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 Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-12 03:16

What is the "average" length of an A Clarinet's barrel? (I can appreciate that there might not be an answer to this.)

My problem is this: I'm restoring an old (probably early 20th century) hard rubber simple system clarinet which I thought was a Bb clarinet. However, it is missing it's original barrel. All of the spare barrels I own are roughly 65-66.5mm in length, and when I place any of them on this particular clarinet...and if I pull out a whopping 2.5-3mm, the clarinet plays a concert [A4] when I finger [C5]. It isn't even close to being in tune with any pitch if I leave the barrel all the way in, or pull it out less than 2.5-3mm. However, at 2.5-3mm pulled out, the instrument stays in tune between [C4] and [C5], but goes sharp below [C4] or above [C5]

I'm trying to figure out if the barrel is the problem, or if, perhaps the clarinet's bore has misshapen over the years to create an anomaly. Could a Bb instrument be this far out of wack without any obvious visual clues, or is this an obvious A clarinet which needs a longer barrel?

(I fully admit my ignorance in this area...I've only ever played Bb/Eb instruments, but I'm used to these old simple system clarinets going FLAT when the longer B/C fingerings are used - not sharp, and figure I must be missing something that will be obvious to the rest of you.)

Any help, education, or information you might offer would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Fuzzy

PS: for those interested...the clarinet has absolutely no markings of any kind. No logos. No scratches. No serial numbers...nothing. The clarinet is brown as brown can be (not olive...definite brown). Beautiful keywork which matches an old 1893 Conn I own, so resolving this issue would help me further figure out just exactly what I have.

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-12 03:37

When I put the lower joints of my A and Bb clarinets side by side, the A is noticeably longer and the three fingered (ringed) tone holes are slightly farther apart from each other. Granted, they're both much newer (1970s-80s) Selmer 10Gs, but you might get a hint about this by comparing the mystery instrument to your own Bb.

Karl

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-12 03:44

You mentioned that it's a simple system. I'm not sure (someone please verify), but I think the barrel length on some simple system clarinets are shorter than the Boehm clarinet barrels, kind of like how the Oehler system clarinets have shorter barrels than their Boehm counterparts.

-- Ray Zhang

Post Edited (2018-02-12 04:05)

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-12 03:57

Thanks guys!

Ray - I can't speak for all simple systems of course, but the ones I collect usually have comparible 65-67mm barrels (for Bb instruments). I've seen pictures of the shorter-barreled models, but I'm thinking they might be a bit older design than what I have...maybe more into the 19th century? (Now I'm curious!) ;^)>>>

Karl - thanks for the idea of comparing joint to joint. Oddly, the lower joints are nearly identical, but the upper joint of the mystery clarinet is about 1/4" longer than the upper joint of my Bb. Oddly enough, the right-hand fingers feel CLOSER together than on my Bb's of (what I'm guessing to be) the same era.

Just curious, with modern clarinets - what is a usual length difference between Bb and A clarinets?

Fuzzy

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Wes 
Date:   2018-02-12 05:19

Could it be a Bb clarinet at LP-440 or HP-455 with a very short barrel needed?

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-12 05:27

Fuzzy wrote:

> Just curious, with modern clarinets - what is a usual length
> difference between Bb and A clarinets?

Can't tell you about "usual length," but my 10Gs are 1-1/2 inches different from the top of the barrel tenon to the bottom end of the bell tenon. Bb is 18", A is 19-1/2" without the barrels or bells in place.

Looking at them, I'm actually surprised, because I've never paid much attention to the actual lengths, that the upper section of the A is also much longer than the B, but the extra is, to my eye unaided by measuring equipment, all above the fingered area - the three tone holes and the A/G# assembly are all very well aligned between them (so the finger stretch is identical). The upper end from the A tone hole is elongated on my A clarinet.

The lower joint of my A is more stretched starting as high as the A3/E5 tone hole and the stretch from Bb3/F5 to G3/D5 is about a half inch longer than the Bb.

I'm sure these lengths are idiosyncratic to the 10Gs and vary to some extent in each manufacturer's design, but it may give you some ideas to look at in trying to pitch the overall clarinet.

Karl

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-12 20:04

> Could it be a Bb clarinet at LP-440 or HP-455 with a very short
> barrel needed?

Hmm, I admit to temporarily forgetting about the various tonal centers of the era.

It looks like I do need to obtain a little variety in barrel length in order to further test this out. How short do barrels come for Bb and A clarinets (What should I look for?)

Thanks,
Fuzzy



Post Edited (2018-02-12 20:07)

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-12 20:06

kdk wrote:

> Can't tell you about "usual length," but my 10Gs are 1-1/2
> inches different from the top of the barrel tenon to the bottom
> end of the bell tenon. Bb is 18", A is 19-1/2" without the
> barrels or bells in place.

Wow! Yeah, that's a lot longer than what I'm looking at here. Thanks for taking the time to compare things for me - I really appreciate the help!

Fuzzy

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2018-02-12 20:43

Any chance you've got a hybrid? one joint Bb, the other A, + bell from a tuba?

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-12 20:47

Bennett wrote:

> Any chance you've got a hybrid? one joint Bb, the other A, +
> bell from a tuba?

Haha! There is a slight chance that the bell was added/changed at some point. The upper and lower joints seem to be a perfect match though.

Fuzzy

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-02-12 21:42

>> Oddly, the lower joints are nearly identical, but the upper joint of the mystery clarinet is about 1/4" longer than the upper joint of my Bb. Oddly enough, the right-hand fingers feel CLOSER together than on my Bb's of (what I'm guessing to be) the same era. <<

Could be a sign for a Bb that uses a much shorter barrel. I've seen more than a few Simple/Albert/German clarinets like that.

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-13 03:35

Well, Ray...I think clarnibass and Karl brought me full circle to your original comment!

Comparing joints more closely (as Karl suggested), combined with matching up the tone holes/etc., and with the encouragement of clarnibass...I'm convinced you have all helped me resolve this issue.

Comparing joint to joint, the tone holes all match (nearly) up to my other Bb models - with small differences between them, but generally very close. That extra length of the upper joint is entirely above the register vent, so I think it is probable that the barrel was somewhere in the neighborhood of 50mm instead of the standard 65-67mm barrels my other simple systems of the era have.

So, now the journey begins to find a 50mm barrel for testing. I hate to buy a bunch of barrels while trying to find the correct length, but I'm not sure how else to proceed. Do any of you know of resources a person could use for this type of trial-and-error work? (If nothing else, I might just go out and try to turn something out on my lathe to provide a proof of concept...though my lathe equipment leaves a lot to be desired for this type of work!)

Thanks to all of you...not only did you help me to find what I feel is the right answer, but you helped me understand the troubleshooting process and resolution along the way! I truly appreciate the time and thought you all put into this on my behalf!

Fuzzy

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-02-24 00:04
Attachment:  50mm3D.png (1129k)

UPDATE!!

Let me once again thank you all for solving this issue for me. I tried to find 50mm barrels, but didn't have a lot of luck (Yes, ebay had some of unknown material...but I didn't want to chance it. And yes, a couple companies could custom-make a 50mm barrel for me...but the cost was prohibitive for this particular project.).

So, I downloaded some CAD software and created my own 50mm barrel, and had it 3D printed. I had never used CAD software before, nor had I ever had something 3D printed before...but WOW! The end product arrived today, looks fine, and fits almost perfectly (I made the tenon sockets about 1/4mm too shallow, and a few cosmetic issues)! It plays almost exactly in pitch for a Bb clarinet - just like you folks had figured it would!

So with your direction, plus $25 to have the item printed/mailed...I have a fully functional Bb clarinet!

I've tailored the design a little since I sent this first one off for printing, so I might fix the small errors I made on my first one, update the cosmetics, and have another go at it. 3D printing has sure come a long way since the samples I saw a few years ago!

Thanks to you all - I am one happy camper!
Fuzzy ;^)>>>



Post Edited (2018-02-24 00:05)

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 Re: Clarinet in A (barrel question)
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-02-24 03:18

Glad I could help out a bit! Now that you posted a photo of it, the register key looks realy low, which is due to the long upper joint.

The 3D barrel looks great too!

-- Ray Zhang

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