fed up, exhausted , In rural New Zealand, and, a response

March 15, 2014

stalled out. I play old time jazz (favorite Albert Nicholas) and hassidic/klezmer wedding music (fantasize Dave Tarras, “the Jewish Benny Goodman”) on an unique antique Buffer C 2-ring Albert system, with Boehm style long keys. I’ve had it for 35+ years and love it. I am using a 15 year old Ralph Morgan C Clarinet mouthpiece, a new Van Doren ligature (replacing Eddie Daniels) and Legere 2-3/4 Signature reeds that could be past their prime. Plays best at about A=441.(response;comment. Ralph Nicholas seems to play more like Benny Goodman, and plays well, especially in the low register, where he emulates Goodmans use of triplets outlining chords(1900-1973)/ Listening to Dave Tarras is much more fascinating, since Tarras seems to be a clarinetist who needed work and drifted into Klezmer without too many chops for Clarinet, period. The clarinet played by Mr Mermin is interesting, but only in the sense of his love for it. The C clarinet muthpiece is nothing he needs and not neceesary to duplicate. It is the length and pitch of the horn, which can be played by any Bb clarinet mouthpiece, without much sacrifice. Nobody who plays C, plays a C mouthpiece. As far as a new mouthpiece for your clarinet, I cannot suggest any better maker than Richard Hawkins, of Oberlin College. Astonishingly consistent mouthpieces, very well made.

… So maybe this is time to revisit all of the pieces.(comment: how interesting that most of us come to this conclusion, which is usually overlooked because of an impending job or , “on second thought“, maybe not. But, in your case, you can certainly use a new horn, more contemporary, which would mean “better tuned”, and perhaps those long keys you talk about, have already mention Hawkins mouthpieces, and I repeats, a c clarinet mouthpiece is simply not needed. I play c clainet withmy regular Bb mouthpece, without any problem. Most do. And , do not cut the barrel short, which would mean a trip to tiger country, a dangerous place, probably, even more so in New Zealand.

The Van Doren metal ligature with it many twists and turn and plates, is too heavy for any clarinet. A virtual shtick drek, even in France, and it is too expensive, and it is too heavy, though you may like its looks. The Eddie Daniels ligature is a fabric version of the Van Doren, expensive, and gaudy with its gilt colors. I is virtually a copy of the Rovner, which, in its simplest form, is the best ligature for your instrument and your mouthpiece.

You ask if Legere reeds wear out. My problem is the opposite. They do neither. I have never found one that has been duplcated. Crazy for a synthetic reed, the best proberty of which should be its ability to play like the next. That, dear sir is what synthetic implies .hey cannot be duplicated,therefore they cannot be revived. Forestone comes much much closer.

The cost of any so-called synthetic reed is in itself punitive, therefore prohibitive the forestone reed plays for a long time, with no real change in the quality. It doesn’t matter what your age might be. 20 bucks or more for a synthetic reed is ridiculous. Of course, when you hear a fine players demonstrated on synthetic, it does sound well. But that player sound well all the time on cane or a bird or a plane.

The best new stick or clarinet for your is Ridenour, any of the variously available models./
. Very well made, inexpensive, and doesn’t break or crack, not even in NEW zealand.

beat of luck , always, sherman


Give me Libertas, or give me General Tao, if it’s on the lunch menu.”

March 4, 2014

Reading the latest news from the rubber world, we are told of the new Flagship Model of the Lyrique Clarinet, the Libertas, (with a bouncy rubber second syllable), and little else to distinguish it from the rest of the Chinese menu. Let’s see, pick one from column 1, and one from column 2, is what one is usually asked , and you get to choose either hot and sour or perhaps won-ton soup, a couple of rubbery egg rolls, and maybe some orange slices for dessert, oolong tea being an extra and served in a miniscule cup.
The whole thing will cost you but a fraction of the price of the French-fried version, if you don’t count the gaviscom. It is the best deal in the business and it has been since its inception.

Libertas was the Roman goddess of liberty, a personification of the political libertas that distinguished the free from the enslaved.

 There seem to be little or no difference between this new example of falling trill keys than the other falling trill keys. But, for a special feature, consider no serial number, which are placed only after careful matching has been facilitated. And the numbers are put on by hand, after scrupulous selection of matching hard rubbers. (Please, get serious)

Hard rubber, ebonite, happens to be a material famous for total consistency, if one believes the classy video , which is absolutely a true copy of the same description of the Allora, or the Lyrique, or any of the several different monickers these horns have been called. And it is quite common to call a clarinet a horn, perfectly proper, especially when speaking with others who play the same clarinet , or horn.

Without having one to try, one can say with total honesty, it has to be as close to any Lyrique clarinet as is possible.

The designer himself, told me that very little is changed to any clarinet from year to year, save maybe a piece of shiny metal, sloppily affixed to a chosen place on the first joint.

The hottest hood ornament for a clarinet actually came out with the Opus and Concerto models from Leblanc, an actually well-designed metal inlay. These actually had a bit of class, as did the horns themselves.

The rest of the markings on most clarinets are etched in and filled in with gold powder, which wears away with the years. If you were to actually apply the gold again, perhaps to make the clarinet look almost new, it always fails, looks messy and usually smears and adhers to the wood itself.

This Libertas has the usual adjustable thumb rest, which becomes more uncomfortable with each playing as you attempt to change the position of your thumb in relation to the clarinet. Changing the adjustment only works for a short time, as the thumb rest is too narrow.

If you really are an obsessive clarinetist, you will need to learn more about the thumb, thumb rests in general, and the best place for the thumb to hold the instrument. (Actually, Mr Ridenour makes the best thumb rest, “the thumb saddle”, and he told me himself, that “the thing is to change the position “, to anyplace else) I have several dozen, one for each thumb. I also have several neck straps, none of which work well, as well as the best way to play comfortably, which follows.

An uncomfortable thumb rest is a slippery slope which can ruin your playing by destroying your comfort, pleasure in playing music and holding the clarinet on this weakest point on the thumb. A properly shaped thumb rest has to wide enough to cushion as much of the thumb as is possible and then allow for moving from a (so-called) normal position. This normal position cannot be decided upon by designers, or is not considered important. The best one I have is the one on my Amati C clarinet. It really should be copied by other makers, or designers

However, by looking carefully, one can find many clarinetists who have experienced discomfort and have changed to a thumb rest which changes the support of the thumb from the weakest part , (the tip of the thumb) to the strongest, a distance of an inch or so, which immediately alleviates all such difficulties.

This so-called new model also presents a choice between a regularly shaped register key and the one I call nuts or ergonomic, (which means nothing).
Back to this many splendored hard rubber clarinet, it is the best tuned, most equally timbred instrument on the market and still costs very little. It is the best buy for the money and for the sound, without question. It also blends with chamber music as well as any instrument I have ever played.William Ridenour is the clarinet saver, and savior of the business. W hy? Because he can truly hear and his fingers know where to walk with his ears on the horn.

I understand they are going like hot cakes.

Great. Perhaps some day.
The thumb rest which will give you true comfort is made by Ton Koimann, and the cheap one is about 30 bucks. Others are much more, but have many different adjustments, making a lot of sense in this crazy crazy world of neurotics. It usually freaks one out when first seen, but feels so good if you use just one screw.

Stay well, and learn all Ravel.

Remember, if you buy your prodigy a horn from France, he or she will have given up the horn by the time you get through paying for it.(or switched to making a living.)

Also, sir, there will always be wooden flutes, they will never become extinct, nor will that thing you pay 5 grand for.