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As some of you know, I'm making a bit of a comeback this year into playing seriously again. It has been a few years mostly off as I've been focusing on singing, bagpiping, and scuba diving. Last year I got roped back into pit orchestras and now I'm starting to play regularly.
Part of that has involved getting back into clarinet. I pulled out my Leblanc Dynamique that has a tremendous amount of sentimental value as it was given to me by the Leblanc Artist who originally owned it and was my mentor. Unfortunately I have always struggled with intonation on it and could never figure out why. It was random intonation spots that just were really bizarre and it didn't speak well in all registers. Unfortunately my other barrels are from Buffet and the tenons are incompatible so I had always assumed it was the horn itself.
A bit of research led me to some interesting stories about how sax players from that era would often have REALLY short clarinet barrels so they could keep a loose embouchure. I was taught to play clarinet like a clarinetist, and that started the explanation on why I had to pull so far out to get the open G in tune. That lead down to how bad it actually is to have the barrels pulled out, so the hunt was on to find something that wasn't my "click barrel" that someone had given to me at some point however many years ago. I was hunting around and looking at Backun barrels on ebay, but was always wooged out by the ringless design with wood. Since most of my playing is in pit orchestras, I was terrified of having a ringless barrel whether valid or not.
Around the same time, I was listening to the Clarineat podcast and listened to the interview with Brad Behn. His concept sounded really interesting, and Sean had both the Svelte and Classic barrel as "bogo" so I bit the bullet. I have three clarinets that I play regularly, so having the second one did not hurt my feelings. I use a Protec mouthpiece case for my primary mouthpieces, and since I am preferring the Svelte right now, that lives in the case with my main mouthpiece. The second one lives in the case with the Leblanc, just in case.

The barrels are incredibly well made and machined and as soon as I put it on the Leblanc it really came alive. The sound was just as big as before, but there was a bit more overtones going on and the intonation was dead nuts. I was thrilled! Add to that the fact that they're hard rubber which makes them much more stable in the pits, and I can't recommend them enough.

I haven't tried Brad's mouthpieces yet, but I will say one of the most appealing things about them is the o-rings instead of cork. As an engineer, and also as a scuba diver, o-ring seals are incredible. They're easy to lube, they're always the same size, the seal is almost always perfect, and they cost about $0.03 to replace each of them instead of several dollars on cork *not that it has to be replaced that often, but it is what it is*. On the clarinets, the other nice thing is that you can change the OD without changing the ID so if you have mouthpieces that don't have exactly the same bore dimensions *or tenons on the upper joint*, you can keep the barrels consistent. I know it's been done on sax necks as well, but it's a really great concept. Backun apparently tried to do it on their clarinets, but a bunch of old people who can't wrap their heads around improvements said they would refuse to carry them so they're stuck with cork. I have actually removed the cork on all of my clarinets and saxophones and have replaced it with waxed string that we use on bagpipes. With the pipes, those joints actually have to withstand pressure and any leaking on them becomes very obvious. The seal is much better, but they self-lube, and they're much easier to change dimension by adding a couple wraps vs. dealing with cork. O-rings are better, but it's a permanent conversion on either clarinet or sax necks, so I'll deal with it for now.
Rant over.

My next buy from him will be the Eb barrel which has a notch cut out for Bb reeds *Backun also does this*, but I don't have any eefer gigs coming up, so that will be prior to the next time I'm asked to play eefer. That notch is really convenient especially as I have moved to Legere reeds which makes cutting them down a bit more difficult than it used to be.

Anyway, for anyone out there that is looking for a barrel that will be more dimensionally stable than wood and is incredibly high quality, I recommend you take a look.
 

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Hello, I have a similar clarinet, Dynamic H with a Pete Fountain bell. What is your old & new barrel lengths? Mine measures 65.8/9. What is supposed to be the internal differences? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #4
both barrels are 66mm.
The original dynamique barrel was probably 61/62mm, I never measured but it is considerably shorter than normal length
 

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"...Add to that the fact that they're hard rubber which makes them much more stable in the pits..."
Just playing with concepts and figures...

Acetal - known as the "engineering plastic" - great for machining a barrel. And unlike hard rubber, it does not give off sulphurous vapours that tarnishes the silver on keys, and nor does it turn green and smelly with age. (A big down-side to Acetal is that it does not glue well, but for a barrel, gluing is not an issue.)
However it has one of the highest thermal expansions for a polymer material, around 106 (10-6 m/(m K))*) versus 77 for Ebonite (hard rubber). (Ref: https://www.msesupplies.com/pages/l...ents-cte-for-natural-and-engineered-materials)

But let's take a look at the significance of this, say over a 20C (36F) temperature change, which is probably as much as a barrel would ever experience in a pit.
Over this temperature range a 15mm diameter bore would change to 15.032mm for Acetal and 0.023mm for hard rubber. 0.009mm difference. That is 1/3 of a thousandth of an inch.

Just asking, does such a tiny change in bore diameter really have a significant effect on the way a clarinet plays? (The effect of change in air temperature in the bore must be huge by comparison, especially when there is an air temperature gradient down the length of the bore.)
 
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