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 Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: mdcolby 
Date:   2021-11-02 23:18

Having played on the same B-flat clarinet for 40 years, I might be in the market for a new horn. Of course I'd like to try before I buy. I'm in Sacramento. No local store has more than a couple of horns in stock. One store might have a trunk show in the near future. If not, I'll need to travel to be able to try out a few horns.

I could easily travel to the San Francisco Bay Area. Internet searching hasn't really shown me a store there that would have several clarinets in stock to try. I'd like to at least be able to try some R-13s and a Selmer or two, maybe a Yamaha or Leblanc, or even a Backun.

The nearest store to me that comes close to that that I could find is in Las Vegas! So I wonder if anyone here has knowledge that I was unable to unearth.

Thank you.


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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: Max S-D 
Date:   2021-11-03 04:01

Unfortunately, most shops around here are not stocking a lot of professional quality instruments and haven't for a while. I think Bronstein in South SF used to keep a few clarinets around, but even back in 2006, when I was looking for an R13, I had to order from Lisa Argiris at Lisa's Clarinet Shop in Chicago to try out a few. I think they are focused on student instruments, rentals and repairs. Their website mentions Buffet R13s, but I would call first to make sure they have anything.

House of Woodwinds, where I bought my first wooden clarinet in 2002, shut down at the end of 2020.

A&G music in downtown Oakland is still alive and kicking, though I haven't been there in a long, long time. My impression is that their business is focused on repairs as well, but that's probably based on something someone told me ten years ago that I never followed up on.

Union Music in San Francisco has a decent selection of accessories (mouthpieces, reeds, ligatures), since they are down the street from the SF Conservatory, but I don't think they stock a lot of high end stuff, either.

If you are open to used instruments, check out some of the local techs. Daniel Deitch, Lee Kramka and Eric Drake often have some good, often outstanding, frequently funky used and vintage stuff for sale, usually on consignment. Lee and Eric are mainly focused on saxophones, but I usually see a clarinet or two at Lee's. All three of those guys are superlative technicians and used instruments that they sell have usually been overhauled by them prior to the sale. I would consider an overhaul from any of those three to be "better than new" in most regards. These will not be the cheapest used instruments around, but you know they'll be good to go.

Unfortunately, though, most of the proper music shops that would have stocked top of the line clarinets at one time have either shut down or focused on student instruments. I can't blame them and I hope they are getting by.

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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2021-11-03 04:03

I'm in Oakland. The best I know of is Tim's Music in Sacramento but my knowledge is of several years ago. I don't know what they stock now.
Gottschalk in Merced used to stock a lot; I don't know about now.

I think you have to call around to see what locals have in stock. The opportunity to play, e.g., a Buffet and a Selmer in the same shop will be very limited.

Alternatively, many of the out-of- state shops will send you 3 at time, e.g., https://wwbw.com and https://store.weinermusic.com

Also, take a look at the dealers who advertise on this web site:

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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2021-11-03 04:29

If you are willing to travel to LA you'll have more options at RDG Woodwinds (unless things have changed). You can also drive another 45 minutes and visit the Yamaha Atelier in Orange County. You would need your local dealer to set up an appointment for you.


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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: LFabian 
Date:   2021-11-03 08:59

I have dealt with that outfit in Vegas and I live in San Francisco. They are informed, friendly and they are well stocked. They have a pipeline to Backun Canada. give Dave a call.

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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: mdcolby 
Date:   2021-11-03 20:37

Thanks very much for your comments, they seem to bear out what I've discovered in my searching. I may have a trip to Vegas in my future!


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 Re: Where to shop near San Francisco
Author: LFabian 
Date:   2021-11-05 01:49

I bought an Alpha and Hawkins mouthpiece from them. Also a fat boy barrel. The Alpha is outdoor friendly.

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