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 Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: nj-tom 
Date:   2017-08-10 05:54

As a community orchestra player, I need an A clarinet. My Bb is a 55-year old Buffet R13, in good shape.
A local shop has an R13 A from 1998-2000 (serial # 475xxx); they're asking $2000. It seems in very good condition, no maintenance currently needed, it's pretty much in tune across the entire range, and it sounds good.
Another possibility is a new Ridenour Lyrique 575-A, which goes for practically the same price--$1895.

Any thoughts as to which instrument I should spring for? Any advice on particular issues to check on the Buffet?

Is there a third alternative I could consider? I'm willing to spend up to $2K, but would obviously be happy to spend less.

Thanks for any and all comments!
Tom

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: KenJarczyk 2017
Date:   2017-08-10 06:56

My primary A is a Selmer 10G, and my outdoor & strange environment A is the Ridenour. I'll say right out - that Ridenour plays great! Good ergonomic fingerboard, extremely in-tune, a fabulous horn that outplays most any "Prestige-Level" instrument I have tried. But - play test that Buffet, put it through the paces. To me a "ready-to-rock" R13-A is a great deal at $2K.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwind Guy
Clarinets, Saxophones and I own several Flutes.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2017-08-10 07:12

Just remember that a Buffet A clarinet which plays stuffy on G5, G#5, and A5 can often be remedied with a shorter register vent tube.

...GBK

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: WhitePlainsDave 
Date:   2017-08-10 08:01

Desired factors to be known:

Seriousness and longevity of play for "A"? Use for the "A" in other venues after community band? Short term or buy once solution?

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: nj-tom 
Date:   2017-08-10 08:12


WhitePlainsDave wrote:

> Desired factors to be known:
>
> Seriousness and longevity of play for "A"? Use for the "A" in
> other venues after community band? Short term or buy once
> solution?

Reasonably serious commitment to continue playing. I'd hope to be active at least 10 more years.
Besides orchestra participation, potential for informal chamber groups.

> Short term or buy once solution?
Definitely only buy once, and I'd expect to keep it.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: gwie 2017
Date:   2017-08-10 08:27

A decent Buffet R-13 at near 2k is a good deal.

I like the Ridenour A, and did buy one for my school orchestra program, and it is used heavily. The intonation and pitch stability is excellent. My only concerns are that the keywork is not of the quality of Buffet, Yamaha, etc., and it plays very differently than a Buffet R-13, so if you don't want to deal with that difference, it's better to go with something that is more familiar.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-08-10 15:32

First Mr. Wie is right. You'll appreciate your A being as close to your Bb as possible.
Lasfly, Ridenour has their A on sale right now for 15% off. They sometimes have special financing - 6 months same as cash (something like that)...Ridenour will divide into equal payments. I have no idea if that promo is going on right now. Might be worth a phone call to Ted. But they are definitely on sale for 15% off.

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

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: richard smith 
Date:   2017-08-11 18:47

try before buy. most new ones have had little to no adjusting or tuning.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-14 04:31

About a year ago, probably longer, I tested pretty much every clarinet made. Even German horns. The Yamaha CSVR A clarinet is by far the best A clarinet I've ever played. They cost about $2800 new. Look for a used one if you can't swing a new one. What struck me the most was the resistance. Or the lack of the resistance. It felt like a Bb clarinet. Next was how in tune it played. Buffet A clarinets are resistant.

The price of the Buffet at $2000 seems about right I guess. But if you compare it to a $2000 CSVR Yamaha you will thank me. I keep getting standing ovations when I play on these horns. You can attack these horns and not worry about the upper registers. Sometimes on Buffet's you go to hit a note and you hit the note above it. Such as the high F or F# may become a high A or something. Or worse a squeak. That fear is gone with the horns I have. Maybe give a CSVR a try or the SEV.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: KenJarczyk 2017
Date:   2017-08-14 04:48

New Yamaha CSVR A Clarinets seem to price out around $3,800. From what I've heard of them from others, still quite a bargain.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwind Guy
Clarinets, Saxophones and I own several Flutes.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-14 05:17

I think they are less. Check with the Washington Music Center in Silver Springs, MD. They often have some of the better pricing. Maybe I'm way off.

Update -I just looked. $3800. Wow! Look for a used one. The used ones are still great horns.

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2017-08-14 05:23)

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: gwie 2017
Date:   2017-08-14 06:48

Howarth sells them for $2,808.54 plus CITES fees, shipping, and of course whatever import duties you have to pay customs. Even with all of that, it's not going to be $3800.

My local authorized Yamaha dealers have them in the ~$3300 range.

An equivalent Buffet R-13 A with silver-plated keys from the local authorized Buffet dealers is over $4500.

When I bought a set of CSVR's well over a year ago, they were much more in the neighborhood of $2500-$2700!

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Jordan Selburn 
Date:   2017-08-14 09:19

One other consideration - it's quite common to have to switch back and forth between the Bb and A in a piece. If you can switch the barrel and mouthpiece together, instead of just the mouthpiece, you have a warmed-up barrel and avoid the risk of dislodging the reed. That would be more likely to work if you got an R13 A to go with the R13 Bb.

Jordan

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2017-08-14 11:29

Barrels for R13 Bb and A are not interchangeable. So you have to switch your mouthpiece only anyway.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Jeff Chan 
Date:   2017-08-14 18:54

I would not be so quick to make such a blanket statement.

My R13s are an early '60s B-flat and late '60s A. I have no issues with using the same barrel on both. Doing so makes quick clarinet changes much easier, especially with the knowledge that the barrel is not cold and tuning will be much less problematic.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2017-08-14 21:40

Well, some people do that but as the bores of two barrels are different, you have to accept some intonation problems.

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2017-08-15 16:31

The Buffet will be much more dependable.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-08-16 10:33

Hi Steven,

Can you let me know how the Buffet's will be more dependable? I'm NOT trying to corner you. I know you repair horns thus the reason for asking.

I know that some Buffet's go up in value, other's go way down.

Can you talk a bit more? Thanks!

Bob

STEUER REEDS Importer

NEWLY DESIGNED "Vintage 1940 Cicero" Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2017-08-16 17:04

Soft keys, poorly fit mechanisms, poorly made rods and screws. Also the ones I have seen were not set up well - perhaps these were exceptions.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-08-16 17:59

Steven...is this a case for or against Buffet? (J/K)

I'll say this, though I honestly feel Yahama is probably making a better horn these days (at least more consistent...CSVR out R13s the new R13), my Prestige Buffet from the late 90s has been a work horse. Seems many have complained about 'nylon this or plastic that' components. I've never had an issue. I joke it's been Lexus perfect in a sea of (insert your least favorite car here).

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

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Barry Vincent 
Date:   2017-08-17 02:16

I got lucky when I purchased my A Clarinet. I needed one for a performance of Mozart's Quintet with my fellow string players so I just got an Amarti Klaslice from Lamberti's of Melbourne here in Australia. What arrived was a beautiful looking Clarinet that was a full Boehm with silver plated keys and wood that looked close grained with a lovely black brownish colour. It was the ACL 675. It was a bit of a risk just buying it without testing it first before purchasing considering the reputation of Amati Clarinets with poor quality wood that regularly cracked. (So I've since read about) Turned out that this A Clarinet has had no problems at all with wood cracking. Even the full Boehm mechanism has stayed in adjustment quite well. It has a lovely tone and good tonality. It is a bit heavy to hold though but it's seldom used now so it's mostly in storage and only brought out to be checked occasionally.

Skyfacer

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2017-08-17 03:39

Sorry, I was unclear. I consider Yamaha, Buffet and Selmer Paris to be comparable in how well they are made. I'm not considering tuning, resistance, etc, but the fit and finish of the body and keys. I can point out some details of Buffet that I don't like, but my focus was to compare them to most clarinets of Chinese manufacture.

Upon reflection, I can no longer put the Chinese clarinets in one group. I believe that Royal clarinets are 100% Chinese made and are they are very good. I haven't seen the one put out by Music Medic, but I expect it to be above average. Most Chinese clarinets are still not very well made.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Advice requested on A clarinet purchase
Author: William 
Date:   2017-08-17 21:34

Buffet players that I know use the shorter A barrel on their Bb and pull for intonation. When they switch to the A clarinet, they take the barrel and mpc pushing the mpc back in to tune.

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