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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000681.txt from 2001/07

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: [kl] Clarinet Xpress
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 00:53:28 -0400

I'd like to relate to the list an experience I had this month with Walter
Grabner's work. I bought Dan Leeson's C clarinet some years back when he
"retired". It's a Buffet 17/6 that dates to 1899, which makes it a pretty
early example for the 17/6 keywork. The wood is gorgeous, and Dan had the
keys chrome plated, by Buffet IIRC, so they are in great shape. But the
instrument had pitch problems, and evidently had them for some time.
Somewhere along the way, the original barrel was replaced with a shorter
one, possibly to correct the throat tones. When one result was that the
long B/C (3rd line/third space) were too sharp, the original bell was
also discarded, and a new one made, possibly by turning down a Bb bell to
the proper length. For me, the barrels I got with the instrument did not
tune well. They were too short, and to even get close to playing in tune
I had to pull to the cork at the barrel/upper joint connection. I tried
to get replacement bells and barrels from Buffet, and after 6-9 months of
reminders, gave up - they didn't seem to be able or interested to help,
and after a while I felt I was being a pest. A major retailer in N
Carolina (who shall remain nameless!) offered to try to make a barrel, so
I shipped the instrument. They kept it for 7 months, promised to make a
prototype, maybe even a run of C clarinet barrels. Finally I had to bug
them to return the instrument - I had to use it in the RSO - and 7 months
later, still no barrel :-(

Along the way, I bought a Buffet RC bell from Sean Osborn, which mostly
solved the B/C problem.

This is where Walter comes in. He offered to make a barrel. I sent him
the instrument. After a little email correspondence, he made me a Delrin
version that he thought should work. I had the clarinet back in a week,
and the barrel was great! Many tuning difficulties solved, some due to a
little extra tuning work done by Walter. He even sent me the mouthpiece
he used to check the results of his work, so I could see where it was
coming from. It's so nice I may buy it!

Walter also worked on a couple of mouthpieces from my "collection",
restoring an old "favorite" to playability. All at what I consider to be
a very reasonable cost.

Along the way during the last year, I've seen a number of Walter's
mouthpieces, and have liked them very much. He's very knowledgeable and
helpful, and does great work IMO.

All the usual stock in Clarinet Xpress...I received no
consideration from Walter or Clarinet Xpress for this message...just a
*very* satisfied customer. Should you have need of this sort of work, I
can recommend Walter very highly.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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