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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2018-03-14 22:27

Chris,

Today most orchestral clarinetists and college and conservatory clarinet professors still play Buffets but Backun, Yamaha, and Selmer are making inroads, with a few also playing Eaton, Rossi, and S & S. So, in your experience, which of these brands have the BEST build out the box, require the least maintenance, and are the most reliably made and easiest to repair?

A little sugar makes the pill go down, so if you say which clarinets are built better than Buffet and why, that might make your critique of Buffet a little easier for some on the list to "swallow." If you look at the social rituals that American Buffet players (I still count myself among them) have enacted historically you will see that the best informed of them have always known (since the late '50s and the big switch from Selmer to R13) that they would need to have the instrument "rebuilt." My teacher helped me select one in the early '60s and it was immediately sent away to Hans Moening to "get it working." Later on the ritual cup passed to William Brannen. You knew when you bought a Buffet that Brannen would make it sound and mechanically respond the way it should. After the Brannen shop started winding down, Buffet players began turning to techs like Mike Hammer, Larry Frank, and others to rebuild the Buffet they buy. It was no secret among American players that that's what had to be done. Off the shelf, the Buffet was known to be an "unfinished" product. Trying to tell Buffet players that the pad heights were wrong, the springs weren't of the right tension, the tone holes needed undercutting, etc, was like telling vegetarians that their diet failed to provide vitamin B12. Well of course they know that, and that's why they take B12 supplements.

American clarinetists fell in love with the sound of the Buffet R13 as rebuilt by Hans Moening and expected subsequent techs to accomplish a similar transformation of the instrument. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than Buffet has been extensively flattered through the years. Ridenour says that the Leblanc Infinity and some other Leblanc models tried to emulate it, Selmer in the 10G and 10 series did the same, Yamaha. before its more Germanic models did the same, and even the high end German S & S used the Buffet as a model. Whoever writes the history of the 20th century clarinet will have to give credit to the Buffet R13 (and later RC) as dominant designs in the French Boehm instrument for half a century. The engineering and quality control may have been marginal or even wretched, but the basic design inspired American orchestral players.

A growing grumble among Buffet fans is that the R13 design of the 1950s and 60s is being dropped in favor of a larger bore size that does not produce the same sound even when it is "Brannerized" or otherwise expertly set-up. And tastes in clarinet tone are changing. A broader, more covered sound, rounder and less vibrant is gradually becoming more acceptable. Changes in mouthpiece and barrel preference reflect this as well as the growing popularity of the Backun, and more recent Selmer and Yamaha designs. Some players are saying they want clarinet designs that "will take more air."

But to return to the original point. So the Buffet build out the box is poor. Which clarinets from a repair person's point of view have the best build and why? Do the Backun, Selmer, Yamaha and other clarinets you repair exhibit markedly better quality control and build than the Buffet, and if so, exactly how?



Post Edited (2018-03-15 00:20)

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 Buffet's Build Quality...  new
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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
jonathan.wallaceadams 2018-03-14 08:13 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
clarnibass 2018-03-14 12:18 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
rmk54 2018-03-14 16:14 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Chris P 2018-03-14 16:34 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Brickbinder 2018-03-14 17:16 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Fuzzy 2018-03-14 20:05 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Chris P 2018-03-14 18:15 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
JamesOrlandoGarcia 2018-03-14 19:26 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
kdk 2018-03-14 21:29 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Fuzzy 2018-03-14 21:57 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
kdk 2018-03-14 22:15 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
seabreeze 2018-03-14 22:27 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
jbutler 2018-03-14 22:43 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
jdbassplayer 2018-03-15 00:28 
 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
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 Re: Buffet's Build Quality...  new
Clarineteer 2018-03-21 15:18 


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