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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000471.txt from 2003/10

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] "Grade" frustrations, et al.
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:09:08 -0400

At 01:34 PM 10/16/2003 -0400, Ken Wolman wrote:
>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...

Actually, Noblets are not bad instruments. Obviously, for the lower price
you are going to get less hand-finishing and possibly not the top-quality
wood in their stock. Design-wise, they are very similar to some pro-line
Leblancs (not the newer Concerto and Opus designs, of course.) Noblet has
been in business since the 1700's, and, although they are now owned by
Leblanc, should still know their business pretty well by this time. Your
technician is correct, though, about the wood swelling. Chances are, if
you put the instrument away in the closet and pulled it out again during
the height of the winter heating season, you would find that the barrel fit
fine. In lieu of waiting, however, the judicious application of fine
sandpaper to the tenon and/or inside of the barrel socket would solve the
problem more rapidly. That's what the tech is going to do. Whoever told
you to just keep it well-greased did not know what he was talking
about. Wood-to-wood binding will not be helped by that.

By the way, since the bores are different, you should NOT get the
Buffet-style Accubore for your Noblet. It may or may not fit better, but
it will likely not play as well.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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