Clarinets, Legends in the making.

Dear Mr Friedland:
My colleague in the orchestra in which we play has a leblanc ll Bb
which plays nicely in tune however he has bought a buffet e13 a to go with it and the barrel is always pulled out when he plays it.He uses a vandoren B45 mouthpiece on both.To my mind the buffet is sharp which is bad as he paid quite alot of money for it
I have bought a backup Chinese hard rubber clarinet for $130 which plays like a dream. It is well made and has silver plated keys and actually feels like a buffet. Above all it plays in tune, not bad as it came from ebay
i.

Dear I:
Well, to begin with , you have your model numbers mixed . As far as i know, there is no Buffet E13 clarinet. There is the R13, but there is only an E11 clarinet. Both of those would be quite expensive, and I’m hoping that the clarinet your stand partner purchased in an E11, is much less costly.. Look, this is not a matter of opinion; these clarinets can be quite good, but they need a real retuning by a technician, who can hear and who can act on his ear, which is unfortunately , not the case in many instances. What happens is the purchaser has to have a “Buffet” , a buzzword for something which at some point in sales history was a reasonably good instrument, some even better. I’ve had good Buffet clarinets and have had good results, but these instruments were always “picked” from a group of horns, picked as the best, never just ordinarily purchased horns.
So, your partner who bought an expensive Buffet, which is not tuning well is just the average story, more and more these days.
Yes, and I know you bought a Chinese clarinet which most probably plays better and tunes much better, but it does NOT have silver plated keys, which cannot be put on a rubber instrument, (bad chemical reaction) So, don’t believe the “silver played keys” story;

The tuning is another story. Lots of them play  nicely, and very well in tune. Things begin to go a bit astray in the second and third registers, but basically they are  in tune. I bought one, actually I have accumulated 3 of them and they are all quite reasonable. I have reviewed two of them within this website. The superb Lyrique, with the best tuning in the industry and the Orpheo 450, which is the “Best Buy”.
All Van Doren mouthpieces have a slight tendency to play sharp, especially the B45, their best seller. That is a playable super ordinary mouthpiece.
To conclude this entry, please tell me “what does a Buffet feel like”? Perhaps no response is necessary. But in truth, there are now many instruments of all prices which can be played in tune and sound well.
Personally, I have been a player and performer of Selmer Clarinets for may years, and indeed was a clinician for them. They had a wonderful reputation and a great deal of integrity both as a family and a company.
While Leblanc always made a fine instrument, they were not properly managed in the US in the 50s and 60s.
When Tom Ridenour became chief designer that changed, as he was the designer of the Opus and number of their top line instruments, which are still playing beautifully. They were standard setters.
Later, after leaving Leblanc, he designed the hard rubber instrument, now called Lyrique which is gainng so much attention for its excellence.
I have and play a set of his Lyrique Clarinets now, and am quite pleased and enthusiastic.
You mention ebay in a way that is disparaging. This is not necessarily the case. One must always remember in any auction,….Caveat Emptor….., which means buyer beware, even further, be wary and look carefully .
Keep practicing,
as ever, sherman

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2 Responses to Clarinets, Legends in the making.

  1. danop says:

    Many years ago, I helped a friend pick out a Buffet
    E-13. It was (and possibly still is) considered to be an advanced model, a step above the E-11, but not quite at the level of an R-13.

    For a long time, this instrument disappeared from the Buffet U.S. lineup. It was still manufactured and sold in other countries, but for some reason, Buffet did not sell it in the U.S. I know of one U.S. music store that did continue to sell them, but I’m not sure how they obtained them and I’m not sure if Buffet approved. About a year ago I happened to meet a salesperson from Buffet. I asked about the E-13, and he confirmed that it was still being made but not sold in the U.S. I asked why it wasn’t sold here, and he wasn’t able to give me a reason.

    Someone told me that that Buffet recently discontinued the E-13, but I’m not sure if this is true. From what I know, they do make some instruments in the “advanced” range, designed for the market between the E-11 and the R-13, but I’m not sure that they’re widely marketed in the U.S.

  2. thanks so much for this information. I learn each day.
    sf

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