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 Uniform clarinets
Author: Cindy 
Date:   2002-02-18 04:36

I just got home from all state, and I noticed one thing: all but three clarinetists in my entire band used Buffet R-13's. Is there no other good clarinet out there, or has the R-13 been played up so much that all aspiring student clarinetists feel compelled to get and play one? Looking around, it seems like many other clarinets are just as good as the R-13. So, apparently stereotypes effect the band world too. It was rather amusing the comments I got when people found out I was in all-state on a Yamaha :)

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Stephane 
Date:   2002-02-18 07:39

R13 is certainly a very good horn, but not to say that the Selmers, Leblancs and other Yamahas equivalent are of lesser quality. Getting a comment for playing in all-state on a Yamaha is indeed a pretty immature statement! IMHO, on top of the good quality delivered by Buffet on most of their horns, they have a very decent marketing and communication policy that makes them top of mind in many markets. So, good product coupled with a good commuinication around it is certainly a winning combination. Here in France, they are obviously extremely well regarded, but Selmer and Leblanc too.

Stephane (France)

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2002-02-18 12:46

Stephane wrote:
>
> a comment for playing in all-state on a
> Yamaha is indeed a pretty immature statement!

Depends on the comment. I know I'd make a passing remark since at the moment they <b>are</b> pretty unusual in a professional or high-end setting.

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2002-02-18 14:03

All the clarinet teachers in my area of the state (Texas) recommend the R-13 with almost religious fervor. Music stores can't even sell the high end Selmers and Leblancs, although they are as good an instrument--even better in some cases. Most of the teachers want a certain "uniform" sound from their sections and the R-13 delivers that for them.

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: William 
Date:   2002-02-18 15:09

Cindy and Mark: Imagine the comments I received from other clarinetists when they discovered that I had made second chair in our All-State High School Mid-Winter Music Clinic as a high school junior playing a Selmer Bundy Resonite clarinet. That, of course, was many years ago and I have since "up graded" to more "respectable" equipement, but it helps illustrate the current point that one should not judge the book by its cover--the person by his clothing, etc--but rather the player by how they perform and not on "what." Too many narrow-minded people still look down on players who do not have the "correct" brand of instrument before hearing them play, even in some audition situations. Imagine, turning down Larry Combs because he was carrying a LeBlanc case--or John Bruce-Yeh because of his Yamahas. I, too, think that the comment, "you made it to State on a Yamaha??" is quite immature, but also--unfortuantely--somewhat expected, human nature being what it is. It will be a few more years before we can realistically be "judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin" (or the brand of clarinet which we carry) Until then, Good Clarineting

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2002-02-18 15:43

> I, too, think that the comment,
"you made it to State on a Yamaha??" is quite immature, but
also--unfortuantely--somewhat expected, human nature being what it
is.
-------
That comment might be immature - but we don't know what comment(s) was/were made. You may have jumped to conclusions that aren't warranted. It may be that someone said "A Yamaha? - cool! Can I try it?".

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2002-02-18 17:11

It seems to me that there is a little something to be said for clar "uniformity" , but only when 2, 3 or 4 are playing together as in small groups. The occasional unisons [not octaves] showed this to me, when my 1st was playing a Selmer, I was much more comfortable with a Sel also, not with my VG Leblanc. Comments? Don

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: William Hughes 
Date:   2002-02-18 17:21

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

--Herman Melville

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: Wes 
Date:   2002-02-18 17:43

When you play in a very good band or orchestra, it seems to me that it sounds better when the clarinets all use the same make of instrument. They seem to blend better and certainly tend to play the unisons more together. This also seems to be true for saxophones, flutes, and oboes. In addition to the great sound of the R13, they are generally available, easier to sell when used, and have an ok price. Yamahas, etc sound good too. Good luck!

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: JMcAulay 
Date:   2002-02-18 18:25

William Hughes reminds us (and I do agree):

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

--Herman Melville


"But the latter always pays a lot better."

--Casimir "Chilidog" Kell

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: GBK 
Date:   2002-02-18 19:24

"The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won't get much sleep"

---Woody Allen

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-18 20:57

My only comment - next time you turn up to band rehearsal with your Yamaha, or heaven forbid a LeBlanc or Selmer!! Please wear a sheep costume - then when they ask why - tell them that even though you'll not be following the Buffet team in their choice of instrument, you can at least be with them by wearing their national costume.

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-18 20:59

Oh, sorry - forgot to mention - I play a LeBlanc and Selmer - so I'm definitely on the outer!!

Good clarinetting

*mental note - try one of those professional Yamaha clarinets out*

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: ron b 
Date:   2002-02-18 22:00

In the 'olden days', as I remember them: what really counted was a reasonably nice tone and the right notes. The instrument 'brand' was a secondary concern. We took a few awards too, doin' it like that.
Leblancs and Selmers were rare, Buffets unheard of. Definitely not used by band players.
From what I read above, things sure have changed :
- ron b -
(class of '54 :)

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-18 22:22

It sounds very much to me - IMHO - that we need to revisit the "good old days" - thanks ron b, well stated

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: Larry Liberson 
Date:   2002-02-18 22:24

Wes said "When you play in a very good band or orchestra, it seems to me that it sounds better when the clarinets all use the same make of instrument. They seem to blend better and certainly tend to play the unisons more together."

Well, perhaps--but shouldn't we also assume that that entire section (that are all playing on the same model of clarinet) is then playing the same mouthpiece/reed combination with identical ligatures, embouchures and oral cavities and the ability to voice similarly, not to mention having similar (identical, maybe?) concepts of clarient sound?

Or maybe it would be more valuable to instill the importance of listening to each other.

Frankly, by the time I'm done monkeying with my clarinets, they're nothing like what comes out of the box (as is the same case for my section mates)...and despite the fact that we all use the "same" clarinet, we all sound that much different! So....how are we able to blend so well when we need to do so?

I'll let you try to figure it out, OK? :)

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: David Pegel 
Date:   2002-02-18 23:24

I think Larry brings up a good point. Why should it matter what brand of clarinet you have when your sound is so influenced by your setup already?

Also, it sounds to me that uniformity of instruments is straying from - though related with, I will admit - the concept of music altogether. Blending IS a key, but one should hardly be criticized because of their model clarinet. NTM such minor details would depreciate the value of music for me personally.

Why should I care if I have the same model as the other person? I should be a good enough musician to adapt to them anyway.

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: Rob 
Date:   2002-02-19 00:14

No matter what clarinet I am playing, I sound like me. I control the sound. I simply do not buy the argument that Buffets are recommended because they will provide a consistent sound. In my opinion a player who cannot control his sound sufficiently to blend with his ensemble would not be able to do so no matter what brand he played, and I have had the misfortune of hearing many R13 owners produce some fairly inconsistent (and awful)sounds. The argument of sound consistency is illogical and fallacious. One of my oldest and dearest friends (a teacher) pointed out to me that Selmer and Leblanc (Yamaha was not yet a "player" at the time)are not as popular as Buffet for a few very significant reasons;

Selmer and Leblanc generally cost a bit more. They are not as readily available (or they WERE not prior to the internet). They rarely go on sale. Teenagers (a very big part of the market) want to have the same things their friends have and since they and their parents are usually not very knowledgeable themselves, they are easily led. Many teachers with limited knowledge do not know what else (other than Buffet)to recommend because many of them lack either sufficient age or experience (or both) to know any better.

When I was young and not studying privately, the music director at my school recommended buying Selmer for the simple reasons that he felt that the intonation was easier to control, the quality was more consistent from one clarinet to another and the sound produced was more consistent with itself from bottom to top. He failed to advise that they were also more expensive. I have found his advice, at least in my own experience, to be valid. The majority of the clarinets when I was in high school (late 70s) played Selmer, but that was unique to the school I attended. Each time I have purchased a new clarinet, I have always tried Buffet. In fact I have tried dozens over the years. I have never felt compelled to purchase one. When purchasing a clarinet for my niece as a beginner last year, I was once again compelled to not buy Buffet. I purchased for her a Yamaha. I understand entirely that for most students (and their parents) price is a significant factor in the purchase of a horn. I think it is a good thing that you can purchase an acceptable pro-level horn from Buffet at the reasonable prices that are offered today but I find it very disappointing that people think that a flooded market and a cheap price tag automatically translate into the best choice for them. It should come as no surprise though. After all, an awful lot of people drive Fords for the same reasons, and you wouldn't catch me buying one of them either.

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-19 00:23

bravo - Rob - if I wasn't such a coward, I'd have made a similar posting.

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-19 00:25

Brenda - do you think the "religious fervour" is due to a financial instentive? (please excuse my Australian spelling, btw).

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: diz 
Date:   2002-02-19 00:26

insentive - silly fingers

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2002-02-19 03:49

I'm living here in Texas right now, too - the music stores seem to have an incentive to push the Buffets. I'm guiessing that the Buffets are more profitable in the numbers the stores push to the schools. The prices of the Leblancs, Selmer, and Yamahas are comparable to the price of a Buffet, so the only reason a store's going to push one brand over another (considering they can sell any of them) is profit.

Luckily the Buffet is a good clarinet ...

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Jim E. 
Date:   2002-02-19 05:11

Rob got to it, the R13 is cost effective in comparison. Mark, in my research a year and a half ago, I found the R13 several hundred $s less than comparable (entry level pro) Selmers and LeBlancs. And yes... it is a good clarinet.

Rob, I've driven a lot of Fords (and even more Chevys!) The BMW might be (is) a superior machine, but if the choice is a Ford or walking... (OK sometimes owning a Ford did mean walking.)

At least Wood Allen plays clarinet, what did Melville play anyway!

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: donald nicholls 
Date:   2002-02-19 09:33

ok
firstly- i played on Yamaha for years, a really good Yamaha "custom" YCL 82-2, in don't think they ever sold that in the states- there they went straight from YCL 82 to the 72 model. This instrument was great, sounded good, wasn't perfectly in tune but was better than my (current and loved) R 13...... AFTER winning the ICA orchestral audition competition (competing against mostly Buffets if i remember correctly) and using the Yamaha for more than 10 years, i swapped over to a Buffet R 13, and sometimes regret the move, but most often enjoy playing this clarinet. One day i'll get something better, but this does pretty well for me.
Here's the bad rub- one of my motivating factors was that i knew that the principal clarinet of the orchestra i used to sub in (and was returning to live near) was a Buffet fanatic. He wouldn't use some people as subs, i was told, because of the type (non buffet) of instrument they used!
i was stupid enough to think that it would be smart for me to invest in a Buffet for this reason. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, really. Still, i got a good clarinet.
BUT, just to support the other side of the arguement.....

i went down to Wellington to play 2nd and Bass Clarinet for Opera NZ, and for 3 weeks played with a guy (who studied with Russ Dagon at Northwestern) who also played a similar Clarinet/Barrel etc. We both played the R13, and it was very easy to play with each other- more than just ease in unison passages or in matching tone etc. You find you can also predict the others playing more accurately intonation wise- you can guess where the pitch will be in the note that is comming up. Maybe it would be like that with any reliable player once you got used to them, but i felt at the time that the similarity of equiptment had something to do with it....
there is, of course, no way of proving this, maybe Mark was just easy to play with, also our teachers both had the same teacher (Mr Hasty) so that may have helped.

just some relevant thoughts. When i was TA at the University of Oklahoma there were heaps of students, many of them from Texas, playing Yamaha. My mother in law swears that my old Yamaha sounded better than my R13 (and she heard me swap between them, trying to prove that the Buffet was better to justify the expense of buying it).
whatever, it's done now.
nzdonald

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Kieran 
Date:   2002-02-19 10:17

I play in the Theatre Pit in London's Adelphi theatre currently playing for the musical Chicago, which has some pretty okay scores. The others who play all woodwins as I do had a debate that wood is better than plastic. My son plays on a B12 and I played the B12 last tuesday night to see if anyone noticed the difference.
The results: It just goes to show no matter what you got, its what you do with it that counts and not so much what it is.
No use driving a Ferrari in manual when you can only drive automatics.

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: jez 
Date:   2002-02-19 11:02

Couldn't agree more Kieran.
For years I played on an ebonite E flat and never had any comment (not about the instrument anyway)

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: William 
Date:   2002-02-19 14:51

Once again, to quote the late, great, Duke Ellington, "If it sounds good, it is good." It doesn't matter wheither it is Yamaha, Selmer, Buffet, LeBlanc, Rossi, or Pedler, the sound of the clarinet belongs to the player and his own musical aptitude and skill, rather than the particular clarinet he/she happens to be playing with. If I took Larry Comb's clarinet right out of his mouth and started playing it, I would still sound like me, not Him. I suspect the same would also be true for our beloved Anker Bilk. Two pianists playing upon the same Steinway grand will each retain their individual sounds--likewise for a duo of violinists each performing on the same Stradivaius--each will have their own "sound." I know this to be a fact as I have heard a Strad being placed in the hands of an 8th grade violinist at a summer camp that I taught at. The student still sounded like she was playing her own violin--and the teacher made the students violin sound like the Strad. Bottom line: It is quite an inaccurate, snobbish and unrealistic practice to prejudge a clarinetist's ability by the instrument case they carry rather than by the music they play. Any clarinet in the hands of a good player, will sound good, And a "good" clarinet only makes it easier for the "good" clarinetist to sound good--not neccesarily gooder. Duke knew that!!Good Clarineting, Everyone--on the instruments of your choice!!!!

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: graham 
Date:   2002-02-19 16:04

Ebonite E flat... hmmmmm There's one of those on sale at Howarths right now. An old Boosey & Hawkes, which (we are told) is a particularly fine type.

But this debate cropped up a good deal in the seventies in the UK when some people were buying Buffets and the question was did they blend with 926s or 1010s. Well, the first issue then was intonation. But that is supposed to have been improved and made more consistent by polycylindrical narrow bore design, and if the tuning of a modern clarinet (well played, of course) is true, then that is so with any of the major brands, and they should mix well. There was also the issue of tone, and it was understandable then that a 1010 might not blend with an R 13 because the bore dimension was 4% bigger. Now, even the narrower bore iterations of Howarth and Eaton are more or less the same as an R 13, so that is hardly an issue. I agree with the comments that the player and set up is more important to blend. As far as choice goes, that is often down to key positioning and feel, as well as weight, but the audience does not hear that.

It often takes even good players ages to notice that I play on Martels, even though they look so different let alone tone and tuning (ouch I admitted it!). When I tell them how old they are they are wide eyed. Couldn't get away with it if I were a professional I imagine.

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: Mike 
Date:   2002-02-19 16:33

Listen to kieran, he is talking sense

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 RE: Uniform clarinets
Author: YekNomad 
Date:   2018-02-28 08:54

It can also impact teaching gigs
I auditioned for a teaching job recently and the head of music was more interested in what I was playing than what I sounded like or thought about teaching.

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 Re: Uniform clarinets
Author: nellsonic 
Date:   2018-02-28 12:05

YekNomad wrote:

> It can also impact teaching gigs
> I auditioned for a teaching job recently and the head of music
> was more interested in what I was playing than what I sounded
> like or thought about teaching.

Sounds like it might be a good way to dodge a bullet. Compatible priorities are crucial to success in any long-term relationship.

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 Re: Uniform clarinets
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-02-28 18:40

Anytime someone tries to tell you what you should do with a religious fervor, it's good to nod politely and change the subject as soon as possible; sometimes, even if you're talking about religion. This is a perennial topic, and the only reasonable answer is that one should, given the opportunity and means, try out a number of possibilities, and play what one sounds best on, according to one's own standard but taking into consideration what other competent musicians think of one's playing. If clarinetists can't get past the brand and model, then ask other woodwinds, who mostly don't care what you're playing. The notion that everyone in a section playing the same model of instrument makes them blend best is demonstrably not the case, though, once the players get to a reasonable level of competence. Lots of high-power orchestra sections blend perfectly well with a mix of instruments. Good players can blend or stand out when the music calls for it and with a sound appropriate to the music. The idea is to become good playing what you've chosen to play.

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 RE: Uniformity?
Author: 2cekce 2017
Date:   2018-03-02 05:23

Well said Larry

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 Re: Uniform clarinets
Author: gwie 2017
Date:   2018-03-02 11:31

At one point last year, I had a student clarinetist disappear 15 minutes before downbeat on our musical, and no one to cover the part. My gorgeous instruments are sitting at home in my closet, a good 45-minute round-trip from my school. I run over to my instrument lockers in my classroom and locate the only instrument I can find, a middle schooler's beat-up, non-functional, Taiwan-made rental. I sterilized the mouthpiece (unknown), found a Rico Reserve 3.0 in one of my desk drawers left over from a demo, and with some screwdrivers and a lighter get the clarinet to seal. Played the entire show.

Afterwards, people were coming up to me like "wow, you sound fantastic, is this your new clarinet??" :P

My best recent reminder that sometimes the car really isn't as important as the driver.



Post Edited (2018-03-03 01:55)

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