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 Clarinet Fest
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-07-31 16:34

Well I'm not sure what to say about the ClarinetFest in Orlando. On a positive note I will say I saw perhaps the best concert of my life. My friend Julian Bliss playing the Nielson Concerto. No it wasn't great is was 10 stars beyond great. At the age of 35 or so he just keeps getting better. Will he keep getting better everyday? I guess so. He became a friend, because he is so kind and approachable. Don't ever be shy to say hello to this amazing man. He of course got a Standing Ovation and people were really ready to stand up 10 minutes before he finished playing. Yes it was that exciting.

Lets talk about his setup, this leads to a real problem I have with the convention in general.

He plays on a Bliss clarinet of course. The cost is under $1500 or $3000 for a Bb and A set. An inexpensive mouthpiece and a standard hard 5 strangth reed. The mouthpiece costs about $80 or so. Ligature again is probably about $60 or as low as $33, or $10 on ebay.

Now the convention. I was saddened with the prices of some stuff. Yes we know about $21,000 DEAD clarinets that won't fill the medium to larger halls and small halls that have carpeting.

I saw a $1300 ligature. WHAT? Played on a few new stinky Buffets with dead notes and then notes that pop out uncontrollably with the feel of a loud jet as the dead notes sound like an electric car, kind of like you are tripping on a carpet! Found 1 decent one but still not great.

I played the new Selmer mouthpiece. It looks very good. But it doesn't play well. I know whats wrong with them, so if any Selmer key owners are reading this I will offer my talents to fix them and make the very best production mouthpiece on the market BLOWING away Rico, Vandoren, Zinner blanks, and any other company you can think of. Yes they are that great for about $100. However DON"T buy one as they are missing some needed fixes and they are too resistant, unless you like sore lips and back pressure after 5 minutes. You will need a softer reed to hit FF. You might feel like you've just had a workout at your local gym.

I left SAD. Watching school kids brainwashed that this useless expensive gear will land them into a major symphony. Or even get them first chair in their high school or college band. We need to protect these kids on this board by spreading the word. Tell the kids how the Germans use a string as ligatures! Tell them how so many pros used the Bonade ligatures for $23 or so. And maybe we need to check out the Julian Bliss clarinets and as low as $900 on ebay for the top model.

Oh, I never heard a good sounding player that caught my attention. The same sounds are all alike. It really didn't matter what setups they were playing.

Lets get that Marcellus sound back NOW. The Zinners are DEAD. Dump them!

Stanley Drucker was there! You missed getting a photo and an autograph! Looks great for perhaps 85 or so? I was him walking around at a fast pace. I think he played but sadly I didn't know about it.

I will write a shade more as I'm just getting in from the flight. 5:30 AM.

I want music to be fun. We need to put a stop to these nuts selling $1300 ligatures, $21,000 clarinets, $600 mouthpieces which are stinky Zinner blanks which are Dark and DEAD. You can't be heard on these setups. That's one semester with the finest music in the country.

Lets stop this! Music should be fun, not expensive.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: echi85 2017
Date:   2017-07-31 20:21

Bob,

Thanks for the report on the convention for those of us who did not attend. I agree with you on many of the things you stated in your report. There is a flood of new equipment whose cost does not justify any perceived improvement. The idea of spending $1300 on a ligature is absolutely bonkers. I also agree that you don't need to spend a lot of money to have a good setup. Many people fall in love with the idea of newness, but not necessarily better.

Where I disagree is with the idea of holding on to the tonal ideas of the past. I grew up listening and idolizing Robert Marcellus. I own nearly every recording he ever made, including many of the LPs that were not transferred to CDs. I completely understand your desire for things to be as they were, but they simply are not. We cannot ignore the great influx of major, big name players shifting towards a darker, more covered, and yes, duller sound. It may not be what you prefer but it is what the clarinet world is shifting towards. I'm thinking of players like Boris Allakhverdyan, Anthony Mcgill, Frank Cohen, Ricardo Morales, Michael Rusinek, Jon Manasse. All of whom have shifted towards this style of playing.

If I could use an acting analogy, it's like you want actors to still act like Clark Gable, Peter O'Toole, and Paul Newman. No one will doubt that these were some of the greatest actors to live but they certainly did not act in a modern sense. If you put one of them in a modern movie, it would be anachronistic. It's simply a different time.

I sometimes struggle to accept what modern clarinet playing is, but I would be foolish to believe that the only acceptable tonal concept is one from 50 years ago. The past was great, but we don't live in it.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-07-31 21:10

As an all but retired economist by "day," a clarinet player/teacher by "night," I've studied human behavior and the purchase decision.

IMHO, parallels can be found with expensive clarinet gear and clinical drug trials.

The link is desperation and false hope. Sadly, as we are only human, in times of desperation, where ironically enough, critical and logical decision making needs to be first and foremost, some of us tend, in the absence of preventive mechanisms, to throw metaphorical "Hail Mary" passes with decision making.

There are good reasons why, for example, clinical trials of say a new cancer medication have precise and supervised protocols for who is eligible to participate in them. And the reason why is that in situations of desperation, particularly where we think we have nothing to lose, we're apt to try, against medical advise, the latest snake oil remedy, with limited or no efficacy, worse harmful outcomes, sold by people more interested in profit then cure.

I'm not some conspiracy theorist. I do believe that most purveyors of clarinet products really do wish, in addition to profit, that their wares add value to the clarinet playing experience, and sales are largely a product of informed consumer recommendations.

But I also think that wide variations exist among suppliers, perhaps with Ridenour, IMHO, being at the more honest end, and Silverstein closer to the other side of this spectrum (and not to suggest one pure and the other corrupt.)

Then again, in farness to each, and all in between, nobody forces us to make purchases, and few of us want government telling us what we can and can't do beyond basic rules that promote fairness and safety.

To stall innovation is both silly and in many ways illegal. But to honor those who paved the way, with simpler clarinet setups is to help us to remember that the best investment is in ourselves and the advances that hard, focused, and near flawless work in front of an etude book and a metronome clicking at 110bps has yet to be surpassed by many of the marginal improvements of gear.

Maybe if it wasn't so hard to make a living as an symphonic clarinetist less pros would enter endorsement deals that fuel some of these spending decisions.

Then again, the market does what the market does, and sadly for me, it seems to prefer Kanye to Kalmen (Opperman).

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-07-31 21:49

Great comments on the ClarinetFest, Bob. Have never been to one before, so it was great to hear about what all the excitement was about. The clarinet sound has indeed changed. I personally like the Marcellus sound, but I think the true heroes are those who allow different opinions. You, I and a select few may like the Marcellus sound: why not let others like whatever sound they like? If they like Ricardo Morales's sound, then let them have their own opinion.

I think it would be wrong to "force" people to get rid of the modern clarinet sound and allow only the Marcellus/Genusa sound. Think about it: we let people choose which restaurants they want to dine at, what brand of clothes to buy, what toilets to install in public restrooms, even...

Is it correct to "force" people to play the clarinet with a certain sound by banning any products that produce a "darker," "deader" sound? Would that not be discriminatory, perhaps?

America is great because we are given the freedom to choose. And America is now influencing the world about the right to choose. "Banning" the "modern" clarinet sound would ban the individual rights of the clarinetists.

I had a pro (a clarinetist in a world-famous Philharmonic Orchestra, whose name I won't mention) tell me that my sound was too bright. Does that necessarily mean I can't get into a top orchestra with the sound I have right now? I don't think so. I am determined to prove people who answered "no" to that previous question within several years, when I go into my mid/late 20s. In fact, I was at the NAfME All National Honor Band 2 years ago, and Dr. Eugene Corporon, the director of our band, told me to play the solo along with the principal player because he explicitly said "you have such a fabulous sound. Your tone is amazing." He even told the first chair to match my sound. Opinions differ: if your sound isn't extremely bright or extremely dark, you will always find someone who likes your sound.



--Ray Zhang
"It's not the hours you put in your work that counts, it's the work you put in the hours."

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-01 02:40

I don't think the dark sound is the new way of the future. At the clarinetfest the top performers did not sound this way.

I strongly believe the instrument companies and mouthpiece companies are controlling the sounds. As players we have to let them know whats going on. Buffet is not listening. Yamaha is, Selmer is questionable.

As for Ricardo I have to ask all of you why is he playing on a glass mouthpiece from Italy, with a Buckun stamp on it? Because it is a live sound getting away from the dead sound. Smart man. He surely knows what he wants. He's getting it!

So lets face it 99 percent of the clarinet world never makes it into the big leagues. Even into community bands. So they play for pure enjoyment. Maybe they make a million dollars a year and can find enjoyment buying the most expensive everything! Go for it.

Julian Bliss and most other top players do NOT have dead sounds. Far from it. Even Ricardo is heading away from this. It's slow, but he is going into that direction.

I strongly feel the instrument companies and some of the mouthpiece companies have done a disservice to us by giving us stuff we don't want. But since it costs $700 for a mouthpiece and $1300 for a ligature well we must buy it because it costs more and we surely must become a better player? Right?

Julian's setup is far less than $5000, maybe only $4000. He sounds fine to me! I just heard one of the greatest concerts of my life.

For those that wish to have that dark sound buy it! Buy the $700 mouthpieces, the $21,000 horns and the $1300 ligatures. It's OK! I won't be mad!

I was just sad, seeing this happen at the convention! I think it's wrong! Cases selling for $1500! I don't know, my double case costs less than $100 and I've NEVER had a horn crack. Not once in 45 years.

But remember this sound won't last. That's OK too, because in a few years the sound will probably be on the warmer side. Not dark and you can sell everything and start over with new gear.

Harold Wright changed clarinets every 7 or so. Looking for that sound he craved for.

Is that Marcellus sound really gone? Why do Buffet clarinets from the 1960's sound so sweet? Why do players pay $500 to $2000 for a Kaspar mouthpiece?

The clarinets made in the 1960's cost about $275. The Kaspar's cost about $60. The Chedeville's actually cost less. But a decent 1960's Buffet can run around $2500. So I have to ask if that sound is really gone? Why do players want these?

Interesting subject. There isn't a right or wrong answer here. I just know that the present sound probably won't last and it shows. Such as the Buffet Divine being discontinued. This will happen to more and more horns. I think the Zinner mouthpieces are way too dark, so they will either be redesigned or players will start switching.

Yes it's fine to disagree with me. We all have opinions! But I hate the dead sound. There are no highs in the sound. Some players like this. It is surely pretty up close! So if you don't perform and you want to just play for fun, dark and dead is surely the way to go.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2017-08-01 02:49)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-08-01 03:17

Bob...always enjoy reading your thoughts.

I too, when I was younger, sought the ever elusive 'dark' clarinet sound. I became infatuated with dark sounds in college when I heard German high school kids play with the most amazing tubby quality. They are were equally mesmerized by our "American" sound.
I've always suspected American players have always feared sounding too French. We've all heard a true bright, thin French sound. At times it's shrill and piercing, but perhaps pure.

The US seems to have blended these two concepts to form its own identity.

As an adult, I just want to be heard over hoards of screaming trumpets, bright flutes, and omnipresent oboes. It shouldn't take that much effort to have a warm sound, distinct from the other woodwinds, and still project a presence over any ensemble. The right equipment can certainly help get a player there. It has helped me. I can hear what a Rod Rubber mouthpiece has done for my sound...adding overtones. But ultimately, we're going to just sound like ourselves.

But I also know a $10K clarinet with a $1300 ligature ain't going to make that much difference. Exactly how different would Drucker, Morales, Manasse, Bliss sound on a plastic $100 horn? Everyone has to find their own truths.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: echi85 2017
Date:   2017-08-01 05:18

I think we are conflating two separate issues. One is the price, and subsequent justification of price, of newer equipment and the other is a tonal trend. They can be some correlation, but I don't think there is any causation. That is to say that more expensive equipment does not equate to darker sounds.

I would also like to clarify that the trend I see is a shift towards darkness, not necessarily dark. If anything, more players are erring towards more middle partials and fewer higher partials. Only a few are choosing to really deaden the sound.

Absolutely manufactures are paving the way towards the darkness, but it's not a deliberate attempt to change clarinet playing. Manufactures, like Vandoren, are simply giving players what they want. For example, the principal clarinetist in the l'orchestre de Paris was playing a Kuckmeier mouthpiece that he really loved. Vandoren heard about it and came out with the BD5 which emulates that style of mouthpiece (which also kept him as a Vandoren artist). You can hear him talk about it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92GlmYb56NI

Subsequently it has carried over into the states with two major principal players using the BD5. Anthony Mcgill and Boris Allakhverdyan both use it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyXm0__laLY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hZQq3usZ0o

Jon Manasse, who is on the faculty of Juilliard, also has been using the BD5.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXdBScK_69Y
http://www.vandoren-en.com/MANASSE-JON-USA_a254.html

Even Bill Hudgins, who I consider to be the last bastion of old school clarinet playing has shifted in this direction. He plays principal clarinet in the Boston Symphony. He is currently playing Buffets and using a Behn mouthpiece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okTYQIOUb3Q

All of these players teach and are in demand. If this sound is going to be a short term thing, I would like to see some evidence of it otherwise. Please understand, I would never be caught dead using a BD5 as it goes against nearly everything I believe a clarinet should sound like. Nevertheless, this is the reality we live in. Side note, all of these players play Buffet.

Ricardo Morales is an interesting player. My favorite Ricardo recording is him when he was at the MET playing the Gran Partita:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilsMzPJNd50

From what I understand, he was using Buffet RC Prestiges and a Pyne mouthpiece, not unlike the mouthpiece Stephen Williamson currently plays. I think it's the best I've ever heard Ricardo sound, but I think he understood the need for something else, something new. The shift to Backun, I believe, was an attempt at innovation. A new kind of clarinet sound. You can hear him do the opening of the third movement of Shostakovich 9 here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWdbkx7aZNo

Also some more recent solo playing here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NyllIAiT20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--qgwByJK3A

I also find it particularly interesting that he is choosing to use Legeres, which have a significantly warmer sound that cane reeds, on his crystal mouthpiece. If he were really looking for a pingy sound, would he be using synthetics?

I think it's a flaw of human nature to think that everything was better in the past. The days when men were men etc.

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of a single employed professional clarinetist who is playing a Buffet from the 1960s. Please enlighten me if I am wrong. Almost everyone I know plays models made in the last 20 years. I imagine most clarinets from the 1960s happily sit in people's collections, not on stage every night.

I own a few Kaspar mouthpiece and have tried a whole lot of them. I have used them professionally but I personally don't think they fit modern clarinet playing. These will always sell for a high price because the supply is so limited. The supply of good Kaspars even more limited. As much as I hate to say it, many of the top American players choose to use Vandoren and Buffet products. I don't like it but it is the world we live in.

Just to cap it off, there was a recent study done on violins comparing Stradivarius violins vs modern ones. You can read about it here:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/million-dollar-strads-fall-modern-violins-blind-sound-check

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/08/527057108/is-a-stradivarius-violin-easier-to-hear-science-says-nope

I think we should respect and be thankful for the past, but we should not want it to be the present.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Clarineteer 
Date:   2017-08-01 07:58

I have had a few Buffet R13's that had a dead sound and by simply opening up the barrels by reaming them these dead clarinets came alive in a remarkable way.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2017-08-02 14:49

Thanks for your observations. I wasn't able to attend this year (bummer!), but from past conventions and trials of clarinet gear, I seem to fall in line with many of your thoughts. I too think that the wooden Bliss clarinet is a FANTASTIC clarinet, especially at that price point. I've only played two, and heard two others being played by friends/colleagues, but they've always felt and sounded fine to me.

And I recently adopted a "back to basics" approach to my playing. I have a clarinet that I bought and love (from the classifieds on this website, at $1800), a Richard Hawkins mouthpiece (bought on ebay used for $50, I need to buy a second as a backup in a month), a rovner dark ligature ($30?), and some legere reeds. Total setup WELL less than $2500. And while I'm at the bottom of the hill looking up towards Julian at that peak, I like my sound, my colleagues like my sound, and I didn't break the bank to get it.

But hey, people will be people. I bought a new minivan cause it gets me from point A to point B and I could afford one. Others buy a used mazda 3, others buy a new mercedes or porsche. Different things at vastly different prices, all serving the same purpose, when you get down to it.

I want others to understand that extending their budgets to get a $10000 horn and $1300 ligature, WON'T instantly make them better. Practice will make you better. BUT, if you have the extra money, and you CHOOSE to get those items, go for it. You won't be a better clarinetist by buying it, but hell, I'd buy myself a new mercedes of a clarinet if I had the income to spare!

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-08-02 18:08

The current sound trends can only last if they can accomplish the job of playing in certain venues and ensembles. If not...they'll have to change.

I find it amusing that glass mouthpieces were anathema to 'legit' players thirty years ago (for the most part). Now everyone and his brother is playing them as the latest thing. Undoubtedly the wheel of fashion will turn yet again. It'll be funny to see what they 'discover' next...maybe high end double walled silver clarinets for $50,000? I can't wait...

My current setup (purchased over the last six years) ran $600 total. And that includes everything: Selmer CT, vintage mouthpiece, Legere Euro-reed, ligature and cap. I've played both jazz and classical gigs on it with ease.

I honestly think that most players could put together a complete setup they love for under $2000 per instrument, if they were taught a) the dynamic and timbral range necessary for a professional job and b) where to look for their gear--including what model will get them the desired sound. Some prefer a vintage Buffet sound, others a contemporary 'covered' sound, others a vintage large bore sound...

The one exception, I think, is that German sound. Those instruments are just plain pricey, and there's no escaping it. But even then, it's possible to find used Wurlitzers occasionally.

Several years ago, I decided to stock up on vintage equipment at the right prices, so that I'd never need to buy anything else again. I purchased somewhere around 20 mouthpieces of the same model (varying quality, but each of them possible to gig on, with some work), three clarinets (one gigging, two back-ups), four or five of my favorite vintage ligatures...and probably paid less that $2500 total, for the whole lot. Now I smile quietly when someone asks me to play the newest gear/panacea. I don't need it, thanks. Of course you have to be happy with your playing, and confident with your concept, in order to make such decisions. But that's why you need to spend years working on etudes, studies, and gaining experience through gigs before worrying so much about the final tweaks to your equipment.

In the meantime, beware those $7000 ligatures with the lightening rod attachment, encrusted with rhinestones (or diamonds for an extra $2000 + tax)...you're sound might indeed be brighter, but only for one moment.

Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Ed 
Date:   2017-08-02 18:38

Bob- thanks for your report. For my tastes, I have a couple of issues with the "dark" clarinet sound. I have heard players who in the quest to sound dark or covered, end up sounding dead and whose sound gets lost in an ensemble. For some, the instrument has lost its ring and singing quality. Some of these tones are pleasant, but very homogenous all the time, lacking the nuance and color that one would hear from the greats like Marcellus, Wright, Genussa, etc. I think some of the new mouthpieces make it really easy to keep the sound contained at all times, but have lost the sparkle. One needs to find the right balance.

I think the idea of spending a fortune on equipment in some cases comes down to great marketing. There are many who think that if a $3000 clarinet is good, then a $7000 instrument MUST be better. Perhaps if one purchases that, then it will give you the edge. Some of it is good, some is snake oil. It is no different than the idea that getting set of top line golf clubs will make you play like a pro or a $20,000 bike will make you ride like a TDF rider.

It is important for players to find their own voice and use what works best in achieving that concept. It does not take a fortune to do this as most of it comes from the player. I have found over the years that for good or bad, I play like me no matter what I try. In the end, the more I play and practice, the better it all works. There is no magic equipment, of at least I have not found it.



Post Edited (2017-08-02 20:35)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2017-08-02 18:39

I'm not sure I agree with my friend Bob on all the issues he bought up, especially about tone, reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures etc but I will say this. He's right about not having to pay high prices for quality. As a professional that made his living for over 50 years as a performer I would pay nearly anything if I thought the product gave me what I was looking for. What I discovered was it wasn't necessary, up to a point. I used to try anything and everything I could that came on the market but I discovered that the $500-$600 mouthpiece didn't make me sound or feel better than the one I was already using, though I did change several times in my career. The same with ligatures, reeds etc. When I used to teach at Peabody I'd stock as many mouthpieces as I'd like by trying many over the years. When I wanted to stock some Backuns for my students I called, I knew them, and asked for a discount. I was able to purchase several at half price, $250, that were considered seconds because the names may have been printed with a mistake or some other miss that had nothing to do with the quality of the MP. They sent be six, I picked 2-3 I liked and if a student sounded better on one of those than anything else I'd sell it to them for what I paid. I would not stock a MP for more that than because there were so many other good ones available for reasonable prices. Of course I always tried as many as possible to choose the "best" ones.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-02 19:35

I made a comparison before, at the consumer end of the gear transaction, between the desperation of buying the latest and greatest gear in the hopes of improving play, and the snake oil purchase of the health compromised patient.

At the supplier end of the deal I find enormous parallel with the fashion industry.

Musical gear, like clothes, is apt to last and perform its function (for the latter, in its basic sense: to protect and cover the body) far beyond the supplier's desire for you to repurchase.

So unlike consumables like food, which have one time use and expiration dates, both the musical gear and apparel industries have to reinvent themselves: enter "fashion."

This is particularly hard for the musical gear people, who face a market where many smart players are conservative about change. Accordingly, other tactics are used, dare I say stolen from fashion's idea of couture: hand made to the buyer's specifications.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't people out there, say, that customize a Buffet post sales that aren't worth what they're charging. Nor am I poking holes at say, Buffet's quality; rather, the true need for them to offer so many models of pro instruments.

What I am saying is enough purveyors sell hope more than substance, whether its membership cards to ligature ownership or clothes. Does anyone else see parallels here?

Ligatures:

http://tinyurl.com/y7eelk2h

Fashion:

http://tinyurl.com/y9ysk7s2

(Disclaimer for the fashion connoisseur: I'm quite familiar with a designer's show of artistry at a fashion show, of private label often outlandish/impractical clothes only apt to be worn at a fashion show, in an effort to boost their name recognition for everyday purchase of their retail and couture lines.)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-02 19:58

I have to call B.S on the "dead $21K Clarinet" comments.


Horsecrap..........


I'd put my Mendelssohn against any of the above mentioned names including the "oldies" and see who has a dead sounding Clarinet that doesn't project. Plenty of great sounds yes, but bright to me isn't one of them.

Dead is dead if the player plays it like that.

https://youtu.be/6Amc5wvdQiQ

played WITH the $1200 ligature also.

I'll sound like I sound with average equipment, but would have to work the hell of a lot harder.

Recording was played with the fmr Principal Clarinetist of the Royal Phil./Philharmonia Orchestra. He also played on the Soundtracks of Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings.


Quality IS expensive........... Buffet has their top of the line and it costs not a penny more.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-08-02 20:19)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:01

But yes, only practice/talent/great instruction will land anyone in a Major anything. The Clarinet can make the job easier, or the practicing more enjoyable, but it's not going to make or break getting the job, unless it is out of tune.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:04

Julian's setup is quite costly as it is a one of a kind instrument. There are 2 of them - his A and Bb period.


He's not using a "Bliss out of the box" Clarinet.


The Crystal Mouthpiece that Ricardo uses is because the Plastic can wear out the Mouthpiece facing in a couple of years as much as Ricky plays. Plastic vibrates harder on the surface than Cane.

The Crystal takes the beating a lot better........... I've tried it, not for me.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-08-02 20:07)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: A. Ottensamer 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:27

Challenge accepted, although I am not an "oldie" [rotate]

Kidding, relax... But no use to get worked up on the BBoard: some sound great on those "$21K clarinets", others don't.

Does that mean one person is better than another? I'll let you all decide on that. I won't give you my answer.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: A. Ottensamer 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:28

By the way the Mendelssohn sounded great :)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:50

My point is that not all players of a specific instrument brand sound the same.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-08-02 20:59)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-02 20:57

Everything is subjective

It's like comparing Wright's sound to Marcellus to Leister to Deplus to Ottensamer (rest his soul).

Plenty of room for all the above. (Career wise, I don't hold a candle to any of the above, but if everyone sounded the same, it would be a boring event from Concert to Concert.)

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-08-02 21:00)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-02 21:21

Mr. Blumberg:

You are an excellent musician, better on your so-so days than I'll likely ever be. The video was great, but certainly not needed (although of course welcome) to substantiate that fact.

Still more, you've probably forgotten more about clarinet than I know.

But that said, there are few clarinetists, I think, who are likely to glean play advantages from Silverstein, although you *might* be one, despite Silverstein's marketing of most of its ligs to the masses; which is their right, and why I preach caveat emptor (buyer beware.)

It is those masses I address, not that I feel in anyway a need for defensive posture based on your thoughts.

I'll concur that [your] mouth to bell equipment choices in their entirety make quality play easier, postulating that the Silverstein lig that forms part of it, which I am going to guess you acquired at a price cheaper than quoted (maybe I'm wrong) because of your artistic affiliation with the company, serves, far and away, the least in that "easier to play" equation. I also commend you on full disclosure of that relationship with Silverstein if not also bring attention to the bias it can bring, and the postscript note that behind it all, first in foremost, lies the player.

"Buffet has their top of the line and it costs not a penny more."

a penny more than...its quality? (I think that's what you meant.)

If that's your sentiment (I'm not certain), then I chose to believe that it's priced not a penny more than its "perceived" quality, or more aptly stated, not a penny more than some (rest assured Buffet has done the math on how many) are willing/able to pay.

Without question, less dud clarinets exist, say, within the Tosca line than the R13 line (the lowest of the Professional end instruments) with almost as much certainty that Tosca duds do exist.

Again, I really do feel that vendors want to sell value added products, but not nearly as much as they desire profit (an executive's obligation to a firm's stakeholders, not a "pact with the devil.")

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Mark Charette 2017
Date:   2017-08-02 21:35


> Again, I really do feel that vendors want to sell value added
> products, but not nearly as much as they desire profit (an
> executive's obligation to a firm's stakeholders, not a "pact
> with the devil.")

The horse is dead. You can stop beating it now.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: clarinetguy 2017
Date:   2017-08-02 22:40

Bob, I found it interesting when you mentioned Julian Bliss using a Bliss clarinet. David, you said he isn't using a "Bliss out of the box clarinet." If his clarinet isn't an "out of the box" model, what changes did he make? Perhaps another barrel?

When the Bliss first came out, it created quite a bit of excitement on this board. In the last few years, there hasn't been as much about them.

Several years ago I tried one and was impressed. The one I played had some minor imperfections in the wood, but the sound was nice. Dave Kessler wrote about them in 2012, and thought a MoBa barrel did wonders for them.

https://www.kesslerandsons.com/blog/antigua-backun-vs-leblanc-bliss-intermediate-wood-clarinet-comparison/

The Bliss mouthpiece isn't bad. Perhaps it's not for everyone, but I once had a student who used V-12s with them and got a great sound.

I think Bob's basic point is a good one. Some musicians might prefer to use more expensive equipment, and that's fine. Still, it is possible to play a Bliss (perhaps with a different mouthpiece and/or barrel) and get great results.



Post Edited (2017-08-02 22:44)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-08-03 00:28

David has a good point about the Divine. They didn't seem dead to me at all. Just didn't seem better than my Prestige with a $4K+ upcharge. It was a beautiful instrument...needed to be adjusted, a lot...but played great (I realize I just contradicted myself, but I think you get my drift).
My beef was the intonation wasn't any better than my off the shelf Ridenour Libertas, that's what...$1500? (In fairness I do believe Tom play tested my horn before I received it and made adjustments if necessary. I of course have no idea if he actually did anything special other than to make sure it was OK.)

But more importantly it didn't sound any better or play any smoother with less effort than my Prestige -which is arguably over priced. But any instrument is worth what someone will pay for it. It was worth it for me.

When I decide to replace my A, and probably my Bb, I'll pay what I want to pay...it's my prerogative. The CSVR is way head in the trials. I just got in contact with Uebel to test a Superior. NOTE: I'm getting a lot cheaper in my old age.

I've gotten some flack over what I paid for my Behn mouthpiece. It was worth every penny to me. The mouthpiece helped me get back into the game after a couple of bouts of Bell's Palsy. Behn changed my entire concept of how to make a sound on clarinet. His products literally rehabilitated my playing. Priceless for me.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: echi85 2017
Date:   2017-08-03 01:55

I understand the fashion analogy. The major difference, I would argue, is that fashion typically isn't about function. It's about form. Equipment really does need to be about function. I recently bought a $100 ligature because it made a perceivable positive difference in my sound. I don't care how it looks. If there is a significant difference in a positive direction, I am willing to buy new equipment. The exception being the $1200 ligature. I cannot rationally justify the benefit vs cost for something like that.

I happen to think that there is a perceptible difference between brands. From the Backun clarinets I have played and from the recordings I hear, I can certainly tell that it is not a Buffet. I would argue the tonal difference in Selmer clarinets is just as noticeable. Stephen Williamson and Alessandro Carbonare don't sound like they are playing Buffet. I think the recording links I provided where Ricardo IS playing a Buffet are clearly different than him on the Backuns.

The innovation of an automatic low F key from Backun is something that I would like to see on Buffets and Selmers. I would have no problem paying more for that on standard models.



Post Edited (2017-08-03 01:55)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: seabreeze 2017
Date:   2017-08-03 01:56

David,

What I take away from your excellent performance of the Mendelssohn is how well pro clarinetists can blend and play in tune even when using different equipment and not much altering their personal sounds. Whight sounded fine on his (non-Backun) blackwood clarinet, metal ligature, and non-Backun mouthpiece producing his own sonority, and you sounded fine on your cocobolo(?) Backun, MoBa mouthpiece, and high-end Silverstein ligature producing yours. He didn't have to run out and buy your set-up to match your tone, and you didn't have to buy his. In fact, I think the performance gained in musical interest by the subtly different coloration of each clarinet sound and would have been duller had you both used identical equipment and struggled to produce identical sounds.

By the way, what was Michael Whight's set up?



Post Edited (2017-08-03 01:56)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-04 04:05

I have had all the new clarinets including the dead one, the all the high end Buffets, Toscas, Tradition and the Divine. I have no idea why people were dumping on the Divine, I have one and I think the Divine is a great instrument. I haven't had any of the new Selmers because when I've tried them none of the new models played as well as my 1959 Centered tone in my humble opinion.
After all the trying and I bought everything I've tried because I wanted to perform on all the instruments. I wanted to find the right mouthpiece and reed combination that made the instruments play their absolute best. When it's all said and done the Yamaha CSVR and the SEVR are the best clarinets out there. Intonation is great, the sound is "full spectrum" and they priced below the industry standard.

So you can spend more, a lot more, and be a member of the club, the family or the mafia . You can spend more and think you're buying game but you're not. You can have "consultants" hand pick horn whose sonic spectrum aligns with your "aura" but you're not going to find a better built, better sounding better priced clarinet than the new Yamahas.

It never ceases to amaze me how much time and energy is spent on this board talking about the parts of clarinet playing that "don't vibrate". If you really want to change how you sound, you need to make changes in the "matrix". The matrix I'm talking about is Air, Embouchure, reed and mouthpiece matrix. Working on that will yield some realistic results. Changing the plating on your ligature won't .


Tom Puwalski. I've seen enough to know I've seen too much.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Sean.Perrin 
Date:   2017-08-04 05:05

I was there, I have to say that the level of design and craftsmanship available these days is stunning, and we should be thankful to the people who invent this amazing stuff, not demonizing them. It's technological advancement and the advancements made here will trickle into all levels of products given time and demand.

If people want to buy 1300$ ligatures, let them. Why not have a diamond laden solid gold ligature if you can afford it? Live and let live! All this tells us is that the clarinet as an instrument is gaining market share and prominence.

Should Lamborghini and Ferrari stop making high end, expensive, over-the-top vehicles simply because one can get by with a Toyota Corolla?

It's worth mentioning that every single manufacturer that I found had reasonably priced products being sold there alongside their premium lines. All levels and budgets are being accounted for, and in my opinion it's healthy.

ClarinetFest was an absolute pleasure, and I for one am impressed by the vendors and their passion for their craft as much as the artists.

Sean Perrin
Host of the Clarineat Podcast
http://www.clarineat.com

New Album "Dreamsongs" Now available
http://www.dreamsongs.ca

Post Edited (2017-08-04 05:07)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-04 07:21

I'm all for free markets Sean (recognizing you are not attacking me, just stating your opinion--which of course you're entitled to.) Such places though exist when buyer and seller know, or approach knowing all relevant information about the marketplace they transact in, minimally swayed by emotion that extremely compromises judgment.

(To point: People should buy things that simply make them happy now and then that don't break the bank. Our economy depends on us valuing things differently or else we'd never trade. The occasional treat item that doesn't exactly fit into the budget is deserved, as the future being saved for in lieu of such "glory purchases" is uncertain.)

But it is in this ignornace that that "rub" lies. It is clear that many make purchases of musial gear things under false belief it will enhance their play to their level of expectation, and many sellers are very willing to, if not lie, then not disclose the truth about their wares.



Post Edited (2017-08-04 07:32)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-08-04 07:30

I just did a gig today with a player from Europe who confessed to having one of the $1,300 ligatures. We played for 3 hours solid, same as yesterday.... And I still haven't got to see it (Vandoren Optimum was in evidence....) dn

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-04 08:01

We are now in a profession that has people who are calling themselves "equipment consultants". These people are people who are trying keep you from spending large amount of money on things that aren't going to make a difference. They will try clarinets and tell you what sonic color the instrument poseses, what mouthpiece sounds the best on it. Is this sounding insane to anybody else?

So I'm going to announce my new "Clarinet Gear Consulting App." What you do with this app is this.
1. Type in what piece of gear you're dying to buy
2. The app with then tell you that Marcellus and Wright, Frost and any number of great players didn't have the piece of gear and they sound wonderful
3. the App will then tell you some choice recordings to listen to and a few really good etudes to practice. It will also interrupt you at random times reminding you that you really haven't practiced.
This app will save you thousands of Dollars.

Tom Puwalski

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Sean.Perrin 
Date:   2017-08-04 08:52

Haha the app idea is brilliant! Think of what you could charge for it. :P

In all seriousness I do see the point to an extent, but I just can't see a problem with the vast selection of products we have today.

I thought 'equipment consultants' were clarinet a student's teachers. Am I missing something here?

Sean Perrin
Host of the Clarineat Podcast
http://www.clarineat.com

New Album "Dreamsongs" Now available
http://www.dreamsongs.ca

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-04 19:52

"I just can't see a problem with the vast selection of products we have today."

There's utterly none--in fact choice is a good thing. (You'd probably expect to hear the opposite from my previous "seller hating" diatribes.)

Where focus though I believe needs to lie is in educating the consumer on why sellers do the things they do (which as a whole is centered more on profit than user need, IMHO, in the clarinet gear market), what their products--beyond marketing hype--truly deliver, and preventing the artist endorsement factor (e.g. the false hope of "I'll be more/just like superstar player X if I play the Y piece of gear he/she is playing.")

Still more, measured and thoughtful gear enhancements can improve play.

You see, in such a idealistic world of extreme consumer knowledge, the market learns to not produce junk simply because it doesn't sell.

Reading between the lines on Tom's post, I don't see him anti-gear per se either. Rather, I see him asking, in so many words, "what are you seeing in a expensive ligature that a superior player like Drucker didn't? And willing to accept a decent answer, if it exists, beyond that he/me/anyone already knows.

Anti technological advancement? No way. Kudos to Legere, skepticism to cryogenically made ligatures.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Ed 
Date:   2017-08-04 21:37

Quote:

Where focus though I believe needs to lie is in educating the consumer on why sellers do the things they do (which as a whole is centered more on profit than user need, IMHO, in the clarinet gear market)..........


I would tend to argue that in the consumer society that we have you could make this argument about just about anything. It is all about marketing for all kinds of products.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-08-04 22:06

A fool and his money are soon parted.

There's a sucker born every minute.

Caveat emptor.

Twas ever thus.


There are certain obvious tip-offs to snake oil...but sometimes folks have to be burned before they learn them.

On the flip side, there are many undervalued instruments out there too. Get 'em while you can.


Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-04 22:33

I'm not anti gear, we play clarinets, you can't be a clarinetists without a clarinet, a mouthpiece and a reed and you will need a way to hold the reed on the mouthpiece so you either need a piece of string or a ligature. What I am against is people trying to fix fundamental problems in tone production and playing technique with a barrel, bell, ligature or any clarinet costing 2-3x what they're already playing.

When I was an active participant in the Clarinet Industrial complex, I would work the booths for various different vendors. And many times I saw people spend hundreds of dollars to buy something that they were convinced was going to "make the difference". And many times, to my ear at least what they really needed was a $.35 piece of sandpaper to adjust their reed.

There was many a time when these people were students there with their parents and trying to convince them to spend the money to buy. I would go over to the student and give this advice. "Go buy the Ridenour ATG reed system watch the DVD and take that shoe box full of old reeds and make half of them play"
I recommended the ATG not because the tool was rocket science or that you couldn't get the same results with a reed Geek or a knife, but because it came with a really good DVD that explained exactly what to do to a reed to get it to play really well. Chances are if you're reed is well balanced, you can use a less "intrusive" embouchure, your sound will be better, your intonation will be better. And maybe, just maybe that mouthpiece that you're so convinced is holding you back maybe pretty damn decent after all. Unless you figure out how to adjust a reed for the mouthpiece you're playing, you're buying mouthpieces based on the reed that you're using working better on a different facing. You may luck out but in 5-10 days when your body starts rejecting the new gear. You will be wondering why you spent the money.

What really was funny when at these Clarinetfests, when I gave this advice to players they would laugh at me. They would assure me their teachers had taught them "all about reeds". If that would have been true you wouldn't be trying to spend $600 while playing a crappy unbalanced reed. The one think I learned from years of working the fests was this, no knowledge of reeds runs from beginners to some professionals that I heard play. I think you stand a better chance of finding out about sex in a high school locker room then you do about reeds at most music schools. ATG costs about $80, an inexpensive fix to the major problems in single reed playing. Mine payed for itself in the first 50 reeds I salvaged from the shoe box. Hey 20 years in the Army I never bought reeds when I retired those things were way to expensive to purchase and pray. I know a lot of college Profs who "hunt and pray". But it's not fun or sexy to spend $85 on knowledge. The handful of people who over the years heeded my advice ended up with "game", the others probably had that gear up on Ebay.

So from my point of view, if you don't know how to adjust your reed, you probably won't be able to make an informed decision about a mouthpiece. If you're playing on an "unbalanced reed, that's also too hard', do you really think a ligature is going to make that reed play? Not to mention any of the other pieces of gear that are out there. So I'm not "anti gear", I'm anti " I really don't know how to make an informed decision about gear"

Tom Puwalski

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: NBeaty 
Date:   2017-08-04 22:57

Something being expensive isn't inherently a bad thing, I'm in complete agreement with Sean and others above with the Ferrari analogy.

Price justification is another thing. Is there a reason why a Ferrari is expensive? Absolutely. Do you need a Ferrari to get from point A to B? Nope. If your profession or competitive hobby is racing cars, is it worthwhile to get a Ferrari or Porsche etc.? Probably.

On the other hand, there are things that should tip you off that something is not worth the money. When the owner says things like, "you will never win a job without this" or "no one is winning jobs anymore without this" and when you reply with evidence of someone recently winning a job without it and they proceed to insult them, then you probably shouldn't buy what they're selling.

If they describe their product by first telling you all the famous people who use it, you should be skeptical. If after follow up questions specifically about the product they continue with "name-dropping", you should probably walk away.

If they spend most of their time insulting the products you currently use (not just describing differences), then you should probably just walk away.

If they get defensive or angry when you ask them to justify the cost, you should probably walk away.

If they get argumentative when you say you still like what you already have better after trying their product, you should walk away.

I've had experiences like these with sellers of some very popular products which has lead me to the conclusion that even if they produced something that was everything I ever wanted in a product, I would not buy it. When salesmanship involves personal insults to respectable people that are completely uncalled for and unnecessary, you won't have my business regardless of your product.


On the other hand, I've spent plenty of time over the years working at a booth at ICA/TMEA and other places selling some very expensive products and have found clarinetists to be generally receptive to them. Only rarely has anyone walked away in a 'huff' after simply hearing the price of something. People are generally able and willing to listen to the real justifications for something being expensive, so it's always baffling to me that anyone would feel the need to go the "name-dropping" or insult route in order to prop themselves up.

The product should speak for itself and the sales person should be able to justify the cost in a professional manner. Not too much to ask in my opinion.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-08-04 23:09

"Quote:

Where focus though I believe needs to lie is in educating the consumer on why sellers do the things they do (which as a whole is centered more on profit than user need, IMHO, in the clarinet gear market).........."

Absolutely, but these companies...Buffet, Yamaha, Legere, Silverstein, Vandoren...could do a helluva better job giving product descriptions. Tired descriptions like "warm, free-blowing, poly-cylindrical, flexible, quick response, max control" are utterly meaningless. Of course a company has to come up with something. But these companies might be surprised if they offered a more tangible description, they might sell more product.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-04 23:12

I think the Farrari is not really the correct analogy to clarinet gear here. It's a luxury high end car and by luxury it's by definition not a necessity. How about this you're traversing the Sarrengetti your choice is a landrover by RangeRover or a Toyota Landcruser. You're 100k from the nearest civilization which one would you rather have on your gig? I know what is for me I'll take a Toyota every freaking time. Those are two vehicles that are kind of built for the same gig. But from what I've seen the toyota is way more dependable.

Tom Puwalski

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2017-08-05 02:50

Tom Puwalski wrote:

> I think the Farrari is not really the correct analogy to
> clarinet gear here. It's a luxury high end car and by luxury
> it's by definition not a necessity.

The point is that a CAR could be considered a necessity. Some people buy a corolla, some a ferrari. But both get you from point A to point B. Much like the difference between a $2 shoe string, or velcro ligature, and a $1300 ligature.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-05 09:08

Well I'm with Tom Puwalski on pretty much everything he has to say. I want an App too!

An interesting story at the convention. I offered a free mouthpiece check to see if the rails were straight, all of that. I wrote down bore measurements, facing measurements, anything you can think of. For free I even fixed a few facings that were off. Actually I adjusted about 30 mouthpieces at no charge.

One kid, a high school kid had a Tosca clarinet, a beautiful $300 plus ligature and a Vandoren mouthpiece. The Vandoren mouthpiece was nicked, scratched and the tip was chipped. I told him and also his mom he needed a new mouthpiece. It was beyond repair. The comment was with all of this wonderful new stuff he doesn't need a mouthpiece. He's just fine with that mouthpiece. Again it had a chip at the tip!

I kind of wanted to scream! Stupid people.

Every mouthpiece facing changes from wear, from dropping it, from the ligature hitting the tip. So it is necessary to always keep it in good condition. Have it checked every year.

Another situation happened. Someone bought one of my mouthpieces. The next day he said it felt stuffy, could I adjust it. I told him to come back in 2 hours. I put the mouthpiece on the table and didn't touch it. He came back later and said how great it was. I asked him about reeds and he just put a new reed on the mouthpiece. DUH!!!

So Tom is right. You need to know how to adjust reeds. You need a great reed or reeds to try out mouthpieces, horns, all of that. Teachers must teach the students all about reeds and mouthpieces. You can sound great on an inexpensive Yamaha and you can sound worse on a $20,000 clarinet.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-05 21:37

Michael was playing a Buffet R-13 (not sure of model if RC or not) that was previously David Campbell's Clarinet.

We had minimal time to prep - just listened and communicated during the performance.



The cost comment, yes, the top Buffet's cost roughly the same as the Backun's.


We should be glad that we aren't Flutists, as that's where the real $$$$$'s are spent.


I sounded pretty good on my Buffet, and still do, but what I wanted works better with what I play now.

It's like flavors of Ice Cream......................

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-05 21:40

Julian's Clarinet was customized with Gold Plated Keys, and is a hybrid of the previous Backun model that was made by Leblanc.

He did say that it was quite unique, and not off of the shelf in any way.


Also I have a hunch that Leblanc is going to come out with an American made Professional Clarinet soon, as Julian is working for them now.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-08-05 21:40)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: seabreeze 2017
Date:   2017-08-06 00:51

If Leblanc and Bliss are going to come out with an American made Pro Clarinet, I am rooting for them, 100%. Bring it on!

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-06 00:55

I was under the impression that Leblanc doesn't exist any longer. And those Bliss clarinets were basically first iterations of the Protege.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: seabreeze 2017
Date:   2017-08-06 01:01

Leblanc had their own table at the Clarinet Fest 2017, selling a new model clarinet they call the Serenade. I should have stopped there to chat but was just checking out pro instruments. They had a sign near the table that said "every single piece made in the U.S.A."



Post Edited (2017-08-06 01:11)

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-06 05:13

"I would tend to argue that in the consumer society that we have you could make this argument about just about anything. It is all about marketing for all kinds of products."

Yes and no I think. While it's true that by no means does the clarinet gear market uniquely hold blame for delivering product that doesn't deliver what the consumer expected/hoped, in part because sellers, if not lied, failed to deliver full product disclosure, (and consumers didn't seek it) we find this behavior more in markets that sell hope and subjective standards.

Where products [can] bear more objective and published standards, like degree of quality control, longevity of service, and underwriter's laboratory certification, consumers benefit.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-06 11:13

Selmer owns Leblanc and at the convention Selmer and Leblanc were right next to each other at a corner. L shape table/booth. Julian was there a great part of the time, but I didn't see him on Saturday. We were slammed on Saturday so he may have been there and taking a break or going to a concert.

To me it looked as though they were separately advertising. Meaning that it is the same company, but pushing 2 different lines of horns. I didn't play the Bliss he was showing me, but the feel of the clarinet was excellent. The keys were perfect, no play and the horn felt very good in your hands. I will surely stay in touch with Julian and see what they do this year. Who knows it might be worth it to pick up one. The price sure is right. Maybe I will ask him to pick one out for me.

The Selmer line of horns was impressive. All black horns, the keys were black as well. I sadly didn't have time to mess with any. My attention was on my booth and working with Yamaha.

Even at the convention people ripped off 3 of my mouthpieces. Just walked by I guess and picked up a mouthpiece! If they had asked I would have given them one if they were that poor! Lost a few boxes of reeds too, hopefully they will reorder! So that was a tad bit annoying. There are thieves even in a clarinet community.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: antaresclar 
Date:   2017-08-06 20:19

There is another issue here in regards to the topic of expensive equipment and that is the issue of how a clarinet, mouthpiece, ligature etc.. looks. Morrie Backun's great genius is that he realized many years ago that 100% of amateur clarinetists and 90%-100% of professional clarinetists are most influenced by how a clarinet looks and that if one changes the look, one can dramatically raise the price and convince a huge part, if not all of the clarinet community, that it plays better and is thus worth the higher price.. I remember when his barrels were first introduced and how everyone swooned over the look of them.

Next came the bells which solicited a similar reaction. Next, why not put three lines across the table of a standard zinner blank and charge $500? I believe those three lines on that mouthpiece had more to do with why it sold then and why clarinetists thought they were great than any other reason. How about gold plating on the keys? It looks sooooo great! How about a purple crystal mouthpiece? The look effects us in our mind without us even realizing it, and it is this new look that causes us to initially part with large sums of money, not how it plays.

Next comes along Silverstein with it's innovative ligature which again I believe has sold more product simply because of how it looks. If a cryogenically frozen Bonade ligature was offered how many of us would pay for it what the Silverstein costs? Now we have Selmer clarinets that are all black...

The reality is that the look of these very expensive products is what gets us hooked initially, then once we are hooked we come back time and time again for the newest version of that awesome looking product. Even if it makes no difference in our playing. Even if the cost is exorbitant.

This is not a bad thing, it is how we are wired...We can't help but do this...What is unfortunate is that we loose so much $$$$ because of it!

Garrick Zoeter

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-08-09 08:05

I didn't see you at ClarFest Bob - did you see me?
Would have liked to meet you.

Everyone here has made great comments and what to glean from it seems to be "when you buy, make sure that you are shopping for the actual issue, and not a fantasy".

No spending whatsoever can replace a good ear, and thoughtful practice. If something makes playing more enjoyable, that has it's worth, but how long before that enjoyment is replaced by the longing for the next greatest thing.

I have a lot of gear, but it is for students to try so that they can make an educated call, and not a hope during a crowded "Clarinet Hell" Convention area.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2017-08-10 07:54

I totally agree about the look. I am in love with the MoBa barrel and bell appearance (I think they make the it look like a renaissance period instrument). I thought about purchasing them to "update" my R13. Sadly, every one I have ever tried didn't improve the sound at all, and so I didn't buy them. But they are so pretty! If they had only sounded better than what I had, I would have bought them on the spot; but alas, that was not the case for me.

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 Re: Clarinet Fest
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2017-08-12 18:45

The "Artist Endorsment" Thread was closed before I had a chance to as Dave Blumberg to post a scan of the card that he got in Spain. I'm curious and just want to see it.

With all this talk of gear, I just want to say, "Styles" of equipment have more influence than "Brand" of gear. An open shorter moutpiece is going to play differently than a close, long mouthpiece. The difference will be greater than the difference between a Vandoren and D'Addario.

I will add this. What ever piece of gear that is in your case, that you're absolutely convinced you have to change because it's "holding you back", if being played this evening in a concert hall, night club, or recording studio, by someone who it didn't "hold back". Identify the problem, fix the problem, and that problem is usually not the ligature.

Tom Puwalski

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