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Advice please - Clarinets

Once upon a time (about 10 years ago) LLT played the clarinet. While we were at the Inner Vagabond at Pennsic there was a group of people playing middle eastern(?) music and they had a clarinet. At which point LLT said that she would love to pick up her's again if she could play music like that. Only problem is that it is in a box somewhere. So frederich and I were talking about giving her one as a gift. He went looking on ebay and quickly realized he's not qualified to pick one. Since we want it to be a surprise it's not like we can ask LLT questions.

So here's where you guys come in. I know that one of you has knowledge in your head that is useful here, if only to point me to someone who will know what we need to know. I talked to museclio about this last night and her suggestion was a good quality student clarinet. When LLT was playing she used the hardest reeds there were. I've already gotten her softer reeds (purchased before we realized we couldn't find the clarinet).

I'm also looking for ideas of where to find said music.

Advice please?



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 17th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Hey goldenhonu, I think you should field this question.
Nov. 17th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
I don't know anything about them, but I think its a lovely gift idea!
Nov. 17th, 2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
I haven't played in 10 years. I used to use a #5 reed (one of the hardest), but if I were to start back, I would use a #3.

Bundy is a good basic "starter/student" clarinet. I have a top-of-the-line Buffet, but if you can find a cheap one on E-bay or something, that's definately the way to go!

The only place I know of with a large selection of music is Foxes in Falls Curch (?), VA. Let your fingers do the walking on that one!
Nov. 17th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Based on conversations with the woman who can often be found playing hurdy gurdy in the food court at Pennsic, but specializes in Middle Eastern music and mostly plays a reed instrument when doing so, there isn't much in the way of printed music, it's more knowing the sound and playing within it.

As much as a nice wooden clarinet sounds better, the composite ones are easier to take care of and a bit more forgiving of SCA camping conditions. Composites are also cheaper. In addition to reeds, pick up a pack of rolling papers for cleaning the gunk out of the pads. A new clarinet should come with cork grease, but you might need to buy it for a used one.

A used clarinet in less-than-ideal condition may need to have the pads and cork repaired/replaced and a new mouthpiece and ligature. And a crack in the bore or bell makes the clarinet useless. Wooden clarinets tend to crack more easily than composite ones, so if you're buying used, this is something to look out for. Problems with keys and springs can usually be repaired, but a significant alignment problem may be an expensive repair.
Nov. 17th, 2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
I think is main question was along the lines of the types of clarinets - when I briefly searched I quickly got confused with the whole B flat etc seperations...how much does that matter?
Nov. 17th, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
It's easiest to find music for the B-flat clarinet, though if LLT won't be playing with other harmonic instruments, this isn't terribly important. If she played in school and only had one clarinet, this is probably the kind she has somewhere.

The E-flat clarinet is higher pitched, a little smaller, and the tone cuts through other instruments exceedingly well.

If you didn't buy reeds specifically for an E-flat clarinet, the reeds you got are for a B-flat instrument. Many music stores won't accept returns/exchanges on reeds.
Nov. 17th, 2006 10:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks...I'll mention to frederich. I didn't ask for anything other than a hardness level for the reeds so you are probably right about them being B flat. On the other hand I spent less than $15 dollars on reeds so if he ends up getting her another type I'm not out that much money.
Nov. 17th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Hopefully he now has enough info to make a decision. If there's anything else he's not sure about, I'll be happy to share what I know, but I can't really help with brands because I didn't get to play enough of them to have an opinion and I usually played Bass clarinet rather than B-flat or E-flat.

Are any of you going to be at Holiday Faire tomorrow? If so, I'll look for you :)
Nov. 17th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
Yep I'll be there. :)
Nov. 17th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
Gee, I always thought that the clarinet as we know it today (Boehm system) was primarily a 19th-century creation. Does anybody try to play period music on them? Maybe William le Younger could shed some light on this. (And I do realize that the clarinet makes some lovely non-period music!)

Of course, I think sskipstress gave you some excellent advice. I tip my hat to weebaby for being able to use a #5 reed! I was up to a #3.5 or #4 when I was in high school, but that was all I could manage.

Yes, I played the clarinet from age 8 to age 17, and yes, I still have my wooden clarinet, but it's not for sale (and would need a lot of pad replacement work anyway). I don't remember what brand it is -- the little labels from the manufacturer wore off a long time ago.
Nov. 17th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
I want to say that LLT was up to a #5 from what she was telling me when I went reed shopping. She did say however that she would need to go back to softer reeds since it's been so long since she played.

To give you an idea of when I went reed shopping, it was the first Saturday after school started in Charles County. Just about every kid taking an instrument in the school system seemed to be in Waldorf's one and only music store that day. Of course that was before we realize we'd lost her clarinet in a box...
Nov. 17th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
I'm also looking for ideas of where to find said music.

Would you know the difference between middle eastern and, say, eastern european music (e.g. Klezmer, Greek, Macedonian, Gypsy, etc.) if you heard it?

There is a venerable tradition (150 years or so?) of using the clarinet in eastern European music, which has been heavily influenced by middle eastern music. That may scratch her itch.

Unfortunately, I can't help much past "Google 'klezmer sheet music' and see what happens".
Nov. 17th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
Nope, not a clue. Just that it sounded appropriate to the Inner Vagabond and LLT said "hey I'd like to play that kinda music."

Nov. 21st, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
Hey - just stumbled by this today - looks like quite decent "student" instruments go for $100 to $130, which isn't expensive for an experiment (I think clarinets and other woodwinds have been the same price for about 25 years now - my folks paid a couple hundred dollars for my sax). If she truly likes the clarinet, there is no low glass ceiling for her to hit on price - $350, $1200, etc. :-)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


Orlaith Carey

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