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 plastic to wood
Author: Rapidcif 
Date:   2009-10-08 22:42

i've played on a plastic clarinet for 4 years and i'm about to get a wooden Yamaha YCl-650. I was just wondering if there was any weird feelings transitioning from plastic to wooden, or is the "feel" roughly the same?

For example, in my first year of playing the clarinet i tryed some1's wooden one and it was really resistent, i could barely get a sound out. Although i had just started playing then, it was still easier to get a sound out of the plastic clarinet. Thx every1.

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: Iceland clarinet 
Date:   2009-10-08 23:00

No but it depends on the model. Buffet intermediate models E-11 and E-13 are for example more free blowing than Buffet R-13 or most other professional models. But keep in mind that it mostly depends on your setup(reed and mouthpiece) that is if your setup suits the clarinet. Some people want resistance in the clarinet others in the mouthpiece/reed combo.

What you have to be careful about is if the clarinet is new you need to brake it in properly otherwise it could crack. And remember that swabbing is much more important for wodden clarinet as when the wood gets wet and then dries out it is expanding and shrinking and that could result in a tension in the wood that lead to a crack.

So the first week you play something like this two times a day for 15-20 minutes one in the morning and other in the evening and be sure to swab it at least 2 times during that time. Then increase it to 30 minute session the next week then 45 min and finally the 4th week an hour and then just normal.

Usually when I'm practicing for 4-5 hours a day I keep two swab and alter between them and swab around 3 times per hour. This will also help avoiding water in the tone holes. Other tips are to smear vaseline in the corners of the tone hole. But the best thing is like before a concert to warm up for like 10 minutes and then Swab. Then you can also take some cigarette paper and swab onto the stage and use it between piece/movements.

Then when you finish playing you take each part of the clarinet and swab it two times and be sure to wipe the tenons and sockets as the water can expand the wood as I said and your parts could get stuck.

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2009-10-09 04:58

They'll feel almost the same. You might notice a weight difference, or maybe a difference in where the pinky keys are located, or other small differences here and there, but bottom line is, a clarinet is a clarinet. If your pinky slips or misses trying to hit a key, don't fret it. You'll get used to it.

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2009-10-10 12:51

On many new clarinets, including respected brand wooden ones, the normally-open pads close rather poorly on the tone holes, unless you press quite hard. This can make a clarinet really disappointing to play. Any such problems, get it sorted by a technician.

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: lrooff 
Date:   2009-10-10 13:19

For most players, the differences between a wood and plastic clarinet have far more to do with the quality of the instrument and how well it's adjusted. A $3000 clarinet with a leaking pad or bent key will be harder to play and sound worse than a well-adjusted brand-X plastic student instrument until it's fixed. (And, if you go through the archives here, you'll discover that there are many professionals who consider Tom Ridenour's hard-rubber Lyrique clarinets to be as good as or better than the best wooden clarinets.)

Yamaha makes good instruments -- they were in the music business long before they ever thought of making motorcycles -- and the most important thing is to have your new instrument carefully adjusted and set up by the store before you accept delivery. And if it doesn't play as well as or better than your old instrument, keep on them to adjust it so it does.

Post Edited (2009-10-10 13:20)

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: William 
Date:   2009-10-10 14:38

When I switched from my second clarinet, a Bundy Resonite (my first was a metal "no name"), what I immediately noticed was the change in tone quality and weight--the "new" Selmer CT seemed bulkier in body and heavier. Also, there was a different feel in my hands because of improved key design and action. Overall resistance was not remarkably different--I used the same mouthpiece, a HS** & reeds--but the new wood clarinet spoke easier, particularily in the upper registers. Just my recollections of 50 yrs ago. Actually, the transition from resonite to wood went smoothly and rather quickly, less than a week or so at most.

As for new wood clarinet "break in", you should probably follow your manufactuers recommendations--however, I never did. I have owned over 12 wood clarinets--effer to bass--over the years and I always started playing them "full time" from the first assembly on. I have never oiled any of my clarinets bores but have always been careful to swab after EVERY use/session and regularily (but lightly) grease the tendon corks. Maybe I am extremely lucky in getting good wood in all of my instruments but none has ever cracked and have required only regular professional tech maintainance two to three times a year for pads, corks and key oiling, etc.

Getting my first wood clarinet (at the time, just like Benny Goodmans, lol) was one of my happiest clarinet memories and I hope you enjoy getting to know yours--once you "go wood" you will never go back. Good clarinetting.

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 Re: plastic to wood
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2009-10-11 10:42

Well said, lrooff .

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