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 I've got the gimmes
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-05-20 20:47

Hi, gang --

I've been taking lessons since January, using my mom's 1950-ish Selmer Bundy Resonite and a Fobes Debut mouthpiece. I'm making what my teacher thinks is excellent progress and have recently joined two New Horizons bands (concert and beginner).

My teacher suspects that my trusty steed "isn't doing me any favors" (that is, it may make it harder than it needs to be to play fluidly). However, I recognize that as a relative beginner it's probably best to keep playing on the Bundy for a while longer.

That said, I've got my eye on the Backun Protege for when I do upgrade. (I'm a proud new Canadian.) And I'm wondering if it might make sense to at least upgrade my barrel to maybe a Fatboy in the near term. It might improve my sound and make me more content to continue playing the Bundy.

What think you? Is there any merit in a barrel upgrade, or have I just come down with a bad case of the gimmes?



Post Edited (2019-05-20 22:02)

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 Re: I've got the
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-05-20 21:34

It depends on what the reason is. All good players can play fluidly a Bundy. Leaks and uneven spring tensions can cause difficulties but many pro clarinets need tweaking anyway, so getting the Bundy looked at may help or not. A good reason to change a barrel is for tuning problems. There are a few different bore configurations that influence the tuning, and changing the barrel can make tuning better or worse. After the bore is chosen then chose how the outside materiel is shaped. Let us know the reason so we can suggest appropriately.

And congratulations on your progerss.

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 Re: I've got the
Author: mdj 
Date:   2019-05-20 22:03

Agreed with above. Is the issue mechanics or is the issue sound/tone?

If the horn is causing issues due to improper functioning of pads, keys, etc... then perhaps it needs to be assessed and fixed.

If the issue is tone and / or tuning, then a new barrel may (or may not) do it.

Obviously any instrument can have mechanical issues (regardless of quality).

That said, if you want to upgrade for sake of an upgrade - go for it! Sometimes a 'better' instrument (defined on your own terms) can be inspiring to play long term. Sometimes it simply won't matter after you play it a couple months and the newness wears off. Individual based.

My experience...
I played my wife's 30 year old Yamaha before acquiring an R13. The two feel different in terms of key heights, etc... and I find the R13 much more comfortable to play. I also used the Fobes Debut for years.

My daughter now plays the old Yamaha and Fobes Debut and states adamantly the key setup on my R13 is much easier to work with than the Yamaha. I concur.

I am NOT a pro and consider myself an intermediate 'late bloomer' student so for me ANY help I can get in terms on cooperation on an instrument, the better.

If I ever reach a certain level of proficiency, the level of instrument will become much less important.

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 Re: I've got the
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-20 22:03

> What think you? Is there any merit in a barrel upgrade, or have
> I just come down with a bad case of the gimmes?


IMO, a case of gimmes possibly leading to GAS (Gadget Acquisition Syndrome). Again IMO, the last thing you should spend money on is a barrel (or, maybe, a bell would be the very last).

Assuming you're a fully responsible adult who takes care of things like expensive clarinets and doesn't handle them carelessly, upgrading your clarinet (again, tiresomely perhaps, IMO) is not a "wait-until-you-get-better" thing (it's different for a 10 year-old who is prone to accidentally smacking things into chairs). A better clarinet should always make playing easier and progress quicker. And the less you have to worry about what is *your* problem and what is the *clarinet's* deficiency, the less you'll have to guess where any problem you're having lies. The only issue with upgrading early is that if you decide to abandon the whole project, you'll never sell the instrument for what you paid.

So, my advice if you're reasonably sure you're hooked and you have the money on hand, is to buy a moderately priced upgrade - either something like the Protege or a Yamaha (whatever the current model number is of their upper intermediate line) or a used R-13 or equivalent. Your taste in sound, response and mechanical feel may change as you advance, and you may want something different later, but none of those choices will hold you back.

But my bottom line answer to your specific question is, forget the aftermarket barrel. It may cause new unexpected problems (fit, intonation, the sound may not be what you like) and won't really bring much of an advantage.

Karl

BethGraham wrote:

> Hi, gang --
>
> I've been taking lessons since January, using my mom's 1950-ish
> Selmer Bundy Resonite and a Fobes Debut mouthpiece. I'm making
> what my teacher thinks is excellent progress and have recently
> joined two New Horizons bands (concert and beginner).
>
> My teacher suspects that my trusty steed "isn't doing me any
> favors" (that is, it may make it harder than it needs to be to
> play fluidly). However, I recognize that as a relative beginner
> it's probably best to keep playing on the Bundy for a while
> longer.
>
> That said, I've got my eye on the Backun Protege for when I do
> upgrade. (I'm a proud new Canadian.) And I'm wondering if it
> might make sense to at least upgrade my barrel to maybe a
> Fatboy in the near term. It might improve my sound and make me
> more content to continue playing the Bundy.
>
> What think you? Is there any merit in a barrel upgrade, or have
> I just come down with a bad case of the gimmes?
>

>
> Post Edited (2019-05-20 20:57)

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-05-21 01:15

Hi, Karl (and other responders) --

Yup, you've got me pegged. I have tendencies toward GAS. (That is, I want all the cool tools.) In the yarn and fiber world we have a similar acronym: SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy).

Two issues are at play here: 1) a probable need for a tune-up in order to make sure all keys are working at their smoothest and 2) the desire for a new gadget that might make my tone richer (and that would also give me the chance to try a Backun product before handing over the big bucks for a new clarinet).

You've talked me down. For now. ;) (Back to practicing!)



Post Edited (2019-05-21 14:49)

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-05-21 02:35

BethGraham wrote:

2) the desire for a new gadget that might make my tone
> richer (and that would also give me the chance to try a Backun
> product before handing over the big bucks for a new clarinet).

Based on my experience (several Backun barrels, one trial of Backun clarinet in the shop I go to) I'm not sure the barrels really tell you anything much about the instruments, except that they're made out of very pretty wood.

Karl

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-05-21 04:03

A few things to try are blow faster air without playing louder. There is a long post here on the subject. Another is double lip embouchure, not to play it permanently, but to hear how it changes the sound color and how it will show you some of your sound production errors. Ricardo Morales has a YouTube video on it and there are many more there too.

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2019-05-22 01:23

Has your teacher tried your current clarinet? His/Her opinion - suspicion - of its condition should help in your decision about the need/desirability of an upgrade.

Have you played on your teacher's clarinet? Try it.

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-05-22 03:10

My teacher has played my clarinet a few times, but I haven't yet tried his. That's an excellent idea -- thanks!

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 Re: I've got the gimmes
Author: eac 2017
Date:   2019-06-03 17:26

We've all wanted a gadget to improve our tone! (Or I suspect most of us have at one time or another.) Try this exercise: Play one of the best notes (ie richest fullest tone) on your present instrument. Then do something to make the sound go bad (flabby, thin, however you want to describe a less desirable tone), maybe let your cheek muscles go loose to get a flabby tone. Return to your first better tone and then do more of whatever you did to make the sound improve. Try this for all sorts of maneuvers, more and firmer air, tighter lower lip muscles, tighter side lip muscles, moving down the reed, etc. Maximize your present sound and it will apply to a new instrument.

Liz Leckey

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