Hello Mr Friedland,
I am an amateur clarinetist with a particular interest in Jazz. I have recently reignited my passion for this instrument and I must say that I find your website extremely informative.
You were once my examiner when I was a high school student at Pierre-Laporte 15 years ago, I was under the supervision of Marek Sowinsky. Your assessment of my performance which I still have somewhere was extremely encouraging to say the least. One thing I remember was your particular interest in my tone which led you to inspect my clarinet, a Yamaha 352, an intermediate level made for the japanese market.
After many years of service this clarinet has provided me, I am thinking it may be time to upgrade to a pro clarinet for a refreshing change. A recent modification was switching to a 5JB mouthpiece with an eddie daniels ligature, and my! what a considerable improvement. Easier glissandos, vibratos, greater projection etc.. But I was really curious to see how much of an improvement I would feel with a pro level instrument, so I went to Twiggs recently and tried out 4 different models
1)YCL-650, nice sound, well made, some resistance, very close to what I am currently play.
2) R-13, nice feel and smoother on the higher register, but some notes had iffy tuning.
3) R-13 vintage, much sweeter sounding and cleaner on the higher register than the regular R-13.
4) Tosca, nice sound but I find it better suited for classical music.
I liked the R13 vintage the most out of the four, but the asking price was 4000$ which strikes me as ridiculous.
My question is what else would you recommend I try. I find the Buffets overpriced, would custom yamahas be worth looking into? maybe leblanc or selmer? are there any used models you would suggest?
Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you
It has ben many years since that adjudication at Pierre Laporte High school. Thank you for writing to me and for your questions about purchasing a new or newer clarinet.
I too feel that many of the newer instruments are priced “ridiculous” as you say.
There is one clarinet that I can recommend to you that will have the best tuning and the most even scale of any that I have ever played. This is the Lyrique Clarinet, which has been designed by Tom Ridenour, who is in Duncanville, Texas. He is the designer who designed the clarinet upon which Eddie Daniels plays, as well as Larry Combs.You can find his website in your browser. He has a system wherein you can try one of his clarinets, and he will give you a real service policy.
Either write to him or call him. I feel that his instrument is the best value and the best sounding clarinet out there right now. It is made of hard rubber, which will not be popular in Montreal because it is not sold or played in the OSM, however it is truly a great clarinet. I have a pair myself.
If you choose among the others you mention, the Yamaha 650 is the best .
Good luck with your clarinet.