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 Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-28 16:07

The most important tenon and socket joint on any Boehm system clarinet is the middle one. It has to be a good fit so it doesn't rock or wobble during playing as the long Bb depends on this. Not to mention any rocking felt by the player during playing isn't going to do anything for their confidence.

So you'd have thought on an expensive instrument such as a Buffet Prestige, this wouldn't be an issue. But it is and I've worked on my fair share of Prestiges (be it R13, RC, DG and others fitted with metal tenon rings) where the middle joint is a poor fit and the players all have reliability problems due to it rocking and their long Bb going out of adjustment.

If they can just make the tenon rings a better fit in the socket, then that will be the problem solved - especially on an instrument that's meant to be 'Prestige'. Go back to the drawing board and alter the dimensions of your tenons so they fit the sockets well.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2015-08-28 16:14

Today I looked at a new E12F that was all of 24 hours old with a firmly jammed centre tenon. Why Buffet or the dealer allow such problems out of the door is beyond me.

Tony F.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-28 16:39

At least binding tenons are easier to sort out compared to loose ones. I expect new clarinets without metal tenon rings to bind if they're made well as its just the nature of the wood. Then it's a case of removing only the high spots on the tenon rings to make them a good fit. I've seen too many tenons ruined by over enthusiastic sanding which has left the tenon rings round and a loose fit in the socket, but they will settle down during the playing in period.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-28 22:23

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-28 23:49

It's not about eliminating the middle tenon altogether, but simply making them a better fit in their respective sockets from the outset which is hardly a huge undertaking by making a simple change of a number in a computer programme.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2015-08-29 01:29

If the makers adopted the basic pattern of the full Boehm models and made the centre tenon longer and also put the correct size tonehole for C#/G# in it's proper place i.e. slap in the centre of the tenon/socket joint this would:
a) provide a really good toned and in-tune note (and it doesn't need to be an articulated mechanism.
b) greatly improve the stability of the centre joint.

I have seen comments that it makes the tenon weak - well in seeing well over 1000 clarinets in my workshop I have never seen a broken center tenon on a full Boehm.
My own Leblancs (semi-full system) show absolutely zero center joint wear/wobble after more than 50 years.



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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: maxopf 
Date:   2015-08-29 03:12

My new Prestige Bb's middle tenon is actually slightly too tight, but my Prestige A clarinet (probably about 10 years old) has the rocking issue. I'm not sure if it was always that way or if it has become looser over the years.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: BartHx 
Date:   2015-08-29 20:08

I have to go with the vote for a better (or more precise) socket/tenon design for current materials. Making a one piece body would greatly reduce the number of instruments that could be made from the available supply of billets. Using shorter sections means that you can be more selective about the quality of wood you use.

I am in the middle of a complete overhaul on my brother's Buffet A from the early 1950s. The grain is so tight you can barely see it. The center joint has no wobble and no binding with no cork on it. When completely stripped down, both joints have a lovely ring when gently tapped. I don't believe either his R13 A or Bb could match this fine old instrument for quality of materials (except for those darn small diameter pivot rods for which I have to use magnifying glasses to find the screwdriver slots with these old eyes).

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-29 20:53

Backun clarinets have a carbon fibre sleeved middle tenon which makes for a nice fit and isn't likely to bind. I worked on a Selmer Prologue which had plastic sleeved tenons and sockets, so they glided together smoothly and easily.

But the problem with Buffet Prestige tenons is like that of B&H clarinets from the mid '60s where the metal tenon rings are too narrow to be a good fit in the socket and the upper tenon ring is too short (or non-existent in B&H's case) so the only remedy is to fit a wider diameter metal tenon cap and build up the upper tenon ring to make it wider so it engages nicely in the socket. But these were mid range B&H clarinets (Edgware, Emperor and Imperial) and not Prestige level, so you'd expect a (former) top level clarinet to be well made.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-29 20:57

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-29 21:19

Easier said than done - you won't be able to remove the C#/G# key and have difficulty accessing the ring key point screws if both joints are glued together.

Makers of single piece clarinets will have used rod screws and either mounted the C#/G# key on a separate set of pillars (like older Leblancs) or have a doubled pillar for the RH ring keys so the C#/G# rod screw can pass through the lower bauble which will have a hole drilled through it for this purpose (like some pillars on saxes so the LH main action screw can be extracted easily).

The bridge key will have to have a clutch so both LH2 and RH rings are independent and the RH rings will lower the LH2 ring key vent for long Bb - if they were fused together to work as one single key, you'd lose the C, upper register G and altissimo E altogether as holding down LH2 will close the lower ring key vent.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-29 21:25

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2015-08-29 21:37

Instead of going to all that trouble why not just put a tenon joint in the middle of the clarinet? You could use cork to make it a snug fit with no leaks.

Tony F.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2015-08-29 21:39

Instead of going to all that trouble why not just put a tenon joint in the middle of the clarinet? You could use cork to make it a snug fit with no leaks. [wink]

Tony F.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-30 06:33

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2015-08-31 03:56

Much if not all of the blackwood provided to manufacturers by the import agents is already cut into approx joint size lengths, ends sealed with parafin wax and packed many to a small crate before shipment.
In these cases there is vitually zero chance of selecting billets from adjacent parts of the tree (or even from the same tree!).



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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-31 08:16

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-08-31 13:55

Buffet have built single piece body full Boehms in the past, but are hardly likely to start doing that anytime soon.

The flipside of the coin is they were also one of the few makers to offer Boehm system Eb clarinets with two piece bodies in more recent years. So that's one way with dealing with billets with flaws at the ends that would otherwise be turned into barrels or oboe tenon covers.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Nobody 
Date:   2015-08-31 20:49

[Content deleted]

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: markthenav 
Date:   2019-07-12 20:45

Chris,
I see you worked on a Selmer Prologue. I'm currently re-corking the tenons and noticed the plastic sleeve is raised resulting in extremely thin cork, perhaps 15 thousandths or so. I don't understand why they made the step so high and was thinking of turning the step down to a more typical depth. Curious if you noticed the same issue?

Thanks,
Mark

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-07-12 22:12

I didn't remove the tenon corks on the Prologue I worked on, so that's interesting to know how shallow the cork slot is. Provided the plastic tenon sleeve is glued on well, you should be able to machine the slot deeper without any risk of the end bit coming off. I don't know how thick the plastic sleeve is in relation to the tenon.

Either do that, or use 1mm thick sheet cork when replacing the tenon cork - it'll still compress down and if anything it helps being on the wide side to provide decent grip in the relatively slippery-sided socket. On oboes/cors with metal lined sockets I tend to leave the tenon corks fairly thick (using 2mm thick sheet cork) as they give better grip for longer than when using thinner sheet cork (1.6mm) which compresses but doesn't always recover to how it was when first fitted which can make the joints loose in a short time.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-07-12 23:53

Well the area where the cork goes sometimes the cork is too narrow so I will put the joint on a lathe and take off some wood on the actual clarinet joint and this will allow for a wider cork placement, thus getting rid of the wobble. Total time to do all of this work is about 30 minutes, includes the replacement of the wider cork. Some of the very old clarinets have cork throughout the whole joint which actually works very well.

Needless to say this bugs me a lot. If it didn't bother me I wouldn't take the time to do the modification, but I strongly feel it is a must. I also feel this way with a lot of mouthpieces being made and they too wobble. It's simply wrong.

Hope this helps and take your horn to a good repairman to have it done correctly.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




Post Edited (2019-07-12 23:58)

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: markthenav 
Date:   2019-07-13 01:39

Chris,
Thanks so much for your input. I thought the same thing and my local repair tech is going to try and mill the slot deeper. Then it should be good to go. I just don't understand why Selmer would want a cork to be so thin? Perhaps they thought the extra material made the joint stronger.

Best,
Mark

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: markthenav 
Date:   2019-07-13 01:41

Hi Bob and thanks for the input. Agree with you on the width discussion. In this case, it is a depth issue (extremely shallow resulting in a very thin cork). First time I've encountered this situation with any clarinet brand...

Best,
Mark

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-07-13 18:04

The width of the tenon cork isn't going to address wobbling tenons - the wobble is only cured by having the tenon made to fit precisely in the socket so it's rock solid even without the tenon cork fitted.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: m1964 
Date:   2019-07-13 22:23

Chris P. wrote:

"The most important tenon and socket joint on any Boehm system clarinet is the middle one. It has to be a good fit so it doesn't rock or wobble during playing as the long Bb depends on this. Not to mention any rocking felt by the player during playing isn't going to do anything for their confidence.

So you'd have thought on an expensive instrument such as a Buffet Prestige, this wouldn't be an issue. But it is and I've worked on my fair share of Prestiges (be it R13, RC, DG and others fitted with metal tenon rings) where the middle joint is a poor fit and the players all have reliability problems due to it rocking and their long Bb going out of adjustment.

If they can just make the tenon rings a better fit in the socket, then that will be the problem solved - especially on an instrument that's meant to be 'Prestige'. Go back to the drawing board and alter the dimensions of your tenons so they fit the sockets well.
Chris."

Hi Chris,

Exactly what I had to go through with a new R13 Prestige two months ago.
First, after playing the clarinet for 15 min. a day for 3 days, the middle joint started to bind- the tech fixed it by shaving the shoulder above the cork.
Three days later the middle joint and the barrel started to bind- he said he checked and found inside of the barrel and inside of the lower joint sockets to be slightly out of round so he shaved inside the barrel and lower joint sockets.

He also that he'd seen the same problem with many new clarinets not only Buffets.

I know a bass clarinet player who bought a new Leblanc which swelled to the point thag she had very hard time taking it apart after rehearsal.
The upper joint would just rub against the socket of the lower joint when I tried to put them together.

In any case, after all the adjustments that took some time, I am very happy witht my new Prestige: it sounds better then my 19 year old R13, also is more even across throat notes and is easier to play in altissimo.
AND it is more in tune.
BTW, my R13 is not a bad clarinet either but the Prestige is better.
IMHO, totally worth the money I spent on it.
Now I am thinking of replacing my A (RC) clarinet.

...hope my wife does not read that 😀



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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-07-14 10:08

>> First, after playing the clarinet for 15 min. a day for 3 days, the middle joint started to bind- the tech fixed it by shaving the shoulder above the cork. <<

That's the opposite issue, and it's definitely better to have a tenon a little too tight than too loose when new. Fixing that is much easier, assuming you have someone in your area who can do it.

It's mostly a consistency issue, but possibly also stability of the wood and weather in your area.
Some new clarinets are fine, no wobble and not too tight. Some are loose, but IME not that often. Some are tight, not rare at all.

It happens often enough that new clarinet tenons are tight that it's impossible to disassemble, or so much that it's impossible to assemble in the first place (most recent I saw was an RC Prestige where most joints couldn't be assembled all the way).

An extreme example I remember was a new E12F.
I always remove the least to allow the joint to be good, you never want to remove too much. I did that as usual, but quite a bit had to be removed.
In the next six months it had to come back two more times to remove more of the tenons.

I occasionally read that joints should be without wobble even without the cork. The above is an extreme case, but for all clarinets, at least here, if they were fitted that way when relatively col and dry, they would bind after playing. The change in a good and stable wood joint is more than to be able to allow that fit. Maybe weather in other areas allows it.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-07-14 14:24

My Festival b flat has an appallingly sloppy fit at the centre joint, but there is evidence this is the result of a tech getting over enthusiastic when adjusting the joint at some point before I owned it (this clarinet was 4 years old when I got it and had been played by a pro player in a major symphony who had it overhauled prior to use). I don't know what the evidence IS, only that a reliable and experienced tech said "it looks to me like...". I imagine that the joint swelled up, was adjusted (having material removed from the shoulder of the tenon) and then it decided "not to swell up", making the tenon too loose.



Post Edited (2019-07-15 00:16)

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-07-14 20:04

Since I posted on this thread about having to fix a tight centre tenon on a new E12F I've had to fix the same problem on several other new E12F's. Buffet seem to have a real problem with production quality on these and they never seem to learn. Is this just poor management or arrogance?

Tony F.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-07-15 02:08

It's still preferable for tenons to be on the tight side than too loose as tight or binding tenons can be fixed easily by removing just enough wood from the tenon rings to achieve a good fit, whereas loose tenons need more drastic action to build up the tenon rings and then they need fitting to the sockets (as well as a new tenon cork).

In the '90s, every brand new Noblet and Leblanc clarinet I saw had the tenons bind up within the first few months of being sold.

It's always easier to remove material to achieve a good fit than it is to put material back to cure a wobbling joint.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Prestige Middle Tenon Woes...
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-07-15 03:41

I guess that sort of makes sense. Thanks, Chris.

Tony F.

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