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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000482.txt from 1997/09

Subj: Re: Blowing Resistance
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 1997 21:43:34 -0400

Dennis Nord wrote:
> Roger Garrett mentioned something I don't recall seeing discussed, at
> least not recently -- ". . .I mean ease of blowing, quality of
> resistance, . . ."
> In selecting a quality instrument, what should one look for in terms of
> resistance and ease of blowing assuming the setup is OK (mouthpiece,
> reed, ligature).
> The reason for asking is that I've had 40 years of "buyer's remorse."
> When my teacher helped me select a new clarinet when I was 12 years old
> (1957), we had three to choose from, Emil Lyon, France (nobody's ever
> heard of them.) We quickly eliminated #3. I liked #2 because it played
> easiest. My teacher said, "Take #1. You need a little resistance to
> work against."
> To this day I think that choice was a mistake. Altho the instrument has
> wonderful tone, it has never had sufficient volume or projection.
> So, what's it feel like to play a top-of-the-line clarinet?
> free-blowing, or is it work? How does one chose?
> Dennis Nord

This is a very difficult area to address. Are you planning on replacing
this one you don't like by any chance? If so, here is my own
experience. Perhaps it will help you.

When I bought my clarinet (about 30 years ago), I tried out several. No
teacher helped me and since my school instructors were all brass people
and I had no private instructor I just kept trying until I found one
that I liked. In my case it worked out.

Some had so much resistance that they almost felt plugged up (this is
too way much resistance). Others had so little that when I blew forte,
I felt like my whole body was going to follow the air down the horn
(this is definitely not enough resistance).

The shop owner was getting a little disturbed at this teenager who was
so hard to satisfy. For the money I had to spend, he had been showing
me new intermediate level clarinets just one step above student grade.
Then he brought a horn out of the back; a used Leblanc Symphonie II
that at some time in the past had cracked and been pinned (I have never
been able to see the pins by the way, but the shop owner was honest
enough to tell me about it). When I played it, I KNEW that I had the
right clarinet. He had not been able to sell it as the parents in the
local market at that time could not see spending the same amount on a
used horn that they would spend on a new one. They could not understant
that the difference between a used professional horn and a new student
horn was like the difference between a used Mercedes in good condition
and a Volkswagen.

I payed $250 for that clarinet. It has needed no service other than
normal maintenance although I did choose to send it out two years ago
for a complete professional level overhaul just because I figured after
30 years it might need something that I had not noticed. I have never
regretted buying it, still play it today, and will keep on playing it
until I have the time and money to personally select a Leblanc Opus.

Dee Hays
Canton, SD

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