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Author: blh654 
Date:   2010-06-19 14:17

Hi, I'm a junior in high school, and I'm just looking to upgrade from my current clarinet - a YCL-450, which I've had since 8th grade in grade school.

I've browsed through basically every thread I could find on this site (very helpful to a newbie about considering new clarinets, like me!), and also with the help of my clarinet teacher, I've narrowed my choices of a new clarinet to the Yamaha YCL-SEV or the Yamaha YCL-CSG.

However, I've not been able to find any good threads that describe the differences between the two - I know about the physical differences in the CSG as compared to the SEV, but other than that, and the price, what's different about it? Which one is more highly recommended? And while I hate asking "which one is better?" (because, in my opinion, 'better' is always relative to what you're talking about), which one IS better (if there is one)?

Could someone please help me out?


Post Edited (2010-06-19 14:18)

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Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-19 16:03

I must add that there is no shortage on the topic of CSG on Bboard, with Paul Aviles and David Niethhamer stating that the Hamilton plating variation of CSG is more preferable to the silver plated offering, however there is no clearly attributed cause for this difference.

I seem to recall Claribass and David Spiegelthal made mockery over the advertisement by Yamaha, with the first asking of a hypothetical Hamilton plated dog and the other handing a limerick about flair versus skills.

I have tried the CSG and the SEV yesterday. Unfortunately, I did not get to try the Hamilton plating variation of the CSG. Based on about 2 hours of messing around, I found myself much admiring the CSG.

Please keep in mind that the impressions below are taken from a total amateur (me) that opted for the Leblanc Bliss instead of the YCL-450 about a year ago.

The best way for me to describe the tonal characteristics of the CSG would be to compare it with a German clarinet, while the SEV felt like a well oiled but typical work of Yamaha. The sound on the CSG is to me, darker, and I personally found it more articulate than the SEV.

Out of these two, SEV will feel more like a Buffet Prestige... the sound is focused and warm, but that did not make a strong impression upon me... it's really just that of personal preference on that one. I actually found the workmanship SEV and the CSG to be better than a R-13, so I can only judge based on what my amateurish ears, fingers and lips like more (and totally giving up on the modern R-13s altogether)

I feel that if you are very used to the characteristics of YCL-450, getting yourself the SEV might be a better choice. I personally found CSG to be atypical of the Yamaha, while the SEV felt like a logical product from the manufacturer.

In conclusion, I think that Yamaha did put out 2 clarinets at the same level to each other, leaving it up to the user to decide on the matter of which to go for.

edit: Like you, I am weighing my options on what I should opt for instrument wise, with you being infinitely more justified than I to do just that. Dr. Sherman Friedland's advice on test drive a horn for a month in the field I think is quite sound, as well as the reflection on that the decision is highly personal ultimately.

A guideline that I should reiterate would be to see what the Clarinet section that you perform with employ in equipment, and try to match their profile. I have noticed this being a criteria for the professionals here. Such observation has also been backed by Stephen Fox, citing a lack of will to adventure beyond the major brands in instrument usage pattern amongst professionals in Canada.

Gene Ramsbottom of UBC had relayed to me that we see players emulating what the local metropolitan philharmonics or orchestra employ gear wise, which obviously would lead do a proliferation of certain model from a particular maker within the area in which you play in. You should indeed put this into perspective in your purchasing decision.

Post Edited (2010-06-19 21:02)

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Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2010-06-20 17:57

I agree with much of the above post. I regularly play on both, though my personal horns are a set of CSG in Hamilton plate.

In short the SEV seems a bit brighter in sound to me, and yes closer to a typical Buffet in feel than the CSG.

The CSG is warmer. The only pitch issue is that the low F and E tend slightly lower than the SEV.

Also keep in mind if you are (or could be in the future) one who wants the freedom to experiment with a MULTITUDE of barrels, the SEV has the usual barrel length we all know an love. However, the CSG is typically 10mm shorter which will severly limit your choices of barrels to custom made third party models.

.................Paul Aviles

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Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-06-25 19:15

I made a mistake with my earlier view...

One should not be fooled like I have into thinking that this is really a German straight bore derivative, and for that matter, one cannot really get a grasp of a German style clarinet without having a German setup.

CSG is ultimately still a French Boehm instrument. I have forgotten the golden rule that it's mostly in the embouchure, the reed and the mouthpiece before the instrument itself comes into play. I apologize for this lapse of judgment.

I must add that the Lucien Deluxe pads used for Yamaha CSG basically means that you will have to shell out money for factory parts if you want to keep those resonators. I contacted Yamaha 24/7 about them.

One interesting tidbit is that it should be technically possible to outfit your CSG with a Eb lever. Yamaha does not use an additional post for that left hand lever. After studying the parts manual, I managed to understand that Yamaha merely swapped out 2 keys and 1 lever so facilitate the Eb lever.

The parts of course would have to be match the plating, since it would look too suspicious if otherwise. Hamilton I have no idea how one would replicate as the very definition of the gold nickel plating is not concrete.

What is rather strange however would be in the absolute lack of interest to make this 'option' widely available...

Post Edited (2010-06-25 21:08)

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