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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000418.txt from 1997/09

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: Re: New Instrument Service
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 1997 23:24:14 -0400

on 9/8/97 3:15 AM, wrote:

>One question does come to mind though. This thread has focused on the
>R-13. Is such service typically needed on the comparable models by
>Leblanc, Selmar, Yamaha, Rossi, etc.? Or does Buffet have exceptionally
>poor quality control?

I've played Yamahas for almost 12 years, and to be completely candid, I'm
a "Yamaha Performing Artist" (which entitles me to coffee for $1 like
everyone else!!). Part of the appeal of the Yamaha clarinets for me is
the consistency "out of the box". Although I could never claim that they
all play alike, mechanically they work pretty consistently as they come
from Yamaha.

When a serious high school student of mine is looking for a professional
level clarinet and ask for my recommendation, I carefully explain why *I*
chose Yamaha, and also that there are teachers in this world who think
that only Buffet can make a professional clarinet. Thus, if they attend a
conservatory or university and study with such a teacher, they may find
themselves in the position of having to buy another clarinet. Not smart
in my way of thinking (which is buy the clarinet, not the trademark), but
it is the way of the world, sometimes.

In exactly such a circumstance a few years ago, I took a student and his
parents to a large discount store to obtain a clarinet, and we played 6-8
Buffets. Some were in such bad mechanical shape (and *we* removed the
factory plastic wrap) that we couldn't tell if the instrument had any
possibilities whatever. We came up with two choices but were
unenthusiastic about either. My student asked the sales rep whether they
had any Yamahas. They did, and the rep brought three. All of them played
better out of the box than the Buffets, and my student and his family
bought one.

I think Buffet, Yamaha, Selmer and Leblanc all make fine clarinets. As I
said, I think a player should buy a clarinet he/she likes, without regard
to the trademark. But IMO it's just bad business to send product into the
world in such a way as to give a bad impression of the product, and
expect the cachet of the trade name to sell the product to the gullible.

BTW, I took my Yamahas to my tech after about the first 18 months of
playing, and he was astounded that I'd played them in the orchestra for
that long, because they were still mechanically in good shape. He
regularly sets up *new* Buffets for customers before they ever play them
in public.

Oh yeah - I never pay dealer prep or paint sealant either!


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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