A Good Used Mercedes

Dear Mr Friedland,
> I happen to stumble upon your website while doing research for purchasing a
> clarinet upgrade for my soon to be college freshman daughter. Your articles
> have been both entertaining as well as informative and I really have
> appreciated them. My daughter will be attending a college next year with
> the intent of becoming a music teacher (both instrumental and choral).
> Since she needs an upgrade on her clarinet (she has her original resin
> Selmer student clarinet with a Vandoren M-13 mouthpiece) I had talked to
> her future clarinet teacher from the college she will be attending. This
> teacher suggested purchasing a Buffet R-13 (I have read enough of your
> articles to know how you feel on teacher/student relationship so I will
> honor her wishes on the Buffet R-13) , either a new one or one that is not
> real old. This is where my question to you comes from. In searching for
> the best deal for my daughter I have come across many older R-13’s, some
> dating back to the 1950’s. I have read other opinions that the older
> R-13’s are better than any new clarinet due to the better grade of wood,
> craftsmanship etc.
> Since I have come to respect your opinion I am curious to your thoughts on
> the difference, both in sound and in potential age related problems, of
> older wood clarinets and the same model of a newer clarinet. I don’t mind
> paying extra for a new clarinet but is there something to the theory that
> the older ones would sound better and last as long or longer than newer
> ones? If a used one is a good buy, where is the point that an older one is
> no longer a good investment.
> Hope all this makes sense. Any help you can give me is greatly
> appreciated.
> Thanks. JH, soon to be the broke parent of a university music student
> —————————————————————————————–
and thank you for you note and the compliment.
Unfortunately this question is not easy to answer because all clarinets differ; all Buffet clarinets differ.
If you buy new, you may get a good one, an excellent one, however the only person to tell you would be the person who tries the instrument for you and your daughter. Some, though few are not great, probably stuffy or out-of-tune, however that too is difficult to realize.

A true example is: I tried a new Buffet which was on the market cheap. I did not buy because it was stuffy and blew funny. Then I had it checked by an expert who told me the clarinet was leaking everywhere. He repaired it and it was the best clarinet I ever played, or one of the best.

This is how much they can differ and that would be if they are in good adjustment when you buy.

I always advise to buy at 1/3rd of the list OFF. The dealer pays 50% of list unless he gets a deal and they all get deals because the horns especially Buffet are so much more expensive then they were.

Used is exactly analogous to a used car, exactly.
If you ever have purchased a used car or if you are adept you will know exactly of what I speak.

You can get a great used Buffet, just like a great Mercedes or Buick, however you usually have to pay a few dollars to get it straight, which is true of all thing used. Again, it is up to who tries it for you, what their expereince is and how good they hear and play. If you are located in an urban area of considerable size, call up the first clarinet of the orchestra there or the clarinet instructor in the University.

If he is a player, he should be willing enough. After all, it is your daughter and he will be her teacher, so it seems to figure.
You may wish to ask him if he charges for such a service. He may wish to charge. Then again,if he steers you to a certain shop and instrument, he may already be getting a percentage or a “gift” of some kind.

It is hopelessly complicated, I guess. Make sure she takes all the ED classes and gets the degree in education not applied music, because ed will get her a job, the applied degree will get her nothing unless she beats all others at the audtion, for which she needs no degree.

best of all good luck..




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