Dear Mr. Friedland,
I have started to play clarinet again at the age of 53 after a lapse of many years. I played seriously in high school and college but have not played since then. The instrument I have been playing is a Leblanc Dynamic H. I bought this clarinet in college but did not play it much; I played a Buffet that I no longer own. Now, I find the Leblanc nearly impossible to play in tune. Certainly I fault the player and not the instrument. But given that I am woefully out of practice, is the Dynamic H more difficult than other instruments to play in tune? Would it make more sense to buy another instrument, at least until I have regained some proficiency?
Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. I have very much enjoyed reading your advice to other players.
I think there are several things to consider in thinking through your problems in playing your Leblanc Dynamic H in tune.
The first would be the conditions of storage. Depending upon how the instrument was stored it could have been disfigured as afr as the bore dimensions are concerned. If so, then it could be the fault of the clarinet. However this can be repaired with proper immersion in organic bore oil and a good technician. In any event it probably does not indicate the purchase of a new clarinet. The Leblanc Dynamic H is basically a good instrument, however 20 or so years on the shelf cold have had its toll on the instrument. It would also be difficult to play, and I think quite stuffy.
My recommendation is consistant practice every day, Use a softer less resistant reed than you used in the past. Give it some time. Do not practice anything either difficult in the high register. Make sure you include tong tones in your “renaissance”. If conditions begin to improve, it was indeed your long vacation from pahying the instrument and the attendant demise of your embouchure to blame.
Hopefully this was the case.
Good luck, Sherman