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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000366.txt from 2002/02

Subj: [kl] Trying New Clarinets
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 20:51:27 -0500

This thread of conversation is one I find very interesting.
I recently switched models of clarinets. I've played an R13s for years, then played on a set of Custom Rossi's and now I'm playing the Yamaha SE-V. In my opinion, the Yamaha has a much more flexible sound an amazing response and as it has always been, more in tune. So I think it's a great clarinet! Is anyone in a major symphony playing it? Maybe I don't know. Does my teacher,( Loren Kitt) play one? No, he plays a set of Selmer series 10g's. He played it (my Se-v in a lesson) and liked it. Do any of the other undergrads at Uof MD play it. NO, they all play R-13s(Kitt doesn't insist that they play a selmer). Did anyone in the US Army Field band play anything different from an R-13? No, we always played what everyone plays. But in fairness it's only been recently that there are a number of really great professional Clarinets available.

For some reason we (myself included) in this country suffer from equipment anxiety, we think, that if we play the same brand clarinet that Marcellus played, or use the same mouthpiece as Stotzman, or buy secret stashes of old Austrian reeds that aren't made anymore, or worse yet spend $7-800 on a ebay mouthpiece, we will somehow sound more like the greats. You can't buy game, you can however, invest in good tools.

We are in luck, more manufacturers are really trying to do it right. I will say this, If you are playing a R13 and you pick up a different make, you might be inclined to throw your mouthpiece and barrel on it blow ten notes and say "hey this doesn't play like an R13," that's the point! Picking a clarinet is a very personal thing, and it can take many days of playing one to make a decision. I will always buy any clarinet from International Musical Suppliers! Lisa will send you a bunch of great instruments and give you really good amount of time to play them. As I live very close to Washington Music, I don't buy any instruments there, the experience has never a good one. There instruments are not in the same condition that the ones from International are, they never have really large selection of anything except R-13s, and most importantly they won't let me have 2-3 instruments to take home and try for a week. Can you buy a clarinet in an Hour? Sitting in a room that doesn't sound good? I can't! The better the instruments the longer it can take to pick. I need play a clarinet for a day or two, see if it takes different reeds, see if my regular mouthpiece is the ideal mouthpiece. I need to convene my quorum of clarinet buddies to listen to them. I need to play it in a lesson. I need to sit a play something with a recently tuned piano, and then I need to take them into a concert hall that I'm familiar with. Play a kick butt, 50min Simcha Hora on them. Then and only then will I buy and start the next process of learning to play "that" particular instrument.

So I will close with this, the Yamaha SE-V passed all my tests hands down. On top of that it is really fun to play.

P.S I've got a really awsome set of silver plated R13s if someone is interested

Tom Puwalski, former soloist, Principal Clarinetist with The US. Army Field Band, author of the Clarinetists Guide To Klezmer.


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