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 Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2010-03-21 21:39


My experience with full Boehm clarinets is limited. Are then any disadvantages to the design, other than the extra mechanism and the added "engineering" to deal with the acoustics of the instrument?

It seems to me that a "long Bb" and the proper venting of the low E would still be in great demand, even though orchestral players have A/Bb pairs, yet these clarinets aren't readily available.

B.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2010-03-21 22:26

My first "good" clarinet [1935] was my teacher's Penzel Mueller F B and I've had several more, an early Selmer, another PM, and my present, a Selmer RI, so I'm not bashful to discuss/learn. The obvious ad[vantage] of the long/low Eb, hopefully an in-tune Bb, is desireable [trans. A cl parts] with the dis. of extrra length and weight. I have found the alternate Ab/Eb lever to be especially valueable to rescue one from cross-fingering problems. The "Artic. C#.G# has been marginal to me, and I've heard of some limitations on altissimo playing but I've given that up for Lent!! The Eb/Bb "fork" has been helpful at times, but there are so many other good fingerings to make it marginal IMHO. Others, please chime in, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2010-03-21 23:32

One major benefit of FB is that the low E and especially the middle B are no longer bell notes and much closer in tone and response the their adjacent notes.
I find the fork Eb/Bb really useful and particularly since (on my clarinets at least) the Eb is really in tune whereas th 1/1 fingering for Eb is way too sharp.
C#/G# is more marginal but its a much better tuned/toned note since tonehole is in the correct place and using R1 on sliver key gives an easy trill but loss of long alt F# and Bb options is a drawback.
Personally I never got on with LH Ab/Eb levers, so have now settled for a half FB setup i.e. fork Eb/Bb plus artic C#G#.



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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-03-22 00:44

The most significant disadvantage of full Boehms (and others with the articulated C#/G# key fitted) is playing altissimo Bb using the full fingering (Sp.Th. xxx C#/G#|xxx F/C) as the C#/G# pad is closed by the RH rings.

Though you can still get it by using the same fingering for the upper register C (Sp.Th.xxx|xxxF/C) but with the left thumb OFF the thumb tube but still holding the speaker key open.

This same altissimo Bb fingering will also work on standard (17/6) Boehms.

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-03-22 00:48

I have an especially good basis for comparison between full-Boehm and standard instruments, as I have two Kohlert clarinets of approximately 1920s vintage, one of which is full-Boehm and the other standard Boehm and whose serial numbers differ by only 40 (so they may have been made the same week, not to mention the same year). They're my two favorite orchestral Bb clarinets and I've used them interchangeably for the last couple of years, depending more on my whim than on any other consideration, as they play pretty much identically. The standard Boehm instrument is of course lighter and simpler, so a bit more agile with fewer 'extra' keys for my fat sloppy fingers to run into. But sometimes I play the full Boehm just for its extra heft and "cool factor". I have yet to need its extra note or fingering capabilities, but like driving a car with 400 horsepower, it's kind of neat just knowing "it's there if you need it".

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2010-03-22 01:42

Many TKS, Norman, Chris and David, I didn't mention those add'l improvements, y'all have "completed the circle".. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-03-22 06:33

I would have two major disadvantages with a full Boehm clarinet.

- The clarinet model I happen to prefer is already a bit heavier than most (and it doesn't even have the left pinky Ab/Eb key). A full Boehm the same would be even heavier.

- The articulated C#/G# is a huge disadvantage for me since it prevents opening this key while having right hand finger keys pressed, fingerings which I use often.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: fruitbat 
Date:   2010-03-22 10:52

I play full Boehm without low Eb extension. Left Eb/Ab key is very very important to me. No problems with cross-fingererings any more. Fork Eb/Bb is sometimes useful but no must. My instrument has a low E/F correction key on the bell. Even with some more keys my clarinet is as heavy as a Buffet R13.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: graham 
Date:   2010-03-22 14:34

On mine the C/G tone hall is not off set (i.e. it is straight in line with the others) and this is less ergonomic that the slight off set which is the norm. Some of the fiddly mechanism in the top joint would be more likely to be caught inadvertently by fingers.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: William 
Date:   2010-03-22 14:42

No one has mentioned not being able to use the "full" F6 fingering--which I sometimes find useful inspite of being sharp--because of the "artic" G# mechanizm. My other complaint about most FB clarinets is that they all tend to play with more resistance than "normal" Bb's. I had occassion to try a one-piece Buffet R13 FB in Muni Band one evening and it was like blowing into a sock. Might have been out of adjustment, but the added length tends to add the resistance usually noted in typical A clarinets.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-03-22 14:46

I've only ever used the short high F fingering (as that's the only one on offer on instruments with articulated C#/G#) and added either the throat G# or A key to make it speak clearer.

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-03-22 14:58

William's post about the additional resistance he's noted with most full-Boehm clarinets, and their similarity to "A" clarinets in that respect (whether one agrees with his premise or not), brings a thought to mind: might a higher-resistance full-Boehm Bb clarinet be a good match for a standard-Boehm "A" clarinet of similar resistance? This could actually make switching back and forth easier for the orchestral clarinetist.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: fruitbat 
Date:   2010-03-22 15:35

I'd like to remark that blow resistance can be influenced by many factors (density of wood, barrel rings, barrel shape, pad material,...). I would not be 100% sure that Williams R13 FB had higher blow resistance because it is a full-Boehm. It could be anything. At least I have not noticed a significant difference in blow resistance when I compared my reform boehm clarinet to the full-Boehm model.

One disadvantage of full-Boehm clarinets I experienced is the low Eb key that could be hit accidentially instead of the E/B key. It might be difficult to place the pinky finger between the keys especially if you are not playing full-Boehm very often.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: RoBass 
Date:   2010-03-22 22:00

Hi fruitbat ;-)

I would state as fruitbat too. My ebonite Boehms (with and without full equipment) and a wooden long Amati won't show any difference in blowing resistance. And if I should give a value, I would say, the "low level" 17/6 has the highest resistance. But it's the most played and dirtiest of this three clarinets.
Remark: Tested with the same MPC and reed of course ;-)

kindly
Roman

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2010-03-23 02:18

The "missing" long altissimo F

TRXXX(G#)|XXX

does not go away on a Full Boehm clarinet with an articulated G#, you simply use the "other" (throat) G# key to provide the extra "register vent."

TR(G#)XXX|XXX

It takes a day or a week to get used to using the throat G# key, but it works!

That reduces the disadvantages of the Full Boehm to just about zilch, nada!

The double duty demanded of the bridge mechanism (to both close the G#/C# tone hole and to press down the Eb/Bb "bis" key makes it less robust.

I've been off of my full Boehm clarinet for a couple of years now, and am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The left hand Eb/Ab key is really nice in that it eliminates both sliding and marking of your fast parts to warn you to play the previous note with your left pinky. BUT simply having the mechanism does not remove the "woodpile" problems of filling in the gap between the octaves of a clarinet.

The forked Ab is totally cool for Ab/Bb trills --and that passage in Kv 622's first movement, ...

In slow passages, I still reach for the right hand C#/G# sliver key.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2010-03-23 04:40

I have two full Boehms, both Amati Klaslices , a Bb and an A. The only disadvantage that I can think of is the weight of em. The Bb is 812 grams and the A is 842 grams both without mouthpieces. Both are free blowing and well in tune. They have served me well. I love the fork Eb/Bb and constantly use it, but seldom use the left hand Ab/Eb lever for some reason. I like using the bottom Eb extension as a good full bodied sounding Bb when it is practical to do so. As for the articulated C#/G#, that is useful but of course you lose the high F full fingering. There is another full fingering that can be used for that note however. Now I have a new clarinet , a Lyrique 576 bc Ridenour (a review of this is coming soon ) and as it has standard mechanism I must constantly keep in mind that I no longer have that very useful fork Eb/Bb. I do hope that the Amati's don't get too upset by the new arrival :)

Skyfacer

Post Edited (2010-03-23 04:50)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-20 05:44

I am sorry to bring this topic up again, but I would like to ask of what my options are if I were to seek a Eb lever, articulated G# and so forth today, other than trying to obtain an antique.

The other two logical paths to full Boehm would be retrofitting and that of obtaining some new instrument, but I don't have any good idea on any of these two possibilities.


In the case that I must turn to artisans to modify an existing instrument for Eb lever and so forth, what should I realistically expect in terms of the fees exacted for such work to be done? Would it be so capital intensive that the venture is not worthwhile? Maybe the last question on that path would be whether if it'd be even recommended to "mod your horn" when they're still in warranty period!

PS: Of course, the instrument and the artisan to be nominated for this hack job are things I would be interested to look into...



Post Edited (2010-06-20 06:03)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-20 10:21

Apparently the Buffet RC Prestige is still available in full Boehm form: http://www.buffet-crampon.com/en/instruments.php?mode=productSpecifications&pid=112

As for 'hack jobs' I modified my Yamaha YCL-24 to fit the forked Eb/Bb mechanism: http://www.clarinetperfection.com/galleryclar/Keywork/CP2/10.jpg
and LH Ab/Eb lever: http://www.clarinetperfection.com/galleryclar/Keywork/CP2/11.jpg but didn't fit an articulated C#/G# as I wouldn't be able to use a marching lyre with it. More recently I fitted a LH Ab/Eb lever to my Yamaha alto clarinet but in the usual position so it sits above the other LH levers.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-06-20 13:16)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Tony Beck 
Date:   2010-06-20 12:54

There are lots of older, but not antique clarinets with most of the full Boehm features, particularly Selmers and Leblancs. My regular Bb is a Leblanc Symphonie 3 3/4 Boehm. It has everything but the long Eb/Bb, has excellent intonation, low resistance and has a very nice tone. Projection is a little weak, which is true of most Symphonies, I am told. But that is cured in my case with a Pomarico crystal MP.

My backup is a FB Kohlert. Its projection is better, but intonation isn't as good.

Personally, if I had to choose just one feature of an FB for an "every day" clarinet, it would be the forked Eb/Bb. I use it all the time.

The two disadvantages of an FB are extra weight and learning to keep the keywork adjusted. I don't have a problem with the first, and learning the second was no trouble. The change in resistance between a regular length Bb and the Kohlert FB is no greater than the chnage between various Bbs. I suspect that in most cases, a resistive FB is leaking or out of adjustment.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-20 13:32

Have to admit I've shelved my Leblanc LL full Boehm as it doesn't play like my Selmers - I'm more used to them than the Leblanc but that doesn't mean the LL is an inferior instrument. While rotating instruments to do a show a while back, I found the Leblanc was hard work in that I had to play it differently to my Selmers and that made for a nervous performance.

Had I been used to Leblancs it would have been fine, but I didn't accustom myself to it before playing and going straight into the show with what was an unfamilliar instrument wasn't one of my better ideas. It's a lovely instrument and plays great, but did things very differently to what I expected.

On all clarinets, provided all the keywork is well made and fitted, as tight between point screws or pillars as is possible and all pillars are securely mounted, you shouldn't have any trouble - and the mechanism on a full Boehm should be as reliable as any decent and well adjusted clarinet. The forked Eb/Bb and F#-G# adjusting screws are ones that need fine regulation, but using hard wearing materials and good choice of pads will ensure they remain in check. At least on full Boehms these are the only two extra adjusting screws in comparison to a standard 17/6 Boehm - and infinitely less adjusting screws than found on most oboes, so a walk in the park when it comes to regulating them in comparison.

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-20 18:36

So essentially, the things that can be done on a clarinet without any new tone hole would be that of LH Ab/Eb lever.

Low Eb requires an extension of the lower joint and the creation of two posts to facilitate, the forked Eb/Bb requires additional vent key and some modification to a tone hole, articulated C# requires a hole to be drilled right in-between the two joints.

Essentially, this basically means that one would forgo a low Eb in a conversion project generally speaking.


I have just looked into the clarinets with the Ab/Eb lever since this is the most plausible and useful of the full boehm features, and I started to wonder one could simply hack their way to a Legacy from a Backun Symphonie for less bucks for example.

My very rudimentary knowledge on the technical demands in hand forging key, fitting a new post and regulate the new lever means that I can only approximate such work to be at around $200 USD... for the Eb lever. I can't put a price on all the other hacks at all since the demands on an artisan to calculate the optimal spot to make new vent/tone holes, to extend joint and to regulate all of that are completely beyond me in manpower projection.

Maybe... I should ask Stephen Fox nicely if he can manage to make a new horn as most commercial options approach the waters of custom makers.



Post Edited (2010-06-20 18:50)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-20 20:36

Would be much appreciated if you could substitute the word 'hack' with 'alteration' or 'conversion'.

Yes, there are plenty of hacks out there (just take a look at the NAMIR directory for starters!), but there are also thise who take pride in their work and wouldn't take too kndly to being called a 'hack'.

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2010-06-20 22:52

As a long standing member of NAMIR I take great exception to the slander on our organisation perpetrated in above post.

I don't know every member personally of course but the many I do know all exhibit the greatest skill, integrity and pride in their work that Chris seems to claim as his personal prerogative.

Many NAMIR members provide support not only to the student market but to the leading professionals. One of the most highly reputed repair texts was authored by Reg Thorp, a long standing, even founding member of NAMIR.
I know of several top pros who entrust their instruments to our members in preference to using even the original manufacturers repair services.

If Chris has knowledge of a specific member who doesn't provide high standards then I suggest he raises the matter directly with the NAMIR organising committee or if he feels sufficiently confident then names and shames on this board and defends any consequences.



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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-20 23:01

I failed to anticipate that the H-word would be treated as a derogatory term in this context, and for that I apologize. This perceived accusation over NAMIR on Chris P's posting was ultimately to be blamed upon my own careless usage of vocabulary.

I also allowed for the economics to get the best of me instead of looking soundly at the intricacies involved with the process of customization with respect to clarinets. Such is unbecoming and as such is also a matter that I must correct.


Admittedly, there exists a most economic full Boehm instrument in the Amati Kraslice line up. Does anyone find any issue with its intonation, its weight or any other misgiving on that horn?

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-20 23:33

The reason I have never joined or subscribed to any organisations like this is because of some of the names of members I've seen listed in their directories whose work is of poor standard and wouldn't want to be associated with them which makes me question what the membership requirements actually are.

Yes there are members who carry out and maintain a high standard of work, but there are also those that only ruin the reputation of others by their association, so clearly not a regulated code of conduct is in place to sift the wheat from the chaff.

Paying annual subscriptions to remain a member isn't the same as carrying out top quality workmanship, and some fully paid up members' work has a lot to be desired. Surely all potential and existing members should undergo some kind of vetting procedure to see whether or not they're up to the task as they have players livelyhoods at stake here. Most professions have a strict code of conduct, so why not this profession?

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2010-06-21 00:12

Franklin, please see my posting above for the weights of the the Amati Kraslice Bb and A Full Boehms. As for the intonation, the ones I have are very well in tune through the entire range and are free blowing. Quite good for Intermediate grade instruments. They have also stayed in adjustment quite well but I've had both of them re-padded and re-adjusted recently. This brand of Clarinet however had a bad reputation for unstable wood in the past but I think I got lucky with these ones. They are still the most reasonably priced Full Boehms around at the moment.

Skyfacer

Post Edited (2010-06-21 00:14)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-21 00:35

Thank you for the reminder Barry about the prior post. I am amongst those that bear skepticisms toward Amati Kraslice... a little bit of misgiving on the subject of intonation and yes, as you said Barry, the very stability of the wood.

By the way Barry, given that you are now an owner of the acclaimed Lyrique 576BC, did you feel that you have to make a sacrifice going back to the standard Boehm horn to achieve a better sound quality than the Amati?



Post Edited (2010-06-21 00:37)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: RoBass 
Date:   2010-06-21 07:24

Regarding the main item of the thread I would make an addendum as follows: The bore of the articulated C#-hole is the only disadvantage I can see for full Boehm models. This hole doesn't fit well in every condition because the player sometimes has to rotate the upper part versus the lower. Then the art. C# is covered the half and sounding poorly.
The second will be, that this bore will be done through the tenon - the weakest and most sensitive part of the clarinet. For single-body clarinets this could be nice, but for splitted bodies is a dangerous detail. It's a well known starting point for cracks in the upper part ;-(

But as Franklin asked in detail, the adding of a low Eb is not possible to a standard model. You can add a left hand Eb-lever, you can add a articulated C# and fork Bb, but not the lower notes.
The reason for is, that the bore of a long (low Eb) version has not the same geometry like for shorter models. Most of state of the art models have polycylindrical bores. This bore type is very sensitiv to minor geometric imperfections. Very small damages or changes of the bore (f.i. done by using a scraper or metallic oil brush) increase the blowing resistance and waste the intonation of the low tones.
An additional tone hole and an elongation of the lower part will come terrible ;-)

The price for a modification of a wooden standard model is in Germany appr. 150-300,- EUR (second Eb, fork Bb). The price for a new lower joint and new adjustment of intonation could be more than a new instrument completely.

kindly
Roman



PS: But I would recommend a second Eb-lever all the time. This is the most powerful helping tool for me ;-) Fork Bb is helpful too, and the rest is luxury...

PS2: I own a Chinese/Taiwanese 19/7 model made of ebonite. It's a very interesting instrument and fitting very well to my physis. The price was 60,-EUR and to overhaul and adjust was appr. 250,-EUR, and it's worth every penny! Open your eyes for some middle aged full models and bring them to a specialist to tune and adjust to your demands!

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2010-06-21 22:05

Franklin, The one thing that I really miss when using the standard mechanism as is on the Lyrique 576bc is the fork Eb---Bb. Strange to say the one feature that I used the less of on the Full Boehm was the left hand Ab--- Eb lever but I liked using the extended Eb as a full fingered Bb a twelfth above. I have been doing some comparisons with the tonal quality of the wooden Amati and the Ebonite Lyrique and so far I've been very impressed with the sound of the Lyrique 576bc. The Amati Bb sounds brighter than the Lyrique but I can't do a real comparison because the Lyrique barrels are too loose on the Amati. I'd like to do a comparison using both a Lyique barrel and mouthpiece (a Erocia)

Skyfacer

Post Edited (2010-06-21 22:18)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-22 21:55

Thank you Vincent!

My own investigation is now pointing me towards the Patricola CL.4 as a possible candidate for a clarinet to get. Unfortunately, Patricola users aren't so common so I don't get to try the instrument and compare apple to apple in CL.4 full Boehm vs CL.2 normal Boehm.

My current setup is a Genussa Redwine Excellente close facing with 2 1/2 reed strength Legere.


If anyone can shed more light about how full Boehm vs. normal Boehm of the same manufacturer, it would be of great help. I think that ultimately speaking, having those options built in seems to be better than retrofitting a horn...



Post Edited (2010-06-22 21:58)

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-22 22:06

I've played 17/6 and 19/7 Selmer CTs and never noticed any significant tonal differences between them.

Chris.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Tony Beck 
Date:   2010-06-23 12:00

One tonal difference that hasn't been emphasised above is that with the articulated C#/G#, the tone hole is in the acoustically correct position. This tone hole is a problem on standard 17/6 horns. It should be in the same position as the joint. By moving it for manufacturing convenience, C#/G# becomes a weak note that can be hard to blend. If you look at a 1 piece Eb or, if you can find one, a 1 piece Bb, you will see that the tone hole is further down even when the key is not articulated. Other than that, there really shouldn't be a tonal difference between a 17/6, 18/7 or 19/7 beyond that caused by manufaturing.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-06-23 14:03

Tony Beck speak truth! Me concur.

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 Re: Full Boehm disadvantages
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-06-23 14:56

Selmers did have a shorter middle tenon compared to some other makes, so the C#/G# tonehole is in a slightly better position and diameter on their 17/6 instruments than it is on others.

I just recently rebuilt an early 10S (an A-series one) and the C#/G# tonehole was angled so high above the centre line that the cutter had cut into the top side of the bore by around 5mm leaving a bow tie/hourglass shaped recess across the bore.

Chris.

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 Romeo Orsi Full Boehm.. (or anything else)
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-24 08:31

By the way, does anyone know whether nor not if Romeo Orsi's instruments are now worth investigating? I heard something about how that their Oboe are not the greatest in the world, but I know too little about the brand.

They seem to be one of those makers that can fashion a full boehm, which is why I have decided to ask about it. The most recent mentioning on bboard on Romeo Orsi would be of 2006, as well as John Hill's little adventure in getting a Romeo Orsi in 2002.



Post Edited (2010-06-24 08:32)

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