Dear Mr. Friedland,
Hi, my name is T. and I’ve been playing clarinet for four years. I recently got a new Buffet R13 Prestige and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for me because I’ve been reading about the infamous plastic dowels, intonation problems, and cork versus fish pads. I haven’t played it much and I was also wondering what your technique is for breaking in a new wood clarinet (I live in central Missouri if that’s of any help). I would really appreciate your suggestions and possible answers.
Well, like most wooden clarinets Buffet is inconsistent and frequently players have to choose several and then buy the best of those. The key plating does flake off, I’m told. The plastic dowels are truly an accident waiting to happen. However my biggest problem with this instrument is that the price is really criminally high.
But, you’ve already purchased the instrument, and I do hope you have very good luck with it.
If you live in a cold climate keep your clarinet out of extreme cold,and never put it in the trunk of your car. When you begin to play, open the case first and allow the clarinet to get used to the ambient temperature and breathe into the horn without sound for a few moments. As far as the dowels ae concerned I have had students who broke them and then you are simply in “tiger country” for they are difficult and time consuming to repair.
More than anything though is the price and the unfortunate tuning on some and the uneven quality of tone of the instrument.
An excellent repair craftsman once told me not to play a new horn too much, but he never told me how much. I think that he meant not to just play the clarinet all day long with no stops whatsoever, which is the way I would frequently try a new instrument. It is really not like a car, and that “gradually getting faster” in a car is frequently a matter of disagreement Always make sure you have taken as much of the condensation and moisture from the clarinet before putting it away.
Perhaps it is best to avoid the “extreme” in playing a new clarinet.
Good luck with your clarinet and your music.
sinceely, Sherman Friedland