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Clarinets Metal

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I think that Ridenour currently make clarinets from hard rubber (ebonite). There are some interesting thoughts on materials on their website the grenadilla myth

For instance

Rhys
Thanks Rhys. My old prof said the same about his old ebonite clarinets but they were knackered.
 
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Thanks Rhys. My old prof said the same about his old ebonite clarinets but they were knackered.
Ah, Leslie Craven from the Welsh National Opera endorses them over here. His big selling point is that they won’t crack or warp, but I’d be more interested in their playing characteristics - how much the tuning is affected by heat or cold and what pitch they are made to - A440 or A442
 
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Dibbs

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I read with interest. My old clarinet prof had some old ebonite clarinets in his cupboard and advocated that if the cheap metal clarinets for the marching band market hadn't given them a bad name then they should be better than wood - fast to warm up for a start when doubling. What do you think - if Buffet or Selmer put their mind to it?

Absolutely. There's no reason why not.

Martin Foag make German system metal clarinets


and the price isn't outrageous.

 
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Absolutely. There's no reason why not.

Martin Foag make German system metal clarinets


and the price isn't outrageous.

Amazing. A whole world that I never knew existed.
 
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Dibbs

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There are quite a few small German clarinet makers, for the most part, producing high end boutique/custom.instruments.
 
Colin the Bear

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I think I've identified it at last. I found an identical instrument and case on ebay but engraved "Sonata".
Further googling has led me to believe it's a Bettony stencil. Maybe a "Cadet". Silver plate on nickel silver.
Apparently Bettoney sold job lots to the military at cut price with a changed name to protect the reputation and price of their main production runs.
It plays much better than my B&H 75, which turned out to be a Bundy 1400 but doesn't have the projection of the Selmer 1400 that turned up at an irresistable bargain price.
Metal clarinets seem to be experiencing a bit of a ressurgence on ebay. Maybe it's a sleeper. :)
 
DartmoorHedgehog

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It plays much better than my B&H 75,
My metal clarinet is certainly nicer to play than my "posh" wooden one (a 1956 B&H Emperor, so nothing properly high-end, but respectable). The keywork on the metal one just feels much slicker or something. I found mine in a second-hand shop a couple of decades ago and had a go on it just out of curiosity - and for the price they were asking for it I couldn't refuse.
I can't see it ever being worth much (although some of the solid-silver or double-skinned ones might), but it's a nice instrument for a ridiculously small outlay.
 
rhysonsax

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I'm glad that I've found your post as I'm thinking about presenting my nephew with a clarinet (he told me that he'd like to learn it), but I can't choose a good one. Now I know that a metal clarinet is better than a wooden one. Thanks.

Well, a "single example of" a metal clarinet may well be better than a "single example of" a wooden clarinet.

But I wouldn't read too much into that !

Rhys
(proud owner of several metal clarinets).
 
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Colin the Bear

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I'm glad that I've found your post as I'm thinking about presenting my nephew with a clarinet (he told me that he'd like to learn it), but I can't choose a good one. Now I know that a metal clarinet is better than a wooden one. Thanks.
Good luck with the restoration. They're mostly 80 to 100 years old. Thomann do a new one.
£2800.00
You must really love your nephew.
 
DartmoorHedgehog

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I'm glad that I've found your post as I'm thinking about presenting my nephew with a clarinet (he told me that he'd like to learn it), but I can't choose a good one. Now I know that a metal clarinet is better than a wooden one. Thanks.
As has been said, I don't think that's really true in general. Given that I've only played one metal clarinet, my comment was just based on my own one compared with my B&H wooden clarinet (which is an intermediate-level model). I think on sound/tone quality alone I'd pick the B&H over the metal one (certainly if I was playing classical). But the keywork on my metal one just feels nicer to me than the B&H - and being a one-piece body it's also quicker to pick up and play, which tends to make it the one I grab if I feel like playing clarinet.
Bear in mind that my B&H is from the 1950s and I've had it since sometime in the early '80s (and played it a lot with frankly not a lot of tech attention), so it's well possible that with a good service and setup it could be made to feel as slick to play as the metal one.
I stick by my opinion that these old (mine's probably from the 1930s) "military band" type metal clarinets are undervalued and can be a bargain (I bought mine probably 25 years ago and I haven't looked at prices for ages, but at the time I paid well under £100 in very near perfect playing condition in its original case), and certainly judging by my one can be very nice to play, but I wouldn't say "metal clarinets are better than wooden ones".
 
Pete Thomas

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Now I know that a metal clarinet is better than a wooden one. Thanks.
Absolutely not. One person said that one metal clarinet was better than one wooden one. There is no way to extrapolate a general truth from that, as Dartmoor Hedgehog has confirmed that was not the intention.
 
Colin the Bear

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My plastic Selmer is the best clarinet I've played. Just saying.
 

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