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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000563.txt from 2000/09

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] The Hypothetical Question -- Old v. New
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2000 18:47:55 -0400

At 09:33 AM 9/18/2000 -0700, Kevin Fay wrote:
>There are 2 variables to any manufactured product -- manufacture and design.
>Cheap horns are cheaper for a reason -- typically, they are cheaper to make.
>One variable is material -- plastic is cheaper (by far) than mpingo, and
>good mpingo will generally cost more than imperfect.

It has been discussed here before that the basic material price of
Grenadilla is not so dramatically different from plastic -- on the order of
a few to maybe 20 dollars total on a typical Bb clarinet, as I recall.

>Another large
>component of the price difference is the labor for hand finishing.

Here we agree completely.

>A good tech can go a long way to make up for the lack of labor in the
>cheaper instrument -- what you're buying is the hand finishing etc. that
>wasn't done at the factory.


>But I don't think you can get all the way
>there; cheap horns are *designed* to be cheap. Design decisions are made to
>lower the cost of manufacturing, at the expense of the sound of the horn.
>Bores are molded, tone holes are not undercut, and (in the case of the
>God-awful USA Selmers), keys can be cast in strange shapes and not forged.
Just for the record, the only Selmer USA clarinet that does NOT have
undercut tone holes is the model 1400, patterned after the Balanced Tone,
which did not have undercut tone holes either. Also, all CL-series Selmer
USA clarinets, wood or plastic, have reamed, polycylindrical bores. I
agree the keywork is a little bit strange, but I find almost no effort is
required to switch to and from it. It does not seem to be any weaker than
anyone else's, judging from its repair history with us.

>The bottom line is that a good repair person can make the substandard
>instrument sound better -- but the same effort on a better instrument will
>produce better results.

Actually, the work is likely to produce more dramatic results on the
substandard instrument. The better one has already had most of the
tweaking done in the factory. It doesn't have as far to go!

Bill Hausmann
451 Old Orchard Drive
Essexville, MI 48732 ICQ UIN 4862265

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is too loud.

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