Questions about Leblanc Clarinet, latest models and specs

Sherman,
I enjoy reading your excellent columns. I know that you have a familiarity with Leblanc instruments so you may be in a position to answer this question.
I suspect that a lot of the statements made by players in general about subtle differences between clarinet lines may be hype or just plain untrue. I certainly subscribe to the claim that the mouthpiece/reed setup is in most cases the primary discriminant in the sound, not the clarinet.
Recently I purchased a Leblanc Opus II clarinet, favoring it over the Leblanc Concerto model because of its left hand Ab/Eb key. I do a lot of jazz improvisation and wanted the extra key to minimize the frequency of improvising myself into a corner where I needed an additional little finger. But another consideration was that I favor the sound and style of Eddie Daniels, who I believe uses a Concerto model. My guess was the difference in sound between the two clarinets is not signficant and so went with the extra key of the Opus II, figuring that the two horns are not that different acoustically. Can to shed some new wisdom on this speculation?
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Hi:
I have checked the specifications and must say that there is as you say, not too much difference from one clarinet of this calibre (expensive) to the other.
I just received the Sonata, which is so-called entry-level professional, It is superb and also has a terrific mouthpiece, highly unusual to be found on a new instrument. Usually they are to be destroyed.

I did own a set of Opus I and found them rather lovely, but sold them later. I have also owned a Leblanc L27, a terrific instrument, and I now own also a Sonata, and a set of L7s which could be the best of all and they are old.

There are many questions to be answered in considering clarinets, for me it is mostly the way that legato works and sounds and feels, the ability of the instrument to be lyrical and to be able to “sing”. Very few clarinets or clarinetists really sing when they play, to kmake one feel drawn to the musicality of the player.

I think that the Leblanc clarinet in general does this as well as any clarinet.I have played all manner of clarinets and played Mazzeos system for many years and find them to be terrific and lovely. I had found a beautiful crystal mouthpiece which simply transformed me, or so I thought, and that is a lot of it right there. I felt that I could play, color if you will a phrase so as to be special with that phrase, that piece. That mouthpiece meant a lot to me for I felt that I had arrivd with it, perhaps so, perhaps not.
It was broken by a student during the intermission of a concert, and so much for that. It of course, as you say, was the combination of reed and mouthpiece, but my horns were certainly a part of the component that I was attempting to present, that of a singing clarinetist, though without words. Regardles of medium I hear this less and less. There is racous competivness and I cannot stand to witness it, like testosterone powered clarinetistry.

Eddie Daniels does this marvelously(singing lyricism), however I know that he would do it on whatever clarinet he was playing. You know everyone is attempting to cash in on him. Larry Combs is another. Harold Wright, who did not play Jazz was my favorite. While in the service I heard him play with the National Orchestra, then with the Boston Symphony, unbelievalbe legato and dynamics, but alas, he has passed on. Below please find the specs as they are listed. Best regards, sherman friedland

Sonata Specifications
Key:Bb
Bore: Polycylindrical, 14.60 mm (.575″)
Key mechanism: 17 key, 6 ring
Key style:In-line “Jump” trill keys
Body material: Aged grenadilla wood
Pad cup style: Conical
Key finish: Nickel-plated

Opus IISpecifications
Key: Bb
Key mechanism: 18 key, 6 ring
Key style: Offset trill keys, auxiliary Ab-Eb key, adjustable bridge mechanism, adjustable right hand E/B and F#/C# keys
Body material: Aged unstained grenadilla wood
Pad cup style: Ronds bombés (rounded)
Key finish: Silver-plated
Mouthpiece: 2571-LC1
Case: Deluxe wood-shell
Options: Model 1191S available in the key of A as model 1191AS

“Concerto II” offers the same rich, expressive tone and ease of play as the original Concerto model, but with the added advantage of a revolutionary keywork design based on that of the highly acclaimed “Opus II” model introduced in 2001. Its gracefully sculpted keys lie perfectly under the fingers for increased dexterity and endurance, and numerous enhancements, such as its adjustable bridge mechanism and E/B and F#/C# keys, save trips to the repair shop. The Concerto II was designed in collaboration with jazz legend Eddie Daniels.
Specifications
Key: Bb
Bore: Polycylindrical, 14.61 mm (.575”)
Key mechanism: 17 key, 6 ring
Key style: Exclusive Leblanc “sculptured” hand-crafted key design, offset trill keys, adjustable bridge mechanism, adjustable right hand E/B and F#/C# keys
Body material: Aged grenadilla wood
Pad cup style: Ronds bombés (rounded)
Key finish: Silver-plated
Mouthpiece: ED1
Case: Deluxe soft-sided case
Option: Model 2002S available in the key of A as model 2002AS

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