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 Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: wmb244 
Date:   2010-07-27 03:27

Greetings: I have been taking clarinet lessons for about 9 months now. I have just about decided that, because of arthritis and very large fingers, I want to purchase a plateau clarinet, which my teacher has suggested. Some time ago there was a discussion of plateau (covered hole) clarinets, but I missed it. I have two questions: first, does anybody make quality non-plastic (wood) plateau clarinets today? Second, older wooden instruments that I have seen advertised almost always have some small holes (from moving the thumb rest, e.g.) "filled in." Is this likely to affect the quality of the sound from the instrument?
Thanks for any information.

Bill

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2010-07-27 05:04

The only plateau clarinet that I'm aware of is the Vito, though several custom makers will set one up for you, or a really good technician like Tim Clark will alter a normal instrument, if you have the thousands it'll cost.

I've played the Vito, and like the non-plateau models, it's a respectable instrument. I have to ask why, if you've only been playing for nine months, you insist on having a wood clarinet? I don't mean to be dismissive, but I really don't think you'd hear a difference at your present level between wood and plastic (or any other material), if ever at all.

As for small holes being filled in, as for a thumb rest, it won't make any difference at all; just cosmetic.

By the way, speaking of materials, I'd defy anyone to identify which of my eleven Bb soprano clarinets is made out of plastic, wood, rubber, or other material by listening to high-definition recordings of them. (I have one metal, one hard rubber, one rosewood, and one Vito plastic in that bunch.)

I'm not saying they sound the same. What I'm saying is that "superiority" or "inferiority" is not inherent in the material they're made from, but the way they are made.

B.



Post Edited (2010-07-27 08:50)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2010-07-27 06:13

bmcgar wrote:

> I'm not saying they sound the same. What I'm saying is that
> "superiority" or "inferiority" is not inherent in the material
> they're made from, but they way they are made.

+1

--
Ben

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-27 10:21

Be on the lookout for a wooden Normandy/Noblet and especially for a Leblanc LL plateau clarinet - the keywork on the Leblanc LL is much better than the Vito/Normandy/Noblet in the way the LH main action fingerplates are mounted.

Chris.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: wmb244 
Date:   2010-07-28 00:45

Thanks very much for your extremely helpful reply. Your advice about what differences between instruments of different materials I am likely to be able to hear at this stage of my learning was especially timely. I have decided to get, for now, a refurbished plastic plateau clarinet that is within my limited budget (considerably below $1000). If it does the job of helping me with the fingering, and sounds reasonably good, terrific; if not, I haven't bankrupted myself on the experiment.

Again, I very much appreciated your thoughtful and helpful comments.

Bill

Bill

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Carol Dutcher 
Date:   2010-07-30 20:04

Hello, I have a wooden Noblet Plateau clarinet, it is a nice horn, and easy to play.

Good luck, Carol

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Mike Blinn 
Date:   2010-07-31 15:54

Have you considered a bass clarinet? It is a plateau clarinet that requires somewhat large fingers that needn't be as accurate as on the smaller horns. Certainly plenty of fine wooden bass clarinets out there.

Mike Blinn



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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: clarinete09 
Date:   2010-07-31 16:03

Sorry for be so ignorant, Whats exactly a plateau clarinet?

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:11

One with covered fingerplates instead of the usual rings, so there aren't any open fingerholes on them.

Chris.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: clarinete09 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:13

oh thanks! are there sopranos Bb and A Plateau clarinets?

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:14

Yeah - Leblanc made them http://www.clarinetperfection.com/galleryclar/Leblanc/Leblanc%20LL%20full+plateau.pdf

Chris.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: clarinete09 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:21

ohhh great! have you tried them? ? how they sound?

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:25

ignore...

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-07-31 17:28)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:25

scroll down a bit more...

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-07-31 17:29)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-07-31 17:26

Just seen the pricelist (from 1974) and they made the plateau model (and full Boehms) in A, Bb, C and Eb! http://www.clarinetperfection.com/galleryclar/Leblanc/Leblanc%20LL%20UK%20prices%201974.pdf

144 Shaftesbury Ave. became Bill Lewington later on and they were the main UK distributors of Leblanc and Yamaha until the early '90s. The shop is no longer there, but Bill Lewington is still trading http://www.bill-lewington.com/index.htm.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-07-31 17:33)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Gandalfe 
Date:   2010-08-02 17:20

I found my Normandy plateau-keyed clarinet to be a kind of stuffy sounding instrument in comparison to the Buffet I use and Leblanc Symphonie my wife uses. I got the plateau-keyed clarinet for my grandson when he was learning to double on clarinet. Shortly thereafter he decided the guitar and drums were the instruments for him. Sigh...

Jim and Suzy

Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns
Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra
Seattle, Washington

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-02 17:30

Just make sure on plateau clarinets there's plenty of venting to avoid the stuffiness, and that the pads aren't all saggy in the centres especially on the main action.

If I had a plateau clarinet, I'd cork pad nearly everything (except the largest pad cups on the lower joint).

Chris.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-08-02 17:30

Jim, it's possible the key heights were set too close on your Normandy, plus, the toneholes are not undercut. Both of these factors often contribute to stuffy response (and intonation problems).

I'm currently finishing up the restoration of a plastic Normandy plateau clarinet, having done a moderate amount of tonehole undercutting and setting the key heights properly (treating it as a mini-bass clarinet, basically!). I'll report back with the play-test results once the instrument is completed.

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 Normandy plateau clarinet -- photos and report
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-08-03 04:43
Attachment:  Normandy plateau clarinet_lower joint.jpg (584k)
Attachment:  Normandy plateau clarinet_top joint.jpg (621k)
Attachment:  Normandy plateau clarinet_top overall.jpg (409k)
Attachment:  Normandy plateau clarinet_underside.jpg (577k)

Just finished overhauling a plastic Normandy plateau clarinet, using tan leather pads and adding a bit of undercutting of all the toneholes. Some photos attached. Plays nicely, I wouldn't call it stuffy at all, although I don't think it can be played quite as loudly as a standard clarinet before the instrument starts to 'close up'. Has a nice round sound, very typical of Leblanc clarinets, and intonation is generally quite good at A-440. The feel of the keywork is certainly different! Even though I've been playing bass clarinet (with plateau keys, of course) all my life, this little horn with raised flat keys just feels goofy. But it does the job.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2010-08-25 17:45


There several "high end" plateau clarinets for sale from this UK outfit:

http://www.clarinetsdirect.biz/clarinets.html

B.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-08-25 17:51

(That Selmer C plateau looks so delicious...)

I think you can get quite a horn with a grand to spare. Just be careful about buying them from that auction site we all goto. Take your time about it, and definitely ask for trial policy when you do purchase the thing.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Ronish 
Date:   2010-08-26 20:31

I love my Vito plateau. Better than my open hole Vito and my new Yam. CSG Cost the same price as the std. Vito $750 altho` I think they price them about $1200 now.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: DixieSax 
Date:   2010-08-27 06:45

Plateau clarinets are great.... For lazy saxophonists who are not willing to put in the effort to learn and practice the more precise finger movements that are necessary to play a proper clarinet, or for those who have physical disabilities that prevent them from playing a standard clarinet.

Recommend you put in the time and effort to play clarinet, and not make yourself dependent on a specialty instrument that you might not be able to find in a crisis situation.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Ronish 
Date:   2010-08-28 06:46

Dead wrong DixieSax. Do you use some of the alternate keys on the clarinet to make it easier to play some pieces and do you use the register key? Why? You don`t need these assist keys and with a lot of practice not even the reg. key. Because these bits make it easier to play the clarinet and that is precisely what the plateau does.
When a new piece of music comes out in our band I`m playing it weeks ahead of the other clarinets and that is not by any means because I am more technically proficient, it is because the plateau makes it so much easier.
Why make it hard for yourself?
Do you play a flute or sax and if so have you considered playing these open holed?. Of course not because the plateau types are easier to play.
The reason there are not many plateaus around is because most folk are conservative. I had to import mine, others would`nt. When I ask the other clarinet players have you tried a plateau? "Oh no I could`nt do that if I change a knob or key I would stand out as different".



Post Edited (2010-08-28 09:30)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-08-28 06:56

quick question about plateau. Are all the plateau keys padded to seal the toneholes, and do you have to taper all the tone holes? I am a curious since someone mentioned about cork inserts at one point.



Post Edited (2010-08-28 07:00)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-28 11:37

Yeah - they're all pad cups fitted with pads (skin, leather, cork, etc.) and all main action toneholes are cut with countersunk bedplaces instead of raised chimneys for the fingerholes. The action does have to be set fairly open so the lower register doesn't suffer with stuffiness.

DixieSax - I can't find anything in your statememt I agree with. Tell me - what exactly is a proper clarinet anyway?

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-08-28 22:50)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Ronish 
Date:   2010-08-28 22:39

Good point Chris. I suppose we could ask the same question of the flute. Top flute makers make both open holed and closed hole types. Add to this the Irish and Celtic. And when we get to guitars there are shops full of different types.
I think the word proper gets applied more to what is most common.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-08-28 22:53

If Selmer ever made these: http://www.clarinetsdirect.biz/AnonPlateau.html I'd be more than happy!

Chris.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-08-28 23:09

(Looks at the Plateau clarinet shown, wondering if one of the reasons for clarinetdirect to make their assertion that this might've been a German make comes from the way how the speaker key is arranged)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-08-29 01:51

Their idea that is might be German could come from the touchplates that are indented.
But the clarinet is French, I think. Looking at the thumbrest area, one can see that the thumbrest was moved and from the outline you can see the shape of the old thumbrest. This shape was common in French clarinets in the 1920s-30s. AFAIK German clarinets always had the screws on top.
Many french clarinets from this era had a wraparound register key.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: wmb244 
Date:   2010-08-30 00:18

Just a quick update: I recently happened to win on eBay a Normandy Eb plateau clarinet, made of "resonite," for about $250 and immediately took it to my teacher's local repair guy here in northern NJ. He thought it in pretty good shape and playing pretty well, but is giving it a complete overhaul for about $200--new pads, new joint corks, some tweaking of individual keys; it had apparently already had some basic repairs done. I expect it to be ready for my first lesson after the summer in mid-September. I'll report on the playing experience then.

Thanks again for all the very helpful advice!

Bill

Post Edited (2010-08-30 00:20)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Ronish 
Date:   2010-08-30 21:04

If it is in pretty good shape and playing well isn`t $200 a bit steep?

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: wmb244 
Date:   2010-08-30 22:59

Dear Ronish,

I thought it was pretty cheap, actually, for around here. I made an "executive decision" to have the pads replaced, just because they were rather a bit older, even though there was nothing obviously wrong with them. Call it the kind of preventive maintenance that is being discussed on another thread on the Clarinet BBoard.

Bill

Post Edited (2010-08-30 23:00)

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Ronish 
Date:   2010-08-31 21:09

Yes Bill you are probably right. I counted 24 pads on my plateau a big job to replace them all.

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 Re: Plateau clarinets (again)
Author: Chris_C 2017
Date:   2010-10-17 19:59

(I hope this doesn't violate any rules - if so, apologies)

My wife is a good clarinet player.
However, she has a medical condition which means she has lost much of the feeling in her fingertips, so a plateau system seems a way forward. Buying a Vito or one of the various anonymous instrumets discussed above is one option - but there has been some discussion of converting instruments. She has an RC which she likes very much, and so I'd like to assess whether converting that would be viable.

If the board rules allow, would any UK-based tech (Chris_P?) who would consider this like to contact me off-board? I've modified my profile to expose my real email for a while....

Chris



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