I've got a Bb clarinet (german buffet e11), which plays well and appears to have the typical tuning issues clarinets have on different notes - except that my low E (and the corresponding B) is very sharp. Perhaps my searching skills are lacking, but the only information that comes up is either about the actual E-flat key (presumably on a bass clarinet) or people's low E being too flat. If I leave the bell hanging on by a sliver of cork and blow too hard, then the pitch is almost in tune with the rest of the instrument. Playing normally, even with the bell pulled out as much as possible, leaves the note painfully out of tune.

What, if anything, (I'm imagining aftermarket bells or maybe barrel extenders) can be done to lower the pitch of a low E?

2 Answers 2


First: make absolutely sure it's out of tune. This requires playing while NOT looking at a tuner, and letting someone else observe the pitches of, say, C down to the bottom E.
If in fact it's only the E, then at least you know that changing the barrel or adjusting any hole diameter will be useless. I've done a brief search thru online stores & it doesn't appear that anyone makes a Bb bell extension (tho' there's plenty for the Eb soprano). I'd take your axe to someone who's experienced w/ clarinet repair and see if they can swap in a different bell (more likely a different bore than a different length) to improve the pitch accuracy.

  • 1
    I did so, and it is indeed only the E. I'm not currently nearby anyone who does clarinet repair, but I will keep it in mind for later. Accepting this , since I guess explaining how a solution doesn't (currently) exist is a solution itself. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 16:05
  • Just for "fun," try lining the inside of the bell (use painter's tape or something similar that's easy to remove) to decrease the bore and see if that makes any difference at all. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 12:39

Are you sure the low E key pad or the bell joint are not leaking? I can't think of any other reason for this problem, unless the instrument was made wrong, which doesn't seem likely. Get someone to press the E pad down while you play and check it out.

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