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 Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-11-01 13:18

Now that I'm in an orchestra, I need an A clarinet. My budget is around $1500 and I have a couple of decisions.

1) My local music store has a brand new E11 A Clarinet for $1400. It seems like a really great deal. I don't know much about the A E11 but I guess it cannot be that bad.

2) find an R13 on ebay and overhaul it. It's really risky but it might be the best option

3) Some websites have really nice used A clarinets. I know Reed and Squeak has a couple of really nice A clarinets. If you know any other sites that are selling used A clarinets, it'll be appreciated!

I also wanted to note that I'm playing on a CSVR if you are curious.

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: gwie 
Date:   2017-11-01 20:39

Save up for a CSVR A? ;)

I have to say, I was sold on the CSVR not because of the Bb version, which is quite good, but because of the A version which is just downright awesome. It really does play as fluidly and easily as the Bb.

Do send Jonathan Copeland a message. He restores lots of R-13's and might be able to help you locate one: https://clarinetsbycopeland.wordpress.com/

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: gatto 
Date:   2017-11-01 20:45

I would also recommend to buy the same model, or at least an "A" which is on the same "quality level" as your "Bb".

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-11-02 02:34

I realized how important it is to get a matching clarinet. My school loaned me a Buffet A clarinet. I'm not sure exactly about the model but it's serial number is 74268 and it looks like a very old clarinet. However, it's a really nice clarinet. Even scale, very dark, mellow, A clarinety sound. Only problem I can find is that the tuning is very off.

Oddly enough, I found this clarinet to rival my CSVR. It offered the same responsiveness with the leather pads and sounded more mellow and soft. My CSVR was more resistant but projected better and sounded more "bright" and lively.

Maybe this is why so many people are so dedicated to Buffet "golden era" clarinets? I don't know too much about my A clarinet's manufacturer date or model but from what I can tell, if it can play that well, I'm very pleased! The CSVR I picked out was actually the more free blowing, responsive than all the other new Bb R13s which leads me to believe that is why there is so much back lash among the new Buffet.

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2017-11-02 03:16

It's not at all important to get a matching set of clarinets as long as the blowing characteristics and keywork on each can be adapted to with quick changes.

Some prefer both clarinets to sound the same, but others want a decided difference between the timbre of the A and Bb.

If you want the same sound and you don't have to go to a low E on the A clarinet, transpose!

But there's a reason why composers specify the A clarinet: a different timbre rather than easier fingering.


Post Edited (2017-11-02 08:42)

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-11-02 03:53

If matching isn't crucial, Ridenour is still often overlooked and his A is a very good instrument. Tom engineered the Buffet problems out of the instrument.

~Robt L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage
Lig: Ishimori, Behn Delrin
Reed: Legere French Cut 3.75/4, Behn Brio 4
Horns: Uebel Superior (Bb,A), Ridenour Lyrique, Buffet R13 (Eb)

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-11-02 03:58

I had 8 Buffet R13 A clarinets and 1 Selmer 9* A clarinet. I now have a Yamaha CSVR A. This is the best out of the bunch by far, because the upper register is so easy to play. The Selmer wasn't too bad. Very free blowing, but sometimes hard to control. Try to find a used CSVR somewhere.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: GenEric 
Date:   2017-11-02 04:09

I did consider the YCL CSVRA. In fact, my music store also has one. However, the priority for an A clarinet is really low for me. I'll only play it for the school orchestra. I would really like to join a Youth Symphony Orchestra but because i'm taking 5 AP/H classes for my sophomore year, I really don't have the time. Maybe when I get to college, I'll buy a professional A.

I also don't want to want to say that the Buffet A is a bad clarinet. In fact, i believe that a professional can play it. After a quick web search, I found out that my clarinet was made in 1962. Something around the gold era clarinet which is a possibility that it plays so well.

I also want to note that this clarinet looks JACKED up. Almost all the plating is gone, the bell's female tenon feels very rough. Honestly, when I played this horn, I was rather shocked and surprised. I don't have much experience with A clarinets. I know that they are often more "resistant" than their Bb counterpart but wow... this thing just plays.

If Buffet improves their quality control over the next couple of years, I just might have to reconsider which A clarinet to get.

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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2017-11-02 08:44

I second the Ridenour for a low-priced A clarinet.

And if budget is a main consideration, he'll set up a no-interest payment plan with you.


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 Re: Have to buy an A Clarinet...
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2017-11-02 09:18

Here's what I'd do: Use the school's A for as long as you can. In the meantime, keep saving and looking. Unless you can find a great deal on an appropriate used instrument (have your teacher check out anything you find before you buy), I'd go definitely go for the Yamaha CSVR-A if time and funds allow.

As with gwie and Bob, it was the A clarinet that really sealed the deal for me to go with Yamaha at this point. It's great to have a matched set. If you end up with something else it needs to be well enough matched that you can comfortably and happily use the same set-up on both.

If you can't quite get the funds together for that I'd for the Ridenour. I have one as well the Yamaha, and it's a great value. It will make a great back-up instrument for you when you eventually do get the Yamaha. In the long run its really important to have a good A clarinet unless you are not planning on doing anything but playing in bands. It's not just orchestral music that requires an A. Many of the best chamber pieces and a handful of the great solo pieces also call for the A clarinet.

Btw, bad intonation is a deal killer no matter how nicely an instrument might otherwise play.

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