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 Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-20 02:51


I have been looking at a NOS Yamaha CS Custom clarinet. The only barrel with the clarinet is the standard Yamaha CS Custom barrel which is a tad less than 65mm. Since I play a goodly number of outdoor concerts in the warm months and two of the MPs that are my standards play a tad high, could I not use my Scott, Chadash, and Moennig barrels with the CS (or one of the other longer barrels that have come my way over the years via GAS)?

As I understand it, the Custom CS is Yamaha's attempt at an R-13 look-alike. I have not measured the bore or looked into the clarinet but I assume that the dimensions would be very similar to the R-13. Thus, my "street-sense" seems to indicate that the Buffet and LeBlanc barrels (used on my L200) would be an acceptable match.


PS The clarinet plays great with intonation bang on.

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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: donald ( - ISP in Auckland, 00 New Zealand)
Date:   2007-07-20 06:27

for many years i played using a Yamaha "Custom 82-2" which... i believe... was the same model as the CS just with a different name (and not sold in USA under that name). I had good results using both Buffet Moennig and Chadash barrels (66mm)

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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-20 10:37


I would guess that your Custom 82-2 would likely be a Custom CS; the 82 designation seems to indicate the numerical indicator for top Yamaha models. Thanks for the info on the barrels which is exactly what I needed.

How did your Custom 82-2 play?


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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: donald ( - ISP in Auckland, 00 New Zealand)
Date:   2007-07-20 12:23

the 82 and 85 were B flat and A respectively, and the top line instruments were designated "Custom" and had a classy looking logo with this word on it. When i moved to USA in 1995 i remember noticing that the US Yamahas didn't have this designation, and in fact the top line instrument was the "72" which seemed to be marketed many years after the Custom 82 appeared on the scene. Please correct me if i'm wrong.
the 82-2 and 85-2 (the extra number 2 being in roman numberals on the logo) appeared to have improved intonation, but a slightly smaller sound. My 85-2 A Clarinet served me well for many years- but eventually, during a countrywide tour with NZ opera, i decided that it was too much of a battle trying to get sound out into the hall, and re-joined the buffet mafia.
The 82-2 had similar characteristics- good intonation, and great tone so long as you didn't try to push above the mf/f range. At ppp it was very easy to play- a lot of resonance yet still a clear dark quality, very even response. My mother in law liked this clarinet, and advised me not to change, but i'd been given an R13 bflat for winning a competition and needed $$$$$$$$$.
The reverse cone barrels (Moennig/Chadash) helped the tone, but didn't really improve the intonation much.

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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Jack Kissinger ( - ISP in Phoenix, AZ United States)
Date:   2007-07-20 16:43


I bought a CS (I think the immediate predecessor of the Custom CS) Bb on eBay a few years ago. Even though the pictures showed the barrel and bell clearly, I overlooked the fact that they both had the logo of a YCL-34 rather than a CS -- it was a very good price. They work pretty well with the barrel and bell they came with but I feel some improvement when I use the barrel and bell from my CS A clarinet -- even though, at least in theory, these should not be a perfect fit. I suspect that the originals cracked and were replaced as cheaply as possible (though I plan to bring the clarinet to ClarinetFest next year and ask the Yamaha people. The barrel and bell could be replacements after the model had been discontinued. In any case, I have been using a (Buffet) Moennig barrel instead of the one that came with the clarinet and it has worked just fine. The Yamahas haven't replaced the R13s that I've owned since the '60s as my front line concert performance instruments but they are my day-to-day practice clarinets and I have been using them in the pit and for outdoor concerts.

If the price is attractive (and I suspect it is, given the status of the model), it is probably a good find.


Yamaha is one of the few companies I have found that makes available information about discontinued models on its (US) website. (Start with and then navigate through the options to clarinets/history). My reading of that site is that the top-of-the-line models have gone something like this:

YCL-82 from 1979-1984
YCL-72 from 1985-1987

YCL-72CS from 1987-94 (integral wooden toneholes)
YCL-72CX from 1987-94 (plastic inset toneholes)

YCL-CS from 1994-current (there appear to have been a few evolutions, from CS to Custom CS to CSG and CSV)

YCL-CX from 1994-98 (when it was discontinued)

Also, the YCL-SE, a different design, was introduced in 1995 and is currently available as the YCL-SEV.

From that site, it looks like the 82 was dropped and replaced by a new design. Yamaha gives the 82 bore as 14.75mm, while the 72 and its successors are 14.65mm).

I'm not sure what I have. It is simply marked CS with no "Custom." For awhile, I thought it was probably a 72CS but then I saw a clarinet marked 72CS. So mine are either late 72CS models or (and I think this more likely), early CS models.

Best regards,

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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-21 03:32

Hi Jack,

I had read your excellent post on the Yamaha lineage from another thread and it was very informative. Thanks for the link as well.

The CS I have clearly says Custom CS on the bell, barrel, and upper section. So, it would appear that the clarinet in question is from the last 10 years or so. The case shows no signs of any wear and the cover has just a little shelf wear.

I tried all my barrels for fit (have not played all of them or worked with any MP combos but my SWS B2 main MP plays exceedingly well.

Thanks to you and Donald. I'm a lover of classic LeBlancs up to the L200, play Yamaha saxes so I'm guessing the Custom CS clarinet will satisfy (my R13 will likely go to a backup role).


Post Edited (2007-07-21 12:04)

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: denner22 ( - ISP in New Zealand)
Date:   2007-07-22 10:56

I have used nearly all the top models of Yamaha over the last 20 years or so.
The 85 and the 82 customs were Yamaha's first attempts at improving on the Buffet R13 design. They were nice instruments, maybe lacking a little in projection. The 82-2 started to work on the projection issue. I believe that Yamaha started to use better quality wood for these instruments.
The model 72 is one that was marketed nearly exclusively in the USA. It is a very fine instrument with good tuning (smaller bore?). I enjoyed this instrument greatly - particularly in the high register.
Eventually I bought several CS clarinets. they have a much larger sound quality than the older custom models. I would compare them (favourably) to Buffet R13 Prestige instruments.
Yamaha have always made a really fine A clarinet - without the stuffiness that I find in the Buffet R13 model. The Yamaha 650 is really Yamaha's version of an R13 currently.

Currently I mostly use a Yamaha SEV Bflat clarinet. It does have a slightly smaller sound than the CS model, but as I do not play in a large orchestra any longer, I find I do not require that sense of projection any longer. I enjoy the tuning and response of this instrument - particularly the fact that the low E and F are not too flat!

I would compare the Yamaha SEV to the Buffet RC Prestige instrument a little more. It has encouraged a slightly warmer sound than the CS model and with the cut out in the bell has similar tuning characteristics except in the higher register where I find I do not have to fight the tuning as I do on the Buffet instruments.


David :)

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-22 11:05

Thanks, David for a fine report on your Yamaha adventures. I noticed a very large change of sound in the clarion register. With my SWS the sound is huge but a little more restrained with a Portnoy BP02. I am anxious to try some of my other MPs with the CS. Any experience with other barrels along the way? It would seem that since the intonation for the wide 12th is much better, a reverse taper barrel might not be needed.

The wood on the CS is truly beautiful BTW and Yamaha has really gotten a wonderful small case and cover design worked out.

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: D Dow ( - ISP in Windsor, ON Canada)
Date:   2007-07-26 16:41

Excellent postings here...the Yamaha line has indeed evolved a great deal with superb results in their current line up of instruments. For what it's worth I think the Yamaha 650 is one of the most underrated instruments on the market students sound fantastic on them and the tuning and responsiveness is a great imporovement over the older R13 copies by Yamaha..I also love the low register on the 650 so I can honestly say for it's price it is quite a steal ...mechanically the feel is very neat and clean.

I played a set of 82 clarinets a long while back..(late 80s) and can honestly say I was left unimpressed by the projection and tuning of these instruments. However, I also feel the set I had was not that seems other players have had more success with them than I ever did! Tone was very nice and even but without alot of guts...currently the newer Yamaha instruments really play alot better with a larger sound and excellent core in the timbre...there is also better keywork which also makes them extremely fact the key design alone makes Yamaha very competitive...ergonomic to a great degree!!! Yamaha have really improved a great amount in a short time...

Getting back to the 650 I will also add that it really is quite nice I would love to have one. Very flexible and blends nicely with everything around there you go...

As to the never SEV model I was quite taken back by the sheer depth of the sound and the lively response of the ones I have tried. Tuning is quite good...the A SEV is particularly nice with excellent response and none of the stuffiness whatsoever...

I am using the YSG clarinets and really feel they are super..very chameleon like in terms of tonal one moment I can play very soft and the next blast out a wall and still not have to force for the sound...I will also add that the YSG is not an R13 at plays quite differently so for some this prove a very big stumbling block. That being said though I find the YSG really has a good combination of overtones that allow both soloist style playing and also blending with sections...

The student model Yamaha plastic clarinet is the 250 and it too has a nice of my students has it with Valentino pads and it sound and plays very well...much better than the current Selmer student model clarinets...which are not that great.

David Dow

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: katie_netie ( - ISP in Canada)
Date:   2007-07-26 17:15

I am loving this Yamaha Pride!!!
I bought my clarinet after a two year search... I was a Buffet fan as I had been playing a b12 my whole time on the clarinet and figured I'd get an R13 or RC. I found that there was HUGE variation between the instruments and often didn't feel they were that big of an improvement from the B12. I had to go up to a Festival or Tosca to get the sound I wanted...
And then I found this one little SEV in a shop and my search was done.
Since I got it I feel like I have to hide the Yamaha logo for fear of persecution...
I think that they have great sound and depth to them. In fact mine has started to get a lot more depth as it ages...
Any suggestions on mouthpieces to go with SEV?

Yamaha Custom SEV, Vandoren M13, Vandoren Optimum Ligature
Buffet E11 Eb Clarinet, Vandoren leather ligature and B44 mouthpiece
Going into second year university for music

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-26 17:17

Hi David,

That's a very fine cross-section analysis of the Yamaha line of clarinets. It appears that the student line is quite good.

On my CS, I found the standard barrel (just shy of 65mm) a little on the high side. Using a 66mm generic barrel that our own John Butler reamed for me to Moennig specs, the clarinet is just about perfect (the warm weather my be affecting the pitch a great deal though).

A surprising thing though is all of my prized Stowell Wells Schneider B2 MPs sound just great with the CS whereas with my LeBlancs, Selmers, and R13 only one seemed to be distinguish itself. But it is early in the game of choosing the right barrel, MP, and reed combos.

I'm a doubler (Selmer and Yamaha saxes) and the Yamaha CS works well in all of my venues. I have considered selling off my Mark VI saxes and becoming solely a Yamaha player. My questions, as asked before, is "Will the current top-of-the-line Yamaha instruments become the sought after classics of 2040. Too bad I will not know the answer.


Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Jack Kissinger ( - ISP in Charleston, IL United States)
Date:   2007-07-26 18:57

It seems to me that Yamaha has had the highest design and manufacturing quality/price ratio of the "Big 4" for quite a few years now. They seem to have been the only company willing to compete on price in the past. Typically, their models have been priced about one level below their competitors' instruments and the gap may be widening to the extent Buffet enforces its new pricing policies and Selmer and Leblanc follow suit. I completely agree with David in his assessment of where the YCL-650 and the CSV, SEV and CSG models fit in the Yamaha line. The 650 is Yamaha's basic professional model, not an intermediate as the price might suggest. A quick comparison at WW&BW shows the current price of a 650 to be $1,350. This is only a bit over $300 more than the "official" low price shown for an E11! (Are the big discounters still selling at prices significantly below their published prices?) The instrument it was built to compete with, the R13, shows up over $2,500. At this price, the CSV, SEV and CSG are all also priced lower.

I sometimes wonder if the relatively low prices on Yamahas lead potential buyers to conclude incorrectly that the 650 is an intermediate model and the CSV, SEV and CSG are "poor man's" R13's. (The fact that Yamaha does not make a 650 A clarinet may contribute to this impression.) Such a misconception. Yamahas are not identical to Buffets in design (though the 650 and CSV are probably closer to the R13 than instruments from Selmer or Leblanc). Not everyone will like their feel/sound/response/performance as well as they like the R13 (or similarly placed instruments from other manufacturers) but, IMO, anyone who wants a very well made instrument should at least try them, especially if they have limited funds.

Best regards,

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: CJB ( - ISP in Hackney, E8 United Kingdom)
Date:   2007-07-27 11:43

Just a few minor corrections on what has been said above....actually the word correction is too strong, I think there are differences in what's available in the Yamaha line from country to country.

In the UK there is a 650 in A, and the CX is still available.

I'd be a little cautious about dates in Jack's message are also questionable. I purchased a CX in 1992. I suspect that the availabity in the state may have been different but as occaisionally instruments make it across the pond it may not give the true age of the instrument.

I think there were some fairly big differences between the SE and the SEV, the barrel and bell are very different, and I know that the SEV barrel can do dreadful things to the resistance of my SE.

I agree wholeheartedly with the statement above about value for money. Yamaha's don't seem to suit everyone but they make some real gems for remarkably good prices

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 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-27 12:10


Great comments on the Yamaha line as far as value (and CJB's comments as well). I have a backup YTS 475 that i bought for less than $1K in NOS condition and it gives up very little to my beloved - and in perfect condition - Mark VI tenor.

I am going to start another thread asking "why do so few people seem to play Yamaha pro clarinets." Perhaps there are others out there than have some strong feeling about Yamaha products one way or another and will share them.


Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Matt Locker ( - ISP in United States)
Date:   2007-07-27 14:31


>Since I got it I feel like I have to hide the Yamaha logo for fear of >persecution...

I think if I was you I'd enjoy the fact that the quality of your Yamaha is head/antlers above the rest of the crowd. You certainly don't need to apologize for purchasing an SEV. It's a great clarinet.

>Any suggestions on mouthpieces to go with SEV?

I have played a number of mpc's with this clarinet. The OEM Yamaha mpc was pretty nice but it seemed sort of dead to me. It's also a very quiet mpc. I tried using my existing VD B45 which seemed way to resistant overall. I then found a really nice Hite Premier that plays beautifully everywhere except the altissimo. During my next search I tried a number of other mouthpieces (Hite, Bay,...) that I did not like. I finally purchased a Grabner AW that has the most gorgeous sound. Unfortunately, it's resistance across the clarinet's range is incredibly inconsistent. I now have a Greg Smith Chicago Kaspar mpc that bring beautiful tone & coloration to the instrument along with consistent resistance through all ranges. I suspect it's a "quiet" mouthpiece though as compared to some others but that's fine by me.


Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-27 16:02

Hi Katie,

I love the Yamaha Pride! Really great.

I started another thread, maybe you'd like to participate or clip some of your message to that thread.

On the MP issue, I think I pretty well have been overwhelmed with how so many of my older, classic MPs have played on my CS. As Jack Kissinger says in more detail in another thread, the SEV might be a little different (if one can sense all those nuances - warmer, darker, more covered, brighter - in a clarinet).

I do know that I have never had such a strong lower clarion register as on my CS.


Yamaha Pride!

Post Edited (2007-07-27 16:38)

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Jack Kissinger ( - ISP in Saint Louis, MO United States)
Date:   2007-07-27 20:51


The dates I gave aren't mine. I took them straight from the Yamaha U.S. website. However, after looking at the pan-European and UK websites, I see what you mean. Those sites show that the CX model is still available in Europe. I guess the dates in the U.S. website may refer to the period when the various models were exported to/generally available in the U.S. (but see below). With regard to the CX you purchased in 1992 (if you still have it or still remember), was the logo Custom CX, or possibly 72-CX, or was it simply CX in relatively small "type"?

The UK site mentions that the 650 is available in A. The pan-European site only shows it available in Bb. Since you have apparently seen one, it obviously exists but it would appear to have very limited distribution. In any case, it does not appear to be directly available in the U.S. so, here at least, I think my suggestion that some potential buyers might be mislead into thinking the 650 is an intermediate model based on price and the lack of a "matching" A is still valid.

The UK and pan-European sites also mention the AE model as currently available. This is not currently available in the U.S. and, if WW&BW catalogs are any indication, hasn't been since at least 2003. I did find it in an older WW&BW catalog (it doesn't have a cover so I don't know the exact date - the last page indicates that it was the year of their move so it could probably be dated from that). According to the description in the catalog, the AE was introduced in 1995 with "a 14.65 mm bore and a taper that gives a very deep and powerful sound similar to the German style." The description goes on to say that, "It also plays with more resistance [presumably than the CS, CX and SE models]." The catalog still lists the CX as an available model. BTW, a 1997 WW&BW catalog (I really need to clean out that drawer!) lists the 72CX and 72CS rather than simply the CX and CS -- three years after the one given on the U.S. Yamaha site for the changeover. (This could be explained by an error in the Yamaha site or, given that Yamaha clarinets don't exactly seem to fly off the shelves, it could simply mean that the company has some NOS that it's still trying to sell.) It would be interesting to find out from the Yamaha reps at some show which models the company is still actively manufacturing.

Just to muddy the water, the Yamaha site lists the SE and SEA as currently available in the U.S. It says that both the AE and AEA are "discontinued and may not be available at all dealer locations." However, it also lists the SEVA as the "current model" for the AEA. (No current model identified for the AE.) Maybe the significat differences you notice between the SE and SEV models are because the SEV models actually evolved from the AE rather than the SE? Or maybe Yamaha needs a new historian?


I picked up (stole?) a Yamaha YTS-Custom 875 a couple of years ago on the famous auction site to replace my aged King Cleveland. What a difference! It plays as smoothly as a hot knife going through butter. I almost only have to think a note and out it comes.

Best regards,

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-28 03:12


I got (stole as well) a YTS 475 NOS on the same auction site last year as backup for my Mark VI. I plan to begin to use it as a primary this fall for a few gigs. You breath and it plays; and this is supposed to be an intermediate model.


Post Edited (2007-07-28 12:29)

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: CJB ( - ISP in Hackney, E8 United Kingdom)
Date:   2007-07-30 11:18


I think Yamaha has a confusing set of model numbers at the best of times, and makes matters even more confusing by having the same markings available at different times on different continents! I also have it on good authority that the instruments in Europe (inc. UK) are different from those supplied in the US as all ours are 442.

I still have my CX (it is the 2nd nicest A I've ever played, I didn't have the cash or the ability to justify the nicest I've tried!). It is just marked CX in small letters. It has been a fantastic instrument with next to no work needed on it since I purchased it.

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Jude (144.87.143.---)
Date:   2007-07-30 13:33


This is a great thread - it reinforces my belief that Yamaha make a really good product that is overlooked by the majority to the benefit of us 'insiders', 'cos maybe it helps keep the price down? I can't understand it myself...

I wanted to add that I have got a pair of 650s, lovely instruments both. The A is especially nice to play and seems to play itself. The double case it came in is a good one too!

I saw a review that was very informative a little while back that you might find interesting - I did - and agreed with most if not all of the points made:

However, I borrowed an SEV last year for an afternoon while my 650 was having some attention. Wow! Whilst not a detailed assessment, I felt the SEV definitely had the edge over the 650 across the board. It had a fantastic sound, really easy response and good intonation. I gave it back reluctantly, but sadly couldn't afford to buy it. Anyway - I have a lovely pair of 650s at a fraction of the cost of some of the other makers' instruments and I'm very happy with them.

Good luck with your mpc search - I shall watch with interest to see others' recommendations.

Reply To Message
 Re: Buffet and LeBlanc Barrels on a Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - ISP in Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2007-07-30 23:57

Hi Jude,

Thanks for the thoughts. I have always been a value-seeker in just about all things and the Yamaha instruments seem to be oriented in that direction.

OK, I am not a player that can squeeze the absolute last ounce out of any clarinet (I can hold my own any day on sax, thank you) so maybe I am not "capable" of appreciating all the nuances that other might find in a new... However, what I have found so far makes me wonder why others have not discovered the Yamaha clarinets. But I really chuckled with your "it reinforces my belief that Yamaha make a really good product that is overlooked by the majority to the benefit of us 'insiders', 'cos maybe it helps keep the price down?"

Maybe I'm giving away a really big secret!


PS The Ridenour clarinets and those from Omar H. have really make some significant marks. Maybe the code has been broken in new and very innovative ways.

Reply To Message
 Time to Replace my Yamaha CS
Author: Hank Lehrer ( - (Buckeye Cablevision) Perrysburg, OH United States)
Date:   2014-04-20 16:12

Hi All,

Well, almost 7 years have passed since I began playing my Yamaha CS Custom clarinet and this thread was active. My clarinet is still a marvelous instrument but I think I am ready for a new one since I have a big birthday coming (all of them are big at my age...).

Here is the new thread



Post Edited (2014-04-20 16:36)

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