The Orpheo 450, economical package

For clarinetists, parents, their children : This is a free blowing , good playing clarinet that comes with two barrels, a mouthpiece, a ligature and a reed, in a good strong case. It is made of hard rubber and it is built well. The tuning is sufficient for any kind of playing within reason.  It plays and tunes better than the Greenline and many others. It does not tune as well as the Ridenours Lyrique ;that intonation is the best in the industry.

Last , but important for many is the price I paid: 135.00 US, no shipping charges. All things considered, for the money, it is the bargain of bargains. For students, doublers, guys who play outside, military bandsmen, etc, this is a terrific horn.

This article was written during the past winter. The price now seems to have risen to 159.00.(April 2010)

For the past several months I had been hearing about this name, specifically with regard to a bass clarinet going to low C for a price around $1500, which is, as all know, an extraordinarily low price. I did receive a note from an acquaintance concerning this instrument, and that he was going to buy one. I’ve never heard since except that he had found a use for it in some ensemble. As time as gone by, I have been hearing about more clarinets of this name.What attracted me initially was the statement in their ad that it has silver plated keys, which is impossible. I wrote them concerning the combination of rubber and silver producing sulphuric acid and they have now made their ad “under construction”.

Finally, I ordered one and received it this week.
This clarinet is made of hard rubber, comes with two barrels of different lengths.(The longer barrel produces a low throat Bb,.) mouthpiece, a ligature, a tube of cork grease and a reed.
It looks similar to my Ridenour Lyrique Bb clarinets.

Reading about it, there is a striking resemblance to the kind of thing which is written describing the seamlessness of the Ridenour clarinet, it imperviousness to climate change and of course, the fact that the material doesn’t grow from trees, it oozes from them.
The package I receives looked good, perhaps even very good. In some ways, there is a similarity with the Lyrique. But clarinets all look alike, don’t they.

The only thing in common is the material, ebonite, (hard rubber) and the similarity in shape and look. It plays easily and evenly.
The the chalumeau is  well in tune. The clarion is somewhat uneven and the altissima, starting with high C begins to sound rather sharp in varying degrees. This was all tested with three excellent mouthpieces, and an electronic tuner.
I have and play the original, the Ridenour Lyrique, and also his A clarinet. Ridenours are the best instruments for intonation in the industry.

The horn looks good, the keys work and she blows well , however compared to Tom Ridenours Lyrique clarinet and in fact, the 447, and the Arioso, the Orpheo 450, it is not as good. Finally, the clarinet is listed at about the same as the Lyrique; the comparison ends there , but not a bad instrument at all, and they offer a good year or two guaranty.

I paid 135.00. That’s free, comparatively.

Stay well, and keep practicing,



2 Responses to The Orpheo 450, economical package

  1. lwd7237 says:

    Dear Mr. Friedland,

    I would like to comment on the tuning of the Lyrique. First, let me start off by saying that I purchased a B-flat from Tom about a year ago. The humid Midwest summers play havoc on my wood clarinets, so I was looking for a professional ebonite instrument. Really, the only two reputable choices are Ridenour and Hanson; Hanson never responded to my queries so I went with the Ridenour by default.

    The Lyrique is, indeed, acoustically a very good clarinet. It is very even in intonation, particularly in the clarion register, as everybody knows. There are some trade-offs, of course, particularly in the throat B-flat and the E below it. The E is particularly flat, but 12th is perfectly in tune. I talked with Tom about adjusting the E and he convinced me to leave it as is, and I’ve gotten used to venting with the side keys on longer notes. The Lyrique was my primary instrument for awhile.

    At this point I would like to note that my choice of mouthpiece made a big difference. Tuning was all over the place with my B45s and my Gennusa. I ended up using the Ridenour mouthpiece, with my M13 as a backup.

    Six months ago, I selected a Yamaha CSG custom series, their new line that is based on German design. Wow! Quite remarkably, it tunes even better than the Lyrique. It makes many of the same trade-offs in favor of proper resistance and integrity of the clarion register, including the B-flat and E. Since I was used to dealing with these, all the better. But sitting down with graph paper and a tuner, the entire clarion register was ABSOLUTELY even! The chalumeau and altissimo registers were very comparable to the Lyrique. I repeated this over a few evenings with the same results.

    I should point out that I tried another CSG at the same time, and I included it in this exercise, as well. This instrument didn’t have the same tonal depth or flexibility, and it didn’t tune quite as well as the one I kept. Overall, still a very good instrument, but it didn’t blow me away. So for consistency, the point goes to the Lyrique. Unfortunately, I was not able to try out more than two of the Yamahas.

    Anyway, to make a long story short (too late!), I think the Yamaha CSG might be the best-tuning clarinet on the market, with the Ridenour being a very close second. But I will say that given the potential for inconsistency from any wood instrument to the next, and that the price of the Yamaha is, while quite reasonable, over twice as much as the Lyrique, the Lyrique is both the safer bet and the better value.

    If you have or have had the opportunity to try the CSG, I would be interested to get your opinion on them.

    Lance Durham

  2. I have not the opportunity to play a Yamaha for quite a few years, however for a while, I playd nothing but. I liked the following Ymahas very much: 62,64, 72, 82, which were as late as I played them. Their numbers have all changed now, but these clarinet were exceptionally well tuned . They had an altissimo which was excellent, without the flat high E and F, and the c was beautifully in tune. The low register was also excellent without the flat low E and the sharp throat. At that time I was playing enough so that my tuning was achievd in rehearsals and I remember having a very pleasant experience with this line of instruments. They had as I remember, a bit less resistance than did the Buffets or Selmers that I had been playing, I can’t believe that there have been that many innovations since. I’ve noticed that Yamaha is always changing numbers and series. Stay well. SF

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