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 What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: NZDee 
Date:   2017-12-13 22:32
Attachment:  IMG_7156.jpg (85k)
Attachment:  IMG_2755.jpg (98k)

Sorry for all the questions recently!
So, in April this year I sold my very old Buffet student clarinet and purchased a Yamaha 650 wooden clarinet.
From the start I had some problems with it and was told by instructor that it had not been set up correctly. I took it back and the store sent it to their repairer who made it worse, and also damaged one of the keys with a pair of pliers.
It came back worse that it started and was then sent back to head office to deal with. After a week or so it came back again, and was fine.
I've now had the clarinet for 8 months and when I was playing it yesterday one of the screws just popped out of the top section.
Now I know one has to do some maintenance etc, but I'm just wondering whether this is normal for a relatively expensive clarinet, or whether perhaps I got a dud?

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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2017-12-13 23:34

First of all you repairman clearly has no clue what he is doing. If he thought it was a good idea to use plyers with teeth on silver plating then he is either very poorly trained or has no respect for you or your instrument. If I were you I would make him pay for replating the key.

Back to your question, most new clarinets have some problems. Personally I have never been impressed with how the 650 plays and I have seen several new examples with leaks and other problems. The higher end professional models tend to be set up much better, however. It is for this reason that it is a good idea to have your new clarinet looked over by someone who specializes in clarinets, not just the local instrument repairman.

As for the screw, it tends to be a problem on many instruments as it is both a rod and a pivot screw. Put a generous amount of key oil on it and tighten it up every now and then. If it becomes a big problem you can put some thread locker on the threaded section.


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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-14 00:08

NZDee wrote:

> Now I know one has to do some maintenance etc, but I'm just
> wondering whether this is normal for a relatively expensive
> clarinet, or whether perhaps I got a dud?

A couple of things come to mind.

1. Yamaha is *supposed* to be very reliable right off the shelf. I haven't tried any of their higher end models, but the general opinion I've read is that they don't need setup.

2. That said, it's hard to know what was wrong with yours unless your teacher had something more specific to say about what was wrong.

3. Any work, whether setup or maintenance, needs to be done by a *competent* repair technician. Apparently the one your store uses isn't competent. A competent repairer doesn't damage keys with pliers, and the clarinet obviously shouldn't have played worse when you got it back.

4. By "head office" do you mean it was a chain store and it went back to their headquarters, or do you mean it went back to Yamaha? Wherever they sent it, at least it sounds like they finally fixed the problems, whatever they were.

5. Screws come loose because they are for some reason binding inside whatever they go into - usually a key's pivot sleeve. It shouldn't bind, but that can be the result of weather changes where you're using it. If you carry a small screw driver in your case you can tighten a loose screw back down yourself. If it keeps working loose again, a *competent* repair tech can get the screw to fit properly so it doesn't bind and doesn't keep backing out. Fortunately, this is a solvable problem and not an indicator of a "dud."


Post Edited (2017-12-14 05:20)

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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2017-12-14 09:11

I was surprised to read that you had problems with a Yamaha clarinet, they have a well deserved reputation for getting their instruments right straight out of the box. If there is a dud anywhere, it sounds as though its the dealer and the repairman who first handled it. I'd get him out of the equation as soon as you can. Screws working loose is just a fact of life in the clarinet world. The reasons you have been given are all true, but sometimes the screw wasn't done up properly. This might go back to the original repairmen. They can also work loose if there is insufficient lubrication.
While major maintenance should be done by a competent tech, basic everyday stuff is really the responsibility of the player. This includes eyeballing the instrument for loose screws and such, and tightening them up as required. If you're not sure what to look for, ask your tech. It's not rocket science, just common sense.

Tony F.

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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2017-12-14 09:26

Yamaha has less QC problems overall than most other companies but it still happens.

Does your username suggest you are in New Zealand? If you are I can suggest a repairer. If not, maybe post where you and someone can recommend someone.
The best repairer in the world could be local to you. Best to ask some local players and teacher to try to get several recommendations.

It's annoying to go to a separate repairer and maybe pay them to fix a new instrument, but it's often better than the option of having problems...

You can try to complain about the teeth marks on this new clarinet, repaired under warranty. Maybe replace the key, or the clarinet. Or you can choose to let it go.

The screw that that came out is the first finger ring key rod screw. What often happens is that this screw is not tightened all the way because if it does, it can cause some binding. The real repair is to make it not bind when tightened all the way, then tighten it. It's possible the repairer didn't even notice it wasn't tightened.

Screws can still become loose even when tightened securely, but it's rare. Much more likely that it just wasn't closed tight.

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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-12-15 01:01

Kia ora,
Yamaha clarinets have a well deserved reputation for quality and consistency (as Tony F writes, "they play out of the box"). I recently played two CSGs (in a store in Auckland) that hadn't been set up or even touched by a repair tech, and while I found a couple of small adjustments that I'd personally prefer, overall I could have just taken either instrument and played a concert that afternoon...

The problem with Yamaha in New Zealand is that only one company is licensed to import new instruments- and that company has NO woodwind specialists (unless you count a jazz saxophone player who is a very nice fellow and that's about all I can say) and a pretty pathetic repair shop. When they are overloaded with repairs they contract their repairs to the OTHER big chain, which actually has a good repair team, but there is no way of knowing WHEN this will be the case.
There is also a shop in East Auckland that imports used Yamaha instruments from Japan (they were forced to remove the claim that they were "Yamaha approved" from their advertising). This shop is a good source of used instruments, but the "overhaul" they boast about is little more than cleaning the instrument to make it look shiny.
So this is not good news for Yamaha in NZ, although the importers DO do a good job of providing Yamaha student instruments at a reasonable price. As a teacher, I find the students playing these instruments seldom have equiptment related problems and we can get down to learning the clarinet!

NZDee- as Clarnibass points out it's not that unusual for a screw to work its way out (one of the reasons I carry a screw driver around with me when teaching). I have nothing to add to the advice given, but feel free to email me for suggestions for repair techs (there are several good people, in addition to the person Clarnibass mentions- who did excellent work on my bass clarinet earlier this year).

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 Re: What to expect from a new clarinet
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2017-12-15 10:08

The first thing I would do is send it to the Yamaha factory through the store you bought it at. Insist on this. The store should get you a new horn. It's under warranty from the factory. THis is just wrong. Scratched up keys? Unacceptable.

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

Yamaha Artist 2015

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