This is an update of the Lyons “C” Clarinet written some years ago on this site.
(I discovered some 15 years ago, when visiting the Summer Meeting of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain, actually to demonstrate the Mazzzeo Clarinet for my teacher Rosario who was a guest there, that the folks in the UK absolutely adore the clarinet, much more zealously then we do in this hemisphere. I was really overcome by the great variety of players that visited that meeting of all levels from amateur to professional but really loving it). Suffice it to say, it was an unforgettable experience.
Now several weeks ago I received a letter from a young player asking me about a clarinet that was made of all plastic and no metal and that came in a case that was very difficult to open, and suggested that perhaps I write about this instrument. But alas , he could not think of the name of the instrument.
For the record and your information, it is the Lyons Clarinet, built in the key of C, all plastic, one piece, in a one piece case that IS first and foremost, a BEAUTIFUL SOUNDING clarinet!
That is where we start when judging a clarinet, on the sound, isn’t it?
The mouthpiece is about the size of an Eb clarinet mouthpiece and takes eb reeds and it plays like a wonderful mouthpiece. I took it out of the box, (one has to turn the top, which lines up two columns and out the clarinet comes.
The clarinet is in one piece, a boon to children and adults alike. You remember of course that many clarinets came in one piece at the beginning of the last century.I am told that they changed to several pieces when the grenadilla got more and more scarce, which could be somewhat of a myth. But with the emergence of the Buffet “green” clarinet or something which is made of ground and pressed grenadilla powder I am told, I believe the story.
It comes with a list of parts if you need to replace, very inexpensive a few dollars up to 12 for the mouthpiece and 15 for the case.
The pads are all silicon rubber and permanent, (hooray!)The keys are all plastic as well.Here is a clarinet which in 1993 won the British Design prize and here I am only in 2004 finally finding out about it. Makes me feel old, but then again……..
Now here is the most salient thing for you to remember, the clarinet plays and sounds terrific. It is in tune, better than many profession clarinets and the sound is rather lovely. No, really lovely. Ithink that the only problem may be the fact that it has a special mouthpiece, meaning only that , that’s it, which may tend to put off the more experienced clarinetists, who already play Bb with their Bb mouthpiece, and when buying a C, much much more expensive than the Lyons, they simply play their Bb mouthpiece. But remember, the horn plays, and very well and is designed for children. Considering that, the Lyons is without peer.
Now here are more particulars:
Of course, the inventor and developer of this wonderful addition to clarinetopia is Graham Lyons, clarinetist, bassoonist and composer who deserves all our praise.