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 Post subject: Sad Clarinet Story :(
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:55 am 
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I first played the Clarinet in 1960, far earlier than I played the Irish Flute.
But I digress :), so....
The LeBlanc Company Company made their High End Grenadilla Clarinets over in France and shipped many of them to the US Facilities to sell to Retailers here in the US
The Manager in charge here in the US felt that in shipping, the Clarinet Bore developed some issues regarding Humidity and subsequent changes in the Bore.
A rumor has it that he had some of his Employees ream out these wonderful high end Clarinets from their original bore of 14.7 or so to 15mms on the Upper section.
My understanding the best reaming or proper Tools were not used and resulted in serious intonation problems
Ive come across several of these Clarinets.
If you look into the bores they have a very rough look as opposed to their original smooth Bore
While these offending Clarinets are basically in tune with themselves, they are horrible flat and thus are a bad choice to use in a Band.
I know several people have tried shorter Barrels and a higher pitched Monthpiece to correct the problem, but it never seemed to work
This reaming practice as I understand it took place in the 70's, 80's and early 90.s
Now I'm not saying reaming is always bad, but you had better know what you are doing.
I would not have believed this if I had not come across several of these Clarinets
These were some beautiful Clarinets that were sadly altered and not for the better.
Now of course I wonder if any Irish Flutes have had this issue? :(


Last edited by Ben Shaffer on Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:52 am 
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A sad story indeed.

I have heard of this when it comes to Highland Bagpipes. It changes the instrument.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:31 pm 
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Played Pipes years ago and there were in fact several Pipe Repairmen that would bore out the Pipes.
One Was in North Carolina and the other I believe was in Seattle. not sure of the outcome however


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:34 am 
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Ben Shaffer wrote:
...the Clarinet Bore developed some issues regarding Humanity...

I always thought reed instruments were a bit harsh on people, look at those surly pipers....

Oh, I guess you meant humidity....

But here's an interesting thought. You mentioned the instruments you experienced being flat. Reaming a flute out normally sharpens it. I'd have to consider at length what reaming a reed-instrument out does, but I imagine it sharpens it too. So I wonder if these clarinets were found to be dramatically flat by the US importer, who then did a rough job on re-reaming them, possibly reducing but not fully eliminating their flatness? And possibly introducing other inelegancies.

I remember when I first took up the metal (Boehm) flute, back in the late sixties, I really struggled with flatness. My teacher got a bit frustrated with me, and finally forced me up to pitch by insisting I lipped up to the max. I hated it, and dropped the lessons as soon as I felt able to proceed by myself. Later on, London maker Albert Cooper pointed out that we were all being dragged along by outdated 19th century making practice, and proposed a whole new scaling approach. I wonder if clarinets were similarly lagging the realities of modern pitch?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:46 am 
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Hey Terry,
There are likely Hundreds of these rereamed Clarinets out there.
Interesting point about these Clarinets should be sharp instead of Flat and some may in fact have sharpness Issues, I only know about the few I tried.
Wish they were as the sharpness could be dealt with easier than the Flatness
Another point about clarinets is the variability of relative flatness and sharpness of each note when when checking with a Tuner.
In the Concert bands Ive played in Concert B flat or (C) is the tuning note


Last edited by Ben Shaffer on Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:46 am 
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I have to admit 'm skeptical about this. Surely someone who ran a music instrument importing business would have some understanding about the nature of the bore?

Also what "temperature and humidity issues" would necessitate a reaming?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:30 pm 
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"I have to admit 'm skeptical about this. Surely someone who ran a music instrument importing business would have some understanding about the nature of the bore?

Also what "temperature and humidity issues" would necessitate a reaming? "

Of course its not necessary, that's the whole point isn't it :poke:

In the Clarinet world at this point its the proverbial flogged dead Horse issue so to speak :D

If you are interesting in finding out more Tom Ridenour of Ridenour Clarinets might be willing to fill you in more on this.

He worked for a time as the Clarinet Designer for LeBlanc .

My understanding was shortly after he came to LeBlanc he stopped the aforementioned reboring of the imported Clarinets

At this point LeBlanc I believe is now owned by Conn-Selmer


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:34 pm 
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I don't want to get to tedious, but I did have one more piece to add to the Puzzle

I believe these medium Bore Clarinets were rebored to give them a bigger sound and of course you can't ream that much and not expect intonation Issues.

Bigger Bore Clarinets did have a bigger sound, which was popular for Jazz Musicians as well as Students

Thus concludes the extent of my knowledge surrounding this Issue :D


Last edited by Ben Shaffer on Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:45 pm 
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There was at one time a music technician in Seattle, named Joe Lusier, who serviced oboes. One service was to ream out the very narrow upper region of the oboe which could over time swell shut, altering the intonation. Joe was one of a kind, and more than knowledgeable about instrument bores. He started in music working in Louis Lot´s Atelier in France. One proud brag of his was that he was privileged to use Lot´s own mandrel to form the head-joint of his own personally built Boehm flute. Said mandrel was fabricated by Lot with input from Theobald Boehm himself. I believe Casey Burns helped Joe´s widow dispose of his extensive collection of classic flutes.

Bob

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:12 pm 
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Ben Shaffer wrote:
I don't want to get to tedious, but I did have one more piece to add to the Puzzle

I believe thiese medium Bore Clarinets were rebored to get them a bigger sound and of course you can't ream that much and not expect intonation Issues.

Bigger Bore Clarinets did have a bigger sound, which was popular for Jazz Musicians as well as Students

Thus concludes the extent of my knowledge surrounding this Issue :D


Ah, I think that is probably getting a lot closer to what really happened. And it takes us into the interesting area of cultural expectations. I first came across this back in the early days of HiFi (yes, I was there at the time!). While we might all imagine these days that everybody was after the same "ideal sound", apparently it wasn't true. People on the Continent prefered a different balance of sound compared to say people in England.

More recently I've come across it much more graphically in carillons (musical instruments based on bells but played from a mechanical keyboard). If you compare the sound of an English-made or English-styled carillon (like most American instruments) to the sound of European instruments, the difference is not Boehm flute to conical flute, it's oboe to conical flute! To English ears, continental carillons sound strident and staccato. Continental players find English instruments cloying and sluggish.

So, yes, I can imagine narrower-bore European clarinets satisfying their expectations but not American jazz players. Just like big Gibson guitars suit country music, but smaller bodied Martins were favoured by a lot of early folkies. And wet-tuned accordions were popular on the continent, but increasingly dry-tuned boxes are favoured in Ireland. Fascinating stuff!

And of course, we have our families of sound in the Irish flute world - the big round Pratten/Siccama sound, the edgier Rudall sound and, more recently, the lighter sound of small-hole instruments such as Grey Larsen enjoys. Vive la différence!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:28 am 
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Totally agree with you Terry on all your Points,
Major point here.....
Pratton Flute= Bigger Sound
15mm Bore Clarinet= Bigger Sound
So the moral of the story......... you just can't rebore a Clarinet and not expect intonation issues
Maybe this is the same with Flutes?

A side bar.... Most Classical Clarinets prefer a more resistant Medium Bore Clarinet

Also I just bought this LeBlanc L7 Clarinet on eBay last night.

The seller told me the Bore was 14.6mm and the bore was shiny, which told me this Horn had escaped the reboring shenanigans that were going on at LeBlanc.

The Seller had checked the serial # and the Clarinet was apparently made circa 1972, perhaps the reboring commenced after
Another side bar is how big a difference in bore 4mm makes in terms of volume with Clarinets

Here is the Listing of this Clarinet I just bought.....

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Professional-Q ... 2749.l2649


Thus concludes our TED Talk :D


Last edited by Ben Shaffer on Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:59 am 
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Terry McGee wrote:
And wet-tuned accordions were popular on the continent, but increasingly dry-tuned boxes are favoured in Ireland. Fascinating stuff!

If you are interested (even in the slightest) in how accordions are played and customized in different musical cultures, you have to watch "El acordén del diablo" if you can find it somewhere online. I think it was on youtube for some time but without subtitles. I couldn't find it on DVD anywhere. I first watched it when it premiered in Germany on a movie festival 20 years ago. Great movie even when you're not particularly interested in the accordion itself.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0277551/
https://youtu.be/aqgPHjaNNpo


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:54 pm 
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Ben Shaffer wrote:
Totally agree with you Terry on all your Points,
Major point here.....
Pratton Flute= Bigger Sound
15mm Bore Clarinet= Bigger Sound
So the moral of the story......... you just can't rebore a Clarinet and not expect intonation issues
Maybe this is the same with Flutes?

Correct. If you were to take a Rudall flute, and rebore it with Pratten reamers, you would almost assuredly end up with something unplayable. If you compare a Pratten side-by-side with a Rudall, you'll find big differences in hole sizes and locations.

Quote:
A side bar.... Most Classical Clarinets prefer a more resistant Medium Bore Clarinet

Just like most of we flute players tend to congregate around the Largish-hole Rudalls. But many are drawn one way or other from there, and it's great we have that flexibility.

Clarinets differ from flutes in that they are pressure driven (being closed at one end), while flutes are flow driven (being open at both ends). We do get some sense of resistance, but nothing like a reed instrument! You'll never burst a blood vessel blowing flute. But you might run out of air...


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