“This thumb rest really hurts”

Hello Sherman,
Please help me ! this thing really hurts !
my name is Sylvain and as you will understand I want to replace my Lyrique thumbrest. Also, permit me to ask you how did you do the change, doing another hole or maybe no ; and what is the new one type, please ?
Tanks for your valuous writings and your attention.
Would you excuse my poor english.
Greetings.Sylvain.

Dear Sylvain: (your english is better than my french)
I am well aware of your problem. However, I wish to preface my reply with the fact that the Lyrique is simply a beautifully in tune instrument at a very reasonable price, and it will not crack, will remain more stable in pitch and adjustment than virtually any other clarinet. It is made from hard rubber, as you know, and this material has certain features which make it very attractive: intervals generally are less problematic, especially on the A clarinet; The material has a different response than does grenadilla wood, generally considered to be darker, and one further quality. It is a more dulcet quality and in general, it is my feeling that the horn will not carry quite as well as does grenadilla.

I have owned the Ridenour instruments for several years and have had the time to try many. I own a set of them now and several other ebonite clarinets.

I no longer play the Bb, mostly because of the very narrow, though heavy, and poorly placed thumb rest. It is placed incorrectly, too far to the right and slightly too high. What I did to my thumbrest was to remove it, which is fairly easy to do and move it down and to the left, perhaps 2 or 3mm. I found that with the change my fingers did not bump into one another when playing the fork F#. I use general and approximate terminology because it may be slightly different for you, and for others, but only a bit. I can tell you that after playing professionally for more than a half century , the above it true. It is an ungainly placed and made thumb rest. Because I like the instrument, I worked to get comfortable with the thumb, but never really achieved the comfort that I have on every other clarinet I own, or have owned.

I have mentioned this many times to Mr Ridenour, and sent him the horn, but he always works his way around changing it, and he gives me the strong feeling that it is proper as it is. It is not.

Another solution would be simply to remove it and get an ordinary thumb rest and have it installed, or do it yourself. You will find it instantly corrected.I find it to be a big problem, and changing your hand position for a poorly designed and placed piece of equipment is simply incorrect, even if the basic horn plays very well indeed.

I hope this helps you, and I might add, I hope that this thumb rest will be changed on future models.It should be widened and made to the shape of the thumb, and its adjustment should be made to truly adjust, which it does not at present. It is too high, and therefore it needs to be adjustable, so that one can go in either direction. This thumbrest does not . The mid-point should be where the norm is for most players, and it should adjust from that midpoint, as should  every adjustable thumbrest.

Best wishes,

sherman

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4 Responses to “This thumb rest really hurts”

  1. dhinton says:

    I’ve had problems with conventional thumbrests on every clarinet I’ve ever played, and always end up moving the rest up about 1 to 1.5 inches. My goal is to have my thumb directly in line with my first finger, and this seems to work for my hand. Lately, I’ve developed an arthritic bump on my first knuckle and this has caused so much pain that I’ve switched to a Kooiman thumb rest. I first tried the plastic model which was quite good, but after 6 months or so I ordered the (expensive) metal one and found it very good indeed. I’ve been playing it for about 2 years now and am very pleased!

  2. Hello:
    The Kooiman thumb rest transfers the weight of the clarinet to a much stronger part of the thumb, and as is mentioned, it does a very good job. The lower priced one is easily installed. (And, it is only about 30 dollars, but requires familiarization, which is not difficult.)

    • mmagnini says:

      I also have a Ridenour – actually 2, an “A” and a Bb (and will be ordering a “C” soon). I love the horn, but find the keys uncomfortable to play, so I usually play my Yamaha Bb, fitted with the expensive Kooiman which I like very much. For some reason, I find the “A” to be less of a problem, key wise. I LOVE the Lyrique horns – their scale, sound, everything – I just wish the keywork was a little sturdier and more comfortable. I would gladly pay more for the instrument to get better feeling keys!

  3. For some , this then is the problem with the Lyrique clarinet, and the problem will remain til such time as another several hundred are ordered, with a different setup for the keys, actually, more like the Orpheo 450, a much more comfortable clarinet upon which to play, but without the tuning and even quality of the Lyrique. It is not a question of either /or, but these chinese instruments must be specifically designated, then ordered en masse. It would be impossible to change the design in the middle of a run.This is what I think after listening to many opinions and playing many of the horns. Like you, I do not play my Lyrique, but prefer an earlier Yamaha.

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