Replacing a stolen E13

March 26, 2005

I have recently purchased a Selmer Series 9 to replace
a stolen Buffet E-13 which I dearly miss.
My issue ithat the intonation in the Selmer’s throat tones are
ridiculously flat. I have adjusted pad height to no
avail. I find it had to believe that this is an
inherent quality to this horn. Do you have any
suggestions? I am ready to sell this horn and go back
to Buffet. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for the interesting note.
There are many different ways to respond because I have not heard you play and I do not know if the Selmer was purchased new or used.

That register is inherently sharp, if anything.If the tones are as you say really flat, no amount of pad height will change that, however the fact that it is flat is already strange because traditionally with this Selmer and most others prior to the Recital, the exact opposite is true if not so really sharp, but always one had to adjust on these notes on the selmer.
I would also exclude Yamaha and Opus.both of which seem to assiduously avoid the sharp throat.
Flat in the throat could be because the clarinet has been in some way tampered with(if used) or there is an extra long barrel because the former player had the opposite problem.
In that case, a short or moveable barrel could help solve the problem.
Funny thing is, although it may sound biased , the Buffet clarinet has a traditionally sharp throat register in general, to which you may have become accustomed.(if true)
So, in conclusion, I would certainly not return the clarinet as yet. There is always a period of adjustment with a different instrument and if you really loved the Buffet, the adjustment may be even more difficult. Sorry it got stolen.
best wishes, and good luck, sf

A Mother is Considering a Clarinet to buy

March 23, 2005

What can you tell me about the LeBlanc Esprit clarinet? What mouthpiece should be used with it? Any quirks? Any helpful tidbits? Any inherent problems over time? I recently purchased a used one for my son as a gift. It is used and I will be taking it to my local music shop for a good look over.
My response was vague.
Oh, Iím sorry, I must not have been clear. I do appreciate your time in answering my question and will value your opinion as I am no expert on the clarinet and am trying to make sure I am purchasing a quality clarinet for my son, as well as a wonderful surprise gift. I know he has purchased separate mouthpieces for clarinets he has had in the past and I didnít know if I there was one that worked well with this specific clarinet. You seem to be fond of the LeBlanc Opus after reading some of the comments you have made, and have offered tips on playing one as well. I didnít find any archived articles where you mentioned specifically the LeBlanc Esprit Bb clarinet and did not know if you had had the pleasure of getting acquainted with one or had heard other clarinet players comment. I know my son has previously played clarinets made by Buffet and Sempler, not a LeBlanc. I came close to purchasing a Buffet R 13 (Iím going off the top.. I hope I am saying that right) but being a woman went on that instinctive impulse and purchased the LeBlanc Esprit. I do have a 30 day examination period to return if this is not a satisfactory purchase. Although, my son will be able to tell me once he receives it, heís the type that would just be gracious and say it was wonderful and play it anyway. I suppose I am looking for reassurance that this is what a talented clarinet player would be very excited about receiving. In short, I have no idea what I am doing, but want it to be great. Can you give me any advice? Somehow, I sense your going to say return it and give him the money to go buy what he wants. I can accept that, but before I do, Iíd like some education on the LeBlanc Esprit Bb clarinet. I was under the impression it was an awesome clarinet.
Friedlands response:
LeBlanc (France – Student line: Vito) also offers a variety of Bb
Clarinet. Their top of the line is the “Opus” with their “Concerto” and
“Iterniti” as seconds. The Opus and the Concerto also being common
choises among the virtuosos. Their traditional model is the “LL” and
their Jazz model is the “PeteFountain”. Other
professional/semi-professional models are: Infiniti, LX2000, Espirit,
and the Sonata
I would say the instrument lies somewhere within the semi-professional models. This however does not mean that much. It really depends upon your sons level of sensitivity and playing ability. Also would be the playing condition of the instrument. Is it new? Has it been tried or prepared by a competent player/clarinetist.
I do not believe you mentioned where you puchased the instrument.
No, I do not think you should tell him to get what he wants after returning the instrument, however it may be advisable to request that you take out several for him to try, allowing him to pick the best, if in fact he has this knowledge, this amount of discipline, which is what it takes to discern.
I have found that all the Leblancs of a certain upper category are well-made, though there are variances in playability.
One would need to know just where your son is in the process of discernment, which is certainly a part of the discipline. I had and performed on a Leblanc L27, which was a wonderfully intune instrument, and instrument that I wished I had kept, however at the time I was a very busy performer and teacher and was able to borrow anything that I wanted for as long as was necessary, which is where my respect for the Leblanc comes. This is an instrument which in professional clarinetistic circles has been reviled, not because it is bad, but because it is not a Buffet or a Selmer. I found out the instrument is in general a beautifully made clarinet, however save for a few exceptions it is not the choice of professional clarinetists…..yet.
If you begin to understand that the world of adjudicating playing characteristics of instruments is complex, you may add exponential to the kinds of variances that exist.
Most professional clarinetists insist that their students play the same model and make as they, and spend a considerable amount of time in denigrating simply everything else that is out there, which is not right, however typical.
I find the Opus to be the finest Leblanc entry into the professional model of clarinet. Intonation, response, and quality is even, beautifully made and simply excellent. I know some performers who criticize the instrument for not being one that projects well, however this is so much in the hands of the particular player, it is almost uselesss to speak about.
I hope that this is of come help and I wish you and your son the very best in the world of the clarinet SF

Thank you. You have been very helpful. You have definitely given me more insight on the complexity of choosing the ďrightĒ clarinet. As much as I had hoped to give the gift as a surprise, upon your consult I feel this is one that is definitely intimate and individual enough he should choose himself. I will just surprise him with going shopping for one.
PS The joy of hearing him play is the best gift.

Playing really flat

March 10, 2005

Playing flat, really flat

Hello. I am a high school clarinetist and I seem to be flat all the time (usually around 20 cents flat). I have tried a few different mouthpieces and they have not really made a difference. I also tried using a shorter barrel but it made me very sharp. Most people say that I should use more air or firm up more but I have tried their advice and I am still flat. My band director has even noticed my flatness and he doesn’t seem to be too happy about it. ( I play on a Selmer USA 100 clarinet and a Vandoren 5RV Lyre mouthpiece – I have also used the Vandoren B45 and M30 and the Eddie Daniels Acubore 64mm barrel with no luck) How can I correct this problem? Thank you for your time.

Many times I have heard this or similar stories. Of course, It is impossible to tell you too much without hearing and seeing you play.
The setup you describe, or setups in your case are never the answer to this kind of problem, nor is the instrument. It is most probably the kind, and quality of the reed your are playing on. Do you have a teacher? If the answer is no, then you are in tiger country because the opinions you receive are most likely not terribly well-informed, as well-meaning as they may be.
So, no I cannot help you, but I can say that this is a very familiar problem. The best answer is to consult or to study with a clarinetist who plays the clarinet. That is very important.
Your problem has to do with the embouchure you make and the reeds you play, both of which need corrction.
What correction? I am a musician, but not a magician, though I have been called that, so without more information, that is the best answer I can give.
If you can send me a recording of your playing, that would be ideal. It would have to be on MP3. Do you have one?
I wish you the very best of luck, but without the information I must bid you adieu.

An older gentleman searching for crystal, hoping to find gold.

March 10, 2005

A clarinetist wrote asking for a more responsive mouthpiece, asking about crystal. I asked him waht he played on.———————————–
Thank you for your response. I play the Buffet Crompton R13 with a Vandoren B46 mouthpiece. I’m looking for possibly a crystal mouthpiece that takes less effort with more response if that is possible. I use a 2 1/2 Mitchell Lurie reed. I don”t have as much wind as I use to. Do you have any suggestions or should I pack it in?

Hi Joe:
Crystal will not necessarily do what you want, and no, you do not have to pack it in either.
The only thing you can do is to try Mitchell Lurie Crystal if they are still around, but in my opinion you ought to play a french-cut reed, which will give you more for your money, so to speak, even if they are more difficult to select.

Mitchell Lurie reeds die too quickly although they play well initially. The center of the reed is thinner.

Don’t try a bunch of different mouthpieces. It is much better to stick to one you have had, especially now, but if you feel the mouthpiece has changed, go to a place where you can try them. Try only ,perhaps 6, and then make your choice. Changing mouthpieces is very difficult. Please take my word for it, for it gives as much trouble as you can expect by increasing variables that much. All mouthpices differ, perhaps like fingerprints, so indeed do reeds

I would stick to VD to try. B45 is a bit more accepted than 46. I play M113(VD), which is a medium mp and quite lovely, and not too resistant.

Crystal can be beautiful. I had one, but they are difficult to find. You almost need another pair of ears. I had another pair: those of my wife, who heard me about to abandon a crystal, asked me what it was,….. then said, Keep it, and I did and it was wonderful. But that was then and this is now.

So, I hope I have been of some small help. Remember, don’t “pack it in”/


“How do you control the notes on the clarinet”?

March 7, 2005

I finally had the chance to listen to your recording
of Gardens:Royal Garden and one question linger in my
head. How do you play all your notes with such beauty?
I understand practice always help but the way you play
all your notes as elegant as your high notes or should
I say vice-versa in my case when it comes to me
playing. Please tell me how you practice your control
of your notes no matter how fast or what pitch you are
playing. Your newest fan Chad from
Blanche Ely Symphony Band 1st Clarinet(Even
though it is nothing to brag about after hearing you play)

Chad, first and foremost, thank you for your note about my notes.
I was most happy to receive it.
It is not an easy one to answer but I shall endeavor to try.
It has a lot to do with the respect for real legato, and playing notes evenly on the instrument.
And this includes attacks in faster passages.
I would say that really slow practise is one of the most important things that you can do.

Choose and play the most beautiful note that you know on the clarinet and then very slowly ascend and descend from that beautiful note and match the next note with that same beauty. That will be very difficult and time consuming but it is very good for the ear and for your ability to criticize yourself, the most important thing about making beauty on the execution of passages in any piece.
The matching of tones is important and the matching of attacks is also important.
The minutiae of the above will take a very long time, however you should read all of the many articles I have written on the subject. It will be worth the effort. I hope I have been of some help to you and will answer any further questions you may have.
sincerely, sf