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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000733.txt from 1999/01

Subj: [kl] Ridenour's Opus, Register tube placement
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 15:21:53 -0500

Tom et al.

I have done a lot of work with register tube design as part of my
interest in improving the acoustical aspects of the clarinet. I did the
same experiment as Tom discussed with register tube placement in the bore
and found no appreciable difference. Diameter and length DO have a
significant effect, but the placement in relationship to the mouthpiece has
the greatest effect. Tom, I have only played about a dozen Opus clarinets,
but I find the ratios in the left hand to be too close. Perhaps I am used
to lipping the upper left hand down on my Buffet Prestige (which BTW only
has a spread of about 10 cents on the E/B left hand twelfth) I find that
when playing forte the high C on some Opus clarinets is too low. This is
also a problem I find objectionable on the Buffet RC clarinets and
particularly the Festival models. The higher placement of the register tube
also creates sharpness on the throat Bb. It is all a trade off. I find
tuning characteristics to be a matter of taste. Although I no longer am a
Buffet dealer, I chose many, many Buffets that had excellent tuning ratios.
Some that I tried were terrible and I believe this is attributable to
imprecise boring of the upper joint at the factory.

As to the "ease of playing" on the Opus clarinets, that is also a
matter of taste. Again, I am prejudiced by my 25+ years of playing Buffets,
but I like the resistance of Buffet Clarinets as opposed to the Leblancs.
For me (and this is purely subjective) the loss of resistance in the
Leblanc clarinets creates a lack of color, the tone is almost too pure.
THIS IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF TASTE. But it is a comment that I hear very
often from most Buffet players. Perhaps there are regional interests in
sound or certain players have such a dymanic influence that others want to
sound like them. This must be the case in San Francisco. Not one single
professional in the San Francisco Bay Area has been tempted to switch to
Leblanc clarinets.

I think what Tom did with the Leblanc clarinets basically revived
their business. Leblanc clarinets had been so out of fashion for so long
that the renewed interest in their clarinets has been like the Phoenix
rising from the ashes. Tom deserves a lot of praise as the innovator behind
the Opus design. It will be interesting to see if Leblnc can maintain its
momentum without Tom's passionate devotion to getting Leblanc clarinets
into the hands of good players.

Clark W Fobes

Clark W Fobes
Web Page

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