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 Yamaha Clarinets
Author: Kirby 
Date:   1999-09-23 03:25

What is your take on a new yamaha allegro clarinet. Is it a good intermediate clarinet?

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 RE: Yamaha Clarinets
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-09-23 18:27

I don't have specific knowledge on this particular horn. I do have a couple of year's worth of experience (albeit at the adult novice level, so beware) on the Yamaha YCL 52 of mid 1990s vintage. It didn't have the undercut tone holes, so again, beware of the comments and make sure you take them into consideration.

General opinions of the Yamaha YCL 52 (purchased brand new and played on average of 1 hour a night by an adult novice). Straight up and down a very forgiving horn. Tone production seemed a bit bland, but intonation was very good. This particular horn could take all kinds of sloppy fingerings and still nail the intended note right on the mark. Workmanship on the basic wood was good, but I had to watch out for some of the laquer and wood treatment stuff dissolving and leaving ugly spots on my white carpet, especially for the first couple of months of playing the horn. The problem was easily solved by putting a cheap gym towel on the floor underneath the horn's bell. Keywork was first rate quality. Very little customization required to get the horn to fit my fingers. Key action was good, relatively responsive, more than adequate for a novice to intermediate player. Pads sealed and worked very well, requiring no adjustment for the entire time I had the horn. Register key was not adjusted for altissimo, but could have easily been done if desired. My personal "playoff" 1:1 competition at the time was a Buffet E-11 (with undercut tone holes). Price was competitive with all other intermediate horns on the retail market, but slightly less than the E-11. Price was the issue at the time.

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 RE: Yamaha Clarinets - Part II
Author: paul 
Date:   1999-09-23 19:04

(continued from posting above)

So, I selected the Yamaha intermediate horn.

If the Allegro model has undercut toneholes and has all of the other apparently very good quality workmanship and playability of my YCL-52 of a few years ago, you might just get a horn that is every bit the match for a Buffet E-11 and all the other very good intermediate clarinets on the market.

Now, take that horn (or any of the competitive horns) and put a good mouthpiece/ligature/reed setup on top, and you will have an excellent combination of playability, intonation, tone production, and a high degree of forgiveness for student and intermediate levels of expertise.

If you can get a chance, test play the Allegro versus other competitive horns like I did and find out for yourself if the horn is competitive in both quality and price. I believe that you will be very happy with your decision if you select the Allegro.

Oh, did I mention that I sold the Yamaha YCL-52 after about 2 years of playing it (of course, sold as a used horn) for a higher than expected price? It took some work, but I fetched more than the market "average" for the horn. So, don't let the other brand names dazzle you with pure name recognition. A good horn will stand on its own merit. A semipro level local tutor test played my Yamaha YCL-52 and had several clients lined up to buy it at my price in cash. Apparently, the horn was a very good one, even if it was a lesser known brand intermediate grade clarinet.

So, here is the bottom line analysis from someone who's "been there and done that". IMHO, Yamaha clarinets have just as much potential of being very good to great horns (class by class, of course) for any of the other major brands of student, intermediate, and pro grade clarinets.

If the brand of the horn doesn't make that much of a difference to you (and it really shouldn't with today's high quality horns from any of the major brands), test play all of the horns you want, and let the chips fall where they may.

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