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 Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-09-16 02:46

I had my first lesson (I am a freshman in college) just last week with the clarinet professor at the university I attend, and had, on the same day, figured out why my clarinet doesn't respond as well as it should after sending my clarinet quickly to repair a broken spring. Apparently the pads don't seal well enough (I unfortunately don't understand fully what this means), so I will be sending the clarinet for a full overhaul tomorrow after my lesson. (The technician had mentioned that the upper joint could only seal for "about a second" or something like that - he was blowing air through the upper and lower joints after I brought it in.)

(Honestly, I'm surprised by the number of problems with the clarinet that I've had, given that I've sent it to the repair shop near my hometown about five times just this last summer. I've been told, though, that the technician in the area near this university is one of the best.)

But, back on topic, he (my professor) had also told me that I should strongly consider getting a professional clarinet, "about $2750." Consider the fact that the expenses of the University with tuition and everything else are expensive enough, and I really don't want to pay a few thousand more for a new clarinet. (Not to mention, he offered for loans through the department!)

So that's why I'm considering getting a Lyrique Custom. I've read about it all over this forum, but I haven't heard great things about the case or the thumb rest. Is it worth investing into as soon as I get my own source of income? or should I just go toward the "Buffet R13" route? or should I just wait until I get my clarinet overhauled and just stay with it?

Thanks for all of the help.

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-09-16 02:47)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-09-16 03:31

What are you playing on now?

If you had your clarinet worked on five times in one summer and it doesn't seal, you have a poor technician and/or an unfixable instrument.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: clarinetguy 2017
Date:   2010-09-16 03:36

You have some great questions, and there are no easy answers.
I know all about the cost of college and student loans since my own kids are in college (although not music majors). I can understand very well your reluctance to take on more debt to buy a $2,700 instrument. After all, you and your family are the ones paying the bills, not your professor.

There is no guarantee that a new R-13 would sound better than your current clarinet. It might, but then again, it might not. First, I think I'd see how well
the repair works. The clarinet might come back sounding like an amazing instrument. If the instrument plays in tune and the repair "holds," then I think you have your answer, at least for now.

Before you sink a dollar into a new clarinet, make sure that you really like being a music major. Many music students are filled with enthusiasm in the beginning, but after a few months, realize it isn't the major for them. If you decide to stick with it, great, but if you decide it isn't for you, there's no shame in that.

In the spring, if you're sure that music is really what you want to do--and I think you'll have a much better idea then--you can look at all your options. You might discover that a new mouthpiece and barrel (and possibly a new bell too) might transform your current clarinet into an amazing instrument. On the other hand, after a lot of serious playing on your current Leblanc, you might realize that it has serious limitations. You might discover that a new clarinet is really your best bet.

The Lyrique might be a good idea. I've never played one, but I know a lot of people really like them. How does your professor feel about it?

Another consideration--are you a performance major or an ed. major? If you're a performance major, I think I'd be a bit more likely to consider an upgrade in the future. "In the future" are the key words. Please don't let anyone pressure you into making an immediate decision.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-09-16 04:42

The soloist is a student line instrument from what I recall. have you already submitted it to a workshop for overhaul? I think that it's a horn to keep for marching or any outdoor needs even if you were to step up to a professional horn.

About getting a new horn... to me, a used, but professionally serviced R13 or any other professional horn would be more economical and more sensible than a new instrument. Tom Ridenour's Lyrique has enormously benefited with Tom's own setup handiwork, so much so that it performs as well as any professional horn. If not for that, one may expect it to perform at the level of the CSOs MIC.

Whatever you may choose, I seriously recommend that the horn be setup and regulated given the nature of your needs.



Post Edited (2010-09-16 04:47)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-09-16 04:46

@Alex: I would probably go with the "bad technician;" no offense to her, but she wouldn't take care of a problem that I noticed while I played it unless I gave her specific directions (e.g. the 1-1 Bb isn't working, or to replace pads - which she never did - along with other things). I am playing a Leblanc Soloist (see signature for other equip.), basically an intermediate model.

@clarinetguy: I am a performance major. I know for a fact that my former private teacher, when she went for her B.M.E. (Bachelor of Music Education), she studied with the clarinet professor with whom I am currently studying, and she did hear a few things about the Lyrique (and knew a few people who actually had one), but she didn't know too much about it. (Then again, she might have first heard of it in grad. school.) Anyway, I'm probably going to ask my professor about the Lyrique - see if he knows anything about it. Thank you for your advice.

@Franklin: I did do an "overhaul" with the aforementioned technician, but it didn't seem like any more than a few pads... Something makes me think I shouldn't go to that place anymore. Speaking of marching band, I'm surprised how well it's held up despite that I've taken it through about 5°F weather and even 85°F weather (MN it is...). I intend to keep it if and when I do get a new clarinet. Thank you also. (I'm not sure if I would call it a "student" model since it's made of wood, but I might be wrong on that one. I was told that it was an "intermediate" model when I bought it.)

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-09-16 04:51)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-09-16 12:26

Franklin Liao wrote,
>>About getting a new horn... to me, a used, but professionally serviced R13 or any other professional horn would be more economical and more sensible than a new instrument. >>

I agree! As an amateur clarinet player and semi-professional cockroach (flea markets, yard sales, junktiques stores, etc.), I've acquired pro-quality clarinets and saxophones for a fraction of the price I'd have had to pay for them when they were new. I tend to mention the antiques here more often, but I've also bought a Buffet R-13 in A (1973), a Buffet R-13 in Bb (1977) and a Paris Selmer E-flat alto (1979) at two flea markets and a junktiques store. They all cleaned up nicely (the clarinets, not the markets...). If you enjoy barter and there's a good pickers' market near you, that's a great way to go -- and save a fine clarinet from getting turned into a lamp. If you hate bartering or there's no good venue for it near you, then the teachers and more advanced students should be able to recommend the reputable music stores and dealers that sell second-hand instruments.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: USFBassClarinet 
Date:   2010-09-16 14:07

I'm on a hunt for a used professional Bb clarinet right now. Unfortunately, I was never entirely happy with an R-13 so I have been shopping Selmer and Leblanc, but I have seen R-13s everywhere starting at about 1200 to 1500 for good used ones made in recent years and the older ones from the 60s. Most of the places all offered generous trial periods as well. In fact, I have a Opus Millennium on its way right now for me to try in that price range.

After hearing people rave about the Ridenour clarinets, I tried some at clarinetfest and found that I didn't care a whole lot for them. That being said, how much opinion can you make of something with 10 other people playing in the same room...so to each their own.

Something else that might be an option...
If your school has an instrument inventory, borrow one from there for a while. I know here we have several R13s sitting in our inventory but they all need at least a few pads. If the ones there are in the same condition, maybe work something out with your School that if you get it fixed, you are guaranteed that instrument for 4 years. It would be like a long term rental I guess and would give you time to save up for a better clarinet. At the same time, if you decided to switch majors later on, this way you didn't sink 1400-2700 into a new clarinet but just a few hundred.

Good luck. and if you decide to hunt for a used instrument, enjoy the hunt, it is actually kinda fun.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-09-16 14:48

If you are a performance major you should have had a good set of clarinets, Bb and A before arriving at college. If you're an education major or minor than that's another story. I don't want to go into what it takes to make it as a professional clarinetist today but for sure you're on the wrong track if you enter college a performance major with a student clarinet. A plumber is only as good as his, or her, tools. Check my website to get some hints on becoming an orchestra player in the USA today. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-09-16 15:46

In my experience, most bad technicians don't know that they're bad technicians...

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-09-16 16:27

It's great to go to a tech's since a great tech is an invaluable resource. Dropping by Morrie's has given me much better insight into the matters of instrument makers and even of the industry, instead of merely about repairs and acoustics. Two days ago, when I dropped off that R S Symphonie, I had the chance to see Wurlitzer reform-boehm in both Bb and A in person (hands-on guided tour at that), so not only did I manage to get a good assessment on what should be done to get my instrument into great playing condition, I also got a learning experience from it.

Signs of a poor tech would come if he/she doesn't really explain to you what's been done, how it's been done and why should it be done clearly, and casually makes promises. Any tech confident in his or her abilities in my experience do not mind, and mostly would encourage the customers to stay a while and listen, if not watch a job being done.

Normally, an A and a Bb are purchased as a pair... if OP does get a Bb, it is typically recommended that the A be of the same line of instruments.



Post Edited (2010-09-16 18:34)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-09-16 18:22

Franklin, it was common to get a pair of clarinets together years ago, even in the same serial number but not many, if any, do that any more. I think most do try to get the same make and model though even that is not necessary. I bought a new Selmer Bb four years ago but still use my Buffet A clarinet. I guess if I was to replace the A I would at least look at the same model Selmer but in the long run I would choose the best A I could find regardless of make or model. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: kimber 
Date:   2010-09-16 20:01

I would recommend continuing to use what you have this year while you look for a solid used professional instrument to have for next term or next fall. You can always celebrate graduation with a new instrument and you'll be all the more knowledgable about what is out there. Experiment and play on the clarinet brands/models that the other students have to figure out what preferences you might have for keywork, weight and sound. Midwest Music Imports in Minneapolis is a great place to try out new and used instruments. Likewise, Jeff Telloch at Heid Music (Appleton) works instrument repair miracles and Heid usually has some used stock.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2010-09-16 20:26

My basic tips are to work what's best for YOU, in YOUR budget. Instructors sometimes are biased towards one clarinet or other. And a big RED FLAG in your post is that the teacher offered to finance it through the department?!?! Wow. Not too hard to recommend getting a new instrument when YOUR department would benefit from the interest paid on it......

If you're looking for a new clarinet, Tom Ridenour has a great article on how to choose a clarinet. My personal suggestions are, as you are still young in the college (a freshman), and can't be quite sure where you'll be auditioning yet, I would stick with a good quality used instrument. "Quality Used Instrument" means picking one that falls in line with what Tom's article says.

And like Franklin said above, you'd be better off buying a used instrument that's very good and sending it to a very reputable tech to have it professionally adjusted/overhauled. So you figure you buy a good USED clarinet (let's say around 1/2 price to 2/3 price of a new one), send it to a tech to get completely overhauled (on the EXPENSIVE side we're talking about 500 bucks), and for LESS than the price of a new instrument, you have a solid used one that is freshly redone and will probably play BETTER than a brand new one out of the box.

I hope I confused you enough! [wink]

Alexi

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-09-16 22:15

@Lelia:

The problem that I now have from this hunt for goodie is that logic kicks in after procuring a horn by putting me into the "keep only one" conclusion. The parting pain gets progressively worse as one horn after another goes through my hands. By this point, I think I've jumped through 3 horns to arrive at the pro horn for keeps... in this 1 year.

Don't be like me. Stick with a horn that you really like, which happens by taking the time in finding the best horn for you in the first place. Ultimately, that's the most important thing to ask for out of getting a new instrument.



Post Edited (2010-09-16 22:21)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2010-09-16 23:24

Franklin Liao wrote:

> @Lelia:

> Don't be like me. Stick with a horn that you really like,
> which happens by taking the time in finding the best horn for
> you in the first place. Ultimately, that's the most important
> thing to ask for out of getting a new instrument.
>

I kinda, um, half-agree with this. You definitely want to find the horn that you like best and take time deciding it. And having a teacher to help you evaluate horns will help. However there's no reason to use something that will hold you back. If you are FIGHTING a horn, it's worth upgrading right away to something manageable. I don't know how your soloist will play when it gets back, but if it still isn't up to task, it's not a bad idea to upgrade.

The good news is that a good USED horn holds it's value very well. Let's use for example, the R13, where you can find it in great quantities in lots of places. A new R13 costs 3000 dollars. A used 1977 R13 on Ebay recently went for about $1500. A used 2009 R13 on Ebay went for around $1700. Then again I've seen some on the the completed auctions around $1000 from all different years. So you can buy something today, and very likely sell it for as much as you paid for it 2 or 3 years down the road if you find something better.

Alexi - Who has only bought ONE new horn in his life, and has been very happy with the value of the used horns both in purchasing, and in selling.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-09-17 02:59

Thank you - everyone - for all of your advice. I spoke with my clarinet professor about the Lyrique today. He knows about Tom Ridenour and respects him very well (I learned today that Ridenour has even done masterclasses at the university that I attend)- *but* - he's skeptical about the Lyrique after I mentioned that it was $995.00 and that it's marketed as a "Professional" clarinet. He suggested that I ask for a Lyrique to be sent on campus and to try it for a week before deciding on this instrument.

I have also sent the Leblanc to the technician near here (not the aforementioned one to which I've sent my clarinet a dozen times).

@Alexi: To start, I was skeptical about the whole loan through the department deal - so I won't be doing that.

@Ed: As much as I agree with you, I don't have the income - my parents spent $1500 + finance charges + maintenance plan on this clarinet that I have right now that I bought three years ago which took months to pay - and I would really hate to use up more money, whether it be mine or that of my parents; I feel that I'm using too much already and storing up debt as I'm in college for loans.

@Franklin: I will consider getting a used one if I can.

@USF: The only clarinets that are in the "inventory" are bass and A clarinets - not many options.

As for now, I will wait until either tomorrow (if the technician does work tomorrow) or Tuesday to try the Leblanc after it's repaired.

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2010-09-17 05:03

#1 Don't store up debt to go to school. Get a job. If you're serious you can pay for your education with little help from loans. I'm serious. Particularly in the field of performance.

#2 If you're not "in it to win it" don't major in performance. Or if you do, then have another major or minor to fall back on. I'm with Ed on this. I have BM & MM in clarinet performance and, because I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 2 weeks before my senior recital, am saddled with a day job to provide health insurance. Always have a backup plan. I did not and I wish I had.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2010-09-17 06:41

@Alexi:

My wallet weeps at me badly as it is. What I've put in to this simple but lofty goal of having 1x Bb and 1x C would be ill-advised to follow for a collage student. If I were to do this 2 years ago when I was still doing collage, I am not sure what I'd be feeding on.



Post Edited (2010-09-17 07:44)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-09-17 07:51

I think if you wait and hunt around for a used Buffet R13, you will probably find a very good one under $1000. You are in a good location and a good position to look around Wisconsin, Chicago, and see if your teacher can help you select a horn.

I've never had a Bb and an A clarinet with matchine serial numbers and at one time my horns were 15 years apart in age.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-09-17 14:19

@Katrina: I just got hired for an on-campus math tutoring job - plus I'm looking around for internships (most likely not music ones, but I'll take them if they're available). I'm doing a double major - Mathematics (Actuarial Science) and Music (Performance).

Thank you again for all of your advice.

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-09-17 15:41

I'm happy to hear that you are a double major. I know some people advise against it because it takes time way from your major instrument but at least you have a chance of getting a job when you graduate, especially in the field of science. It's damn near impossible to get a decent job in classical music today. But really, you not only need a decent Bb clarinet but you really will need a good A clarinet too. There's simply no way you can ever take an audition without one. As you can see on my website, I even recommend everyone to learn, study and even own an Eb and bass clarinet as well so one can compete for any orchestral position.
By the way, many repair people today have a tool, or machine, that can tell if a clarinet is sealing well. A good tech will not let you out of their shop if it's not sealing at least 95%. It's difficult to get it to 100% unless they do a complete overhaul and even then it's not always possible, but at least very close. ESP

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: gsurosey 
Date:   2010-09-18 00:16

<i>I'm doing a double major - Mathematics (Actuarial Science) and Music (Performance). </i>

The principal clarinetist in the community orchestra I play in is an Actuary. I thought about that at one point (I have a BS in Accounting and a BA in music (different schools)).

Rachel

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2010-09-18 00:59

I don't think a performance major in college should be without a set of clarinets (Bb\A). To think that someone could graduate with a performance degree and not have the appropriate instrument to play some of our greatest works (Mozart Concerto\Quintet, Brahms Trio\Quintet) and countless others, not to mention orchestral music, is unsettling.

That being said, I don't think most students entering college have to have the A clarinet the moment they enter their first year and perhaps they should wait for their college teacher to help select that instrument. The better you are as a player, the better the instrument that you pick will be and the better it will serve you. Many players choose an instrument based on its ability to compensate for their own fundamental issues as players, which is not advisable. Once those fundamentals are fixed, sometimes the player no longer likes the instrument they had chosen!

The Bb and A should be both R13 or better. Comparable professional models from other brands should be tried as well.

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-09-18 01:16

I asked my professor about getting an A clarinet the first day I arrived at the University - he told me that rarely any of the clarinetists here (the majority of whom are doing a B.M.E.) have an A clarinet. After playing in the orchestra for some time and getting to know the clarinetists around here, there's only one clarinetist who actually has his/her own A clarinet - the first chair clarinetist, who is a senior. I *think* she is doing a B.M.E. (I don't recall), but I've met a few B.M. Performance majors here who don't have an A clarinet and get it from the school (i.e. as a rental), one of whom is also a senior.

Right now, I'd probably have to say that my main priority would be to get a better Bb clarinet - I've already sent a message to my professor, asking him if he could get a few clarinets sent here so that I can try them.

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: suavkue 
Date:   2010-10-19 15:13

Here's an update (not like anyone really cares):

So I figured out a few days ago that my student clarinet was seriously holding me back. (See this post: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=337007&t=336942&v=t.) I will be ordering a Lyrique 576BC and will seriously either throw this Soloist in the trash, or turn it into a lamp (I don't even know if it's even worth being a lamp!), since I'm frustrated that this garbage has been holding me back for years. (Sorry for the really strong tone.)

I should have noticed the warning signs when I bought this clarinet years ago - when I tried the professional Leblanc that was in this store, it didn't even respond (to which the woman at the front desk said, "That's weird"). Then I look through the bore, take the clarinet apart, and I find a DampIt inside of it (which is, well... not supposed to happen). I wonder if this corporation (a well-known one at that - I know some on this forum who work at these stores) even knows how to repair clarinets - I've sent my Leblanc to the main repair shop five to seven times in the last summer and I'm surprised that little to nothing was done to it - even when I had to make a page of instructions stating every detail that had to be done ("Oh, but I'm a professional - do you think I'm stupid?" was her response, and still, she didn't do much to fix what I listed; I knew that the clarinet needed a complete pad overhaul at the time). Also, I find it pathetic that, if I didn't have a repair plan on this clarinet, $70 would have been charged for just a simple play test - and still, it doesn't play well.

The technician that is near the university that I currently attend completely overhauled the clarinet because he "just didn't care for the pads," and he even had to repair the case. Since he's repaired it, that clarinet has been playing its best since I bought it three years ago. I'm really starting to question the corporation from which I bought this clarinet. It's been playing at its best, but it still has its tendencies.

Later today, I am ordering a Ridenour Lyrique 576BC - I don't expect it to be perfect, but I will bet that it's going to be a lot better than the one I have now.

Good riddance...

-----
My current equipment:
Ridenour Lyrique 576BC, Rico Reserve 4, Ridenour Hand Finished Mouthpiece, Luyben Ligature

Post Edited (2010-10-19 15:26)

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 Re: Clarinets & College
Author: EEBaum 
Date:   2010-10-19 16:46

STARTING to question? I'd have started to question it with the second repair job. At five to seven, there wouldn't be any more questions.

-Alex
www.mostlydifferent.com

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