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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000458.txt from 2003/10

From: "Ken Wolman" <>
Subj: [kl] "Grade" frustrations, et al.
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 13:34:30 -0400

A seemingly innocuous question: what is the difference between (or
among) a student, intermediate, and professional horn? I really have no
idea. I DO know that what I own now--a so-called intermediate
instrument--is not only more difficult to play than the pro horn I used
to own, but it also has some nasty and potentially expensive quirks that
make me wonder if it's even worthwhile to get it fixed.

The instrument is, of course, a Noblet 40. I don't know how old it is
because the serial numbers are not available and Leblanc is too
discourteous to reply and say so. Now, recall that this is the same
instrument that late last winter had the barrel stuck to the tenon. I
was told to keep it regularly greased. I did so and have continued to
do so.

I received a new barrel yesterday: an Accubore Standard C-series
(ostensibly for Leblanc instruments), 66 mm, Bb clarinet. The barrel
had to be forced onto the tenon. Uh-oh. The barrel had to be gotten
off with one of those round rubber jar openers. Even recorkgreasing the
beast didn't help. Uh-oh again.

I called the dealer who sold me the barrel, Weiner Music. The
technician, Mark, told me that I really should have ordered a
Buffet-style barrel. I go almost incoherent: Buffet doesn't make
Noblets, why would I have done that? Then he told me to send him the
whole instrument so he could fit the barrel to the clarinet. I have two
barrels, the original wood one too. "Well, wood swells in changes of
weather." That much? So is he going to file down the tenon and recork
it? That is not free work: yet I was told it won't cost me more than
about $25, the cost of postage and insurance. So I get to live without
a clarinet for however long this takes--I must be unique in that I own
only one.

I case you haven't noticed, yet this is plainly infuriating. I am
sending Mark the clarinet, barrel, and purchase paperwork. I'll either
get my horn back and working or I'll get a refund. I'm sorry, but my
trust level today is sort of low: behind all this I smell Total Overhaul
for probably as much--$275--as I paid on eBay for this benighted
instrument. If that's the case they can keep it and sell it to someone
else who got burned my Musiqueweb.

I want an instrument that WORKS. Is that a remarkable request? I used
to have one that worked, a professional instrument, and changes of
temperature didn't lock the barrel to the joint. I don't want to rehash
why I had to sell it but I did, and this "intermediate" horn makes a
cruddy substitute.

Are they all like this? Did I get a dog or are Noblet 40s like this or
are intermediates like this, regardless of brand? If I were to buy a
Buffet E11 or even E13, would I be inviting someone to turn me into a
piece of wood so I could really get screwed? Can you buy ANYTHING on
eBay (except for what I've sold:-) where you aren't guaranteed a
hose-job? Can you tell I'm as fed up as I've ever been with any musical
instrument I've ever seen?

Kenneth Wolman
Proposal Development Department
Room SW334
Sarnoff Corporation

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