Dear Mr. Friedland,
I purchased a Lyrique (the custom model hand prepared by Tom) about 8 months ago and have been very pleased with it – although I certainly agree with your opinion of its adjustable thumb rest. I am an adult learner and have been playing the clarinet now for about 2 years. I have recently discovered that the F# above the staff is quite flat and I think I recall you having posted a similar observation about your Lyrique. Do I remember correctly and were you able to have this corrected? I had my teacher check the tuning to make sure that it wasn’t just my technique and she agreed that the F# is anomalously flat (the associated side-key G is even worse). I’m wondering if I should send it off for adjustment or if I should just live with it. I am using a Vandoren M30 mp with #3.5 Rico Grand Concert or #4 Rue Lepic –
Thank you for your page and for any suggestions you may have to offer.
Thank you for you note about that note on the Lyrique. And of curse, you are 100% correct. I think that your clarinet is still under warranty, though I am not sure, but in any event, there is postage to be considered and the time lost. And perhaps I can give you several alternate ways of playing that high F#.
The first is first on my list because it’s only an overblown side Bb, perhaps the easiest of the alternates; it is very simple to get to the upper harmonic which should give you a good and quite easy high F#, and in tune. I use it all the time. Then , there is perhaps a better fingering from the standpoint of timbre and that one is achieved by all of the fingers down save the third finger of the left hand, and the right hand Eb/Ab open as well, which is simpler to do than to read . Either of these will serve you well, the ordinary high F# fingering being slightly thin, though It’s perfectly OK for a quick move or a trill.
But the altissima high F# on the Lyrique is flat ,no question about it. I think if Tom hears enough about it, the next batch may be fixed, along with the thumb rest, which needs to be a millimeter or two lower, wider, thinner and more curved to the shape of the thumb.
But ,to conclude, the Lyrique still plays better in tune and timbre than any other. You know, in “Petrouchka”, when the bear appears on stage, the two clarinets play up to that high F# in unison , and although it’s preceded by 32nds , it can be done with either of the fingerings mentioned above.