Choosing a second clarinet

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I am interested in acquiring a second clarinet to keep at a weekend home so that I may avoid carrying my instrument back and forth.

For background, I am an enthusiastic amateur clarinetist, and have played as an avocation for decades. I have a busy career with lots of travel so I take a lesson only about once a month and don’t practice as much as I’d like to, but I love playing intensely and it is central to my life. I play mostly jazz but also have some classical training. I play a Selmer 10S, circa 1980, with a Vandoren M30 mouthpiece and 3.5 reeds.

Both my jazz and classical teachers have recommend that I buy an Buffet R13 because of their success with the instrument, but they are not dogmatic. I admit to being curious as I have never really tried other instruments. I like my horn, but I have no basis of comparison. It’s all I’ve ever played and I’m used to it.

My question is: should I acquire the same type of instrument I play now or try something different? Further, I worry that if I like the second instrument better, I won’t want to play my original clarinet. Maybe I need psychiatric advice more than music advice!

Can you offer any guidance?



Dear JAC:
sure, I can offer guidance, because I have had the same problem, though exponentially. I too own a Selmer 10S, which is a quite wonderful instrument, which I bought “almost new”, found it to be excellent, playing it for a couple of years on a similar setup. though the mouthpiee at the time was a Van Doren M13, which I liked very much.When I changed mouthpieces, (another terminal desease),i I played every reed known to man, and some unknown, but probably always played or sounded similar,the sound, everything you do, is in your head, placed there for some reason unbeknownst to many or any. (Anyway, other mouthpiece played the mid-clarion a bit flat) But, I have done this same exercise more times than I can remember, always looking for something beyond the rainbow, usually tuning, or timbre. If you want to buy a second instrument that will always be different from your 10S, and I know you will never be confused, buy a Ridenour Ebonite instrument, the Lyrique, which is better in tune than almost anything , more even than anything, and will stand up to changing conditions better than any, and comparably speaking, is highly affordable, perfect for your weekend home, and because it is hard rubber, it needs much less maintenance than your S elmer. I would advise against an r13, because without a technician to choose it and fix whatever needs to be fixed, you have an accident waiting to happen. Yes, upon second thought, the ebonite lyrique will be a very good choice. (Psychiatric advice is advised prior to starting the clarinet)
Good luck with all.
stay well, sincerely,


One Response to Choosing a second clarinet

  1. Hi,
    I found your original post about the Lyons C clarinet when I was looking to buy their new version a few months ago. I saw your updated article just now also. Thanks for writing about it as there is not alot of information on it. I am quite happy with my Clarineo but as I am teaching myself from the beginning, I wonder about mouthpieces. I use good quality reeds with it but wonder if an upgrade in mouthpiece will improve the sound. Do you have any recommendations for which mouthpiece will work well with it. I have heard good things about the Vandoren 5RV mouthpiece and people say the Yamaha 4C is decent. Which do you think would work better on it? If there are other brands of Eb mouthpieces you recommend please advise.

    Take Care
    NP (Japan)

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