Klarinet Archive - Posting 000581.txt from 1996/01
From: Michael D Moors - Alpena <mdmoors@-----.US>
Subj: Re: Buffet's "Green Line" clarinets:info?
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 11:00:16 -0500
PBS did a special making of clarinets and the extintion of the Africa
Blackwood. If anyone wants to see it they can send me a tape and I will
make them a copy.
On Fri, 26 Jan 1996, Neil Leupold wrote:
> Clark ended his statement by asking the question, "At the same price, why
> would some one buy this and not a wood clarinet?"
> That makes perfect sense to me in the present, as I too would rather play
> on a real wooden clarinet instead of the synthetic Green line instrument.
> Clark's question will probably answer itself over time, I imagine. Since
> the Green line was created in anticipation of African Blackwood's very
> possible endangerment, it stands to reason that brand new Buffet R-13's
> (not to mention the Leblancs, Selmers, and Yamahas which are as well made
> of African Blackwood) will rise in price when the availability of the
> wood is substantially dimished enough to raise *its* price. If the Green
> line holds at its current price in the face of the Mpingo tree's
> sparsity, many more people will very likely opt to purchase the Green
> line over the "real thing" precisely because the price disparity has
> become so great. We've seen and heard enough testimonials on the subject
> to believe that the Green line can indeed measure up to the standards of
> the nation's professionals, so one's pocketbook will rule the decision as the
> unfortunate "event horizon" draws near.
> On Fri, 26 Jan 1996, CLARK FOBES wrote:
> > You wrote:
> > >
> > > I'm reading the archives and about late 1994 there was brief
> > discussion
> > > (involving Clark Fobes and a couple others) of Buffet's "Green Line"
> > of
> > > clarinets. Does anyone know what this nomenclature refers to?
> > Thanks.
> > > ********************
> > > Bill Fogle
> > > Washington, D.C.
> > > ********************
> > >
> > Bill,
> > 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