I have never played the clarinet with an adjustable thumb rest until very recently when I purchased an Arioso Clarinet, then a Lyrique.These instruments, as is well known are made of hard rubber.Ebonite has a sweeter less strident response than does wood, any wood. I have found that the material and the excellent intonation and even quality of sound engineered by Tom Ridenour are among the best clarinets I have played. Actually they are a beautiful sounding clarinet, fun to play, and just about ideal.
They are outfitted with an adjustable thumb rest. Defining adjustable means a thumb rest that is placed at exactly the place of the ordinary thumb rest. That is to say, parallel with the key-cup of the B/F#, or perhaps very slightly below. At this very point it sould be at its midpoint of its adjustable mechanism, meaning it can be raised or lowered from the placement of the ordinary thumb rest. Then we would have an actual adjustable thumb rest. The thumb rest on both my Arioso and Lyrique clarinets are identical. One must lower the adjustment in order to get the thing close to the ordinary position. If not, the index and second finger will brush past the keys of the clarinet. Before you criticize the writer, remember that I have ordinary or short fingers and that I have been a successful clarinetist for more than 60 years. I have tried thousands of clarinets, both as a teacher, and as a clinician for the Selmer Company. The thumb rest of both the Lyrique and the Arioso are too high and cannot be lowered, and, they are placed in such a way as to have ones middle finger brush against the fork F# key when passing it. It is a small amount but, since I moved mine, it is much better.
Finally, I have come upon a correct adjustable thumb rest, one that is adjusted at the midpoint and able to be moved either up or down, a simple beautifullly designed adjustable thumb rest.
I have been through really agonizing difficulty with the Arioso and Lyrique thumb rests and I have sent both clarinets back to Mr. Ridenour, however he is loathe to fix or replace them. This is similar to his refusal to change that inane and insane thermonuclear register key, which does nothing but get in the way. I have stopped playing my Lyrique because I have others that play better and are more comfortable for my fingers.
I still love the clarinet , play it each and every day, still play new music and am thoroughly annoyed with supposed “down-home” kind of people disguising real intellects refusing to accept anything against their original idea.
Best wishes, keep practicing.
The thumb rest is usually located perhaps a millimeter or two below the key which is part of the f#/b, sometimes called the fork fingering. But, the thumb rest is supposed to be adjustable from this mid-position either up or down. On the Lyrique clarinet, it must be lowered as far down as possible in order to accomodate my thumb position and it is still barely low enough. This thumb rest is also too narrow and is a badly shaped thing,too big and held down by three screws. Frankly , I have great fingers and have played for more than 60 years and I cannot get comfortable with this brutish contrivance. I have asked Tom to move it or change it, but I find him unwilling to change or move it, and finally have given up. I was fed up with the horn because of discomfort until I came across a properly constructed adjustable thumb rest, beautifully engineered, perfectly contoured and located so that it can be either raised or lowered.
How many of you out there with these adjustable thumb rests find them convenient? Frankly I wonder about the idea of them in the first place. My question is simply why? So many wonderful players never had an adjustable thumb rest. Is this thing some kind of gimmick as are so many others now being made for clarinetists? I wonder. S
A note from Tom Ridenour
This is an issue we need to discuss and I’m in the process of doing it. It may take a while but it will be done..