Barrels, which to use, buy, and how many?

I wanted to thank you again for your help with my previous reed problem. It has been solved.

Today, I do have a question that no player or repairman can help me with.
Is there really an internal bore size (diameter?) difference between a Buffet “A” clarinet barrel and a B-flat?
I know that a barrel manufacturer sells a barrel that they say can be used on both the A and B-flat clarinet?
I was given a Moening B-flat barrel and tried it on my”A” Buffet and the C-3 (left thumb) is sharp, with the other notes
pretty well being in tune. Should I purchase an “A” clarinet barrel instead?

Thank-you Sir–
Hi Richard:
Thank you for writing in and I am glad that you were helped with the reed problem. As far as the barrel problem, I asked the real authority on clarinet manufacture and repair, designer of many of the worlds best clarinets, William Ridenour and here is his response, which is , I must say about the same as mine:
Good luck, sherman

“This is my observation and I hope it is helpful.
1. most players select a barrel on tone, and resistance while tuning is secondary in their minds, at least on first trial. This is not a particular problem unless the timbre and barrel pleases but the barrel is found, ex post facto, to play flat on the A clarinet. (The standard Bb barrel for the Buffet post 1960 is 66 millimeters. Standard A barrel, post 1960, is 65mm.)
So….the first issue is to make sure the barrel you select is short enough to enable the A clarinet to play up to pitch (A=440 )- you can always pull the sharp barrel to make the Bb play down to pitch.
Once that happens all bets are off. The determining factors beyond that are all personal and subjective so….
2. The subjective issues are concerned more with how well the barrel plays and sounds to the player.
A single barrel for both clarinets must meet the standard of a) playing up to pitch on both clarinets and being aesthetically pleasing, according to the player’s perception in combination with his or her mouthpiece/reed set up.
Selecting a barrel, in regard to the Buffet product, according to some abstract set of bore dimensions is total nonsense. If the barrel meets the two requirements (playing up to pitch and being aesthetically pleasing) it is acceptable.
Let common sense prevail and forget all the know-nothing BS artist that parrot some abstract set of dimensions or some precise number. If it plays up to pitch on both horns , colors well and has an acceptable resistance, take it. If not, keep looking until you find one that does.
Buffet bore dimensions are all over the place. Ergo, those who quote an inflexible number or set of numbers for the barrel while they stuff cotton in their ears are insensible to the real subtleties of performance and should be like the first stage of a rocket: jettisoned as soon as possible, if not sooner.
That’s my take.” William Ridenour


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