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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001481.txt from 1998/04

From: "Emerald1" <>
Subj: [klarinet] Wood vs. Plastic vs. Metal
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 17:41:53 -0400

I'm sorry to say this, for all those folks out there who cherish thier
plastic clarinets; there is a definitive (ok, so it's not THAT major; but
it's noticible) difference in the sound between a plastic and a wood
clarinet. Here are the scientific facts as I have been informed by SEVERAL
friends in the scientific field...
1. The difference in sound is, in part, quality. Though some excellent
plastic clarinets have been made, most are of sub standard workmanship.
2. Every material in this world resonates at a slightly different frequency.
Wood is denser than plastic, and therefore resonates more slowly. Slower
frequency of resonation causes what is described as a "darker" sound. Metal
resonates fastest of all.
3. Thicker the walls, slower the resonation. ??? (This one's debatable).
4. The smoothness of the bore has much to do with sound. On a wood clarinet
there is the grain of the wood ever-present, while on plastic and metal the
bore is smoother. Once again, these factors determine resonance
There is what I know, maybe it will help you decide. Two things are for
sure though, plastic is not as adversely affected by weather as wood is;
and, wood, for whatever reason, seems to sound better (at least IMHO). I
hope I got all my scientific terms right!!! :)
Tristan Carpenter

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