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 Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Clarimeister 
Date:   2011-03-10 03:24

Hey everyone. I started this thread basically because I hadn't seen enough reviews in the search to get my taste in a particular brand. For those that have played either the Forte or Amati C clarinets, or both, what's your opinion on them? Tuning problems with any particular one out of the ordinary? (I know about typical C clarinet tuning issues, as well as Eb clarinet tuning). Response, tone, etc.? Basically I'm looking only at these two brands because they are pretty affordable and I have heard some really good reviews, but not enough. I'm looking at maybe getting one sometime in the forseeable future. Again, any info or experiences are greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone!



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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Bobby McClellan 
Date:   2011-03-10 04:33

I have the Amati 351 C. I rarely get the chance to give it a work over in an orchestral setting. Construction and tone are nice. I cannot really complain about them

There is the Ridenour C clarinets that are available alto and I have heard good reviews for them.

Bobby

Bobby M. McClellan
Flowood, MS

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2011-03-10 04:40

I own a Forte and played a couple of Amatis. One of the Amatis I've tried seemed (looked and played) identical to the Forte.

In short, I wanted a C clarinet, I had good service from Doctor's Products and liked some of his products so bought a Forte. I was disappointed with its build quality and intoantion. In retrospect I probably wouldn't buy it, because of those issues. Tone is good for most of the range and not so great (a little stuffy) for some of the range. The identical looking Amati I've tried had the same issues pretty much.

Sorry, but to be up front, another disappointment was the reviews I read on this forum. So many praises, almost no mention of the many issues I found with this clarinet. Maybe some players are fine with the issues or don't notice them, I don't know. I considered that others don't have the issues but since I tried the identical Amati I don't think so.

I can add that I had one issue with the clarinet that needed to be solved and for several reasons (e.g. I'm not in USA) it was a bit tricky. Omar's customer service was excellent and gave a completely satisfying solution.

I have a very detailed review of this clarinet in a Word document file and if you are interested I can email it to you.



Post Edited (2011-03-10 04:43)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: CocoboloKid 
Date:   2011-03-10 13:05

I think this thread might be helpful, as Dr. Henderson himself talks about the differences between them. (The Forte is based on the Amati, btw, which would be why they seemed very similar to you).

http://test.woodwind.org/oboe/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=225140&t=225140



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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Alseg 
Date:   2011-03-10 13:37

Sorry to hear clarnibass has such a bad problem.
I was one of the reviewers (not at the initial release, however).
I have not had any major problems.

However, you do note that Dr Henderson satisfactorily resolved the issue.
[Satisfaction is something that I wish I would receive from a major maker of "quality" cutting implements, with whom I am currently sparring. ]


Disclaimer: I have a minor business relationship with Dr Henderson, but it is independent of the Forte line of instruments.


Former creator of CUSTOM CLARINET TUNING BARRELS by DR. ALLAN SEGAL
-Where the Sound Matters Most(tm)-





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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2011-03-10 14:23
Attachment:  amati_cls.JPG (199k)

Based on the posts I think something in my post was confusing, I'll try to clarify.

>> The Forte is based on the Amati, btw, which would be why they seemed very similar to you <<

Yes, when I said one Amati seemed identical to my Forte, I meant it had the same feel in the keys and the same response and intonation problems. It also had some of what I thought were distinct Forte features like the bigger throat A key and unique register key shape, the support for E/B hinge rod and maybe a few other things. I'm pretty sure some Amati models don't have these. Of course warrenty, accessories, etc. are possibly/likely different, I have no idea. I also don't remember if the unique bridge design, the type of pads, etc. were different. So maybe they are not the same in some ways and identical was the wrong word.

They PLAYED the same with the same issues so that's what I meant by identical, they were more similar than two clarinets of the same model often are. I attached a photo of this Amati C clarinet, I'm not sure but I think it is a 354 model (the one in the middle). You can notice it has some of these features which are different on most other Amati models.

>> However, you do note that Dr Henderson satisfactorily resolved the issue. <<

Sorry, I think I really confused with this. The problems that were solved are that my Forte C clarinet cracked and that I got it with two barrels of the same length. Because I'm outside USA shipping for repairs under warrenty or replacing the clarinet wasn't a real option. So Omar suggested a solution that was fine and completely solved these issues (and if anyone was wondering, the crack happened with almost no playing at all, while the clarinet was in its case, kept in the same place that all my clarinets are, none of which cracked).

However, the mechanical, intonation, etc. issues with the clarinet have nothing to do with this. They are issues of the clarinet and with the way it's made. To give an idea, here are some of the issues:
- Very flat low notes, especially the E/B but also F/C (also same fingering in clarion)
- Flat throat notes
- A few notes are very stuffy (e.g. throat Bb more than usual, low D)
- Several tone holes poorly finished with some chips (one especially bad, the C#/G#)
- Sharp machining finish of posts hurting my hand when assembling (same for the E/B support)
- Adjustment problems from new
- Damaged slots of rod and pivot screws (one completely ruined, had to be replaced)
- Binding linakges or double action in some linkages
- Some issues with design of key arms

To be honest there are more, but these are most of the objective and significant ones. Some are just my personal opinion (e.g. I don't like the unique and different shape of the throat A and register keys). My full review has all the details for anyone who is interested. Some are a bit nitpicking and then I admit it is not a major issue, especially for the price, but some (e.g. chipped tone holes, intonation) are IMO a significant problem even for the price.

I notice it's not popular to give a negative review of a product by some forum sponsors, but I was so surprised from the Forte C clarinet I got after reading all those pretty positive reviews. Well this is my honest review. Maybe mine is a one-off and that would be great.



Post Edited (2011-03-11 05:07)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2011-03-10 14:40

clarnibass wrote:

> I notice it's not popular to give a negative review of a
> product by some forum sponsors,

I wish it were more popular to give objective and accurate reviews; your review seems to me to be very objective and accurate, with the subjective part very well isolated.

The only way any manufacturer can get better is by learning the good and bad of their product - accurately - once it gets into consumer's hands.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2011-03-10 16:06

I've had the Forte C for well over a year now. I did not have the fit and finish problems that clarnibass had but perhaps I'm less demanding. I do have intonation problems - even with the shorter of the two barrels that come with the instrument it is flat until very thoroughly warmed up. I'm thinking about sanding off a mm or so from the shorter barrel to fix the problem.

Intonation is not perfect but neither am I. I use it for occasional orchestral playing but mostly for playing duets with my flute partner - we've exhausted all the stuff written or adapted for flute and clarinet and are now playing flute, oboe, violin duets. Because I can't transpose at sight very well, the C clarinet was a simple solution.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2011-03-10 16:12

Hmm, the flatness seems to be an everlasting issue. One should just keep in mind what market a specific clarinet is sold in/for. When it's for the US and UK (with A=440) then I'd expect it to play flat in an "elevated" (pardon the pun) country with A=442. It's just 8 cents, but combined with a "generic" flatness or sharpness this might exacerbate some tuning issues.

(this is not Amati-specific, of course)

--
Ben

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Jack Kissinger 
Date:   2011-03-10 16:29

I thought Amati manufactured the Forte. No?

FWIW, at different times, members of orchestras I've played in have let me try their (new) Amati, Noblet, and Buffet E11 C clarinets. I only gave them very short trials but, based on the ones I played, I would rank the E11 as the best. Then, after a significant gap, I would rank the Noblet followed closely by the Amati. The only one I would be willing to buy is the Buffet. I would rather transpose than use the Noblet or Amati that I tried. Frankly, they just felt cheap. MOO. YMMV.

Best regards,
jnk

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: The Doctor 2017
Date:   2011-03-10 20:58

(Disclaimer - I sell Forte' C clarinets)
Some of the finish issues given by Claribass are issues that I have had with the Amati Company. Amati makes the Forte' C to my specifications, which are different than the Amati C. In later shipments many of these issues have been addressed and fixed.

A review of any one instrument usually cannot be generalized to the whole line - I think that we all realize that each instrument has idiosyncrasies of its own and the feel of any instrument is a personal opinion. Many expensive C clarinets have tonal and intonation issues as well and the player can try to have them fixed or adapt as best possible to a difficult instrument to make perfect.

Many hundreds of Forte' C clarinets have been sold and Claribass is only the second reported cracking issue reported to me and less than 2% have been returned for refunds during the trial period. For many it would seem that the Forte' C is an acceptable instrument at an exceptionally reasonable cost.

I have not been able to fulfill all of the requests for new instruments because of supply problems with the factory and it is with regret that I will have to terminate Forte' Bb and C sales because of foreign exchange increases and administrative issues with the Amati Instrument Company. Repair parts will be available for existing instruments for 1 year.

IMO many of the special features of these instruments could and should be incorporated into existing lines of instruments to make them less prone to repair (e.g. the hidden bridge key - pat. pending) and more ergonomic.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2011-03-11 03:49

I have a Forte C clarinet. It is a good instrument that does not suffer from the poor workmanship that perhaps plagued early models.
Regarding the low throat tones, I had a shorter barrel made by barrel-maker (and list-contributor) Allan Segal. The improvement on my Forte C clarinet with the Segal barrel was more radical than any improvement I have experienced on Bb/A clarinet with a better barrel. I ordered the shorter barrel primarily to raise the throat tones so the improvement in tone, homogeneity, lack of choke and increased headroom was an unexpected bonus!
(As an aside, I can't help wondering if the Forte/Amati is made for use with a (shorter) C clarinet mpc, resulting in low throat tones when played with a Bb mpc.)
On my Forte C clarinet the long B and C (and low E and F) were very flat on my instrument (and the 2 others I tried). I had a competent repairman do the following two operations:
1) There is a hole in the bell on the Forte C clarinet which I had tripled in size to bring up the B.
2) The long C's pitch is greatly affected by the size of the first uncovered tonehole below the C (ie the tonehole that the B key covers when you play B). On the Forte C clarinet this tonehole is bizarrely small. If you look at at a Bb, A or Eb clarinet, the two lowest toneholes (under the C and B key) are close in size. But on the Forte C clarinet these two toneholes are not close in size, as though the makers of this instrument got the requisite size of the lowest tonehole wrong. The pad and pad cup are the normal size but the hole is about 25% too small.
I had my repairman increase the size of the lowest tonehole (under the B key) and that brought up the pitch of the long C so that it is now in tune with the notes around it.

By the way, I second those comments that Doc Henderson is a good person to work with.
------------------------------------------------------------
Simon Aldrich

Clarinet Faculty - McGill University
Principal Clarinet - Orchestre Metropolitain de Montreal
Principal Clarinet - Orchestre de l'Opera de Montreal
Artistic Director - Jeffery Summer Concerts
Clarinet - Nouvel Ensemble Moderne

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2011-03-11 06:00

>> The only way any manufacturer can get better is by learning the good and bad of their product - accurately - once it gets into consumer's hands. <<

Yes, I can add that Omar seemed interested in reading my detailed review. Some makers are not so interested (if they bother to reply at all).

To add something positive, some things on the Forte were better than I've seen on some of the more expensive professional models. For example the fit of the tenons, even of the replacement shorter barrel that I got seperate from the clarinet.

>> One should just keep in mind what market a specific clarinet is sold in/for. When it's for the US and UK (with A=440) then I'd expect it to play flat in an "elevated" (pardon the pun) country with A=442. <<

We play 440, 441 and 442 here. The intonation issues were much more significant than that. With the shorter barrel it was impossible to play as sharp as 440, struggling even after warming up, with a big part of the range. Other than that the intonation throughout the range was a serious issue.

>> Many hundreds of Forte' C clarinets have been sold and Claribass is only the second reported cracking issue reported to me <<

Yeah, I (though my username is actually clarnibass) don't feel the cracking was much of an issue, no big deal, it can happen with any clarinet really. That's why I didn't even mention it in my first post. I only felt necessary to mention it later to clarify what was misunderstood in the post by Alseg.

>> A review of any one instrument usually cannot be generalized to the whole line <<

Of course, but problems with any one instrument can't be dismissed either.

>> Regarding the low throat tones, I had a shorter barrel made <<

What length is it? I will consider making or buying a shorter barrel though price was part of the reason I bought the Forte so investing hundreds(?) more wasn't my plan.

>> There is a hole in the bell on the Forte C clarinet which I had tripled in size to bring up the B. <<

What do you mean by "tripled"? Triple the diameter? That would make it the size of a normal low key tone hole and essentially will make it the tone hole for E/B. IME unless a bell vent hole is actually big enough to be a full tone hole, the note will be stuffy at some point of enlaring it. If it is so large to be a real tone hole, is the E/B not too sharp at all? I guess I can always refill it and make it smaller again, or fill and drill the hole in another location (BTW if I remember this vent hole is undercut so it may be worth undercutting the enlarged hole too, FWIW).

>> The long C's pitch... On the Forte C clarinet this tonehole is bizarrely small... as though the makers of this instrument got the requisite size of the lowest tonehole wrong. <<

According to Omar the Forte is made to specs and has a different tone hole configuration. Obvioulsy they chose to keep this tone hole size on the Forte or it was specificailly made this way for the design of the Forte. It is strange, since the note is so flat. I will probably enlarge it, eventually.

However on mine intonation issues are bit more than just those two lower notes and throat notes.

>> I'm thinking about sanding off a mm or so from the shorter barrel to fix the problem. <<

I will consider shortening one of the barrels. Any suggestions from the barrel makers on how to do that with this very short barrel with the outside taper? I can hold a Bb barrel with a barrel holder but not this C barrel. Between centers is boviously not an option for shortening. If I have to make a special holder I will probably not bother.



Post Edited (2011-03-11 06:08)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Clarimeister 
Date:   2011-03-11 22:09

Doc. Thank you so much for your information and to everyone who has posted their opinions fwiw. Doc, just to clear up your post, are you no longer selling the Forte C's anymore? Or just on a hiatus? If you are indeed done with them, would you recommend an Amati, or would you say look for something else like an E11? Thanks.



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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: The Doctor 2017
Date:   2011-03-11 22:19

All of the Bb and C clarinets are sold or reserved. There will be no further shipments from Amati. Repair parts will be available for 1 year but all of the regular needs - pads, springs, etc. are normal repair shop stock.
L. Omar Henderson
www.doctorsprod.com

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2011-03-12 14:08

>> Regarding the low throat tones, I had a shorter barrel made <
>What length is it?

I had the Segal barrel made to 43 mm, 1.5 mm shorter than the shorter of the two Forte barrels.

>> There is a hole in the bell on the Forte C clarinet which I had tripled in size to bring up the B.
>What do you mean by "tripled"? Triple the diameter?

Because the original hole in the bell was close to the bell's inner tenon socket, we could not enlarge the hole symmetrically, meaning we could not make it a larger round hole. To do so would have collided the enlarged hole with the tenon socket. Therefore we had to make the hole larger in an oval fashion. It looks weird but it brought up the long B. I said "tripled the diameter" because the hole was more than doubled in size. Eyeballing it, I guesstimated the resulting hole was roughly three times the size of the original (but not round, therefore I couldn't measure the diameter).

>According to Omar the Forte is made to specs and has a different tone hole >configuration. Obvioulsy they chose to keep this tone hole size on the Forte or >it was specificailly made this way for the design of the Forte

You might be right but I am not convinced of that. Why would would someone make the tonehole smaller if the result was a very flat note? All the toneholes are proportional to Bb clarinet toneholes except the long C tonehole, which is not only strangely small but has a padcup size which suggests the tonehole should be larger.
The size of pad cups are usually commensurate with the size of the tonehole. The smaller the tonehole, the smaller the pad and padcup. On the Forte C clarinet the padcups over the lowest 2 toneholes are roughly the same size (as on regular Bb and A clarinets). I presume he pads and padcups ares roughly the same size because the toneholes are roughly the same size. But on the Forte the tonehole responsible for the low C is considerably smaller than the tonehole above *but with a disproportionately large cup* as though the tonehole was meant to be larger. I could be wrong.
But the long C is very flat and the size of the tonehole cup suggests the C tonehole should be larger. When the C tonehole was enlarged (thereby matching the size of its padcup) it played in tune.
I find the possible reasons and explanations less important than the fact that the 3 operations improved the issues (shorter barrel, enlarged hole in bell and enlarged C tonehole).

Simon

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2011-03-12 15:20

> You might be right but I am not convinced of that. Why would would
> someone make the tonehole smaller if the result was a very flat note?
> All the toneholes are proportional to Bb clarinet toneholes except the
> long C tonehole, which is not only strangely small but has a padcup size
> which suggests the tonehole should be larger.

Hmm. I would have agreed with you two hours ago, now I don't any longer...
I "did" a German Eefer in this afternoon, and I thought that the position of the F#/C# tonehole (i.e. the tonehole opened by the F#/C# lever) should be roughly between the two adjacent toneholes and of similar size. It isn't; it's much smaller and closer to the upper tonehole. This works surprisingly well, I gather it's more of a vent than a "proper" tone hole, and it isn't stuffy at all. (That instrument had other issues to compensate with that...arrgh)

--
Ben

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2011-03-12 16:44

It seems to me that we are discussing two different issues.
With your German eefer, is the F#/C# pad and padcup commensurate with the tonehole's size? If they made the tonehole smaller on purpose on the clarinet you just worked on, I imagine they made the pad and cup to fit the smaller tonehole.
This is my point. The fact that on the Forte C clarinet the long C tonehole was half the size of the pad and padcup suggests that the inexplicably small C tonehole was not by design. To state the obvious, the grotesque flatness of the long C also suggests that the smaller tonehole size was not by design. I have never seen a discrepancy like this between tonehole size and pad size. It seems that the pad size is appropriate to the tonehole size (ie large toneholes have large pads, small toneholes have small pads).

Simon

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2011-03-12 17:47

>> You might be right but I am not convinced of that. <<

Not convinced of what...? It's either that they decided to keep the smaller tone hole for the Forte, or they specifically decided to have it in this size. I guess there is a third option...

>> The fact that on the Forte C clarinet the long C tonehole was half the size of the pad and padcup suggests that the inexplicably small C tonehole was not by design. <<

I definitely disagree. If not by design, then why? A complete mistake? Made to at least several of the clarinets? Does anyone have a Forte without the small tone hole? If Amati made a mistake, did the Forte quality control not notice?! I don't think this is a real possiblity.

IMO you are giving far to much significance to the size of the key cup. Very often pad cups are made in the same size to save money in manufacture. Maybe also to look better. It's not important that the tone hole is smaller. An example is the double F/C keys on Buffet Prestige bass clarinets. The extra vent hole is much smaller and key cup is identical in size. On almost all clarinets many keys have the same size key cup with different size tone holes. On saxophones too, some keys are much bigger than their tone holes in comparison with others. It's not strange at all. If the E/B key cup was smaller because of the smaller tone hole I'd think it was strange.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2011-03-12 22:43

You are surely right about tonehole cup size. Not being a technician, it was perhaps naive of me to make a connection between the padcup seeming too large for the tonehole, but not too large for the size that the tonehole should be.
What's more important than the fact that the C tonehole is manifestly too small on the Forte C clarinet is that one can have it enlarged to play in tune.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Franklin Liao 
Date:   2011-03-13 05:15

I too have problem with finding a fitting C clarinet. To be frank, I was very close to go through and have one custom ordered after all, but clarnibass talked sense into me. That and the state of the economy makes this project not feasible for me (unless I can sell a surplus clarinet to fund the venture)

The early sample of Forte and Amati 351 did not do it for me. I lack the vocabulary to describe this perfectly, but the response is just so resistant comparing to what I am getting on the Bliss that I had then and CSG that... I felt as if I was coaxing the instrument at times. I did not have any qualm about the Forte mechanically however.

(mind you, how much I suck at the instrument itself doesn't help much)



Post Edited (2011-03-13 10:15)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Mark Cookson 
Date:   2011-03-13 10:09

On the topic of cheap C clarinets, for a read through of the Strauss "Happy Workshop"I recently borrowed a plastic one, sold by John Packer in the UK . It was their JP124 model, which sells for 174 pounds, and I was very impressed by how well it played.

The tuning was perfectly manageable using my Bb mouthpiece. I only got my hands on the instrument at the start of the rehearsal, so I didn't have much time to experiment with high register fingerings (and the Strauss does head up into the stratosphere...), but up to altissimo G I was fine using pretty standard fingerings.

Having played some quite stuffy wooden C clarinets in the past, I was happy to find this one quite free-blowing.

At such a low price I guess it's Chinese-made, but the keywork felt tight. I know I've seen some Chinese clarinets with horrifically soft metal keys in the past, but this one seemed to have stayed well in adjustment (although I'm not sure that it had seen a great deal of use yet).

Compared with the wooden C clarinets I've used in the past (from memory, a Selmer, a Buffet E11, a Noblet and a Leblanc Espirit) this one held up remarkably well. Definitely worthy of consideration if you need a C occasionally but don't want to shell out too much for it.

Mark

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: donald 
Date:   2011-03-13 10:37

(Hi Mark!)
Here in Auckland a number of younger students play Amati plastic C clarinets (i don't know the model number) rented out by a local music store. These are not good enough for use by a serious musician, and I would not consider using them in the orchestra.
I have previously (in Cincinnati) had extensive use of a Buffet C clarinet that gave very few intonations problems when used with a B flat mouthpiece. More recently i have played Buffet RC Prestige C clarinets that were greatly disappointing- as these were not hand picked, that is probably more evidence that you have to "find the good one" (as you do for the other members of the clarinet family).
I hoping to try one of Tom Ridenours C clarinets at C-fest this year.
dn

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2015-09-21 00:45

Adding to this dormant thread to report my recent experience in buying a C clarinet (finally pushed into this by Strauss's Frau Ohne Schatten).

I'd seen reasonable reports here about the Amati 354S, but on the basis that you should always avoid the cheapest of anything, I thought I'd give Buffet a try first. On a limited budget, that meant the E11 - which is nearly twice the price of the Amati, and you get what you pay for, don't you?

No.

The Buffet very quickly went back, and I am now a pretty happy owner of an Amati. I was prepared for a few dodgy notes, and happy to do a bit of work filling or reaming holes to even things out. But some notes on the Buffet were astonishingly far out relative to the rest - incredibly sharp throat notes, and almost a semitone flat towards the top of the altissimo. But more seriously, the whole instrument was rather low in pitch. Even when fully warmed up, I couldn't properly get it to 440, and for any sort of quick change the pitch error would be grotesque.

OK, this could be me at fault, but I've played decent C's in the past (e.g. Noblet) and not had this problem. And it's not there with the Amati. On opening the case, the omens were immediately good: you get two tuning barrels. But the overall pitch is fine even with the longer one. The relative tuning is also pretty good: altissimo is fine, and I didn't experience the general flatness of the throat notes that others have found. The bell has a hole of about 4mm diameter, which brings up the B (still slightly flat, but tolerable). The small-diameter C hole mentioned above is still present, but it seems to be doing its job, and that note is not flat.

Furthermore, the Amati build quality seems much better than Buffet. Their keys look incredibly cheap, with the long LH pinky keys made of bits of metal soldered together. The Amati keys are much more traditionally made, and well plated. Buffet has painted-on logos that rub off almost immediately, but Amati's are engraved. And so on. This is the only Amati I've ever played, but on this basis their other instruments must be worth serious attention.

Finally, praise for Dawkes Music of Maidenhead, who were very helpful and efficient in sending out instruments for trial (with free postage), and in organising couriers to take back the unwanted ones.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: donald 
Date:   2015-09-21 01:30

HI there,
since my contribution to this thread was posted I also contributed to another thread where I wrote of a friend who had an Amati wooden C clarinet that was very good- and with tweaking (as John Peacock wrote, filling in a few holes, enlarging one, and a venting hole in the bell) definitely played better than the Buffet RC Prestige C clarinets I mention in the post above.
I have not had the chance to compare it with another colleagues Ridenour but was mocked on this BB for even suggesting they might be comparable (certainly, NOT before tweaking).
I now currently own an Amati wooden C clarinet (as yet untweaked) that I just used for a professional performance last night. With the exception of the above mentioned middle line B, another note that will be easily fixed, and the C#/G# hole being too high and small- it plays well.
Amati seem to have very sturdy keywork and "build", but very poor finishing in terms of detail to tone holes etc. A repair tech working in Sydney told me of an Amati Alto clarinet that played very poorly, but after the keys were stripped it was discovered that the edges of tone holes (at the bore) hadn't been well finished- and that when this was sorted out (splinters removed etc!!!!) the clarinet played really well.
My C clarinet plays with a really nice tone quality that is different enough from the B flat to justify owning a C (rather than just getting better at transposing!), but at one note is so out of tune I can't believe they let it out of the workshop (fortunately an easy note to fix). I'll try to compare it to the Ridenour sometime soon (not to belittle the Ridenour but to assess the "bang for buck" value of the Amati)



Post Edited (2015-09-21 16:08)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Wes 
Date:   2015-09-21 02:00

About two years ago, I bought a Forte C clarinet at auction for a good price. It came with two barrels and a good mouthpiece but was generally way too flat in pitch, perhaps a quarter tone. Sealing the pads with liquid wax did not help much. After replacing the small white leather pads with cork pads, it plays well at A440 and can be used in public performances. Those white pads, said to be Italian, were simply leaking right through the leather pores. A few altissimo notes are still a little flat but they can be played well with alternate fingerings. It sounds great and plays easy, with a little adjustment of certain keys, such as thinning the sliver keys.

The real situation with C clarinets is making sure that it is warmed up when playing it.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2015-09-21 02:32

Wes,

> The real situation with C clarinets is making
> sure that it is warmed up when playing it.

You can't do that. Too many cases need quick changes (e.g. Mahler). Actually, a C is no different to normal instruments: too often, you have to change straight onto a cold instrument and do a big solo. The solution is to have a setup so that your instrument plays at pitch with the barrel slightly pulled out (0.5-1mm) when it's warm. Then you can do a quick change with barrel fully in and have a chance of playing near pitch when cold. Some instruments have their tuning designed in this way, but not all. The Amati C seems to be one such example.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-09-21 15:29
Attachment:  c_clarinet_case 001.JPG (714k)

I used my C clarinet in Haydn's Creation fairly recently and was really pleased with its performance - didn't find any tuning problems, maybe some very minor ones that could easily be brought under control, but no more so than any other clarinet.

Chris.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: MartyMagnini 
Date:   2015-09-21 21:45

Get the Ridenour Lyrique in C - it's a fine instrument.

http://www.ridenourclarinetproducts.com/lyrique-570-c-clarinet.html



Post Edited (2015-09-21 21:46)

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2015-09-22 21:04

I know this is a "resurrected" thread from years back. I've always thought the Amati horns were under-rated. I'm certain those who love them agree, but - they do seem to need a lot of professional adjustments.

I play a Ridenour Lyrique C clarinet. It is an absolute love-affair. The only time I don't like it - is when the job is done, and I have to put it away! On their website - several great reviews from "real-world" Symphony players who use it, exclusively, when the C is needed.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2015-09-22 21:34

Ken: I wouldn't say the Amati needs a lot of adjustment. I had to partially fill a couple of holes in order to flatten notes (LH E/B and throat G#), but most professional clarinets need tweaks at that level.

The Ridenour does seem to get a good press on this board. I would have considered it as an option, but I don't know anywhere in the UK where you can try one out - does anyone know a place that stocks them?

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2015-09-22 21:39

I believe your very own Les Craven is the UK distributor.

For sales in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
please contact
Les Craven at
leslie@craven.f2s.com

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2015-09-23 18:10

I have an Amati 351 C purchased when you could get them for $525. I like it, my music teacher likes it and a couple of professional clarinet players who have used it thought it was fine. It has really nice wood and the finish of the silver plated keywork is excellent. After ~8 years it still looks brand new. I see WWBW now has them priced at $899.99

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: Affordable C Clarinets Amati vs Forte
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2015-09-23 18:41

My opinion of Amati has unfortunately been tarnished by the old Corton/Lafleur/B&H 400 instruments while the country of origin was still called Czechoslovakia. Like most former Eastern Bloc instruments (B&S, etc.), they weren't of the best quality and were imported to fill a gap in the student market before Taiwanese imports gained popularity. We already had some Chinese imports in the UK since the '60s (Lark, Hsinghai, Parrot, etc.), as well as French and Italian student/intermediate level instruments - the Italian and Czech ones often marked 'Foreign'.

But I'm sure they have upped their standards since then - I do own an Amati contrabassoon which is a great instrument for the price and in some ways it's better built than a Heckel costing several tens of thousands more.

I would like to go over an Amati C clarinet in detail to see not just how they play, but also how well they're built and finished.

Chris.

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