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Forum Contributor 2010 & Distinguished SOTW Member
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I am a huge proponent of Clark Fobes gear, owning and using 3 different B flat clarinet barrels, an e flat clarinet barrel, the e flat clarinet extension and a Bass clarinet mouthpiece and e flat clarinet mouthpiece.

I was shocked the other day when I started to sound like a drunk R2D2 on my B flat clarinet squeaking and squealing like a stuck pig. I looked my clarinet over well, but couldn't find any missing pads or things out of alignment, then I observed, much to my horror that my Fobes 65 mm barrel had cracked from top to bottom. I pulled the barrel off to notice that it was cracked all the way through to the bore.

I am fanatical about caring for my instruments. I never leave the clarinet assembled on the stand, I am OCD about temperature changes and I always swab out the horn, the bore, the tenons and the sockets before I put it away.

So in my disappointment, I emailed Clark on Tuesday regarding my shock and humbly asking if he would CONSIDER replacing the barrel. Within an hour I had a very pleasant email back and Clark's word to ship me another barrel. 3 days later, from San Francisco to New York, I haves me a new shiny 65mm Clark W. Fobes barrel. Let's hear it for customer service and for one of the good guys!

I have recommended his equipment to colleagues, students and anyone who will listen. I will continue to do so with enthusiasm!
 

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I have also been a big fan of Clark's equipment for years. Clark makes some of the best equipment out there, and I agree about his customer service. He stands by his products if there is ever a question or issue. If you call with questions he responds to any inquiries. There is nobody better!
 

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THe san franciso mouthpiece is one of my favorite out there. In addition, the debut mouthpiece is one of the best student mpc out there imo.
 

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THe san franciso mouthpiece is one of my favorite out there. In addition, the debut mouthpiece is one of the best student mpc out there imo.
I agree completely. In fact, I have a Debut in my case that I often throw on to play when teaching. Many days I have to take a look to be sure I didn't put on my regular mouthpiece. It plays so well and sound so good that i could easily play it on a gig.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Excellent service. First class. But why would it crack (especially given your treatment of your instruments)? I have never had a clarinet crack and I am not remotely fanatical about care. Is this stuff just a matter of luck?
 

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In this case, it's a matter of luck. Clark even includes a container of bore oil with his barrels and it sounds like qwerty is meticulous. Here's another vote for Clark's fine products and outstanding service.
 

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There are many causes of cracks in wooden instruments and barrels. Wood being a natural product has grains throughout. In some cuts there can be naturally weak areas to begin with where the cells are not as dense. Being made up of cells, even the densest of woods can expand and contract due to the moisture content. Where I live in Utah, cracks are not uncommon because of the very dry climate---especially when the wooden instrument is manufactured or brought from a place with higher humidity. Barrels are particularly vulnerable if the mouthpiece or the upper joint tenon fit too tightly. If there is a weakness somewhere in the grain of the barrel and the tenon fit is extremely tight, then if the tenon becomes saturated with moisture and expands it can force the barrel to separate at its weakest point.

Some people believe that tightening the rings will prevent cracks. This is not true. All the ring really does is to help protect end from injury if it is hit or dropped on that part.
 

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I think it is somewhat luck and the individual piece of wood. I have known folks who are super careful with their instruments, taking forever to break them in, careful about moisture, temperature, etc, and have had cracks. I know other folks who just play the instrument with barely a thought about care other than swabbing and have had no issues.
 

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I think it is somewhat luck and the individual piece of wood. I have known folks who are super careful with their instruments, taking forever to break them in, careful about moisture, temperature, etc, and have had cracks. I know other folks who just play the instrument with barely a thought about care other than swabbing and have had no issues.
I have to say, although crack might be uncommon if you treat your instrument well but it does happen. Treating your instrument well just gives it a better chance but theres no gurantee. Ironically sometimes badly treated instrument last longer, like this r13 i picked up, I was surprised it was still together.
 
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