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 Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-09 17:15

The first big question is, of course, does a clarinett "blow out"? I tend to think so, as I've had three matching pairs in my adult life: B-flat and A" and it has always seemed to me that at the end, the A was in a fresher state than the B-flat because it had been played a lot less. If and when an instrument is blown out, do you have any secrets for regenerating it?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2019-04-09 19:45

I've never understood how anyone could determine that a clarinet was "blown out."

Unless one has a clear and accurate auditory memory of how a clarinet plays when fairly new, and a comparison is made years or decades later in the same environment as the original assessment was made, I don't know how anyone could determine that a clarinet has degraded.

I've owned nearly a dozen professional-level instruments of many brands over the years, and have never been aware of any changes in any of them over some years, and that includes the 1961 R13 that I've been playing for nearly sixty years now.

The only time I've known of a clarinet degrading seriously is when bore dimensions have changed, and that usually happens abruptly and very soon after the clarinet was new.

In my not-so-humble opinion, I think that "my clarinet is blown out" most often translates to "I want a new clarinet."

B.



Post Edited (2019-04-10 07:06)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-04-09 20:45

Mouthpieces wear and degrade much more than clarinets do. I wonder how many owners of "blown out " clarinets are trying to make them work with the same worn, never-refaced mouthpiece they've been playing for 30 years.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-04-09 20:46

I think horns get "blown out" when the player would like a new instrument and has a student who is in the market for a new one.

;-)

I am not sure I subscribe to the theory, but sometimes a check up and a different barrel can give new life to an instrument. Because of its position on the instrument, the barrel can really affect the feel and hold of the instrument.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: brycon 
Date:   2019-04-09 22:00

Oboists also talk a lot about horns blowing out. Many oboists I know, in fact, buy a new instrument every 5 years or so. It isn't just clarinet-lore.

On Buffets (can't speak to other brands because I've never played them), I notice the left hand notes, especially the throat tones, feeling tubby and losing resistance after five years or so. Over the course of a clarinet's life, then, I find myself gravitating toward slightly harder reeds. Rather than frequently buying new clarinet, however, a change in reed strength or a new barrel can compensate for the diminishing resistance.



Post Edited (2019-04-09 22:01)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-04-09 22:28

brycon wrote:

> On Buffets (can't speak to other brands because I've never
> played them), I notice the left hand notes, especially the
> throat tones, feeling tubby and losing resistance after five
> years or so. Over the course of a clarinet's life, then, I find
> myself gravitating toward slightly harder reeds. Rather than
> frequently buying new clarinet, however, a change in reed
> strength or a new barrel can compensate for the diminishing
> resistance.

I would think there's some kind of physical deterioration that would explain that kind of change. I often wonder when I read discussions about "blow-out" whether the causes, if they could be detected, could be corrected by a very good repair tech.

Karl

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: brycon 
Date:   2019-04-09 23:09

Quote:

I would think there's some kind of physical deterioration that would explain that kind of change. I often wonder when I read discussions about "blow-out" whether the causes, if they could be detected, could be corrected by a very good repair tech.


Well, there's certainly a change in the upper joint's dimensions over time. But I'm not sure about the exact cause(s). My repair tech, who's one of the best in the country, has told me that the Wurlitzer clarinets he's worked on don't suffer as much change over time as Buffets. Not for sure if it has something to do with the wood they use, the way the wood is treated, or the way people usually play these instruments. Similarly, would also be interesting to see if older Buffets change as much as newer ones.

In terms of correction, I've heard of people submerging the clarinet's body in oil for some time, though I'm not sure if this process works as a long-term solution.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-04-09 23:58

https://youtu.be/R2G_KCXXYkk

I wonder if this is what’s needed for a clarinet that feels “blown out”. Wood is not all that stable after all.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour Libertas, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Behn Aria 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-10 00:46

Ursa; but mouthpieces are made of ebonite and maybe ebonite is less prone to aging and deterioration than wood.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-10 01:07

Ed: it also suits the instrument makers for you to think that your clarinet wears out. This boosts sales. I agree with you about barrels, though. They get more rain fall than the rest of the instrument and humidity might have a wear and tear effect. I wonder what it would be like to just replace the upper joint of the clarinet. Do big companies agree to sell just one joint (of a clarinet. I don't mean a joint of marijuana!)?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2019-04-10 02:26

A blown out instrument is like a worn out shoe. You adapt and it feels normal to you. When I play a blown out clarinet there is a lack of resistance and it takes more effort to play it in tune. Oiling might help some.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-10 02:46

Fernie121's post nails it. The biggest issue is that many folks can learn repadding and and other assorted instrument craft but retooling the bore and tone holes of in instrument calls for a lot more skill. Also, notice Morrie is working on HIS horn and one that's not that old.

Solution?

Greenline!!!!!!


...........Paul Aviles.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-04-10 06:44

Ruben,

I play Jazz and Big Band material at very high dynamics and have had an ebonite mouthpiece facing erode to an unplayable state six months after being refaced by a famous mouthpiece artisan.

New ebonite 'pieces usually last me about three years before the tip and rails need attention.

It's just a fact of life that clarinets, mouthpiece facings, and reeds are in a constant state of degradation. I choose to act professionally by effectively and proactively managing that reality.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-04-10 10:15

Over the years I've bought a number of professional-level clarinets that were said by their owners to be "blown out". In all except one case I was able to restore them to such a condition that I would say that they were pretty well as good as when they were delivered as new. A couple of them needed new barrels and where a mouthpiece came with them they generally needed some attention. One of them ended up back with the player who sold it to me. The one that didn't come back from the dead was a Selmer 9, which never did sound right no matter what I did. I didn't measure the bore, and I wish I had. It had had a hard life when I bought it. I sold it to a jazz player who loves it.

Tony F.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-10 12:39

Tony F: did you oil these clarinets with anything special or in a special way?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: DougR 
Date:   2019-04-10 21:01

I'll just add another consideration here, the mechanicals of the instrument. I bought a very well-used CT off of, er 'that site', and after 2 different repair guys spent time with it, the verdict was that there was so much wear in the hinge tubes and the rings were worn so thin that even if the pads were repaired so that they'd seal, the slop in the key mechanism prevented pads from seating the same way twice. Too bad, it is potentially a lovely instrument, but it's not playable without major reconstructive surgery (fabricating new hinge tubes, building up rings where they're worn, etc.).

That may not constitute 'blown out', but 'worn out,' for sure.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: A Brady 
Date:   2019-04-10 21:32

I had Guy Chadash in NYC replace the upper bores with a hard rubber insert of my 1967 B flat and my 1974 A R-13s within the last ten years. The results were marvelous, improved resonance, response, and intonation. I believe Morrie Backun also does this. Many of the top players I know of regularly replace their instruments after a decade or so, due to changes in the shape and dimensions of the bore. Bore replacement is a way to give these old horns new life.

AB

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: Bill 
Date:   2019-04-11 03:23

It can't be done. Any wooden clarinet that has been played more than a total of 1,000 hours must be sold -- preferably destroyed.*

(*I will take it off your hands for a small fee.)

Bill Fogle
Ellsworth, Maine
(formerly Washington, DC)


Post Edited (2019-04-11 03:24)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-04-11 07:22

Rueben,
For a while I used the Doctor's products and was very satisfied with them, but a few years ago I ran into some difficulties in getting them shipped to Australia. Since then I've used almond oil with a 5% addition of alcohol to aid in penetration. I don't saturate them the way some techs do, I swab them with oil over several days and then let them dry for a couple of weeks. I use gun polish on the outside. It's a paste wax polish that buffs up to a very hard satin shine.

DougR
I've also come across a few that were worn to the point where they were not recoverable without major reconstructive surgery. The worst ended up as parts, the best were got into the best playing condition possible and passed on the school music programmes. While they were not up to use at a professional level they make good school band instruments.

Tony F.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-11 15:23

Bill; I don't know whether you're kidding or not! 1000 hours would mean changing instrument every two years for me. Who's got that kind of money. As for destroying the instrument: it's not a WWI bomb that never went off! It doesn't represent a danger to anybody.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-04-11 21:58

AB said:"replace the upper bores with a hard rubber insert"

I, for one, wish that musical instrument manufacturers would move away from wood as a material. While it was structurally convenient 150 years ago, it is clearly an inferior material for any application where dimensional stability is a critical parameter. There have been many academic studies with blind tests where materials have been shown to be insignificant (i.e. constant designs with varying materials)...the most prevalent are with flutes and clarinets. Polymer clarinets 'seem' to be inferior because 1) the mythology of wood and 2) the fact that they cannot be sold for a high price requires a simpler manufacturing process without the detailed finishing that makes a good design great (like Morrie was doing in the YouTube to a clarinet that had been exposed to sufficient wet/dry cycles that it's dimensions had changed).

Clearly, a clarinet joint with a rubber liner does not impart any of the 'woodiness' to the 'airstream' as much mythology preaches



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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-04-12 01:42

Polymer instruments mainly seem inferior because noone ever bothered to make real high end clarinets out of ebonite or other materials. Also, the type of wood surely has an impact, but most clarinetists refuse to change to any other non-black(ish) looking instrument, so we're stuck with grenadilla. I'd just like to point out the following observations:

I almost bought a Uebel Superior (at this point, it couldn't be older than 4-5 years max!!), but it had such a weird erosion at the top joint, just behind the register vent + this typical whitening of "dehydrated" wood that I was sure the bore has already warped somehow. Even if it wasn't, the wood clearly suffered. This did NOT make the clarinet feel "blown out" or more resistant than a new one, actually, but it had slight intonation issues. Also, the posts were loose, another sign for some hefty changes in such a short time. Granted, the instrument was (ab)used by a pro, taken to China and whatnot. Funny, this guy told me that he needed a new R13 every 4-5 years or so, as they were always quickly "blown out". To this day I wonder what caused this Uebel to "erode" like this - but we'll never know

With the duet+ technology, Yamaha makes some ebonite/abs lined instruments in a larger scale - even professional oboes! It's only logical that a smooth bore has a positive impact, but debris and resins may adhere to the edges of the toneholes and chimneys and cause all sorts of issues, too. To be honest, my teachers have never exactly articulated these thoughts and rather talk about wear and this "blown out" phenomenon, so I don't know. All I can say is that a more hydrophobic clarinet bore would be desirable and that there needs to be a more precise term to describe a clarinet's wear/degradation.

Maybe the evidence (such as Morrie's video) is still too weak and maybe bore lining has some sort of disadvantage that I'm unable too see right now.
BTW, the new CG carbon clarinet inverses this idea and as a "wooden core". Backun probably has their reasons... But why does every manufacturer have to make a seemingly innovative new clarinet without any improvements in terms of durability? I'll never fully understand the clarinet science.... Many play on plastic reeds now, but there's NO WAY to make a clarinet's bore last longer??

CL.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-12 18:49

Dear Kalashni, There's a wealth of food for thought in your comments! Ultimately, we all seem to pretty much agree that condensation/humidity is responsible for the wear and tear. Other cuilprits could be the pressure waves, swabbing of the bore, vibrations; but I should think these are pretty minor factors compared with water. I've known many French bassoonists who played Buffet French bassoons and switched over to German bassoons. Though French bassoons are made of much heavier rosewood and German bassoons are made of light maple, the French bassoons "blow out" whereas the Germans don't simply because the joint that gets the most rainfall is lined on the latter. That's why there are so many bassoonists around playing almost 100 year-old Heckels! So the solution: ebonite lining. I work for a small instrument-maker and we're not equipped to do this.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: DougR 
Date:   2019-04-12 19:09

Mr. Brady's post about Guy Chadash made me remember my visits to a remarkable woodwind technician, Dan Sagi: with each clarinet I've brought him for work, he always checks the bore of both the barrel and upper joint, and if he detects something 'off' about the response, he very gently re-reams the bore to return it to roundness. The improvement in response is always noticeable, even for a dunce like me. (And this refers only to parts of the bore accessible with a hand-reamer, not a complete rebore--something I've never tried.)

I'm beginning to think that the term 'blown out' is just a catch-all phrase to describe the many ways an instrument can go out of whack over time and usage, only some of which might apply solely to changed bore dimensions. So many moving parts! So many of them variable with temperature, humidity and age! And, I'd guess, each 'blown out' instrument may have unique ways that it no longer plays its best.

Fascinating thread!



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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-04-12 20:13

Thank you ruben!
That's also interesting, I know (some) German basoons are somehow lined and never understood why.

Here's another story: With a cheap dremel tool, I did some extremely careless and random undercutting on my plastic eefer. Surpisingly, that greatly improved it's response and possibly intonation, with the first being pretty decent now! I ascribe this to it's naturally smooth bore and apparantly my doing hasn't made anything worse, but the tone holes weren't cut all too nicely in the first place anyways. Shame I won't have the time (and also lack the expertise) to do some real fine tuning, but it sure was an interesting experiment.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2019-04-12 21:31

I'm persuaded that wood moves with time & moisture, but need a bit more convincing that this necessarily leads to degradation: why assume that the clarinet was made perfectly in the first instance? As has been frequently noted here in regard of Buffet factory videos, the reaming of the bore seems pretty approximate at the level of fine detail, and I could imagine that any dimensional changes with time might be equally likely to improve things. So rather than "blown out", what about "blown in"? I would say that my 37-year-old Buffet A plays better now than when I first got it. Has anyone else had this experience?

But over the years, I did become dissatisfied with my Bb, and this does match the "blown out" narrative - but it could also be just growing intolerance of limitations that nag at you once you become aware of them. In any case, I replaced it with a 40-year-old Buffet that must have had a huge amount of playing time judging by the state of the keywork - but it blows better than any modern Buffet I've tried. So while some instruments may indeed blow out, I'm skeptical that it's an inevitable general phenomenon.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-04-13 02:15

After decades, there definitely are considerable changes to the bore, in that int shrinks a bit. Of course, only in the range of 0.01-0.1mm, but still!
Now especially some of the smaller makers here in Germany pride themselves with using truly naturally dried wood that in some cases has aged for decades. L&K pre-bore their wood before storing it for a while... as do many others. That way, warping is supposedly reduced to a minimum.
S&S claims their boxwood clarinets warp way less, not only because of whatever kind of magic they apply to them, but also, because it was stored for ages.

So while I‘m glad to see so much thought put into making an instrument, at some point it becomes hocus-pocus. Almost 1000€ or so for a wood type that has been known to warp massively?
By the way, only high-end Buffets are made of „non baked“ wood. I know other instrument makers argue that artificially drying the wood has adverse effects. Buffet most certainly doesn’t „pre-bore“ as described above! My hypothesis remains that the seeming necessity to chose one from a dozen of R13 is mainly caused by varying wood quality...
But them, I wouldn’t assume other big makers do that, either...

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-14 17:03

Dear John (Peacock), I found your idea of an instrument being "blown in" rather than "blown out" rather fascinating. The lathes they use in big companies like Buffet, Selmer, Yamaha, etc. have become very precise, but ideally, you would use fractions of a millimetre variations in order to adjust to the wood that you're using. One size doesn't fit all. This is what luthiers do; adjust the making of their string instruments to the wood they're using and never doing quite the same thing twice.
What I subjectively mean by "blown out" is what I would compare to a worn-out reed: the instruments seems to lose its core, seems to vibrate less and its sound becomes brighter. This might not just stem from changes in dimensions of the bore, but rather to some invisible damage done to the woods fibers. At any rate, if you ever want to give up science or clarinet playing, you could become a first-class lawyer. You have an excellent eye for circumstantial evidence!

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Les Nicholas 
Date:   2019-04-15 00:49

I believe I can probably help you out.
I invite you to read my info about the critical importance of a fine barrel that exactly matches the dimensions of your individual instrument and mthpc.
The days of finding a barrel by trial and error... "searching for a needle in the haystack"...are long gone.
References available.

www.lesnicholas.com

https://www.facebook.com/LesNicholasCustomClarinetBarrels

https://www.facebook.com/LesNicholasCustomClarinetBarrels

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Dibbs 
Date:   2019-04-15 20:12

Kalashnikirby wrote:

> So while I‘m glad to see so much thought put into making an
> instrument, at some point it becomes hocus-pocus.

Absolutely. The trouble is we're such suggestible creatures. We tend to want to believe in the hocus pocus.

It's not too bad with clarinets. The HiFi industry is orders of magnitude worse.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-04-18 07:03

Harold Wright with the Boston Symphony, replaced his horns every 8 to 10 years.

Those were the old 1950's and 60's Buffets though.

The Yamaha's I have and endorse show no signs of changes and I put a lot of hours on them. But this is California. Boston's weather is much different.

Horns do warp. Some even crack. So yes horns change.

Check the tuning a lot. That's one way to see if the horns are stable. If the notes can't be tuned dump them.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-04-18 12:04

I think the idea of passing blown out professional instruments on to school music programmes is a really good one. I started on a 100 year old instrument that had many many problems, but it had a lovely tone and sound and I was much more highly motivated to keep going because of its nice sound.

I think a blown out professional instrument could be really worth a lot to a new starter, compared with a cheap new instrument that may not sound very nice.



Post Edited (2019-04-18 12:06)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-04-19 11:10

lamp?

zukovsky@usc.edu

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: JEG 2017
Date:   2019-04-19 17:56

John Peacock's post piqued my interest; I had been thinking recently about the state of my R13 B-flat and A clarinets, both of which I bought new. I bought the A in 1967 and the B-flat in 1979. The B-flat replaced the one I bought in high school that I wasn't quite happy with. It was chosen for me by Robert Genovese.

I was a professional into the mid 1980s when I quit and went into IT. I started playing in earnest again in 2000 and have been at it ever since. So I haven't been playing at the rate that Harold Wright would have but still, the horns are not new by any stretch of the imagination.

My A is especially intriguing. In my opinion the sound has improved over the years. I remember thinking that like many A clarinets the sound was dull, but in recent years I've been appreciating how rich the sound has become. is it the horn or have I improved that much? Don't know...

I did try an R13 A recently that someone was trying out and I was surprised as to how resistant it was. Mine is not overly resistant but it does not feel like what people might think of as being blown out. It also has calcium deposits in the upper joint bore. I don't know if that makes any difference.

My B-flat has always been vibrant and rich, and I still use the stock barrel that it came with.

I heard first-hand from Harold Wright and Stanley Drucker about replacing their instruments after about 10 years. Considering the amount that they had to play on a daily basis I think that the clarinets might definitely have changed at a different pace than my horns.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-04-19 18:24

Michele wrote:
lamp?

Illuminating! (Sorry -- couldn't resist.)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-04-20 10:40

HA HA HA
good one.

zukovsky@usc.edu

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-04-20 14:45

One of the best clarinets (any brand) I've tried was a Buffet from the early 40s (maybe late 30s... can't remember anymore). It was played a lot during all those years. It had a "weird" overhaul but nothing special was done to the bore other than regular oiling during the overhaul.

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-04-21 01:29

The wood shrinks - that's a fact........

The keywork gets very loose / sloppy.


And the Clarinet loses it's "ping".


Most can be fixed with $$$

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-04-21 21:58

Hi,

Does anybody recycle wooden clarinets into greenline clarinets? It seems to me that there are a lot of old clarinets that people think are not quite good enough to play any more, and as the wood is very special rainforest wood (as I understand it) maybe these could be taken and converted to a greenline clarinet (which is made of effectively clarinet MDF is it?)

Sunny

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-21 23:42

Sunny: What a great idea!! I'll tell Selmer. You should get a cut.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-04-21 23:52

Hi Ruben,

Thanks for passing that on. It would be great if the instruments could be reused. There seem to be armloads of them on ebay just waiting for a new lease of life.

Sunny

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2019-04-22 12:43

Dear Sunny, And why not use beaten up furniture made of ebony? All of this could be ground up and used for Greenline. My only reservation is that I feel that, ideally, a woodwind instrument needs fibers in the wood. If you just have sawdust, there are no fibers, thus not the same vibrational qualities and overtones. Still, Greenline is pretty good and recycling is always a good idea for the environment. Bravo for your great idea!

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com
JL-Clarinette

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2019-04-22 13:07

A bad instrument blows out. A good instrument gets better and better. The bad violins from Stradivari-Guarneri era are not among us anymore.

The biggest problem with the old instruments is the wearing out of the keywork added with possible damage with the tone holes.

Also the loose joints make the re-corking a bit challenging to make the tubes meet.

But the the sound of an old instrument whose wood has really got used to rrresonate!!!

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

Post Edited (2019-04-22 13:14)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-04-22 13:30

Hi Jarmo,

I think you are right about that. I have a 100 year old E.J Albert and it sounds lovely. The ergonomics of my new Yamaha is easier to fit my fingers around, but I don't think that my older one is blown out. I may be wrong though, as I am not very experienced.

Sunny

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-04-22 14:58

Jarmo- it's the same with old mouthpieces, many many Chedevilles have been forgotten because they just weren't that good. The good ones? They are cherished, looked after, and survive. As with 70 year old R13s...
I DO have an amazing 1963 R13 with totally shot keys, and often wonder how much it would cost to just get a complete set of modern keys fitted....

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: DougR 
Date:   2019-04-26 03:39

Donald, not sure what you mean exactly by 'shot keys,' but I'm in a perhaps similar situation with an 1955 Centered Tone FB. Rings thinned from wear, hinge tubes that rattle both latitudinally and longitudinally, won't hold an adjustment because of the slop in the keywork. I asked my regular repair guy to take a look & tell me what it would take to put it right, and he explained that with a CT (and perhaps older Buffets, I don't know), so much work was done by hand that even if you could find a parts instrument of a similar model, you couldn't assume any of the keywork would be interchangeable at all. (Also, engineering/construction specs often change over the course of an instrument's production run.)

He quoted me around $1k to overhaul the horn, including much fabrication and reconstruction of the keywork (with the hinge tubes alone, you'd have to find or fabricate replacements that fit tight, and then weld the keys back on, blah blah blah).

If you can afford to drop $1k on such a venture, and you can find someone talented enough to do the work, good luck!



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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2019-04-26 04:15

You can restore a "blown out" clarinet by "sucking it in". Rather than blowing though it, suck on it for at least 12 years, to restore the original bore dimensions. Then, have it professionally overhauled, and it will play like new!

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: DaphnisetChloe 
Date:   2019-04-27 01:32

David, an easy way to do this is just to hook a vacuum cleaner up to the barrel of the clarinet and run it continuously until the clarinet looks like new again ;)

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 Re: Any ideas for bringing a "blown out" instrument back to life?
Author: jthole 
Date:   2019-04-27 13:54

I don't know if wood gets better or worse with age. I do know that I tried a fair number of modern Buffets, and none of them was better (for me!) than my 1972's. OTOH, two years ago I played a Selmer Signature, for which I would have traded my own clarinet in a heartbeat (if I would have had the funds ;-) ).

The most logical explanation, of course, is that I got used to my own clarinet over the years. So to give a modern Buffet (e.g. the R13 Vintage) a fair chance, I should play it for a longer period than I did.

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