Buying a “professional” Instrument

Hello Mr. Friedland

Like many of the other posts, I stumbled across your forum while beginning my search for a new clarinet- I was hoping you could provide some guidance as to a decent clarinet that might suit my needs- my story: I was a clarinet music major (performance/ed) at Ithaca College 10 years ago, ended up dreading! the clarinet, burnt out, changed majors and sold my clarinet. Now it has been 10 years, and I have *finally* felt the urge to want to play again. Obviously I am not as good as I used to be…My horn at the time was a Yamaha YCL CS- Yes, I tried the Buffet R13, and everyone in the studio but me played it, but I just didn’t like the sound and response. Yesterday I ventured out to the music store to begin my exploration. Came across a Leblanc Rapsodie that I liked – They also had
an Opus II, but I couldn’t get past that extra key on the left side (don’t remember the name of it, I know the Buffet Prestige also has it). I really don’t know a whole lot about Leblanc or Selmer. My goal is to sound decent again, possibly get involved in local chamber orchestra? But obviously I won’t be putting in the hours like I used to- It was always drilled in me to get a
“professional” level clarinet – but is that necessary? your thoughts on a
suitable clarinet? Also, your thoughts on used vs. new?
Thanks sooo much
Rediscovering the clarinet– -Tanya

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Hello and thank you for your question.

I find this difficult to answer however I do believe in the so-called
professional clarinets, simply because they have all of the so-called
improvements that have been made to the instrument, however I have also
tried some really beautiful older clarinets that play better: for instance,
The Leblanc LL, a wonderful instrument. I bought a set and found them to be
the best, most in tune instrument I have played. I also admire the Leblanc
L7. L27, and I owned a set of Opus which were terrific, but of course they
did have the side Eb. I have a student who owns an OPus II and it too is excellent.
The Buffet I do not admire,(the sound is cute and kind of tight) as the price is high and one must try many instruments beforeone hits a clarinet where the intonation is acceptable. It is also poorly constructed, though the plating is beautiful. The long left hand keys are attached with plastic dowels and that is an accident waiting to happen, which it did for a student of mine here at the Crane School of Music.Presently my instrument of choice is a Selmer 10S, really beautifully in tune, and picked from many in Sweden.
I played Selmer for many years and was a clinician for Selmer for 30 years. Their big plus is beautiful manufacturing and consistency of sound as well as tuning.
Best of luck in choosing your instrument.
The Leblanc Sonata is acceptable also, but not as good as the Opus II or the
Concerto, which are really priced on the galaxy somewhere I think.

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