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Discussion Starter #1
I'm lucky enough that Clark Fobes has sent me three barrels to try with my Buffet RC.
I have played his clarinet pieces for a long time and the barrels are a significant improvement over the stock Buffet RC barrel. I am having a hard time deciding but I'm starting to favour the 596 bore, The others are 594 and 595. They give a beautiful thick dark resonance . I've got a CF plus a 2L, 3L and a Jazz piece. I seem to play the CF plus and the jazz piece the most with Clarks own French cut reeds.
I keep wondering how the pieces would play with a smaller bore R13 and a Fobes barrel to match .
 

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Michael: Interesting. I have a Buffet RC Prestige Bb soprano I bought new at Howarth's in London in 1985. I selected it from among three other similar models and a host of other brands (Selmer, Leblanc and Yamaha, as I recall). It was clearly superior to the others.

I can't imagine how anything would improve this already excellent clarinet. A couple of years ago I bought a replacement Buffet barrel for mine but now I can't recall exactly why. Still, the horn plays wonderfully with resonance that I haven't heard in any other clarinet I've played. I don't feel any need to spend more money to test barrels but I enjoyed your post. DAVE
 

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I'm lucky enough that Clark Fobes has sent me three barrels to try with my Buffet RC.
I have played his clarinet pieces for a long time and the barrels are a significant improvement over the stock Buffet RC barrel. I am having a hard time deciding but I'm starting to favour the 596 bore, The others are 594 and 595. They give a beautiful thick dark resonance . I've got a CF plus a 2L, 3L and a Jazz piece. I seem to play the CF plus and the jazz piece the most with Clarks own French cut reeds.
I keep wondering how the pieces would play with a smaller bore R13 and a Fobes barrel to match .

I use the 3L that I bought from you on my 1961 R13, which is definitely a smaller bore than the R13 prestige I used to play. The 3L plays beautifully and tunes much better than the Morgan RM05 I had, which I sold due to the tuning issues.
I'm soon getting a great early 50's buffet full boehm and I'll be interested to hear how the fobes goes on that as it has a much bigger bore than my R13.
I recently tried some backun barrels on the r13 and found them to be a waste of time- they seemed to deaden the sound and take out the upper harmonic colour and the ring in the tone. I wouldn't mind trying a Fobes barrell though, they are much less bulky.
 

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I did an Internet search for clarinet bore sizes and finally found http://clarinetperfection.com/clbore.htm. It listed various Bb clarinets and their bore sizes. Accurate? Who knows?

I then measured the upper and lower internal diameters (entrance and exit) of the left-hand section for my Buffet RC Prestige (the method described in the linked chart). Mine was approximately (I'm talking a couple of thousandths of an inch which could well be my use of the dial-calipers) the same as the measurements on the linked chart, at both ends of my clarinet's left-hand section.

All of the clarinets (several brands and models of several brands) had bore sizes ranging from 14.6 mm to 15.00 mm. The variances are almost negligible.

Specifically, the linked chart showed an R13 (from 1955) and an R13 Prestige to be almost the same. There were some slight variations among four measured R13's from various eras, but nothing significant.

The chart was accurate enough if the measurement from my own clarinet is compared to the measurement on the linked chart.

Benny, how did you conclude that your 1961 R13 was definitely a smaller bore than your R13 Prestige?

I read these comments about bore sizes almost every day and I am not convinced that a "large bore" is any different from a "small bore" or however the writer wants to describe it. Further, it is clear that the measurements will vary slightly from horn to horn, even among the same models.

I am not trying to challenge anyone, but I want to address this bore-size thing. It seems to be a big deal in a lot of peoples' minds and I think it is much ado about nothing.

Can bore size matter? I suppose so, but I suspect that other factors may have more of an influence on a clarinet or saxophone's playability then a few thousandths of an inch (or as they say, a silly millimeter or portion thereof) in the bore's inner diameter. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hello Dave and Benny
My Buffet is the Prestige RC too also bought at Howarth a few years ago before that I had a standard R13.
The RC was designed to have a bigger bore and obviously there will be some variation but Clark recommends the bores I mentioned for the RC and 587 to 589 for the R13.
On his site he calls the barrel " the interface between clarinet and mouthpiece" and stresses it's importance overall. My clarinet plays very well with it's standard RC barrel and a short one I have but I was interested to see the effect of the piece, reed and barrel matching up. The difference when I swiched to Fobes pieces from the Vandorens I was using was tremendous and now his new reeds. I am really impressed with the barrels which all play very well. I used the same set up without altering the reed and lig over 3 days and masked the markings on the barrels so I was somewhat blind fold and kept refering back to my Buffet barrel. " Significant" improvement is probably too strong but I found it hard to put down the clarinet with the Fobes barrels..always a good sign for me with new equipment.
 

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Michael: I agree that the design of a clarinet barrel is an important factor in how the horn plays. I have experienced different responses and tonal quality when changing barrels at one sitting (I have several clarinet barrels). And I'm pleased to read that your new barrel is doing its job for you.

I had an older R13 when I bought my RC Prestige (at Howarths -1985). The R13 was almost the equal of the RC Prestige, though. The only difference as far as playing them was that the RC has silver-plated keywork and my R13 was nickel. Both the R13 and the RC had a wonderful warm, resonant and powerful tone. I gave my R13 to my daughter, otherwise I would have included my measurements for it, as well. Now, I keep an inexpensive E-11 assembled in my office at home for those moments when I want to play some clarinet things. I did not measure the E-11.

My disagreement (with most everyone, unfortunately) is in the old bore-size issues . . . not the barrel's internal diameter, the horn's bore size - the description many players use when describing their own instruments.

After reading your last post about the intended bore differences between R13's and RC Prestige models, Michael, I again consulted the chart I referenced in my previous post. It seems that four R-13's measured for the chart were equal to, or so close as to be meaningless, the RC Prestige listed on the chart. My contention is that WAY too much is made about bore-sizes, if there are any differences at all.

I strongly suspect that a clarinet maker may specify a certain bore diameter at critical points (such as the lower end of the upper joint), then fail to meet their own specifications when actually making the thing. By "failing", I mean they come within a couple of hundredths of a MILLIMETER of the spec. A small measurement like that could be easily attributed to how one uses a set of dial-calipers.

I found the same thing to be true when I measured the neck openings on various soprano sax necks I own - and the interior diameters of soprano sax bodies at the neck-receiver opening. Even among necks of the same brand, there were differences as I measured them. And, how can we call a clarinet with 14.64mm bore (taken at the lower end of the upper joint) a "small bore" when we compare it to another clarinet with a 14.68 or 14.7 mm opening and call that one a "large bore"?

I also suspect that players automatically assume their own favorite instrument is a "small bore" or a "large bore" merely by the way it plays. Some have admitted that. They hear a BIG sound coming out of their horn and assume it is because it has a big bore compared to others. If they actually measured it, they may be surprised.

Small-bore, large-bore . . . terms we read here every day and I think many don't know the truth of it. DAVE
 

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I did an Internet search for clarinet bore sizes and finally found http://clarinetperfection.com/clbore.htm. It listed various Bb clarinets and their bore sizes. Accurate? Who knows?

I then measured the upper and lower internal diameters (entrance and exit) of the left-hand section for my Buffet RC Prestige (the method described in the linked chart). Mine was approximately (I'm talking a couple of thousandths of an inch which could well be my use of the dial-calipers) the same as the measurements on the linked chart, at both ends of my clarinet's left-hand section.

All of the clarinets (several brands and models of several brands) had bore sizes ranging from 14.6 mm to 15.00 mm. The variances are almost negligible.

Specifically, the linked chart showed an R13 (from 1955) and an R13 Prestige to be almost the same. There were some slight variations among four measured R13's from various eras, but nothing significant.

The chart was accurate enough if the measurement from my own clarinet is compared to the measurement on the linked chart.

Benny, how did you conclude that your 1961 R13 was definitely a smaller bore than your R13 Prestige?

I read these comments about bore sizes almost every day and I am not convinced that a "large bore" is any different from a "small bore" or however the writer wants to describe it. Further, it is clear that the measurements will vary slightly from horn to horn, even among the same models.

I am not trying to challenge anyone, but I want to address this bore-size thing. It seems to be a big deal in a lot of peoples' minds and I think it is much ado about nothing.

Can bore size matter? I suppose so, but I suspect that other factors may have more of an influence on a clarinet or saxophone's playability then a few thousandths of an inch (or as they say, a silly millimeter or portion thereof) in the bore's inner diameter. DAVE
I will admit I know nothing about measurements, but go on how they play.
The 1961 R13 has a far more focused, refined, 'smaller' sound than the more spread, almost booming qualities, of all the modern Buffets I've played. Numerous other players have commented on this as well.
Much in the same way that a Selmer and vintage Buffet saxophone have a 'smaller,' more focused quality when compared to a Conn, Martin, King etc.
Is it a smaller bore, who knows! Is the sound considerably different, yes.
I wonder if anyone has bothered to measure clarinets in the detail that same flute headjoint have collected measurements of headjoints over the years.

Yes, the difference between 14.6 and 15mm isn't much, but neither is a couple of thousandths of an inch on a mouthpiece facing, yet it can feel very different.
That slight difference in bore size, coupled with the length of the instrument may make a significant enough change in the total volume of the clarinet...but like I said, who knows. I don't.
What I do know is they play differently and that's why I chose the '61 R13 over the modern Prestige and R13 I previously owned.
That and Clark Fobes' 3L is a perfect match for that clarinet!!
 

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Bennie: I think we may be getting somewhere. Your post corroborates my contention that when someone claims their horn is a "big bore" or whatever, many times they really don't know. What they are describing is the sound the horn makes and trying to describe it in bore-size terms. I don't think that is a valid description.

We all know (or SHOULD know) that clarinets and saxophones, even of the same manufacturer and model, play differently from each other. Like I've said before, I've play-tested numerous examples of the same make/model instrument many times and found significant differences in most of them. Specifically, I played three different RC Prestige clarinets before buying the one I have now. They were all different - I thought (and still think) that mine was the best one of those I played. The booming sounds or focused qualities you describe are probably because of factors OTHER than bore size.

I know I may appear to be obsessed with this issue - maybe I am. Like all of us, we have things that are important to us but few others. The bore-size deal is one of those things that gets my attention. DAVE
 

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Bennie: I think we may be getting somewhere. Your post corroborates my contention that when someone claims their horn is a "big bore" or whatever, many times they really don't know. What they are describing is the sound the horn makes and trying to describe it in bore-size terms. I don't think that is a valid description.

We all know (or SHOULD know) that clarinets and saxophones, even of the same manufacturer and model, play differently from each other. Like I've said before, I've play-tested numerous examples of the same make/model instrument many times and found significant differences in most of them. Specifically, I played three different RC Prestige clarinets before buying the one I have now. They were all different - I thought (and still think) that mine was the best one of those I played. The booming sounds or focused qualities you describe are probably because of factors OTHER than bore size.

I know I may appear to be obsessed with this issue - maybe I am. Like all of us, we have things that are important to us but few others. The bore-size deal is one of those things that gets my attention. DAVE
You're right, I don't know, but certainly all the other R13's I tried from the same period have the same characteristics, its not a one-off clarinet. Like I said, its like comparing American horns to Selmers.....absolute chalk and cheese in terms on sound, response and tonal palette.
Whatever causes it doesn't bother me in the slightest!
 

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Hey Dave,
I was wondering if maybe it's not so much the SIZE of the bore but rather the SHAPE.

After you did your measurements I did a little 'online shopping' and compared bore sizes of several currently produced clarinets.
The bore size did vary between brand models, but so did the shape. (Buffet and Selmer Pro line horns only since it was past my bed time.)
Many had polycylindrical bores while others had polycylindrical top joints and cylindrical bottom joints.

As for the barrels. The standard barrel appears to be the 'standard' taper, while others that are supposed to bring more 'focus' to the sound are of the 'reverse taper' variety.

I too have played a LOT of clarinets. Student, intermediate, pro. Selmer, Buffet, Leblanc, Yamaha, various stencils. Small bore, large bore. Plastic, wood, warm day, cool day, French made, USA horns...
Every one has been slightly different. Some of the 'small bore' clarinets played easier and with a much bigger sound than the 'large bore' clarinets. It may have only been my perception, but those were my findings.

Being female I don't always care about the 'science' behind why a horn playes the way it does. I'm just thankful when the juju is good. :)
 

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bandmommy: I am no scientist, either. The scientific discussions often make my eyes glaze over. But the constant claims of bore-size gets my attention. I hate to be boring about it (pun intended), but when I look at those bore-size charts (like the one I linked, and the one WW&BW used to publish in their clarinet section) I don't see significant differences . . . like, is .570" smaller than .574"? Is 14.60mm smaller than 14.66mm?

When we read those numbers, our brain says yes. When you do the math, you see a four-thousandths of an inch difference. Can we even see .004"? Does it make a difference? Maybe, but to me it is laughable to claim ownership of a "big bore" clarinet when the difference is .004" over a "small bore" clarinet.

Your contention that it may be the shape rather than size makes more sense to me, but still I'd hate to see folks now claiming they have a poly-bore, so there! This may replace the silver-plate vs. unlacquered-finish discussions!!

And the difficult truth is that the manufacturers list these measurements but apparently don't hold too close to their own specs. I proved that when I measured my clarinet and soprano saxophone necks and receivers, and compared those measurements to the chart and to other similar necks and receivers in my own collection.

I've posted this before, but once I asked a famous repair-tech (who also worked as a quality-control inspector for a major instrument distributor of high-end, name-brand clarinets) if he could explain to me the REAL meaning of bore-size differences. He told me it made no difference - we were only talking about a few thousandths of an inch. Case closed. DAVE
 

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My favourite clarinet has a poly bore and silver keys... :)
Better yet it has good JUJU!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've been playing these all week now back and forth and for me personally they really match up beautifully with my Fobes piece. I am going to buy the 595. I
don't know if they would work as well with another make of piece but with my Fobes CFplus it works for me over my existing RC barrel.
 

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Yesterday I received my Fobes barrel for my full boehm buffet- what a difference. The pitch and tone are considerably evened out with the Fobes barrel, especially around the throat tones and over the break.
For anyone who plays a Fobes mouthpiece, I would highly recommend getting one of his barrels.
Clark's customer service is simply excellent too.
 

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I can't say enough good about Clark and his products. His mouthpieces and barrels are terrific. They are well designed and play great. He is also one of the easiest guys to work with.
 
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