sharp with Selmer D MP double lip

February 19, 2016

Hello Sherman Friedland, I have had some long standing (30 years) tuning issues with my Selmer B flat clarinet. Generally the pitch at A440 on my tuner is sharp by 5 Hz even when I pull the tuning barrel out up to 2.5mm. I use the original mouthpiece stamped with a ‘D’. For some time I used a Vandoren 5RV lyre mouthpiece but still had the problem. With concentrated effort I can bring it back into tune but over longer sonatas etc, I feel I get sharp. I was wondering whether it is a barrel issue. I measured the barrel at 66mm long and has a bore of 13.5mm. should I seek a longer barrel? If so how much longer?


Hello and cheers

AVD  mouthpiec labeled M L 13 was recommended and it tuned well, after all the others.Their version of one by Chedeville, and I found to be superb for many years, if not superior for everything.

stay well///..



Double lip embouchure

January 24, 2016

Hello Professor Friedland,

I played the clarinet 43 years ago and just recently started studying it again. I’m trying the double-lip embouchure. It works great until I get to F on the staff. It’s here where I have problems balancing the clarinet. When I use my upper teeth I have no problem. I just can’t figure out to balance the clarinet staff and higher notes. Thank you, Marty

Dear Marty, Double lip embouchure is actually preferred by many as a way of holding the mouthpiece between your lips, instead of the teeth. It makes for more sensitivity to the sound, actually making a better sound more easily controlled and almost always preferable to any other wayc of  playing the clarinet. When first playing the f on the staff, there is no way of controlling because you are holding the instrument with only one finger, Many players simply place their left index finger above the a key, holding the instrument without using the key which will give you the control you need , momentarily. As soon as this becomes somewhat habitual, you will develop the control to hold the instrument while you are negotiating this problem..The same problem occurs when you play high c., and solved by the same method.

Good luck, and practice,sf


November 16, 2015

G clarinet.

This is really a historic tale.  sixty to 80 years ago there was an almost fierce competition beween Selmer and Buffet

Most clarinetists playing in symphony orchestras in the US played the Buffet clarinet, almost specifically the R13 model.

Gigliotti, principal in Philadelphia played the Buffet as did all others playing in virtually all US orchestras. This was when I first began to learn to play, and of course, what I wound up with was the Selmer. Why?

Because , living in Boston, where all the setion played Selmer, this was my sspration, tp play Selmer, which I finally did, after much searching.

But, as a young man, I knew of the Buffet and its use in most other US orchestras.

Of course, this has all changed now, starting with the arrival of the Selmer 10G, refering to Gigliotti in Philadelphia. Selmer, it is said, actually produced a Buffet copy, or one that was fairly close in response, to his Buffet.

The production at first, quite successful, and some played and responded very well. Others did not. I had two sets of these and frankly, didnt play well well enough to discrn the difference. At that time, we all played in university=conservatory orchestras, and frankly, unless hearing the horn played in an orchestra, a professional ensemble, your guess was as good as mine.

What has transpired since the has or have been vast improvements in all instruments, prices rising accordingly until now and including all manufacturers all clarinets have improvd exponentially , and many different orchestral players perform on both or wither of the different bore, producing a more mellow sound with better resonance. Comparison, these days is simply a matter of ones opinion, and it is all of that, nothing more.

Of course, mouthpieces and reeds have also changed exponentially, and of course, reeds made of artifical material, not cane, but a mixture of cane and plastics of all kinds. Literally everything has changed, especially all materials, wooden instruments are still favored, but many are made fromhard rubber, whichis much easier to,machine nd finshe and stands the rigors of tempeature changes much better than wood. What mouthpiece doyou play? Instrument, and reeds ae the question. Everyone learns to play very well, but the diminished number of professional orchestras are all mitigating factors. that is the whole story of SELMER AND BUFFET


sherman friedland

RIDENOUR C clarinet and Esperanza

September 17, 2015

Hi Mr Friedland

I have just ordered a ridenour C clarinet and Bb Speranza (a discontinued model similiar to the 576bc at a very good price). My main music interests are klezmer, jazz, band and pop tunes. Would having a C and Bb clarinet cover all my bases, or would it be worthwhile to purchase an A clarinet sometime down the line even though (at least at the moment) have no interest in orchestral playing? In other words, should my next clarinet be another Bb with different characteristics, or an A clarinet. Can a C clarinet play the A clarinets parts? Also, are you familiar with the Speranza clarinet at all and if so what’s your opinion. Thanks in advance, Eli

It is very interesting, but it is a very simple recommendation to make. Tom has solved the problem, actually a long time past. I have played all of the many models he has produced and/or designed, including the Opus, my best clarinets. THE best clarinet.

William Ridenour is the best designer of clarinets in the surrent era.

The material he uses in all his intruments is more stable in all ways, than any other used to make clarinets. Of course, it is hard rubber, or ebonite, which is as stable, and will not crack, will not crack or shatter in any way, and is virtually impervious to temperature changes.

Take all of that to the bank, as they say. Enjoy them.

All good wishes.


A letter from A student from UMASS

August 24, 2015

Hi Sherman,

My name is Steve and you were my clarinet teacher MANY YEARS AGO at UMASS (1965?) and I played 2nd clarinet with you that year in the UMASS orchestra before I transferred to MIT. I have continued to play the clarinet – and still practice almost every day – and still take lessons (now with Tom Hill in Boston). I have enjoyed your blog for years but have never written. I wish you well

I recall the incident that they decided to take a photo of the UMASS orchestra and you suggested we hold our clarinets with hands reversed. What a lark.You gave a recital at UMASS that (my freshman) year and you played the Schumann fantasy pieces. I had never heard the clarinet played that well before (by leaps and bounds). I was ready to give up, but I am glad I did not. I play much better now (at age 67).

Dear Steve:

Thank you for your kind letter, deeply appreciated. I remember 1965 as it was our first year of marriage, (and we are still adjusting)

I still play with my hands reversed, which is of course, more fun, but am considering no hands at all.

Have been quite ill with varia, a new valve. a few heart attacks, am in a long term care facility, and feel much better.

Thank you again

Keep practicing.

Stay well.



From John McKinney, Leblanc and Selmer

August 8, 2015

ear Mr. Friedland, Hope You are well!

Just wanted to say I read your letter on your website. Please have faith there are many people who still remember all you have done for championing beautiful values in music and clarinet playing.

Today there are so many famous players who believe only in super hard reeds and jaw pressure. I direct my private students to the Clarinet Central website, so they can hear recordings of Gustave Langenus, Louis Cahusac, Reginald Kell, and many others. It then becomes obvious what Benny Goodman was doing with his classical performances and tone concept. Two of my teachers were Ronald Phillips and Eugene Zoro; so this has meaning for me.

These great players all had round mellow sounds that were sweet and clear. The beautiful universal quality of their playing could be appreciated by anyone. I include your recordings in this great company.

Please forgive this question if it is out of line. Is it possible for your family to get you a lap top and headphones so you can enjoy classical performances on YouTube?

Thank You For All You Have Done!

John McKimmey
Leblanc Artist with Conn Selmer

Plays Leblanc Clarinets and Selmer Saxophones Exclusively.

Dear JohnMcKinney

Many thnaks for your kind letter.There is a rather lovely,view surrounding this lovely place, WIth huge evergreeon spruce and flowers, and , strangely, none of the charmng little critters that come in the early light. I have a macmini, which provides me with excellent sound and I prefer small speakers, which provide me with a natural sound, which me of the wonders available  through You tube, and a real favorIte, Medici TV from which you can hear and see allof the many festival s, from throughout the world,and their current offerings..

I am aware of threat players and there  aremany,but find myself much more intnter

sted in their abilities to differentiate in their ability to add a unique interpretative quality.

The quallity of sound is quite similar, however the ability to make a phrase sing and rise above the sound of the other comes to only few of us.

thank you, and best wishes.

sherman friedland

From Heartwood Long Term Care/ Joan and Beverly

August 6, 2015

We sit at the same table, mostly.

Joan sits at my left. She has very lovely knowing eyes.Someone combs her hair most mornings, and, every once in a while she looks at me knowingly with large, remembering, knowing eyes. But she says little; no sentences,just makes her choice easily known and understood by her servers.. The rest of her face are unkindly appearing to be very much younger than all else.. She walks well with her wallker, though needs assistance to sit at the table. Sitting, she looks virtually collapsed, very small, shriveled, though with her occasional glance, there is a kind of communication, which is assuring..
When finished she, helped to her feet, walks quickly back down the hallway, her movements much younge appearing than sitting, Once in a while, I see her helping Ransom into his room nest to hers, actually pushing him in his wheelchair. He is intelligent,seemingly have losthis ability to talk , or even move at all.

Beverly sits to my right, and she is a new resident. She appears perfectly well, and seems to move by herself, though must be accompanied from her room and back.she looks well, her eyes appear bright. and she can speak, or seems to to speak.
She says she has no cholesteral, doesnt have anything wrong about her heart, and needs no pills for blood pressure.

When she speaks, she wants to know what utencil to use, frequently drops them, and knows nothing about their function, but she eats quickly , finsihing every drop, then asks for a towel, but she means a Tissue, for her nose leaks and drips constantly after finishing eat ing her food. She then begins to call various severs, whom she recognizes, but, in a very small voice, over and over , and asks why there is no response. She asks if she has had dessert, and keeps on asking until she is noticed.

Tonight, a server came to her and told her that she used used to live downstairs from and the server reminiisced about her childhood with Beverly, perhaps 20 years ago , or more. There was a brightening of her face, saying sometimes, yes, I remember that. The server was kind and smiling. It was touching to see, and helped me to understand her condition.

And, I suppose, to understand mine..

shermen friedland