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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000287.txt from 2004/08

From: Nancy Buckman <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Morrie's contribution
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 14:34:48 -0400

At 10:26 AM 8/10/2004, you wrote:
>Nancy said:
>If you try them and can't tell a difference in your playing, then you
>aren't playing at a level that warrants their use.
>Blake Arrington wrote:
>I can't completely agree with this Nancy. A collegue and I stood for
>20-30 minutes listening to Larry Combs try bells. You could tell he was a

Some skeptic - he bought products for his Bb, which was cracked, by the
way. The story goes that his repairman refused to fix it. He didn't have
his A with him, and so has made an appointment with Morrie to choose
equipment and have his instrument repaired.

>When he played through some excerpts, such as Brahms 3, and Carmen you
>could tell a difference, but not much. One bell that Morrie claimed had
>great projection actually seemed to be more diffuse and didn't have the
>carry of the original Leblanc bell. I don't know if Larry Combs walked
>away with any of the bells, but hearing Morrie say that you could get a
>different bell and barrel combination for different repertoire...that made
>me laugh.

Until you sit down with Morrie, tell him what difficulties you have and
give him the opportunity to help you with them, there is no way for you to
judge what he can and can't do for you. I will concede that trying to hear
in that exhibition hall was difficult, but the mere fact that Morrie's
booth was a mob scene for the entire convention tells me that there are an
awfully lot of folks who don't agree with you. I had the privilege of
hearing Russ Dagon and Wes Foster in the same room while I was in Morrie's
shop. They are without a doubt both wonderful clarinetists in their own
rights, but have two completely different approaches to playing
clarinet. Russ' playing says "Watch out, I'm comin' through" and Wes' says
"Excuse me, please - I have something beautiful for you to hear". I will
guarantee that they don't use the same equipment on their instruments. In
every respect, Morrie's equipment on their instruments highlights each
player's strengths and improves any weakness they might have. If Morrie's
products were so worthless, you tell me why so many people are paying to
buy them at a rate that is difficult for him to keep up with? If you feel
that the Backun line doesn't do enough for you to warrant the expense, you
can be assured that Morrie would be the last person to try and sell it to
you. The one thing he isn't is a used car salesman. And if you approach
him at some time in the future looking for his assistance to solve a
particular problem you are having, he won't remind you of your past
resistance. He will bend over backward to help you play as well as it is
possible for you to play at the moment.

>Ricardo obviously has enough money to purchase 10 bell/barrel combinations
>for different repertoire. As for myself, I would rather have a
>barrel/bell combination that plays all the repertoire well.

I think you have misinterpreted what Morrie was saying here. I am sure you
understand that people like Ricardo and Larry Combs have different
clarinets that they use for different literature. Morrie customizes his
products for each of those instruments. And if you wanted to spend the
money, he actually could make products for you to play and enhance whatever
your choice of repertoire might be (and he does this too). But he
understands too, that the average person isn't made of money and will do
his level best to give them products that will do the most, at the least
expense. This I know firsthand. You might have shook your head and had a
chuckle at the booth at Fest, but Morrie will have the last laugh. And he
won't rub it in your face later, if you change your mind. He is the
consummate gentleman and his integrity is unquestionable.


Nancy Buckman
Principal Clarinet / Orchestra AACC

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