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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000757.txt from 2001/02

From: Topper <>
Subj: [kl] Leblanc Problems
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 03:38:50 -0500

Dear Educational On-line Community and Clarinet Community.

I am a professional player and teacher as well as a tech for many years.

Beware of the VITO Contra. Leblanc sold a me lemon (through a dealer)
Woodwind & Brasswind (WW & BW) and did not do proper warranty work
at the Leblanc factory. I am now stuck with an instrument which I
have dates for and have to struggle through and no loaner.

It is only because of my experience as a pro wind player that I can
play this instrument but for the few minor adjustments I had to make
which do not require and major work that would void the
warranty--work which must be done including a complete re-pad. I must
warn off for any student or school orchestra until changes are made
and these companies put quality and the importance of musical
education before profits. The instrument has the basic capability be
used professionally if made with better care and a few changes. One I
had played at a NAMM show was carefully made and adjusted by a pro
while the ones "On order" are slapped together and subject to the
whim of the one and only person who assembles then, and NOT WELL.

There is no signal from Leblanc or Woodwind and Brasswind that I will
get a replacement or a refund.

Leblanc is clueless as to what is wrong with the instrument, which is
an indication that their professional instruments could have the same
problems should they run into an unforeseen mishap past the French
border. Woodwind and Brasswind also has no clue on what a Bass
Clarinet should feel like and had to send it back to Leblanc because
there was no-one there who could adjust the instrument... they did
not even try according to their (WW & BW) warranty service
professional. Both companies refuse to see I have worked on clarinets
and saxophones for over 30 years and have sold new and used
instruments before returning to my work of playing.

The list deficiencies, which is supported by documentation from other
woodwind technician, and the list of problems is too long to get into
now but it includes mechanical design flaws which makes the register
mechanism not only impossible to adjust properly for a balanced
transitional fingering (however this can be corrected to a reasonable
degree but not without voiding the warranty and not by a novice

also; incorrect spring diameter; the wrong pads (cheap Italian rivet
pads) which have impressions so deep the changes in humidity cause
them to swell and leak according to the amount of humidity and amount
of incorrect (uneven) seat. The instrument is excessively noisy and
the neck tenon even leaks water as it does not fit well in the socket.

The keys have far to much play in them, some bind, and the spoons of
the keys could have easily been assembled and/or bent better for
comfort. Beware of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Leblanc's tech had the gall to tell me that it (the excessive play
which in some keys was 1/16") was needed because of the instrument's
size and composition. But this play is not on all the long keys and
not even and even if I did not know the statement was not true it
still would not have made any sense because the some of the keys were

This has such inspired me such that I intend to devote a website to
this instrument and other horrific experiences so that musicians need
not suffer. I shall keep you all informed of what Leblanc and
Woodwind & Brasswind may or may not do as well as to the actions of
lack thereof regarding Woodwind and Brasswind.

I shall not alert the entire musical community even though six months
has gone by. I will give it two more weeks before I file a lawsuit
and post detailed macro photos on the web for the purposes of
journalism and the people's right to know.


Leo G Carroll

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