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 what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Alex 
Date:   1999-09-07 07:27

hi all, can any pro in this board tell me
what make you think R-13 is still the best
and why you choose to use R-13.. how do you fix
those intonation problem and other problem in R-13?
I guess Greg is using R-13?

Alex

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Sara 
Date:   1999-09-08 03:45

I'm not anything close to a 'pro' but I have a festival R13 and I didn't pick it because everyone else had it. I picked it because I liked the dark and resonont tone I get from it and the overall beauty of the wod itself and it's features. The quality has changed over the years, I'm sure but I think R13's have a distinct sound unique to R13's alone. Hope I could help you.
Sara:)

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   1999-09-08 17:24

Alex wrote:
-------------------------------
hi all, can any pro in this board tell me
what make you think R-13 is still the best
and why you choose to use R-13.. how do you fix
those intonation problem and other problem in R-13?
I guess Greg is using R-13?

Alex


Alex -

About a year ago, Karen asked the same question: "What seems to be the addiction to Buffet R-13?"
: It seems that every other message on this board deals with the R-13, where to get one, how much, when to get, etc. Is this clarinet really the "god" of all clarinets, or has there been a marketing scheme to beat all?

: This may seem like an inflamatory statement, but I am in love with my Selmer 10S. My tone has received only complements, it/we have played professionally, and darned if it don't look good too, (with the silver plated keys). Does anyone out there have both and can explain why everyone thinks they have to have a Buffet?
: Karen


Here is my reply:

Karen --

Your observations are correct, but I don't think it's a marketing "scheme."

Furthermore, while you play best on a Selmer 10S, I think I play best on a Buffet R-13. It's no insult to you or the Selmer 10S that some people (or even a lot of people) prefer something else. Furthermore, the differences are not as great as you may think. A top player can sound good on any instrument. The R-13 is clearly not perfect, but it's not dreadful either.

As you have observed, most American clarinetists play the R-13, even though other models are better in tune and have a more even scale. The reasons are partly historical and partly practical.

Until maybe 30 years ago, it was pretty much Buffet or nothing. Most Leblancs had a numb quality to the sound, and many of them were terribly out of tune. This doesn't mean there weren't some good ones -- Dee clearly found one -- but they were rare. Selmers were only a little better, and most (but again not all) had a glaring quality to the sound. Yamaha didn't exist. Although Buffets varied
greatly in quality, the best of them had more life to the sound than any other brand.

The result was that *everybody* played Buffet, with a few exceptions such as the Boston Symphony (where they played custom-made, hand-made Selmers). Furthermore, at least in the larger orchestras, conductors demanded that the entire section play a single brand, which enforced a uniformity of Buffets.

The problem that afflicted everyone was that there were no hand-made clarinets -- the equivalent of a Haynes or Powell flute, or a Laubin or Loree oboe. The fit and finish of even the top model clarinets was just not very good, and
little attention was paid to evenness of scale or nuances of intonation. I'm not sure why this was so. Perhaps it was because most clarinetists played in bands, where the large clarinet sections swallowed up deficiencies that would be
bothersome in a smaller flute or oboe section. Or maybe the pure flute sound and the penetrating oboe sound make a worse clash when they're out of tune.

At any rate, no professional clarinetist used an instrument just as it came from the factory. There were (and still are) artist repairmen (and they were all men) such as Hans Moenig who did elaborate reworking of the bore, tone holes and even keywork to make clarinets play at a top professional level.

Since almost everyone played Buffets, the repairmen got used to working on them and familiar with their quirks. Also, they had reamers made to match the R-13 bore, which didn't work on other makes.

Since the pros played Buffets, their students also played them.

The break came when Anthony Gigliotti took his extensively reworked instrument to Selmer, who used it as the basis for the 10G. Ralph Morgan, the mouthpiece maker, was deeply involved with this project. He says that they set up
practically a custom workshop and, at least for a year or so, hand finished each 10G.

The second break came when Wurlitzer began making Boehm system clarinets. I played one of them in London 20 years ago and was amazed at the quality of the keywork and the rapidness of response. However, at least at that time his Boehm instruments had a German bore (or a compromise bore) that lacked depth of tone. The Reform Boehm Wurlitzers at this year's [1997] ClarinetFest were much better.

The third break came when Tom Ridenour moved from his customizing workshop to Leblanc to design the Opus and Concerto models.

The result is that there is a pretty close match between the top of the line instruments made by Buffet, Selmer and Leblanc (with Yamaha not far behind). Furthermore, the Selmer and Leblanc instruments are better in tune than the
Buffet R-13 (though not the RC or the Festival). The non-R-13 Buffets are not popular in the US, but not entirely because clarinetists are prejudiced or brainwashed (though there's some of that). When I play an RC or Festival and
compare it with a stock R-13, I love the better intonation, but I also hate the way they blow. Whatever the R-13's faults - registers out of tune, uneven scale, so-so keywork, you name it, no other instrument gives me the sensation that the tone rests directly on the breath and is actively engaged with it.

Furthermore, these are still NOT handmade instruments. Try a Rossi and you'll never go back to any commercial clarinet.
The only choice for a professional, before Rossi came along, was to go to an artist repairman and get a customized Buffet R-13. They simply wouldn't work on
anything else (and didn't have the right tools to do so).
I play an R-13 Bb set up by Kalmen Opperman, who also set up the instruments for Harold Wright and Richard Stoltzman. He did extensive tuning and voicing on the instrument and made a barrel and mouthpiece to fit this particular instrument and my particular playing style. The result is the best clarinet I have ever played, with the R-13 flaws corrected and an intense sensation that the instrument is an extension of my body and breath. I tried nearly every maker's instruments at the ClarinetFest, and nothing came close to the flexibility and focus I get from my instrument, except for the Rossi. I wouldn't expect them to, since they weren't hand finished. (I didn't get to play one of Rossi's mouthpieces, set up for that particular instrument, which would probably be a match for my R-13.)

The R-13 has tremendous history and momentum. It's also the instrument the best repairmen are used to working on. This is I think enough to explain its continued popularity.

Best regards,

Ken Shaw


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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Alex 
Date:   1999-09-08 23:05

Ken:
beside Opperman, who is the most competent man
to do the work on a stock R-13? most repairman
just clean your instrument and change the pads
when they overhaul your clarinet, it make no
difference to the playability.

Alex

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-09-08 23:37

There are a number of very good repairmen/technicians/customizers in the business. They're not inexpensive. What are you looking for and how much money are you willing to spend? Bill Brannen, Tom Ridenour, Alvin Swiney, Kal Opperman, Jimmy Yan spring to mind ...

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: HIROSHI 
Date:   1999-09-09 07:21

After Ken's detailed info, I found why Selmer did make a very big improvement in 10SII with its newly designed C85-116 mouthpiece from its old version 10S. And I found why my 10G was so good around 1076I was astonished to find 10SII can emit firmly focused lowest register tones.

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-09-10 02:35



Alex wrote:
-------------------------------
Ken:
beside Opperman, who is the most competent man
to do the work on a stock R-13? most repairman
just clean your instrument and change the pads
when they overhaul your clarinet, it make no
difference to the playability.

Alex


Tim Clark, Brannen Woodwinds and (i believe) Clark Fobes all do extensive adjustments to improve the intonation and playability of R-13's. But they charge an arm and a leg.

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Thomas Mudd Jr 
Date:   1999-09-14 18:12

The tone quailty is unmatched by any other maker of clarinets. Just remember it is a great player and not a great instrument that has the best results.

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-09-15 00:17



Thomas Mudd Jr wrote:
-------------------------------
The tone quailty is unmatched by any other maker of clarinets. Just remember it is a great player and not a great instrument that has the best results.
-------------------------------

Some of us prefer something other than the Buffet sound. That doesn't make either one better or worse. I do however agree with your second sentence.

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 RE: what make pro think R-13 is still the best?
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-09-15 00:26

Dee wrote:
-------------------------------
Thomas Mudd Jr wrote:
-------------------------------
The tone quailty is unmatched by any other maker of
clarinets. Just remember it is a great player and not a
great instrument that has the best results.
-------------------------------
Some of us prefer something other than the Buffet sound. That doesn't make either one better or worse. I do however agree with your second sentence.
-------------------------------
Well, it is unmatched - which, IMHO, is a good thing, since variety is the spice of life. Matching it would just create another Buffet.

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