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 New R13 plating flaking
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2007-07-03 04:18


One of my students bought a new R13 about four months ago. Within two months, the nickel plating started flaking off. The dealer (one of the larger ones in the area--near SW VA) contacted the Buffet rep., and the message was, in essence, "take a hike."

I'm satisfied that the dealer did all it could to fix this, short of raising hell with the rep.

My student's parents will probably be trying to get in touch with the rep. when they get the contact information, but in the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for a more-aggressive way to deal with this? (My sense is that the rep. is the problem, not Buffet.)

Also, does anyone else know if plating has been a problem with recent Buffet instruments?

Danke.

Bruce M.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: marcia 
Date:   2007-07-03 05:33

I have a nickel plated "Bb" R13, about 5 years old. The plating started to wear off after a few months. I have a few spots where it has worn right down to the copper. Very dissappointing on a quality instrument. I am considering re-plating but have not yet made any inquiries. In contrast I have a silver plated "A" R13, about 20 years old. The plating still looks pristine.

Marcia

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2007-07-03 08:25

bmcgar wrote:

> but in the
> meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for a
> more-aggressive way to deal with this? (My sense is that the
> rep. is the problem, not Buffet.)

Have the student's parents contact me via email, and I will put them directly in contact with the Buffet reps in Vancouver this week.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2007-07-03 13:21

If it is flaking off after that short a time, it sounds like a problem with the plating process at the factory. I would do as Mark says, as they will address such QC issues higher up in the 'food chain', even if the local rep turns a deaf ear to your complaints.

As an aside, I have begun researching a new A clarinet for my daughter, and several well-respected resellers (including at least one who is a sponsoir here) have warned me away from the nickel-plated Buffets, as the plating does not sem to last. For an instrument which should last decades, it would be annoying, to say the least, to have the plating self-destruct in so short a time.

Jeff

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2007-07-03 14:06

I just bought a new silver-plated R-13 from Walter Grabner and it is a wonderful, wonderful instrument. He and I discussed the poor quality of the nickle-plated version and I told him I would never buy another one because of the very problem mentioned above. I bought a nickle-plated R-13 a couple of years ago and only kept it 10 months and sold it because the plating had begun to show wear. I don't have highly acidic skin and didn't play it every day because I have other instruments, but it was my concert instrument. So, this time I bit the bullet and got the silver-plated one. It's absolutely gorgeous and Walter did a great job on setting it up.

Walter told me that Buffet had to stop using the good kind of nickle plating because it gave off some kind of dangerous fumes to the workers, so they had to modify the process and the nickle-plating isn't as good as it used to be a few years back. But, maybe he's around the board today and he'll comment on this.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-07-03 14:35

Nickel plate is applied very thinly and will wear out much quicker than silver plate (depending on how thickly the silver is). Nickel plate is usually an undercoat to silver plate as it provides a very smooth surface (in molecular terms) for silver to adhere to.

I've seen a lot of nickel plated Buffets where the plating has discoloured or even worn through on the throat G#, speaker key, Ab/Eb and F/C keys as well as the LH lever touches and rings within a year of being bought.

Some Leblanc clarinets have very thick nickel plate - I worked on a Noblet alto clarinet to do a keywork alteration as the player needed the side Eb/Bb key touch to point south - so I assumed it'd be an easy job of unsoldering the key touch and (with a bit of modification) turn it through 90°. But when it came to unsoldering it, the nickel plating was so thick it started bubbling with the heat. So when I took the touchpiece off, filed it up and soldered it back I had to tidy it up. As the plating was thick, files just skated over it without removing anything so I had to use diamond files instead to cut through the nickel so I could paper it up all smooth. Under the nickel was a thick layer of copper as well, so they really went to town on the plating.

But generally nickel plate is applied to a thickness of less than 10 microns - sometimes less than 5 microns so it will wear out easily. The problem is that nickel plate is very hard, and will blunt tools easily which is why it's applied thinly. At one time the plating done for Howarth had a thick layer of nickel under the silver (the pllaters applied twice the thickness of nickel), and this caused grief for us finishers as the silver would come off the ends of key barrels easily, but as soon as the fraising tool made contact with the nickel, it wouldn't cut through. Adding more pressure just flared the ends of the key barrels and blunted the barrel fraises, and the extra nickel also blunted reamers and taps so in general, it made fitting keys and adjusting screws a headache.

Chris.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: sherman 
Date:   2007-07-03 15:09

If one purchased an automobile with the endless list of problems, those concerning plastic parts in stress areas, tuning, plating, barrels, (as has the aforementioned instrument)would you call the dealer?




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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: crnichols 
Date:   2007-07-03 16:37

I had the same problem when I bought a new R-13 with nickel plating 9 years ago. Getting customer service to do anything about it was a total waste of time! They said that was a cosmetic wear and tear issue, and wasn't covered in the warranty. I thought it was ridiculous that it was showing this sort of wear at after only 2 months. I'm happily playing on a Selmer Saint Louis these days, except at work, where I play on a 20 year old R-13 Prestige.

Christopher Nichols, D.M.A.
Assistant Professor of Clarinet
University of Delaware

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2007-07-03 16:59

So why do you people keep buying Buffets, then constantly complaining about them here on the BB? Are they the only brand of clarinet in town?

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2007-07-03 17:25

"So why do you people keep buying Buffets, then constantly complaining about them here on the BB? Are they the only brand of clarinet in town?"

You make a good point, David. Indeed.

Several other comparable quality instruments are available from other companies, and they have fewer problems reported, and at a lower price to boot!

Jeff

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2007-07-03 18:13

Thanks for the feedback, folks.

Mark, I'll have them contact you. I appreciate the offer of help.

As for me, my '63 R13s are still awfully good, and have stood up well in the 44 years I've had the Bb and the 36 years I've had the A, but when I started playing again in about '98, after a very long hiatus, I switched to Leblancs and then to Rossis, and not the least of the reasons why was because of hearing from techs and players about Buffet quality control and customer service problems. (I'm sorry now that I didn't check out Yamahas and Selmers when I was looking for new instruments in '99, not that I wasn't happy with the Opus.)

Much has been said here about brand loyalty (and nearsightedness), yet I'm still amazed how some really fine players I know absolutely WILL NOT consider anything but Buffets (or whatever brand they're playing).

It's remarkable how many times I've offered to let people try my Leblanc or Rossi instruments and heard, "I don't like Rossi [or Leblanc] clarinets" even before they've played five notes on mine! One highly respected player on this list actually wasn't even curious enough to try my horns. "I don't like Rossis." Why? "I play only Buffets." What is it about other makes that you don't like? "I just don't like them."

Anyway, I'm just rehashing what's been said over and over again almost forever, yet I'm still amused.

Well, I'm even more amused now that most of the pro-level "assembly line" clarinets are priced at about the same level, and clarinets from Eaton, Rossi, Fox, Orsi, et al. that come with incredible individualized attention from their makers are very near the same price as--or less than--a Prestige or Tosca.

cf. "What works for me."

Signing off.

Bruce M.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: joeyscl 
Date:   2007-07-03 19:48

"So why do you people keep buying Buffets, then constantly complaining about them here on the BB? Are they the only brand of clarinet in town?"

It is because you don't complain (atleast most people don't) about things they haven't bought yet...



Post Edited (2007-07-03 19:49)

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: bufclar 
Date:   2007-07-03 20:35

If I could go back 2 years to when I bought my new set of R13's. I would be a member of the Yamaha family. Buffet has lost my business for good.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-07-03 22:09

Yamaha's silver plating is very thinly applied (less than 10 microns), yet it lasts very well. Even some 20 year old Yamaha 26II and 34IIN clarinets still have their nickel plating pretty much intact, even if it has tarnished.

If plating flakes or peels off (leaving the base metal or copper flash showing), that's usually a sign it hasn't been degreased well prior to being plated, and if it's dull and rough, then that's a sign too much current has been used.

Chris.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-07-04 04:32

> Several other comparable quality instruments are available
> from other companies, and they have fewer problems reported,
> and at a lower price to boot!

The % of problems reported is probably about the same as the % of the market the company holds. Last I heard, Buffet had a huge % of the market so naturally many more problems reported.

What Brenda wrote about Buffet changing their nickel plating makes sense. I have a Buffet with nickel plating from around 1991 and it only has a little wear.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: pplateau 
Date:   2007-07-06 00:17

I have a Greenline about 5 years old which has worn thru to the copper insome places; I asked the regional rep about this after ClarinetFest inAtlanta and was told it was out of warranty. This should be repaired by Buffet if they want their reputation kept in tact; I have an 87 R-13, no problem with the nickel plating;

Beef at Buffet at Clarinet Fest and to your regional Buffet rep; perhaps with enough complaints Buffet may ??? get the message.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Carmen 
Date:   2007-11-13 23:21

Speaking of plating, my year old R13's are beginning to wear. Can one get a horn re-plated? If so, how much does it cost for nickel? ...silver? Does anyone on this forum play the Yamaha G series and have luck with the Hamilton keys? Let me know! Thanks

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: pplateau 
Date:   2007-11-14 00:48

It is possible to have a horn's keys replated silver for sure; not sure about nickel. However it is not cheap and one generally has to have the horn repadded afterwards. Your local technician should be able to help you locate a good firm to do the silver replating.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: bcl1dso 
Date:   2007-11-14 01:53

I don't see why people are making such a huge deal about there plating wear off/thinning. Isn't that just a part of wear and tear? And also, why is it such a big deal for the plating to come off? How does it affect the playing qualities instrument? If you don't want the plating to come off don't play it...it's that simple. I have a set of R13's that are silver plated and after playing them for countless hours I wore through that plating too. It happens, don't worry so much about it.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-11-14 02:02

bcl1dso, it's a huge deal. Basically the keys get ruined when the plating wears down - you are playing on sandpaper basically when there's no plating left. The copper color is just the start of it.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: pplateau 
Date:   2007-11-14 02:56

Bottom Line: Buffet is playing free and loose with its customers on this issue; when enough walk away they may take notice; it just shouldn't be a problem for quite a few years after having this horn

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2007-11-14 05:13

This is why most other companies don't offer nickel-plated professional models (ex. Yamaha). Personally, I've only ever bought the silver-plated Buffets and have not had any complaints. I feel it is a bad decision to get the nickel.

Additionally, some people's body chemistry seems to wear down instrument keys more. I know I can go 10+ years on an instrument and it will look almost entirely pristine. Friends and colleagues, however, have had the same instrument models and worn them down in no time. While this may not speak to the current state of Buffet nickel horns, its something to consider.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2007-11-14 08:50

> If plating flakes or peels off ...

If that's the case, it must have been applied poorly. Stick to your guns!

Plating wearing through is more difficult - some people have fingers that eat nickel plate and a belligerent manufacturer could always argue that, as I imagine it's hard to prove either way. But I would have thought a decent manufacturer would address the issue anyway - unless they're drowning in returns right now... oops. I mean, the lacquer came off on my friend's Getzen cornet and the manufacturers straightaway replaced it f.o.c. /with the next model up/.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-11-14 11:58

I had an R-13 from 1979 which when I sold it to a student in 1989 the plating was in very good condition, hardly any wear on it.

The student wore the plating out within 3 years - completely.

Different body chemistry.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-11-14 12:02

Btw, Buffet was never ever known for it's great keywork - it's the sound alone which makes a Buffet be a Buffet.

There's a reason why it has been the long time standard whether the other competing companies like it or not.

Of course they would downplay it - better for business.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: BobD 
Date:   2007-11-14 13:14

The issue here is "flaking" which is a different defect than "wear". As has been mentioned above flaking is due to poor adhesion of the nickel and, imo, totally Buffet's responsibility to correct.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2007-11-14 13:33

Someone mentioned somewhere on this board that Buffet had changed their plating practices a few years ago, and this was the result. I believe it.

My daughter is still playing my nickel-plated R13 which was made in 1971, and the plating is barely worn at all. There is no excuse for the poor quality of their current keywork plating, especially with the prices Buffet is extorting from its victims (er... I mean customers) these days in the US market.

They aren't, by far, the only game in town. Find a different manufacturer until they start addressing their quality issues. If you already bought one of these, stick to your guns. Try contacting your state's consumer protection division (usually in the Attorney General's office) to see if they can offer tou any advice/help. At least around here (in Michigan) that's one of the supposed reasons we pay such obscenely high taxes. [whoa] [down]

Jeff

“Everyone discovers their own way of destroying themselves, and some people choose the clarinet.” Kalman Opperman, 1919-2010

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."


Post Edited (2007-11-14 13:34)

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: rtmyth 
Date:   2007-11-14 15:14

I bought a new , nickel-plated R13 about 20 years ago. I liked the instrument but wanted silver plate so I had Weiner Music re-plate it. Very good work.

richard smith

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: TomD 
Date:   2007-11-14 15:46

I've had a Yamaha CSG-H for about a year now. The plating seems fine so far. The color of the Hamilton plating may be a bit darker now but that could just be my imagination. I try to always wipe the keys with the polishing cloth they provided everytime after I play. Don't know if that has made a difference. Anyway, I love the horn. My teacher is Assistant Principal with a major symphony and plays an R13 but she absolutely loves the sound of my horn and is seriously thinking of switching.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Carmen 
Date:   2007-11-15 00:20

rtmyth,

if it is not too much to ask, how much was the plating? if you want you can email me.

Carmen

***...so do all who seen such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you.***

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: pplateau 
Date:   2007-11-15 01:14

Perhaps the Monitor would be good enough to send this thread directly to Buffet USA??? They should hear from their consumers!!!!
Mr Monitor?????? Can you do it?

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2007-11-15 01:16

Buffet reads this BBoard on occasion already.

Consumers need to complain directly to the manufacturer.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2007-11-18 03:06

Anyone have any pictures of what the flaking of the plating looks like? i have a nickle plated R13 but am not sure if you guys are talking about actual chips of metal coming off or just spots on the plating?

picts?

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. they are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which was already but too easy to arrive as railroads lead to Boston to New York
-Walden; Henry Thoreau

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: BobD 
Date:   2007-11-18 10:25

Flaking is where the nickel layer "peels" off in flakes due to poor adhesion. Chips, impmo, are different from flakes and represent the result of physical impact ....even on a good plating job.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Koo Young Chung 
Date:   2008-05-29 01:11

I'm wondering how bad (or not) this nickel plating flaking problem is for recent R13's.

Anyone knows when Buffet changed nickel plating procedure (if that's true)?

Will this nickel flaking affect more or less all recently manufactured R13
or just some poorly plated ones? Or is it still too early to tell yet?

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: kittene1 
Date:   2010-10-19 23:21

I have a Buffet R13 that was purchased in 2006. In about the past year I noticed some discoloration on a few of my keys and wondered what was going on. I learned last night with a fellow Clarinet player that this seems to be a rather common occurence with this instrument. I was very disappointed to learn this appears to be a manufacturing defect. With the price of the instrument, one would think that even the keys would be just as good as the Clarinet itself. I am not a happy camper as I am not as fortunate as some to just be able to go buy a new instrument on a whim. I hope that when Buffet hears all the complaints that they will be willing to correct the problem "at their expense".

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: GLHopkins 
Date:   2010-10-20 03:41

I bought a barely used R-13 with a 540,XXX s/n. The D ring key was showing copper. I pulled the keys, posts, and rings off and sent them out to be stripped, polished and double-plated in silver. They did a great job, and the clarinet is better than new.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-10-20 06:15

Does anyone know if nickel plating is heavier than silver plating?

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-20 08:40

Nickel plating is usually applied much thinner than silver plating.

Nickel is much harder than silver, but when applied thick it isn't kind on cutting tools, so it's often only applied a few microns thick (usually 3-5 microns) whereas silver can be applied as thickly as 25 microns.

Nickel is used as an undercoat for silver to be plated onto as it's very smooth and gives a good finish to the silver - copper is very rough in comparison to nickel.

Most keywork is plated with a copper flash, then either a nickel flash on top of that and then a thick layer of silver (and then a thin layer of gold if gold plating is specified) or just a copper flash then nickel, or a copper flash and then thickly applied silver depending on the plating company - Buffet's platers will silver plate straight onto copper.

Chris.

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 Re: New R13 plating flaking
Author: Lee 
Date:   2010-10-20 21:56

Are Buffet's still available with german silver keys? Thats what I have and no problems. It just doesn't shine up as well as the plated keys. I've been told that silver plating feels better anyway so why get nickel?



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