More on Hard Rubber, the Ebonite response

One would expect that some definition be given for terms used concerning materials used for clarinets, specifically the Arioso and the Lyrique.  and others made of hard rubber and the response is what is different, not the quality of the sound itself, which is indiscernible from wood.(based upon my “blindfold” tests and recordings I have made.) However response is frequently presented as “the sound”. The response differs. The horn is slightly less resistant to blow and the sound is rounder in terms of even quality of the basic scale or up into the second or third octave, no question.

You will not get a wooden response, or let us say, a grenadilla response from a hard rubber clarinet. But like myself, I suggest you try the horn for a few days or weeks. What you will get is a sweeter quality, and slightly less loud,per say.What I “felt” response-wize was thin and slightly strident in the grenadilla instrument initially, and so back I went to the Lyrique and let me say, it is better as far as the response as well as  intonation. The keywork is however substandard , and  not overly finished. However it is not soft, nor is it bendable, no more than that of a French wooden horn, but it is not finished as well, let that be clear.

No, I have not played the loud place in the first movement of the Brahms 2nd, (you know, the one answered by the second clarinet) with a hard rubber horn,  But I would given the opportunity, as well as anything else on the stand.

As far as the Arioso is concerned,  they were not as a rule, set up by the many were advertised a few years ago by many music stores under the Arioso name.This I imagine was when the company,  was changing hands.

The Arioso I bought was terrific, though with the above caveats. Ridenour  fixed some of  these problems.I bought and tried at least 10 or 15 Allora clarinets from 123 and/or WWBW, and frankly I found them to be astoundingly good. I finally bought an Allora A which I still use along with my Lyrique B.  

Again ,”now” anything called Arioso or Allora would be from a different company and perhaps unreliable as far as the kind of scale for which the designer is famous.

But again and finally, it is the response which is different in hard rubber, not the sound. I have found it never to get thin or strident, and the reaction to the tongue is equal. If asked I would say that this is a rounder more even sound than any wooden instrument I have played. I did have a set of Opus (perhaps they should be called Opera),  which were in fact designed by Mr. Ridenour, which were superior to finish and from he standpoint of intonation. The highest standard of any clarinet.

Keep practicing.



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