Subject: Clarinet Corner Query:
Dear Mr. Friedland,
I am very happy to have found your Clarinet Corner! I am facing a
dilemma: My eight-year-old daughter believes it is time for her to begin learning the clarinet using MY clarinet!
I began playing this particular clarinet when I was nine years old, and was warned by my mother that if anything happened to it I would not only be minus an instrument, but also possibly minus a home! Now that my daughter has begun casting her eyes upon “my” clarinet, I begin to sympathize with my mother’s feelings when she issued that warningMy mother received this clarinet in the early-to-mid 1950’s. It is a Leblanc “Dynamic II”, according to its markings. I know very little about it, other than the fact that every time we had it in the shop people admired it, frequently inquring whether or not we would consider selling it. Of course, we would not!
First of all, I am very interested in knowing more about the “Dynamic II”.I haven’t found anything at all in my online research, even on the Leblanc website. Considering the fact that my grandparents were of very limited means and that we are from a very rural area in Texas, I would certainly not imagine that the “Dynamic II” is near the higher end of Leblanc products. On the other hand, however, I must weigh the acts that my mother was extremely talented and that my grandparents bought this clarinet (new) for her as an upgrade to replace the horrible one upon which she began playing. I know that when it became apparent that she was such an excellent musician they would have scrimped and saved until they managed to purchase an instrument that would see her through high school
and college adequately. These facts lead me to suspect that this clarinet might not be terribly near the lowest end of Leblanc instruments, either. (As a matter of fact, it not only saw my mother through college, it served
me well from fourth grade through my college days with a beautiful tone, although with some temperamental tuning issues.) Have you any knowledge of this particular model, or might you know where I could look for more information?
Secondly, I hesitate to start my daughter on this instrument because of its sentimental value, it’s possible monetary value, and the fact that I don’t know whether it might be becoming more fragile as time goes by. Would it be better to start her on a cheaper instrument and then “graduate” her to the Leblanc when she is ready for an improvement? Or is this Leblanc simply not that big a deal? I don’t want to be selfish, especially since my own mother sent the nine-year-old klutz that I was forth on a school bus with this clarinet, which was precious to her. She must have shuddered through the various band trips and wondered whether the poor thing would make it through intact (it did, except for the
mouthpiece, which I broke and replaced in the early 1980s with a Selmer
B*). I do feel that I owe my daughter the same opportunity to use this instrument that I was given.
Any information or recommendations you might have regarding my situation would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for you informative note. The Dynamic was one of Leblancs better clarinets, certainly worth a professionals performance. It is called a big bore instrument, which doesn’t mean much, but to reiterate it is a very good horn. Naturally its worth now depends almost completely upon its condition.
What I would do would be to have the clarinet completely overhauled and keep it for your self or for your daughter if in fact she really goes on with the clarinet.
At her age, she doesn’t need a really good instrument in the sense of a so-called professional instrument, but a good resin or hard rubber
instrument could be ideal for her. Look into Ridenour Clarinet Products for some excellent and inexpensive instruments which would be very good for her.
sincerely, Sherman Friedland