There has been a running thread in another website about Mr Ridenours instruments. I have decided to run a couple of them and my response on this site.
stay well, sherman
———————————————————————-“Just remember that (to the best of my knowledge) Ridenour has his instruments made “to his specifications” in mainland China, and I believe this applies to all the different iterations he has sold — thus the quality of the instruments really depends on what the Chinese factory can do and how well Tom can control it. So far, I’m not convinced that he has sufficient control over the metallurgy and workmanship of the instruments they make for him, but perhaps they have finally reached an acceptable level. I haven’t tried any of his recent clarinets and I’ll admit they’ve gotten generally good reviews from folks that have played them.” (This gentleman understand plays bass clarinet in a community band in the midwest and repairs clarinets)
I believe that you have hit the nail directly on the head of any problems with the Ridenour Clarinets.I play one, and it is still the best instrument I have every played, bar none. From the aspects of:? Basically the sound is beautiful,better in my mind than any I have played. 2. The intonation is as good as any horn, with the exception of alitissima F#, which is flat with the basic fingering, though with an available 4 or 5 other fingerings available more or less conveniently.
3. Exceptionally the low e and f are intune, not flat , really flat on some, and 4. the 12th above are aso intune. 5. the high c is intune. 5. the scale is even to begin with. 6. the ability to make large intervals with minimal angst, and qvetching is notable.
There are other notable betterments , however I have found that there are a couple of things lacking which must be noted as well:
The keys are not soft or hard or soft-boiled, but they seem placed not quite correctly and the thumbrest is less than ideal, though I have placed all kinds of things on it and they all help. So, it is my belief that these negative aspects of the horn need to be made more amenable, which will come I’m sure with time, as many things begun in China in a somewhat roughshod manner have straightened to a highly acceptable degree. Basically it is a great horn, with the exceptions and the leveler is the price, which is pure giveaway. I have a set, the A being the best horn I ever put my fingers to, and the Bb is also quite acceptable. The price for the 2 was under a thousand dollars. Tom has adjusted my Bb several times, at no charge, but he cannot change the keys, an irritant. But the horns are better than any French clarinets, or Japanese, and my point if I may, is that students do not have a lot of bucks to spray around or to ask their fathers or mothers for,or to borrow, so the choice is easy. If the designer is Tom Ridenour, it is the best, however he lives in Texas, not in Beijing.
Davd S. is absolutely correct.