A Pair of (Ridenour)Clarinets

Of the many many clarinets designed by Tom Ridenour, I bought and tried most because they were amazingly consistent, and I must add, they were easy to acquire. At the time of most of my purchases, I had only recently heard of the avaiability of a hard rubber clarinet, and, WWBW were almost giving them away for under 6 hundred dollars, as I remember. I simply could not get over how very well in tune they were ,compared to any other clarinet I had ever tried. The idea of using a clarinet to which the barrel wouldn’t fuse to the first joint after a couple of hours, and the basic stability of the instrument was startling. They all came with a couple of barrels in a strong case, and they were called Allora, but unquestionably, they were Ridenour clarinets, and there were few criticisms.They were the Ridenour clarinet. I used to take them to reherasals of chamber music as they blended and tuned as well or better than anything I had played. The altissimo F# was flat or “all over the place”, but everything else was fine. The low e was not flat, the throat in tune and the Bb in the throat just wasn’t a problem, and that was with each clarinet. Finally I purchased a Lyrique, which was perfect, but the clarinet that I still have and played the best is the Allora A clarinet, purchased for even lkess. He had told me that he prefers his C, and then his A, but this A is very fine, and it is again an Allora. In any event, the clarinet (s) are still available and are an excellent instrument. My only criticism is of the material itself, as it does not carry as well as does wood. Please, take that to the bank. It is beautiful and sounds great , but in a large ensemble, as the only clarinet, I would choose wood. Which is why I was so terribly pleased with the new Lyrigue G1, I think it is called. It plays closest to one of the finest clarinets ever designed, the Opus, which Ridenour designed for the Leblanc Company. The Lyrique G1 is an Opus, in my opinion, and my A clarinet is even better. Iwould hope that he ddevelops and A Lyrique G1, or 2, or whatever, but A clarinet in wood designed by Ridenour has to be on everyones list. Most of the readers are probably not going to play in the New York or Berlin Philharmonic, so needm’t worry about projection. If you are a director of a band, get your whole clarinet section on Lyrique, either rubber or the wooden one, which is a better instrument, as was my Opus, of wich I owned a pair. They will be discussed in the last of these articles, a pair of (Leblanc) clarinets. Ridenour deserves an award for his designing gifts and for the consistency of his hard rubber instruments.My only criticism outside of the altissimo F#, are the thumbrest on the hard rubber instruments, which is placed badly, so that your fingers will brush past the fork F# key. It is also too narrow, and finally, happens to be heavy, though too narrow for my thumb. It also doesn’t really adjust as far as it should. One should be able to have the rest adjust at the medium position for your normal playing position, and it must be truily adjustable up or down. The Ridenour doesn’t adjust that much. Also that Stars Wars register key is simply an imnvitation to a very weird dance for your fingers, at least mine. Still, a great horn.
Keep practicing . Stay well, sherman


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