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 Be carefull of Vitos
Author: joseph o'kelly 
Date:   2001-04-23 23:21

There was recently a topic posted on what brands of clarinets to avoid. I would like to mention a word of cataun on LeBlanc's line of Vito clarinets. Although they play pretty well for a beginer horn (not artist quality like their add states) they have a tendency to snap in two were the upper and lower joints connect. It seems the plastic gets brittle and fragile. Many of their bass clarinets listed on E-Bay show this. I am not saying don't buy Vitos as they are a great student instrument, but be cautous of buying used ones. If you own a Vito make sure to take great care of it and use cork grease. My brother didn't and got into some trouble. I've seen these break more than once. My instrument technision agrees with me on this.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Dee 
Date:   2001-04-24 02:20

This is common on all plastic instruments not just Vito. I see it on all kinds of plastic horns listed on eBay. In addition most of them are owned by young students who often don't bother with cork grease. And young students are more prone to drop them, bump them, and who knows what else.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: ron b 
Date:   2001-04-24 02:36

(ordinarily) It's not the horn's fault :|
You can almost play baseball with a Vito :
It keeps technicians busy when you do  :)
- ron b -

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Mike Irish 
Date:   2001-04-24 12:36

I dont know about that......
I play a vito, received it as my first instrument ( step dad bought it for me ) used...
got it in 1970, played it thru high school, my horn made it thru three years of marching band, 16 years traveling with me while in the service, being mailed, shipped and moved...I was second highest seat in band ( 1st best was 1st clar 1st chair, second was 2nd clar first chair, and third best was third clar third chair, you see, the director wanted a stron player in every section ) good enough the director had me doubling on oboe for orch....

and believe it or not, I still have it... my son uses it when his clarinet is down..

I do know the different reeds make a world of difference with it....I am sure the mouth pieces and ligs also have something to do with the way it plays.... have to get away from them cheapies...... we both are using Mitchell Laury .....he uses a 2.5 and I am using a 3.....

I still like my plastic VITO .... willl keep it as long as I can....

Mike

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2001-04-24 14:01

Joseph is quite right, and I think the warniing should include new instruments.

I have repaired dozens of clarinets broken in half at the centre tenon, and sometimes the socket. Almost every one has been Vito, Artley, Armstrong (not strong!), and Accord. I disagree with Dee. Only one was Yamaha, yet I see far mor Yamahas than any other make. The most common cause is probably sitting on them after they have been put on a bed or couch.

A plastic is instrument is made far weaker by its 'stress raisers', which at the centre tenon is at sudden increase in diameter (end of the cork and end of the tenon). The larger the radius that is designed into these locations the stronger - dramatically so. And the different plastics have different degrees of brittleness.

Also, the molecular structure of some plastics disintegrates in certain solvents. Ever used used a toothbrush with petrol (or was that kerosene, 30 years ago) to clean car parts? It shatters into dozens of pieces. I wonder if it is possible that some cork greases contribute to this phenomenon.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2001-04-24 14:46

Interesting. Vitos are the clarinet of choice in a few school districts I'm familiar with, and none of the clarinets (about 4 or 5 hundred - I know the stores that service them) have broken at the tenon joint except for a couple of ones run over by cars and a couple that were dropped onto concrete. I'm sure there were a couple that were broken by sitting on them, too, but none of the kids claimed to have broken them that way.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: William 
Date:   2001-04-24 16:41

Ron B: I wonder if you could hit the ball farther with a Buffet RC??? On the serious side, I never experianced undo fragility with any of the Vitos my school owned--I just prefered the way the Bundys played. In fact, they were all dropped at one time or another and the only one that broke (just before a band festival performance) was a Bundy. We must remember that they are not American Touristor luggage pieces nor Louisville Sluggers--just moderatly delicate, but durable, musical instruments that all require careful student TLC. Good Bassing!!!!!!!!!!!!

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2001-04-24 17:53

The school district here in Abilene recommends the Vito V40. That's one of the better plastic Vitos. The music store owner who sells hundreds of these to the surrounding areas in Texas has very few repairs on these except for the earlier mentioned things like: falling out of their cases onto the street while loading stuff into the car after school, dropping onto concrete, dropping something heavy on the unprotected instrument, or other kid type accidents. The band directors here play-tested dozens of student instruments before deciding upon the V40 with Vandoren 5RV Lyre mouthpieces as their required equipment for beginning-intermediate students.

I've bought a coule of VSPs for intermediate players. That's the Vito that is made in France at the factory where Leblanc makes their pro level clarinets. It has the .575 bore like the pro lines and is made of wood. It has excellent tone and intonation and is my personal choice for students wanting an instrument that will carry them on up into the college level. Tough instrument. And affordable.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Willie 
Date:   2001-04-24 18:03

The school Vito my daughter was using snapped not at the tenon but about an inch below the tenon. She was carrying it over to her case to get another reed when she bumped the back of a plastic backed chair and the whole lower half just fell off. I had changed a couple pads the night before and didn't notice any cracks in that area. Even the Proffessor (our condutor) was astonished at how easily it broke.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: David Kinder 
Date:   2001-04-24 19:12

When I first started playing clarinet, I had a Bundy. One time, I shook the clarinet and the whole top half of the clarinet flew off and the barrel cracked in half! I guess plastic isn't as durable as everyone says it is.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Kontragirl 
Date:   2001-04-25 00:09

One year in marching band we had a clarinet pile-up. One girl tripped and took the whole section with her. All of the clarinets were okay, except for the two vitos which snapped as described.

I believe the Vito was named after an Italian man, but in Latin the verb vito means to avoid...what a crazy world we live in.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: David Spiegelthal 
Date:   2001-04-25 14:54

Oddly enough, my "woodwind repair" hobby began when I was in the 7th grade and dropped my Vito clarinet on the floor, and it broke in half (at the tenon, of course). I was too scared to tell my parents about it, so I secretly fixed it with epoxy and played on it like that for the next few years until my folks bought me a new wood clarinet.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: ron b 
Date:   2001-04-25 16:30

Ferree's sells a product they claim will put broken horns back together again. I haven't had occassion to use it (yet) but some local techs report pretty good results although their usual remedy is to replace the joint.
Maybe someone has done a study of the stresses etc. (during manufacturing [machining] process?) that cause some horns to 'snap off' as Willie's daughter's instrument did. I know this happens (not only to Vitos), I've seen it, but no one I've talked to has an explanation. I know the ones I've seen didn't happen from bunting grounders. They just broke.
But, under ordinary conditions, plastic seems pretty sturdy stuff.
- ron b -

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: David Spiegelthal 
Date:   2001-04-25 17:03

There's no mystery about stresses and fracture --- fracture susceptibility is a combination of material properties (brittleness, the presence of porosity and voids, etc.) and simple design errors (such as the sharp, non-radiussed corners mentioned previously). I suspect the problem with Vitos is simply that the corner of the tenon where it meets the body is too sharp. A better design would have a healthy radius at that corner along with a corresponding cavity radius in the mating joint.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2001-04-25 18:59

Actually, if I had a choice between an inexpensive Leblanc Vito (named for Vito Pascucci--one of the owners of Leblanc) and a Yamaha student clarinet, I would buy the Yamaha. They're better with construction and intonation.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: ron b 
Date:   2001-04-25 20:55

David -
I understand a radiussed corner would be better for strength. Is there any call for doing this as an aftermarket remedy? As for the material though, is hard rubber less brittle than hard plastic? Does the sharpness of the tenon *cause* a fracture in that area? Most new horns' tenons I've seen recently, plastic as well as wood, are very clean and sharp.
Brenda -
If I were shopping for a new (student) instrument and had my 'druthers between a Vito and a Yamaha, I too, would choose a Yamaha. In fact, when my son took up the clarinet in Jr. Hi some years back, I bought him a (rent-to-own) Yamaha because it looked to me like a good horn (mine are all Alberts). He still has it - maybe some day he'll take it up again (sigh.... )
- ron b -

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: David Kinder 
Date:   2001-04-25 21:08

As for the Vito line, just stay away from the multi-colors. The red, blue, green and white, and who knows what other colors are available. They're good for a look, but they just won't work in a regular band/orchestra.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Willie 
Date:   2001-04-26 04:01

The upper section of the Vito bass is sleeved. I think if they did the same with the lower section, a lot of those breaks could be eliminated. It would mean drilling a couple tone ports through the sleeve, but the increase in structural integrity at a known weak spot would justify it.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2001-04-26 10:04

I am reluctant to trust adhesives alone to repair broken tenons, I insert six 1.2 mm diameter stainless steel pins, about 30 mmm long across the break, into the wall of the instrument, and glued along their entire length. On broken sockets I use 7. Any evidence of their existence is difficult to detect. I've done this perhaps 50 times and never been let down. It is considerably cheaper than joint replacement, and the result stronger than a replacement. It takes me about an hour.

Ron you can't really add a radius back after production. But what is actually stronger than having a sharp corner at the bottom of the 'walls' is to cut a cave-like semicircle into the bottom of the wall. It looks as if it would be weaker but it is sronger. I've never seen it done, but it would be easy to do with a lathe.

You ask, "Does the sharpness of the tenon *cause* a fracture in that area? " It does not cause it, but it makes any external cause, eg being sat on, much more likely to succeed in breaking the instrument.

I have a few Armstongs that have broken in half at the thumb vent. Presumably it was a too tight fit and themn when the plastic shrank in winter the plastic could stand the stress no longer.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: ron b 
Date:   2001-04-26 16:03

Thank you, Gordon. You've helped clarify the radius question - I *assume* it would only need a shallow cut to accomplish that.
From what I'm reading here it seems that plastic is more brittle than either rubber or wood. Is it correct that, from what I've read in past posts, Greenline has overcome the flaws of 'ordinary' plastic? If so I wonder, what is the ground for continuing use of plastic is - economically, workability, environmentally... ?
I've thought for a long time that plastic is pretty durable stuff. Maybe I need to revise that :| I've had very good experiences with them so far but I must say I've yet to run into anything major.
Your method of re-enforcing with pins is excellent.
- ron b -

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2001-04-26 20:34

I think the manufacturers use plastic instead of greenline because the plastic is cheaper and their molds are already in place. But, if the greenlines continue to be popular with people like Ricardo Morales, more and more people will want to use them. I would certainly prefer a greenline to a plastic for my second clarinet.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Andy Brendler 
Date:   2001-04-30 13:53

This has got to be one of the very best sites on the Web! I got wonderful advice here when buying a clarinet for my 10 year old son, and now I find that there's an open discussion that we have the misfortune of joining.

My son has his first concert in a week. He was practicing Friday, without even being hounded, and got a bit frustrated. He "bumped" the Vito 7212 on our couch and it snapped right above the top joint between the two keyed sections of the clarinet.

This morning his music teacher tried to glue it with Super Glue. It didn't work, so my wife took it to a really good repair facility in the area. (They grimmaced when she said the teacher had tried Super Glue!) They're going to try to glue (epoxy?) it themselves. Otherwise, they could replace the joint (?) for about $160.

The clarinet was about $70 on eBay. We had it checked out when we got it and were told it had almost never been played and was in brand new condition. I guess our luck ran out!

Any suggestions? I can't believe that a $160 repair would be justified. Is there a source of top Vito 7212 sections whose bottom mate had broken? Or do they usually break on the top?

Again, thanks.

Andy

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2001-05-01 14:38

Ron: The larger the radius the less weakened is the joint, and the larger the radius undercutting the wall, the deeper it will need to go. The idea is that even a remaining scratch represents a "stress raiser"; it is effectively a groove with a very small radius.

Some plastics certainly are very durable, but design attention does need to be given to "notch sensitivity", which applies to plastics more so than metal or timber. I regard the Yamaha plastic as far more durable than many plastic instruments.

The Buffet Greenline is in a different category altogether. Although the timber dust is bonded with a polymer the composite is made considerably stronger by the addition of some carbon fibre.

Andy: I certainly wouldn't trust the epoxy mend for long.
Joint replacement can be expensive because keys seldom transfer from one joint to another without considerable time spent on adjustment of length of keys between posts, especially when keys are slightly too short between posts. Also pads will probably all need reseating and possibly changing. Yamaha is an exception because there is such high consistency and quality control in all parts. The irony is that Yamahas very seldom break anyway.

You can see why I do the pinning technique rather than the replacement. It can easily be 1/3 the price and the result is stronger than the original.

An alternative fix is to "graft" a replacement tenon to the instrument. I have found this more time consuming and quite likely less reliable than the pinning I do.

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 RE: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-08-13 00:53

Gordon,
Very curious about your 'pinning' technique. I have a couple questions:

- How do you align the holes in the two halves? (I'm assuming that you are leaving the rough, broken ends for to get good glue area)

- Do you oversize for the pins and use excess epoxy?

- How do you cleanup squeezed out epoxy from the inner bore?

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 Re: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: jthole 
Date:   2018-08-13 11:02

My Vito got bumped, and dropped from the podium onto a concrete floor. And yes, the plastic breaks and the keywork gets damaged.

OTOH, if I had not used my Vito, it would have been my cherished Buffet ... that would have been far worse, especially since I have a very good 1970's one. So the Vito served its purpose.

I have since then replaced it with a plastic Yamaha, but I an less satisfied with that one. If I get to play outdoors frequently again, I'll maybe replace it with a plastic Buffet (or another Vito).



Post Edited (2018-08-13 11:04)

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 Re: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2018-08-14 05:05

It breaks my heart to hear you say that Vitos on the “horns to avoid” list. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I would straight up recommend Vitos without any hesitation. They are, without question, some of the best student horns you can buy.

They are the preferred recommendation of Lucas Pemberton, the The Woodwind Instructor at the Red Wing Band Instrument Repair program. They have excellent keywork and play great. They have good intonation and a great tone. They are good horns.

Vitos are very robust. I don’t know if they are more or less prone to breaking at the middle tenon than any other brand, but it’s not a problem with the design. IDK if it is a broblem with basses, but I imagine all basses have that problem. Kids are born instrument wreckers. If they fall on it, or sit on it, drop it, or twist it, it will break.

Alcohol makes ABS plasic brittle. Some of these “easy breaks” may be due to alchohol damaged plastic - especially on tenons which may have been improperly cleaned.

I’m sure you can find a lot of busted Vitos out there, and find a lot of stories of kids breaking them, but the same is true of any other make.

- Matthew Simington


Post Edited (2018-08-14 05:34)

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 Re: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-08-15 03:25

The middle tenons on clarinets are by nature their weakest spot. The middle tenons on plastic and composite clarinets are especially their weakest spot.

Plastics and composites (Greenline included as it is effectively a composite material) do not have the natural tensile strength as wood and are further compromised by their narrower diameter/thinner walls. So any undue stress on them will lead to them shearing off.

That can be as a result of a knock or a fall or even the stress of having a marching lyre attached to the bell and holding the clarinet by the top joint when stood at ease. Add to that, plastics become more brittle with colder temperatures.

So to single out Vitos is unfair as it's something that can happen to all plastic and composite clarinets. You'll also find that some Vito basses even have metal reinforced middle tenons to address this issue.

Chris.

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 Re: Be carefull of Vitos
Author: 2cekce 2017
Date:   2018-08-15 05:36

I've had my Vito for many years, even dropped it a couple of times and haven't had any problems with it breaking or cracking. Own both red and white dazzlers from brand new purchased in the nineties and both are still holding up pretty good in my marching band.
I was told a few years back that using supplied cork grease damages the tenon and cork so I stop using it.

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