Which responds best: To you,your ear,the pitch?

Dear Mr. Friedland

Hi I enjoy reading your column which has  very ineresting articles. You seem to have played many different brands of clarinet in your career. Which one do you like the most? I used to play Boosey and Hawkes Emperors and then 30 years ago I purchased a pair of Leblanc LL’s. They are much better quality than the Emperors and a slightly amaller bore. 14.8 as opposed to 14.9 I think. My co orchestral clarinettist has bought a new Buffet A and the barrel is always pulled out to tune it. I have never needed to do that.
Best wishes

Hello Ian:
Yes, I have played many different clarinets. I have been most impressed with some of the Selmer Paris clarinets,and am playing currently on a Selmer 10S, which I think is one of the better I have played, especially for intonation, and excellent response. It happens to be my clarinet for comparison and as such, serves an excellent purpose. When selecting,one has to have something with which to compare; usually what you are familiar with, which is in tune, and has the timbre  which you enjoy.
The only clarinet which is easily as good is my Leblanc 1176, which is also called the “LL” (for Leon Leblanc). What Leblanc has, which Selmer has to an extent , is a more compact response, a smaller layout for ones fingers and an astoundingly good intonation.
I say this frequently, but it bears repeating: The Leblanc Clarinet has been reviled in the US in the last 30 years or so, mostly because of a non-musician, or clarinetist being in charge of the operation in Wisconsin who routinely had Leblanc clarinets imported to the US rebored to make “a bigger sound”, ruining intonation, at least in some registers. Then they hired a new person to be in charge of the clarinet part at Kenosha, Tom Ridenour. He began redesigning Leblanc clarinets and produced the Opus and the Concerto,(and the Sonata, Rhapsody), the best clarinets available on the market presently, escept for his own clarinet, the Lyrique, which is the best horn for tuning . It is made of hard rubber.
You you have an excellent set of clarinets in the LLs. Superb. The Opus is a bit better, but still the LL is great. I have a beautiful Bb, with little wear that I have had redone. I can’t tell the difference. It’s a peerless horn. The clarinet people are beginning to realize that now. Have your partner switch to either Lyrique or Leblanc of some kind. The tuning is infintely better than what he is playing currently.
Make nice music.

stay well.


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