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 Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Norman Smale (---.zone5.bethere.co.uk - ISP in Manchester, I2 United Kingdom)
Date:   2010-03-01 23:01

I have a Leblanc alto in (circa 1960's) that is playing very out of tune, significantly sharp all over but especially the throat area.
I suspect the crook is incorrect length.
Does anyone on board have access to a similar instrument and can measure the length of the crook, taking total length over the longest side of the curve from top edge of mouthpiece receiver to very bottom edge of tenon.
Much appreciate any help.



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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: jasperbay (98.125.177.---)
Date:   2010-03-02 00:27

I believe Leblanc Alto's had two different necks over the years: one a simple 'bent neck' of 4 -1/4" length, the other a 'swan neck' not quite like a bass clarinet, of 5 - 3/8" length. I don't know if these two necks were both used on the nearly-identical Noblet Altos, but my Noblet (ser. # 66xx) has the shorter neck, my Leblanc (ser. #75xx) has the longer swan neck. To make up for this neck length difference, the UJ of the Leblanc is 12 -7/8", the UJ of the Noblet is 14" (total length, incl. tenon). These two necks are interchangeable! Hope this helps, Clark

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-02 00:31

Hi Norm, on back I owned a Leb alto of about that vintage, wasn;t happy with it and sold it. Its neck was a single curve and later L A's had a "swan neck " double curved design, which I have heard were much better. Leb has a US patent on the swan. You can access it via Google Patents [will help] and possibly get dimensions if the dwg's are to scale. [likely]. I tried to get one via ebay , [no success] to get a better playing angle on my Selmer [diff. bore sizes !], so I just put up with a none-too-good head angle. Hope this may help, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Chris P (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United Kingdom)
Date:   2010-03-02 14:54

Just measured two Leblanc alto crooks (the S-shaped one).

One of them is around 135-6mm along the top (longest) side with a 17.5mm tenon - the other is around 137-8mm with a 19.5mm tenon.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-03-02 14:58)

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Norman Smale (---.zone5.bethere.co.uk - ISP in Manchester, I2 United Kingdom)
Date:   2010-03-02 19:29

Thanks Clark, Don and Chris for all your info,

The Alto in question is ser 5xxx which I think dates it to late 50's (57?)
The length of neck with it is approx 4 1/16" (103mm)
depth of socket 18.3 mm (3/4")
Body length is 12 3/4
Bore of clarinet 18.1mm
bore of neck 18.2mm

so from data in your posts the neck should be about 5 3/8 (136mm)
no wonder the intonation is way out!!!.
Tried a brief scan on patents but so far only found one by Leon Leblanc circa 1958 which shows the S shape etc but appears to address primarily the Bass Clarinet.

So where does one get a suitable neck ???
(if all else fails will have to make one but would prefer not).



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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Chris P (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United Kingdom)
Date:   2010-03-02 21:31

Norman, are you on Sax On The Web? Send me a private message if you are.

The Vito, Normandy and Noblet alto crooks are 103mm (with the single bend in them) as they have a longer top joint than the Leblanc altos - put a Leblanc alto top joint against a Vito/Normandy/Noblet and you'll see it's a significant difference.

I think the 103mm Vito/Normandy/Noblet alto crook (single bend) is also the same as the Leblanc basset horn crook.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-03-02 21:36)

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Mary Jo (---.om.om.cox.net - ISP in Omaha, NE United States)
Date:   2010-03-02 23:04

I have a similar Leblanc, same length neck, but the upper joint is about 13 and 7/8ths inches (measurement includes tenon). The serial number is 13xx.

Just adding to the confusion with this info, I guess. My clarinet seems to play nicely, except in the higher, thinner notes in tune mostly, though still weak.



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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: clarnibass (---.red.bezeqint.net - ISP in Azur, 05 Israel)
Date:   2010-03-03 03:29

>> so from data in your posts the neck should be about
>> 5 3/8 (136mm) no wonder the intonation is way out!!!.

Not necessarily. AFAIK it's not only Noblet/Normandy/Vito that have the shorter neck. Older Leblanc alto clarinets had this same shorter neck too. If I remember it was about mid 60s that Leblanc changed to the longer goose neck. So your Leblanc is more likely to originally have the shorter curved neck.

BTW I have a Leblanc with the longer neck and throat notes are still mostly sharp, especially Bb. Are you sure your Leblanc is sooo sharp that it really needs a 3cm+ longer neck? It's possible, but how out of tune is it really? Maybe the goose neck affect intonation in more ways than just by its length, but I imagine the difference would be very bad, probably worse than how you described it. But maybe not.

If you can't find a goose neck to try, then unless it will cause a problem with the position of the mouthpiece to the clarinet body, I would consider making the neck tunable, adding a tenon. You decide how much to cut off from the original i.e. how much length the tenon itself would add, before even opening it. Should cost a lot less than making a neck (unless you have some assembly line specifically to make necks).

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: jasperbay (98.125.177.---)
Date:   2010-03-03 04:22

Both Mary Jo and clarnibass confirm something I'd wondered about; that the early Leblanc Altos also had the short, simple-bend neck like the Noblet. Luckily Mary Joe has hers in hand and confirms hers also has the appropriate (?) longer Upper Joint. Since only Mr. Smale's alto has both the short UJ and short neck, that would seem to explain the 'sharpness', in fact it would be about a full note sharp wouldn't it?? The only thing I'm still curious about is; did the newer Noblet 'diamond logo' altos ever go to the swan neck/shorter UJ?? I like the idea of a tuneable neck, if you're going to go to the trouble to make the whole neck. Another idea might be to lathe-turn an "adapter extension" for either end of the neck, out of aluminum (aluminium in the UK??)or acetal (delrin), just to see if she'll play in tune.

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: jasperbay (98.125.177.---)
Date:   2010-03-03 15:49

In a "Eureka" moment (more seldom the older I get) I decided to play my 'short UJ' Leblanc Alto with the short Noblet neck. The 'C', to my ears, comes out almost 'C sharp' but not quite. This is something you could get used to (like an E-flat HP)if you're playing alone, and the neighbor's dog might even try to sing along!! Sorry I can't be more exact on the pitch, but my formal training, and playing level is that of a 62 yr old taking up the clarinet after a 40 yr hiatus, after playing woefully but exuberantly in high school. Good luck to you Mr. Smale, in locating a longer neck. I wonder if there's another Alto in the UK with a long UJ / long neck that plays woefully flat?? Kind of like " I know my socks don't match, and I think I have a pair just like them at home!"

Clark G. Sherwood

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com - ISP in United States)
Date:   2010-03-03 20:50

Hi Clark, I do agree with your conclusions re: "tube length" for Eb Alto cls [ to achieve a low Eb], but to your Eureka thots, I have heard [from ? authority] that our ability to think along Some lines, relating effect to cause for one , and other "cognitives" [a cirrently popular word] actually improve with age!, so perhaps not all is lost, hopefully !! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: Norman Smale (---.zone5.bethere.co.uk - ISP in Manchester, I2 United Kingdom)
Date:   2010-03-03 23:04

Msg in response to Chris, no I don't currently subscribe to SOTW although occasionally scan it ( I spend too long in front of the screen already!!) - however I can be contacted direct - my email details are on the NAMIR website.

To clarify the sharpness issue - I mean SERIOUSLY sharp i.e.
lowest Eb - approx 50 cents
middle C - approx a semitone
throat Bb - approx whole tone i.e. it sounds the C above !!
I think this clearly shows some significant length is missing from the top end.



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 Re: Leblanc Alto Clarinet crook length
Author: clarnibass (---.red.bezeqint.net - ISP in Azur, 05 Israel)
Date:   2010-03-04 03:23

>> think this clearly shows some significant length is missing from the top end. <<

Yes, sounds exactly like the wrong neck.

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