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 Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-04-26 07:56

I recived my Noblissima Clarinet 2 weeks ago. I got it from ebay. I emailed Ted Ridenour about it and he said it's essentially a 576 without the case and 2 barrels so i bought it.

I played it a for a week and sent it to the repair shop because it wasn't playing like it should. However, overall impressions were not that good. I don't know what I was expecting. I anticipated lots of hype about all the praise people were giving the Lyrique 576. good tuning, even break, etc.

The other clarinet I have is a YCL-200. If i were to compare them, the Lyrique had better lower register and i liked the resistance and tone. However, the keys are TERRIBLE. It's sharp and pointy in all the places and some of the metal have waves and scratches in them.

Also, it's' so inconsistent. I can play excerpts 2 out of 3 times without one of the notes not playing out or it just squeaking. Also, when i play upper register B-F#, it sounds like there is a metal whining sound in the back of the note that sounds like the clarinet is playing/squeaking at 5% volume.

Also, when I put together the upper and lower joint together, It feels like i'm breaking the instrument. When i twist it together, although i'm not touching any metal while putting it together, I feel a bump and overall, putting all the clarinet is unpleasant because the hard rubber is rough/not glossy smooth so the instrument feels dry.

I feel like this instrument has SO MUCH potential. If it had more reliable keys, higher quality rubber (glossy like similar to the inside of hard rubber Vandoren mouthpieces), I would like it.

Do you guys have any ideas what's wrong with my instrument from the things i mentioned in paragraph 4?

wish me luck :(

PS: the ridenour Model RAmt36 mouthpiece is a pleasant surprise and I enjoy playing with it which is good :/

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-04-26 08:01

Also, the repair person said 5 keys were bent and he had to replace one of the springs.

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: SarahC 
Date:   2017-04-26 16:05

I think Barry had some sharp edges that he sanded down.

I didn't have any such issues with mine. Shame. Maybe it is a dodgy one, and Tom would surely exchange it???

I would say I was initially disappointed with the libertas with all the hype, I thought it would be better than it was. I didn't think it sounded that much better than my 576 (well not worth the new price difference) . Luckily I got it second hand. So didn't pay a premium. It is still my favourite of my clarinets though. The benefits of the rubber etc. But yeah the key work is a b it clunky compared to my buffet.

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-04-26 19:22

Perhaps I've missed something in the OP...but how is the stated opinion different than:

I bought a Chevy vehicle from the guy down the street (after calling Chevy and being told that it was similar to a different model), but it was in pretty rough shape went I received it, so I went online and voiced my dissatisfaction with, I thought the tires were low quality because they weren't shiny and felt rougher than I had expected.

Meaning: I don't understand bringing the manufacturer to public scrutiny, when/if the product wasn't bought directly from the manufacturer. How can the manufacturer possibly be responsible for the quality of something someone else has had control of and is now selling?

Likewise, how it it fair to hold the manufacturer responsible for your own personal expectations...unless the manufacturer itself told you to expect certain things, and upon receiving the product directly from the manufacturer - the item lacked those promised things.

Now, on the other hand - if you bought the instrument directly from Tom Ridenour via an ebay marketplace, etc., everything would make sense. Is this the case?

(I'm curious about your statement pertaining to "higher quality rubber" - what professional standard are you using to measure the quality and reaching your conclusion?)

Having been a dissatisfied consumer a few times in my life, I understand your discouragement, and do not mean to belittle it. However, I am confused by the placement of your dissatisfaction.

SIDE NOTE: I do not own any Ridenour clarinets, and am not affiliated with Ridenour in any way...though I did send him a question via e-mail about seven or eight years ago, and he responded promptly, kindly, and informatively.  :)


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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-04-26 21:00

Sounds like you have a dud. Unusual, perhaps damaged by someone?

I've had pretty darn good luck with Ridenour clarinets ... if you can fault them in any way, it might be the finish of the keys, which is good, but not quite as well done as Yamaha, for example. I've a new R13/greenline ... fit, finish are good but not much better than Ridenour ... of course at 3X the price!

Yamaha's QC seems to be about the best, it seems ...

The Libertas has held up very well over 3 years of heavy playing ... only a little plating worn. Original bladder pads are still fine, only had one cut through. I had Tom tune/voice my C#/G# and he did this quickly and at no charge.

The rubber clarinets do feel different when assembling ... just get used to it. They also vibrate a little different under the fingers.

The Lyrique Speranza (similar to 576) and Libertas are much easier to play, than the Yamaha 650 or R13 or any of my old Selmer Signets and Bundys ... more uniform blowing resistance, intonation and timbre. You just put your fingers in the right spot and out comes the note, beautiful and in tune.

Despite the easier playing of the Rideonour clarinets, the Yamaha and Buffet have some characteristics that are useful for me. I like the "compactness" (Tom might eschew the RH/LH difference of resistance) of the LH clarion register and the altissimo is a bit higher which puts it closer to being in tune for my (largely untrained) old man's breath support, voicing and embouchure. In addition, I wanted a Buffet as a "reference" point for comparison to other clarinets as I acquire them.

It's strange that you clarinet arrived with bent keys ... I've found the keys on the Ridenour clarinets to be quite strong ....

I am still going to add a 576 to my collection ... and with no fear of disappointment.


Post Edited (2017-04-26 21:39)

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-04-27 00:30

I know the quality of key work was the number one complaint on some of the first runs on Ridenour's horns. I've never had any issues with my newer Libertas, but I'll admit it's not as good as other premium brand's key work.
I'm going to assume Tom avoids - like the plaque - creating a high gloss finish on his horns. So many equate (inaccurately) that rubber is plastic. High gloss would further confuse the consumer into assuming it's a plastic horn. It definitely isn't. The matte finish appears more like grenadilla (my opinion).

I have a sneaking feeling you're going to get the bump and bruises fixed on your Ridenour and you'll fall in love.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-04-27 02:02

Sarah commented
"I think Barry had some sharp edges that he sanded down"
Actually I had to modify the RH side Eb/Bb key. It was aggravating the side of my first RH finger owing to the top curve of this key not going all the way over. It had a tiny vertical side which I rounded off with a file. Problem fixed. But of course in filing this key to the correct profile I also remove a bit of the plating.


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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-04-27 02:10

Responding to fuzzy:
I bought this instrument. The seller is Tom ridenour so yes, i bought it directly from him.

I take back my claim

"Also, when I put together the upper and lower joint together, It feels like i'm breaking the instrument. When i twist it together, although i'm not touching any metal while putting it together, I feel a bump and overall, putting all the clarinet is unpleasant because the hard rubber is rough/not glossy smooth so the instrument feels dry. "

I applied cork grease and set my instrument over night. The problem was the new cork. It make the instrument feel unpleasant to put together. Although it doesn't feel like putting a plstic clarinet, it feels much closer to it and it doesn't feel like i'm breaking anything.

My problem with the inconsistency of the instrument is much better now. I played for 4 hours ( 1 hour intervals) last 2 days and I've gotten used to the instrument. I realized my throat tones are VERY SHARP and I really need to work on those. The buzzing/squeaking in the upper register B-F# has gone away after the 2-3 hour of playing and it's staying that way. Hopefully, if I play for another week or so, the instrument will " break in" and become functional.

I still hold my claim about the bad keys.

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Shostakovich 
Date:   2017-04-27 04:59

You aren't alone. I have similar complaints about my Lyrique 576 - particularly that the keywork is vastly inferior to intemediate buffet instruments.
The board is not critical enough regarding the Ridenour clarinet, and I presume this positivity leads to a number of disatisfied customers. I myself bought the 576 in response to it's reputation here.

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-04-27 07:53


Thank you very much for your clarification. That does put the whole scenario in an entirely different light, and I take back my original skepticism.

Thanks for the update(s)!

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: sistaskriket 
Date:   2018-04-06 12:30

I have several clarinets, LeBlanc Sonata, Buffe E13, Backun Protegé and the last one I bought, a Lyrique 576 bc. At first I really disliked the Lyrique - springs too stiff, keywork felt different from what I was used to so I put it aside and continued to play the Backun.
I sent a mail to Tom R, asking him about my concerns.
He assured me that after some time I would stick to the Lyrique if I only gave it some time.
He was so right - that's exactly what happened. I have played the Lyrique continously for over two years now.
No regeretts about the Lyrique.

Best regards

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2018-04-06 13:55

Hi Sarah. Yes, as I stated , I filed and rounded off the finger side of the RH side Eb/Bb key and have had no problem with it since. I stated that I ended up removing a bit of the plating but of course, in rounding off the problem edge of this key I actually removed all the plating where I use the file on it but there doesn't seem to be any real damage as such and it's hardly noticeable. I use this Clarinet constantly these days and that side key no longer aggravates the side of my finger.


Post Edited (2018-04-06 13:59)

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 Re: Ridenour Noblissima Disappointment?
Author: Adrian_B-flat 
Date:   2018-04-06 19:07

I actually bought mine close to the same time you (GenEric) bought yours. I got it rather than renting again for my son. Because I heard that there could be more blowing resistance with the Ridenour (and because I got my YCL34 for cheaper than my Noblissima) and my son is a young, relatively new player, he now uses the YCL34 while I use the Noblissima.

I have to think that you got a "dud" or there was some bad handling during shipping because I've been quite happy with my Noblissima. The only problem I've had with it was in the first few months of ownership when the LH rings and C#/G# key came off during a rehearsal due to a screw having backed out. After I secured it down, I haven't had problems with the clarinet since.

The shape and "heavier feel" of the RH sliver key took a little getting used to but I did. Another difference of "feel" between the YCL34 and Noblissima is that the RH pinky keys are in a "lower" position on the YCL34 than the Noblissima. Also, on the YCL34 hand positioning for the tone holes is in a slightly different position if you line up the bridge key...the holes on the YCL34 end up a degree or few clockwise from lining up with the LH tone holes looking down the clarinet from the mouthpiece. I've played and can adjust to either feel but I like the RH hand position on the Ridenour more.

A band-mate of mine (I'm in a community band) needed an upgrade from his plastic clarinet. He had it since high school and he often has to store his clarinet in his car during the workday on rehearsal nights and, in our part of the country, it could likely lead to a cracked wood clarinet. I showed him my Ridenour (I only had it for a couple of weeks at that point) and I let him try it out. He liked the feel and sound and, like me, isn't willing to spend thousands on a higher-end clarinet (neither of us are serious enough clarinetists to justify the expense) and didn't want to risk the clarinet cracking so he bought a Noblissima for himself. After I started reading some of the complaints on the board, I started becoming paranoid about my purchase or, even worse, that I might've led my friend astray into buying a bad clarinet but he's been happy with the purchase since then.

As for me, fast forward a year and I'm still quite happy with my Ridenour. Actually, recently, I had to put the YCL34 in for repair and, since I didn't have a "backup" clarinet, I had to lend the Ridenour to my son. (Side note: for the brief few days he used it, he actually sounded little better in tune with it but I want to hold judgment on it until I get to really listen to him playing the YCL34 post-repair). At that point, I realized I could use a "backup" clarinet.

To cut this long story short, I considered getting a Buffet (R13 or pre-R13) to become my "primary" because, frankly, it would be "cool" to say I had one, but, after looking at what was available in the price range I was willing to spend and, after a different band-mate suffered a crack in HIS Buffet (starting an inch (?) below and into the register tone-hole) just before a concert (he played mostly OK but was squeaky), I decided against spending the money on a used high-end wood clarinet (Buffet or similar)- I'd be so disappointed if I spent that kind of money only to have the clarinet crack. Instead, I bought a "demo" Libertas from the Ridenours (using "Best Offer") and am now waiting on delivery. If I like it at least as much as my Noblissima (and it's supposed to be "better"), I'll be quite happy.


PS- Bear in mind that my story is based on the practicalities of my needs, budget, and situation. If I made a living playing clarinet, was paid to play, or, at least, if I were talented/skilled/serious enough to be playing as a "featured" player in a volunteer band, it might be worth it to me to spend "big money" on a high-end wood clarinet...then again, if I were that serious, I'd probably also have taken (and continue to be taking) lessons.

Post Edited (2018-04-06 19:33)

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