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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000310.txt from 1999/04

Subj: Re: [kl] Wood/plastic, etc...
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 14:59:42 -0400

In a message dated 4/5/99 1:32:23 PM, writes:

<< Here is what I would like to see: I would like all of the major clarinet
makers, Buffet, Selmer, Leblanc and Yamaha make a couple of dozen
clarinets out of plastic. These instruments, as near as they can be
made, should represent their finest models with as exacting a set of
tolerances as they try to maintain with their best wooden clarinet
making efforts. The bores would be the same, again, as close as they
could be done in plastic, and would be poly cylindrical (if that is what
their flagship instrument is), would have the same formula used for tone
hole size, placement and undercutting (if done) as their best
instruments. They would have keys fit by their best key fitters, would
be padded by the same best padders that do their best wooden
instruments, would be regulated and final finished with the same time
and attention paid to them as their wooden counterparts.

At this point, they could tour through countries, trade shows,
conventions, etc. and be evaluated next to wooden versions of the same.

To the best of my knowledge, this has never been done. As it stands now,
we're still talking apples and oranges. I for one, would love to play
Leblanc's or Buffet's best instruments made with plastic bodies. >>

The problem is that there is little interest by either manufacturers or
professional performers in a plastic clarinet. And the cost would be high.
The hunk of wood that constitutes a top clarinet costs less than $20, last I
heard. Therefore, the plastc alternative would be at least as expensive, and
likely more expensive, as new tools that are capable of cutting the plastic
would have to be made (and made to the same high tolerances as the wood
cutting tools). You can't use the same tools on plastic as wood. And many
prototypes would have to be hand built. More $$$. And then no one would want
it, at least not for the same price!

-David Hattner, NYC

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