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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000558.txt from 1996/01

From: CLARK FOBES <reedman@-----.COM>
Subj: Re: Buffet's "Green Line" clarinets:info?
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 15:09:23 -0500

You wrote:
> I'm reading the archives and about late 1994 there was brief
> (involving Clark Fobes and a couple others) of Buffet's "Green Line"
> clarinets. Does anyone know what this nomenclature refers to?
> ********************
> Bill Fogle
> Washington, D.C.
> ********************

The Buffet Green Line is so named because it is environmentally
sensitive. African blackwood is becoming less available and some
sources say that it is on the verge of becoming "endangered". This may
be true, however, I was told at the factory that they waste up to 80%
of the wood that is deemed suitable for manufacture. Blackwood is not
extremely expensive, but in large quantities this would present a
fairly substantial loss of capital. Buffet came up with a way to
pulverize the waste material and mix it into a matrix of some type of
plastic resin and carbon fiber. The material has some of the dark brown
coloration of the original wood and apparently machines quite well.

The idea is great provided that your primary reason for purchasing
this instrument is that it will not crack. If you believe Arthur H.
Benade (author of Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics and leading
authority on acoustics) then the material has no significant affect on
the quality of sound. My experience is different. Dan Leeson and I have
gone around on this several times, but I believe there is a significant
difference in sound.

This is not to say that this synthesized material has a bad sound.
It is only different. I have played several of these green line horns
and I have found them to be quite consistent ( more consistent than
wood ) and they have a good sound. To my ears, and this is ONLY my
opinion, the sound is more pure than the wood clarinets and perhaps
lacking in some of the distinctive overtones that I like. From a
distance of 30 or 40 feet this difference may be completely obviated.

To my knowledge, I don't know of any "blind" testing by a group of
professionals or of any published data by Buffet.

An interesting note from a marketing standpoint. These instruments
are priced identically to the standard R-13 model. Either the cost of
wood is not a significant cost in the production of clarinets or they
are trying not to cast these green lines into an inferior role by
pricing them lower. However, at the same price why would some one buy
this and not a wood clarinet?

Clark W Fobes

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