A student asks, what to buy, wood or plastic or ????

Hi Sherman,
I have looked over your website and I must say, it is pretty interesting and itís a good read!!
Iíve been playing the clarinet for about 2 years now, and I have recently gotten braces. Now that Iíve somewhat adjusted to the disturbance the braces give me, the question is, after I get my braces removed, will I have to restart the emboursure part of the clarinet learning process again?
Next off, I am planning to join my high school senior band (they only offer junior and senior, and senior is offered for grade 11s and up) and I will have to purchase a clarinetÖ.I would like to get a good quality clarinet, not a bad quality one. Now, what I’ve heard is that wood clarinets are supposed to be better than the plastic ones. On some websites, it tells me that plastic and wood clarinets are the same thing. Can you please explain this to me? If I end up buying a wood clarinet, I will have to risk that the clarinet will break right?….so how am I supposed to treat it and do clarinets usually crack?…the wood ones I’m talking about. Would I be better off with a plastic clarinet?
A store in my area has these clarinets in stock. Can you suggest or tell me which ones are good and bad ones? You may also add to this list and I will try and find some stores in my area that offer them.

——————————————————————— Hi Daniel:
Thank you for your request …which is interesting .

First, as to horn, a good plastic horn could be made I guess, but that is not currently the case. I own a Leblanc 20, same as the 250, which is OK but not a fine instrument, ….of plastic.

Any wooden is worse than any platic horn for one reason. Wood is many things, but more than anything it is what I call “seasonal” and temperature and humidity sensitive, making it kind of a night mare.
I have had and seen many students attending college to get Music Ed degrees for teaching who play maybe 5 or 6 hours a day playing expensive french wooden clarinets. They are stuck together as if taffee were in in the horn. The playing fills thm with condensation, much warmer than the ambient emperature, so they bind. While pastic doesn’t, at least not as much, there is a much better material which is the most resistant to cracking, binding and all temperature changes: Hard Rubber.
Go to Ridenour Clarinet Products and look into them, and get in touch with him, he will answer.
The clarinets are very inexpensive and they play better than any instrument I have played. I play on a set of them .

That is your best bet.

As far as playing with braces, your dentist will advise you not to as it works against the clarinet embouchure development, however you can play with braces, and/or many othet things sticking in your mouth.
If you want to play, you will play.

I know.

Look up braces on my site index. I already have one article or maybe more written about playing with braces.

best of good luck. Go for Hard Rubber. You will not be sorry.

sincerely, Sherman


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