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 My 1970s Buffet S1! It works!
Author: oldreedguy 
Date:   2019-12-03 11:51

there was another topic on this archaic model I somehow ended up with after leaving my blessed R13...and apparently my music life, behind, in Oregon this past August, except for my 12-string Taylor 456ce-R and singing Grateful Dead tunes that helped get my place in California...but now the winds are back! If only at 58 my left hand and embouchure worked better...but the S1 does!

Now living in a small "recording studio" whose only problem is a few ants here and there caused by my own looding of my apartment last month (I am a disabled US veteran who might be dealing with early onset dementia...), today I played my newly overhauled S1 along with an Amazon music recording of one of my old favs, the Great Symphony in C #9 by Schubert. No, not the Unfinished...I played 1st clarinet in a community college orchestra that performed the Great in C about 10 years ago in Oregon...

The S1 held up nicely. Intonation seems pretty darn good, better than my R13. The tone was nice, yes I noticed its brightness. Some of the notes speak better than others, the keywork is a little different, but all in all for $1000 I got meself a horn that works...don't know if I can play in a band/orchestra again, but thanks to online recording/playback technology and this remote little place I found I can at least enjoy playing clarinet again, except for the problems with my left hand and embouchure issues. I want to learn altissimo alt fingerings on clar/alto sax, because I'm primarily an improv guy...yes, I was improv-ing on the Schubert...S1 was promoted by Buffet to be a "jazz" model...

Today I'm picking up my rehabbed 1919-vintage Buffet "A" I bought on reverb.com for $500 from a young Indiana University-trained sax player from Texas. It came in pieces...the corks were shot and there were some bad pads, but what I could get out of it didn't sound half bad. I brought it to the same guy (Ron McFarley, ccFlutes, Morro Bay California USA) who overhauled my saxquest "repair special" S1. I paid $530 for the saxquest horn and $400 for the overhaul. Ron did the work on the A and the guy who sold it to me picked up the repair (Michael Babineaux was the Reverb seller). Why a sax player with no orch experience would buy this horn I don't know. It ended up only needing relatively minor work...so let's see if it can do the 2nd movement of the Mozart CC. That's about as heavy I ever got on an "A." My technique was never super great, but it did get me through Navy Boot Camp (Chicago, 1981) and MU qual, a conservatory audition pass (University of Pacific, Stockton California 1999), some jazz gigs and so on. Where it takes me now who knows, but thanks to technology, my blessed residence at the edge of a huge untapped oilfield in a nearly abandoned California town in the middle of nowhere, 120 miles NW of Los Angeles and disability income make it possible to renew my 50
year-old relationship with a clarinet again. For that I am grateful.

Now comes the mouthpiece/reed/lig issue(s). I'm using a profile 88 B45 mouthpiece and some sort of German-made fiber-reed (3) and an old Rov dark lig. Then I tried my 56 #3 reed. I'm considering buying a used Fobes 10k CF+ mouthpiece someone is selling here on the classifieds. I had a SF Fobes for countless years, having learned about Fobes from Bob Zelickman, with whom I studied at San Diego State (2003). Sixteen years later, I'm back in California. I tried to reach Bob who is still around but did not get a response. I was real happy with my fobes and not so with this current set up. I want a free blowing sound with flexibility. I have not studied clarinet since 2004 and haven't played much since Arizona 3 years ago where I did some pro church work and a short stint in the Arizona Winds (they threw me out like so many groups cause I've been a lifelong jerk), so here I am, alone, with a few ants (no uncles, no nobody), but all my music toys and now a new member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists (associate, not a signed/published composer...yet?). Yes I do have a comp degree and can write a little, and just discovered how to record on my computer and post youtube recordings. I see here some people are promoting their recordings like the Debussy Rhapsodie (?)...I remember that piece...very heavy chops. I was never on that level, but I can "noodle" a little. I have had my little moments in the clarinet sun...gig in Rome, this and that...but to do anything, now almost a year SOBER and living in California, not bad for an old guy. I hope to work on my hand so I can play better and get my chops up so I can play a little longer, work on my fingering and such, but all in all very happy with this S1 that just "popped up" one day on a clarinet google search.

Any feedback on the mouthpiece issue and the fingering issues on the S1 that seem to be a bit different from the R13 would be appreciated. Thanks for reading. I wish all of you in clarinet world the best.

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 Re: My 1970s Buffet S1! It works!
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-12-03 17:16

The Fobes CF+ is a great mouthpiece that is free blowing and articulates wonderfully.


The problem may be that you're currently using a much more OPEN mouthpiece. Going down in tip opening (especially to that degree) can be frustrating if one is not prepared for it.........though if you are game, I'd recommend it.


When switching mouthpieces have new reeds available (any broken-in reed will be slightly adjusted/"bent" to the facing of the older mouthpiece). Additionally, it is also important find the "sweet spot" which is just up against that point where the sound you get is an uncontrollable SQUAWK (usu. continually play open G while taking in more and more mouthpiece until you just squawk, then back off ever so slightly from there).


Just be prepared for it to feel too weak and flabby initially. You may also consider going up a half strength of so in reed (at least initially).





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



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 Re: My 1970s Buffet S1! It works!
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2019-12-04 03:03

I just spent a delightful afternoon messing around with mps, having fun trying to find good matches. I have seen (or rather heard) everything from "doesn't play AT ALL" to "Gorgeous!" for the same instrument, changing only the mp. If it's a vintage instrument, as most of mine are, it's almost certain that you will need a corresponding vintage mp or a modern one designed in this intent. Also, evolution in embouchure will require changes in reeds and mps.





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 Re: My 1970s Buffet S1! It works!
Author: oldreedguy 
Date:   2019-12-04 11:00

I brought my S1 and 1919-vintage Buffet "A" to an experienced player/repair tech, Patti Lynn, in Santa Maria, California after a sax guy, Ron McCarley (ccFlutes, Morro Bay CA) did a $400 overhaul on the S1 and a basic repair on the "A." Patti and her husband "tweaked" Ron's work and was able to get the A playable, despite its bent keys and other issues. The S1 is very nice, although the more experienced Patti would haven installed better pads and made other changes. Bottom line, I got a great Bb S1 for $1000 and a playable "A" for $500. The key work on the 100 year-old A is weird and will take some getting used to, but for what I paid I have a playable horn to noodle on.

Based on Patti and "Djudy's" advice I decided to hold off on the Fobes 10K, even though it's probably a great mpc at a decent price. Patti encouraged to play the horns "hard" and work with what I have, a Profile 88 B45 VanDoren and some sort of Portnoy mpc that came with the "A." I look forward to working on getting my chops back and maybe improving the use of my left hand.

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