My Selmer Paris10s and my Ridenour Clarinet

This is a reply to many questions and comments I have had written in to this site and to me concerning certain qualities of these instruments mentioned above, both of which I own and with which I am thoroughly familiar.

In addition, I have been switching these clarinets in my daily practice sessions with interesting results. I clearly play the Ridenour instrument on a daily basis, but after many many years of playing Grenadilla clarinets, I find myself drawn back to playing my Selmer, or for that mstter, my Leblanc LL, or my Yamaha 72.
However my Selmer 10s has the best adjustment and has had kidd leather pads in the lower joint and beveled cork in the upper and it is in perfect adjustment, so I’ve centered my playing around these two horns.
I must also state that my Ridenour clarinet has Valentino pads installed throughout and they are as good as my Selmer configuration.

When first I received my Ridenour hard rubber instrument, I was taken immediately to the even quality it emitted, the even and equal tuning on virtually all the notes of the instrument, the fact that the low e, the middle b, and the high F, the high C were all intune, both to my ear in playing literally dozns of orchestral parts and on the electronic tuner.I also had the opportunity to play my Ridenour Instrument for a full runthrough of The Quartet for The End of Time, by Olivier Messiaen, which I performed on July 2nd. It was a wonderful thoroughly enjoyable experience and my colleagues in the quartet were quite impresssed with the ease in which the instrument fit into the ensemble. What this did was give me an enormous sense of control, both tonal and timbral over my playing.
When I change back to my Grenadilla instrument, it is very good, the response in the lower chalumeau is lovely and simply pops out, (you know the feeling). The throat register is a bit weak, though very well intune, but not quite as even and responsive as the lower register.
the Clarion register is also good, but it thins out at the top , though remaining intune, it drifts slightly sharp. The altissima register is quite good, though the timbre begins to thin and I find I need a slightly more resistant reed.
That is as accurate as I can verbalise on the response and various factors of this fine Paris Instrument.
By the time I’ve played the Selmer for this long, I am ready to return to the Ridenour instrument, for everything is achievable with equality, and without a doubt the quality of sound is rounder, more even, giving a very pleasant experience, better than any clarinet I have played. The ability to taper, to virtually disappear as well as to make an enormous intune crescendo is well within the parameters of this hard rubber instrument.

Curiously, the Ridenour Clarinet is closest to the Opus Clarinet I owned in the late 1990s. It will be no surprise to the reader that Tom Ridenour designed that instrument as well. He has surpassed the OPus with his new insrrument.

Stay well, all.

Sherman Friedland


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