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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000011.txt from 2004/08

From: "Matthew Lloyd" <Matthew@-----.uk>
Subj: RE: [kl] Material influence on sound...one more time
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 14:12:53 -0400

Hey Dan - I haven't said anything about rubber clarinets being of poor
quality.

I simply said that firstly (and tongue in cheek) that a Bb shouldn't
sound like a C. I didn't think (and still don't think) that you'd
disagree with that.

I then added that I thought that the Boosey and Hawkes Imperials - which
I think were thought of as high quality instruments - were made of
ebonite (which is as we know a posh name for hard rubber) and that I
knew the Imperial Eb was (as there was one for sale at a leading dealer
in this country.)

Nothing about quality of rubber per se.

Matthew

-----Original Message-----
From: dnleeson [mailto:dnleeson@-----.net]
Sent: 01 August 2004 19:04
To: klarinet@-----.org
Subject: RE: [kl] Material influence on sound...one more time

Concerning the issues that Matthew Lloyd brings up about rubber
clarinets being of poor quality, there is something very
important to be said on that issue.

There is little or nothing inherently inadequate with rubber that
would cause it to be responsible for the problems you describe.
Given proper manufacturing and care in design and assembly, a
rubber clarinet will perform as well as one of wood. It will be
in tune, play well, and last a long time. (I am not familiar with
physical issues in working with hard rubber as contrasted with
some other medium so I may be at a disadvantage here. Someone
with more knowledge could probably cite things such as difficult
in cutting and drilling hard rubber.)

However, the manufacturers who made rubber clarinets in the past,
chose the medium because it was inexpensive. Then, in a natural
desire to reduce selling prices even further, they either did not
properly manufacture the instrument or else took little care in
its design and assembly. Poor workmanship added another dimension
that resulted in difficulty. Had the same casual effort been
made on a wooden clarinet, the poor results would be similar if
not identical.

Bottom line: if a rubber clarinet does not play well, don't blame
the material of manufacture. Look at the pads, the springs, the
keywork, the physical placement of the tone holes, the bore, the
everything that needs to be carefully done (and is carefully
done) on a fine instrument. That is what you are paying for when
you buy a clarinet. You will pay more for a wooden clarinet not
because it is an inherently better material from which one can
make a clarinet, but because the resource is becoming more and
more scarce (which is why Buffet wisely went to Greenline). I
love and use only wood as a medium for my clarinets but that is
because it is beautiful to my eyes, and my playing is always
affected by working with things that are beautiful, not because I
will sound differently on such instruments. When Fox built my
basset horn, I had a choice of blackwood or cocobolo. I chose
the latter because I find it aesthetically more pleasing. Don't
ask me why. It is as if I had said "I don't like asparagus." If
Fox had said, "I only make them out of hard rubber," I would have
been disappointed because the aesthetics would have changed, not
the sound character.

If price were no object, one could have a fantastic clarinet made
out of 18K solid gold. It would weigh a ton, but one could not
assert that the glorious (or ugly) character of the sound derived
from the gold body.

Dan Leeson
DNLeeson@-----.net

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew Lloyd [mailto:Matthew@-----.uk]
Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 9:46 AM
To: klarinet@-----.org
Subject: RE: [kl] Material influence on sound...one more time

I believe that the Boosey and Hawkes Imperial models WERE
available in
Ebonite. Certainly the Eb was.

Matthew

-----Original Message-----
From: Lelia Loban [mailto:lelialoban@-----.net]
Sent: 17 July 2004 13:02
To: klarinet@-----.org
Subject: [kl] Material influence on sound...one more time

Has any company ever promoted a rubber clarinet as a
top-of-the-line
instrument? I have some old advertisements featuring rubber
clarinets,
but
all are listed as student or economy models. The hard rubber
clarinets
I've seen and/or played on have also been student or economy
models.
They've all been notably bad instruments, but the worst problems
had to
do
with intonation, more than tone quality. Moreover, the
intonation
problems
were typical of low-end clarinets in general, regardless of
materials:
extremely wide twelfths, stuffy clarion D and E from the lower
register
key, and off-pitch LH C#/G# and throat tones. I have no clue
whether
the
rubber construction material might have affected the quality,
since I've
never been able to find any rubber clarinet that a leading
manufacturer
claimed as a top-quality competitor against fine wooden clarinets
from
the
same era.

Some of the old rubber clarinets have a metal tube up the center
of one
or
both stacks, to protect the integrity of the shape, but sections
without
metal can warp, if they're subjected to heat and sunlight, for
instance
in
a case left open for display at a summer flea market. I saw one
clarinet
that sagged quite a lot, in an old case of the type that stores
the
mouthpiece and barrel, still joined, in one compartment and the
two
sections and the bell still joined and suspended over an empty
space
down
the middle. I doubt that there's much a technician could do to
salvage
a
warped rubber clarinet.

Lelia Loban
http://members.sibeliusmusic.com/LeliaLoban
Re-defeat Bush in 2004!

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