi   Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:57 am

That sounds very logical. I do need to proper;y clean up the bore a little more and get it really smooth, and if I'm honest, the tube isn't as straight as it could be!

I've been shaping the holes with a pin file, which might be the root of the problem as it will leave a fuzzy edge compared to a sharp knife.

Also, I've been holding off oiling the bore until I'd finished the tuning. I think now that it may need to be done as early as possible to stop moisture from altering the size and shape of the holes whenever I blow into it to tune it.

For such a simple instrument it is unbelievably complicated in a fascinating sense!

Thanks for all your help so far. I'll let you know how I progress if you'd like.

If you would like to get more interest in the forum I'll spread the word via my Facebook and Myspace if you like.

Thanks again. study
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