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Hi everyone,

I am doing a project on the Bb Clarinet at college and was hoping I’d be able to gain opinions and knowledge from this forum to use in my work.

I’d like to know if you prefer to play a wooden or plastic clarinet and why you prefer that material, for example the tonal quality, the way it feels etc.

Which thickness of reed and brand you prefer to play with and why?

And for anyone who has tried a plastic reed did you prefer it to a normal cane reed and why? Did you find that there was a noticeable difference between them?

Responses that include as much detail as possible will be much appreciated. Include any other details you feel might be useful or relevant.

Thank you

Libby
:treble:
 

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Libby: Welcome to SOTW. Most if not all responses will be subjective and even may become a popularity contest which never defines anything.

I've had plastic, hard-rubber, wood, and metal clarinets. Bottom line for me was that they all sounded like clarinets when I did my part. I prefer wood but I'd be hard-pressed to objectively defend my choice.

As far as "plastic" reeds go, the better descriptor is "synthetic" because non-cane reeds come in a variety of materials. I prefer Fibracell Premieres on my clarinets because the clarinet is a double for me so it may sit on the stand for a few tunes before I play it - and if using cane, that means a probably-dry and warped reed once I try to play the thing.

However, as with all synthetics on clarinet and saxophones, it has been my experience that synthetics do not play well for me on just any mouthpiece. I require a closer tip-opening to use synthetic reeds. Others will differ, for sure. Once I identify THE mouthpiece that plays well with synthetic reeds, then that's what I use, especially on clarinet.

I also find that synthetics play a lot stronger than comparable cane reeds, but others will disagree. That is the nature of musicians. DAVE
 

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Wood. Tonal quality.

Vandoren V12 3-12 or 4s. They seem consistent.

Hi everyone,

I am doing a project on the Bb Clarinet at college and was hoping I’d be able to gain opinions and knowledge from this forum to use in my work.

I’d like to know if you prefer to play a wooden or plastic clarinet and why you prefer that material, for example the tonal quality, the way it feels etc.

Which thickness of reed and brand you prefer to play with and why?

And for anyone who has tried a plastic reed did you prefer it to a normal cane reed and why? Did you find that there was a noticeable difference between them?

Responses that include as much detail as possible will be much appreciated. Include any other details you feel might be useful or relevant.
 

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Hi everyone,

I am doing a project on the Bb Clarinet at college and was hoping I’d be able to gain opinions and knowledge from this forum to use in my work.

I’d like to know if you prefer to play a wooden or plastic clarinet and why you prefer that material, for example the tonal quality, the way it feels etc.

Which thickness of reed and brand you prefer to play with and why?

And for anyone who has tried a plastic reed did you prefer it to a normal cane reed and why? Did you find that there was a noticeable difference between them?

Responses that include as much detail as possible will be much appreciated. Include any other details you feel might be useful or relevant.

Thank you

Libby
:treble:
Hi Libby,

I like one of my wooden clarinets indoors and my old plastic clarinet outdoors when temperature is a factor. The old Claritone (pre-Resotone) I use for some outdoor gigs is made out of PVC, a plastic material no longer used in clarinet making. The sound is excellent and the clarinet will never crack.

I use Mitchel Lurie reeds, 3 1/2 or 4, depends on whether I use my Selmer C85-120 or Vandoren B40 Lyre mouthpiece. Those are thicknesses that work well with those mouthpieces and that brand allows a nice staccato.

I have tried a the Legere synthetic reed and I do not like them, both in feel on the bottom lip and response. Trying a lot of synthetic reeds can get very expensive. I'll stick with cane.
 

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I like Legere reeds because they play consistently from day to day and require no upkeep. That answers your third question too I guess…
 

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I play a synthetic Backun Alpha with cane reeds. I don't play clarinet very much and when I do, it's either outside or in a pit. I don't want to deal with upkeep on a wooden instrument or worry about cracking it and I hate dealing with having to compensate for wood swells.
 

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Plastic Bundy with Légère reeds. The only thing I dislike about plastic clarinets is when they have nickel key work (like mine does). Silver feels much nicer. That said, I have a great Selmer Series 10 but I never play it.
 

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I play a wood Evette & Schaeffer clarinet, and have been playing it since the 1970s; I like the sound of it better than the plastic clarinets I have played, although the plastic ones aren't bad. I used my daughter's plastic clarinet when I played in a recent march/protest. I use Vandoren Traditional reeds in a 2 or 2.5; I used to use harder reeds before I started playing saxophone. I have not tried plastic reeds.
 

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Plastic Bundy with Légère reeds.The only thing I dislike about plastic clarinets is when they have nickel key work (like mine does). Silver feels much nicer. That said, I have a great Selmer Series 10 but I never play it.
Warp, what serial # is your Bundy? My Bundy Eb is #7xx is is amazing.
Looking for a similar Bb but it's proved hard to find one! I've wondered how the later ones play.....
 

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Hi everyone,

I am doing a project on the Bb Clarinet at college and was hoping I’d be able to gain opinions and knowledge from this forum to use in my work.

I’d like to know if you prefer to play a wooden or plastic clarinet and why you prefer that material, for example the tonal quality, the way it feels etc.

Which thickness of reed and brand you prefer to play with and why?

And for anyone who has tried a plastic reed did you prefer it to a normal cane reed and why? Did you find that there was a noticeable difference between them?

Responses that include as much detail as possible will be much appreciated. Include any other details you feel might be useful or relevant.

Thank you

Libby
:treble:
My Clarinet's made of wood, though I don't see material as making a difference in tone quality. The design of the clarinet itself is much more important.
For reeds I use Vandoren V12 3.5s, they work well with my M15.
I haven't tried plastic reeds on clarinet before, just sax, so that might be slightly different.
 

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My soprano clarinet is a Buffet GreenLine composite. Although it's two ounces heavier, tonally it doesn't sound any different from the wooden Selmers I owned in the past but I have less concern about leaving it in a low humidity or freezing environment. I don't believe that the body material affects the tone.

I've been using Legeres for 10 years. I prefer the 3¾ Quebec Cut. That line has been discontinued so when I need to purchase new reeds I'll try Legere European Signatures in the same strength. I prefer them to cane because thye sound the same but they are more durable and are ready to play right away without worrying about their level of hydration. Nor do they need to be filed, sealed, sanded, or stored under special conditions.
 

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The clarinet was my first instrument, but today I am primarily a saxophonist (serious amateur), so keep that in mind.

1. I play a wooden clarinet (Buffet) because, at the time I bought it, there really weren't any non-wood options available for clarinets at the quality level I was targeting. The issue is not the material of the clarinet, but rather the amount of care and precision that go into the manufacturing. Even today, the choices are rather limited, since most "plastic" clarinets are aimed at the student market. For pro horns, there's the Buffet Greenline model (a mix of resin and pulverized wood) and maybe the Ridenour hard rubber instruments. The vast majority of the best clarinets are made from wood, so wood is what most players will prefer. If I were purchasing a new clarinet today, I certainly would consider the Greenline option.

2. On clarinet, I use both cane reeds (D'Addario 3.0) and Legere Signature synthetic reeds (3.25). Both are good. Cane perhaps sounds a little nicer, but the Legere is easier to use. I haven't yet converted as strongly to synthetic reeds on clarinet as I have on saxophone, probably because I play the clarinet less. I've also tried the Fibracell synthetic reeds on clarinet, but found them unsuitable for classical music (too bright/buzzy).
 
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