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 C-12 and big hands
Author: Gardini 
Date:   2007-09-11 17:45

I am looking into buying a used Buffet C-12 clarinet. I live in Alaska and won't be able to try it out and was hoping for some help from the Board. I have searched the archives and noticed that the E-11 and C-12 have different key configurations from the R-13 - something about no wood cut out and moving the lower keys up 1/8" I also saw that E-11's are built for small hands. Does anyone know if the C-12 would be a bad choice for someone with big hands and short fingers? The clarinet is in great shape and is very fairly priced. Anyone have any advice on mid-level clarinets with roomy keywork spacing? Thanks

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-09-11 21:34

C-12 is "full sized" - go for it.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Backun/Legere/BG/Silverstein

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-12 00:48

Keywork can be bent around to suit the player's fingers, or altered if need be.

Chris.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2007-09-12 05:55

but what about your geographical location? i mean alaska is a very dry and cold state. though i've never been there myself, wouldn't a rubber clarinet suit the extreme climate changes from walking in and out of places?

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: C-12 and big hands
Author: Gardini 
Date:   2007-09-12 19:06

I am in Southeast and it is actually quite damp most of the time. Our humidity levels are pretty good for wood in general, it is the rapid changes that you really have to worry about. I work in a museum and we have lots of old wood objects. I insulate my case carrying it to a gig in winter and never leave my instrument the car. It seems to me that a older used wood instrument might be more stable than a new one, the wood should be well cured at that point.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: SimplyMei 
Date:   2007-09-12 22:30

Hi guys,

My teacher told me to buy a Buffet C-12 and I'm trying to look for a place to buy it online (because I can't find places to buy around where I live) but it seems like it's nearly nonexistant! Woodwindbrasswind only sells E-11s and R-13s.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-13 13:09

The C12 is only available in Bb and is the model between the E13 and the R13 - both of these being more popular than the C12.

Chris.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: kuteclar 
Date:   2007-09-13 16:33

The C12 was only in production, approximately 1984-1992, so you're looking at a limited production. I have one, though, and if you'd like I could go and mumble on about all the differences between it and my R13 (1993) and R13 Prestige (2006)...it is a 1984 C12.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: kuteclar 
Date:   2007-09-13 16:35

Oh, and I have quite small "kid" hands! I have to say, I never noticed a difference in key placement or ring size in the E12, C12, or R13s I've tried. Maybe I haven't noticed.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: SimplyMei 
Date:   2007-09-13 21:58

Thank you all for answering my question! I guess it will be difficult to locate one other than ebay (don't really like to use ebay for buying musical instruments)...

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Gardini 
Date:   2007-09-13 22:17

Kuteclar, I would like to hear you mumble about your C-12. Do you like it? How does it compare to your other clarinets? I am most concerned about sound quality now that my size issue was solved. The one I am buying is a 1984 clarinet that is in very good shape. I have seen two C-12's for sale in the last three weeks, try Google if you have the time to go through lots of false leads. I always try and figure a complete overhaul into the price of a used clarinet - that is - is it still worth it if I have to pay $300. more for repairs.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: kuteclar 
Date:   2007-09-14 04:26

Well, if you've read the blurbs on the C12 online, then you know approximately where they fit into the scheme of things - supposedly right below the R13, above the E13 and C13. So, it's either a high intermediate (the highest Buffet intermediate) or a low professional model. I tend to feel it is a high intermediate, but a very good one at that.

Now, I might be repetitive with info I've found on this board, so I apologize. I believe it was only a couple hundred cheaper than the R13 throughout it's production, so it's very close. I have been told that it was the "band" version of Buffet...I thought this was a bit goofy, but it does have a very nice, stable, solid, tone. So when it's marked "Conservatoire" model, maybe that has gotten twisted.

I should blurb in here that my 1993 R13 has a bright, maybe I should say brilliant, ringing sound to it. It has cork pads on top, and maybe leather on the bottom - with some gortex to eliminate clunking noises.

Now, knowing that every instrument will sound different, I can give you what mine sounds like. The C12 has a robust, full sound; I feel that it lacks the "ring" that both my R13 and R13 Prestige give me. The tuning is very stable, but it tends to run a bit flat overall, even though it has a 66 barrel. Well, it looks 66 in a quick comparison to my R13 Moennig 66. The high notes are good - I have to say that my Prestige is gorgeous and clear on top! But for the $, the sound is really nice. The most I can say is that it lacks a bit of ring. I recently bought an E12 1983 for my cousin, and this instrument I would consider more mellow and a bit sweeter than anything I have - also lacking the ringing tones I have in the R13s, but still nice. The new E12 I recently tried out was shockingly good - it had the ring, but lacked some of the power. I would consider my C12 a great deal for the money, and would be a fantastic clarinet in high school or studying in college, but probably not enough if you will be a performance major.

The keywork feels very solid and springy, not like an intermediate instrument - but I did have about $225 done in repairs....and got some free corks put in the top tenon. So, it is not quite as springy, but I'm sure that's due to age, wear, and that I didn't have a complete overhaul done to put it in as tip top shape as my others. So, mine cost around $600-625 total, and I believe it was definitely worth it. I bought it originally to "save" my R13 from having to play in Park Band outside...although I've been using it for these sit down concerts for about 8 summers, with zero cracks or problems. I bought the C12 as a backup....along with a Vito V40....and my Yamaha 26. So, for $300, I would say it is completely worth it, even if you have to put $300 into repairs. If the WOOD is in great shape, most everything else can be repaired. Bends, pads, case. It depends where you're at in your playing - and where you want to go. If you're looking at E11s and C12, go for the C12! I had trouble with extremes in dynamics, developing musicality on it, and it was just not as nice a sound.

Overall, the wood grain is quite nice, but has a spot of "knots?" or um, swirlies? Very small, but I can see them if I look closely - so the wood quality probably didn't quite meet the R13 standards. It was Made in France, so the number should pop up the instrument's information in the Buffet website - which, now, makes me think that they are more of a low end professional, since the Buffet site only lists those instruments Made in France, and thus above the K (D, B) models. Hmmm.

I bought mine off E***. Yup. I figured as long as there were no cracks, I could it fixed up. They are quite tricky to find. I'm glad I got mine when I did! So at $300 - I'd grab it!! Also, though, find out how dry it is. You might have quite a long break in period, or re-humidifying period before it's truly playable without cracking possibilities. If it's been in use, there shouldn't be as many problems.

I can't imagine anyone above 8th grade having smaller hands than I have, and I find no problems on any of the Buffet Bb/A clarinets!

Since production stopped in 1992, the only place to buy them is...to get lucky. I'd guess the best bet is an auction, other than searching Craig's list or other used item sales. I bought mine earlier this summer, and was waiting to buy one for my cousin, and gave up not long ago because I saw one go through E*** and the wood looked pretty rough.

OK, I've mumbled for long enough. Did I answer anything? It's a nice horn.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-14 14:03

If production stopped on 1992, how come Buffet still list the C12 in their 2006 catalogue?

Chris.

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Gardini 
Date:   2007-09-14 18:05

Thanks for all the great information. I am actually paying $450. and can't really afford any more than that. I currently have a very old unlabeled French (SML?) clarinet that has a big beautiful, rich, dark sound. I like the tone better than my teacher's tricked out R-13, but it is impossible to tune the lower register and the center joint is worn out despite a recent overhaul by John Butler. Morrie Backun ran a bunch of tests on it in his shop and told me to look for a new clarinet, he wouldn't even let me waste my money on one of his barrels. Pretty decent of him I thought.

E-11's are pretty much going for 5+ on ebay and Craigslist and I can't find any good Selmer's anywhere near that price. I think the C-12 will suit my purposes quite well. I am an older adult student and won't ever be able to keep up with the kids, much less be out front soloing for the symphony. My heart really is in the bass clarinet and I have a very beautiful Selmer 37.

Thanks,
Gardini

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Emily's Dad 
Date:   2007-09-16 02:58

We purchased a C-12 about a year ago, and had it repadded and reworked. It has excellent sound! Emily's teacher plays an R-13, and the intonation is VERY similar when they are playing together. The difference in the key height from the R-13 having the pinky key cutout and the C-12 not having is is very slight. Emily is 12, so here hands are quite small. The "conservatoire" model is only available in Europe, and is not quite the same as the older C-12's. The C-12, as was already noted, is listed on the Buffet serial number search site where the disclaimer says "professional instruments only." We had the clarinet repadded by one of the top people in the country, and I asked him, given what I had in the horn and what the repad would cost if I would be better off buying a new E-11 or E-13. His response was, you will have a professional instrument if you spend the money on this one. Definately worth it! I am quite surprised that more people aren't looking for these!

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 Re: C-12 and big hands
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-09-16 20:02

"I am quite surprised that more people aren't looking for these!"

The reason is most likely they're only available in Bb whereas the E11 and E13 below it and R13 etc. above it are available in both Bb and A for anyone wanting to get into orchestral playing, and most players starting on a B12 will often go for the E11 or E13 as the next step up, and then go to a R13 or RC after that. The C12 is in a rather neither here nor there place in the lineup, even though it may be a great instrument.

The C12 is often overlooked as most players would want to go straight from an intermediate clarinet (E11 or E13) to a pro one rather than getting a C12 in between, and not being able to have a matching A wouldn't appeal to an aspiring orchestral player (though the C12 A if there ever was one may not be all that much different to an E13 A).

But if anyone wants a good quality clarinet and doesn't need an A, and can't justify buying a pro model for whatever reason, then if they like the C12 in what it does, then there's no reason not to get one. If the price is right, that's even better.

I originally read the thread title as "C-12 and big bands" (as it was past my bedtime) - and big band players and arrangers generally tend to play or write for Bb clarinet when clarinets are needed, and the C12 being in Bb only will fit in well for a doubler who may not feel the need for an R13 and something better than a basic student model.

Chris.

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