Dear Sherman ,
I’m David from Florence , Italy .
I’m 37 years old and I play clarinet since only two years .
I have a Buffet B12 , a Vandoren B45 Mouthpiece and I usually play with 2 1/2 reeds .
I’m a lover of Klezmer Music ( especially Giora Feidman ) and since a few months I began to
“experiment” with this kind of music .
I’m thinking on buying new stuff , but I’m a bit confused …
Which kind of mouthpiece / reed do you think should I use for klezmer ?
I know Feidman plays with the Pomarico equivalent of the M13 and a 1 reed , but probably he can play with any kind of stuff …
My teacher told me that maybe it’s time to buy a better clarinet …
On ebay I found various Leblanc L7 , Selmer CT ( which I think are among your favorites )
for a very reasonable price ( around 400 / 500 € ) , but the local repairman told me
that they are usually not much in tune , and maybe a Buffet
would be better ( E11 are sold on ebay for almost the same amount , 350/400 € , a wooden Yamaha around 300 ) , and
that it’s not a good idea to buy a clarinet without trying it first ( which makes sense to me … )
For the mouthpieces … Pomarico ( crystal or ebony ) as they are made here in
Italy , are not much more expensive than imported ebonite ones ( 100€ vs 80€ ) .
Could they be an alternative ?
Hope I made few mistakes with my english 🙂
Thanks for your time and your great blog
Thank you very much for your letter concerned with equipment, especially that which would favor playing Klezmer Music.
First, I would suggest that you emulate Giora Feidman, who himself is a great classical clarinetist, having played in the Israel Philharmonic. But , while Pomerico mouthpieces are made in Italy, they are quite dissimilar, one from the other, so if you have a teacher, it would be a good idea to have him pick the mouthpiece for you. But keep in mind that the M13 is an excellent mouthpiece and that they are much more consistent than are Pomarico these days, probably less expensive as well. M13 is the Van Doren representation of the Chedeville mouthpiece.
I feel that both the Leblanc L7 and the Selmer CT are much better in tune than is any Buffet, except if you buy a clarinet picked at the factory in Paris and by a professional player. They have less quality control than do Selmer or Leblanc. I have found Leblanc to be an extremely well built instrument and consistently in tune, (those made in France, not the US). Yamaha is also better tuned than is Buffet. I would suggest being extremely careful in buying any E11, B12, or actually any Buffet, especially through Ebay. Again, I would suggest that your teacher help you choose. If he or she is a player, they frequently have access to used instruments and in that way, perhaps you will be guided and be able to try the instrument you are buying. I would further suggest that you do not buy any clarinet from an auction.
Finally, I would strongly suggest that the music you make and/or admire starts first in your head and then your technic and embouchure.
You will play what your head and all you have learned in any style you choose. There are really no instruments, reeds or mouthpieces that are better for Klezmer, Jazz, Classical.
Good luck n your clarinet playing and in your search for equipment. In cane reeds, I prefer Zonda, in synthetic, Forestone, if you get them in Italy. They are probably terribly expensive, so stick to cane, that from South America being very good these days.
Stay well, Sherman