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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted a similar thread to this except about a doubler's flute, and that proved quite popular so I thought I'd pose the same question to all you clarinet players!

I am 15 years old and have been playing sax for about 6 or so years and am at a pretty high standard. I am starting to do a lot of amateur drama work, i.e. theatre-based playing, and so am having to start doubling. I have actually been playing clarinet for longer than I've played sax (around 8 years) but take the sax far more seriously! At the moment I am using the Yamaha 250 clarinet that I got back when I first started, and am now very unsatisfied with the sound and am looking for a long-lasting upgrade.

I'm looking at around the £600-700 mark; something like a Buffet E11? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Sam
 

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See if you can get somewhere where you can try a bunch of clarinets, so you can see which ones work for you. You are advanced enough to be able to tell what you like. Back when I upgraded my clarinet, I found I liked the Buffet sound and feel much better than the Selmer, but you may be different. (I ended up with what is now the equivalent of the E13, I believe.) Also, individual horns vary, so you want to try the actual one you will be getting, if at all possible. I don't know clarinet prices in England, so I can't help much with what you can get for your budget.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
See if you can get somewhere where you can try a bunch of clarinets, so you can see which ones work for you. You are advanced enough to be able to tell what you like. Back when I upgraded my clarinet, I found I liked the Buffet sound and feel much better than the Selmer, but you may be different. (I ended up with what is now the equivalent of the E13, I believe.) Also, individual horns vary, so you want to try the actual one you will be getting, if at all possible. I don't know clarinet prices in England, so I can't help much with what you can get for your budget.
Artstove, the Buffet E13 is around about £1000 if that helps at all, do you have any idea if there's much of a difference between the E13 and the E11? I know the E11's only a student model.
 

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I've used an E11 for a long time now. I don't play much clarinet at this point in life but still get out the Buffet and play with friends once in a blue moon. I think for the money it is a great clarinet and will hold up for a long time and sound terrific if you take good care of it. No idea about prices in your part of the world but you can pick one up here in the States new for about $1,400 and a good used one for around $800 or so. Good luck and keep playing!
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Paul, thanks! I'm seriously looking at the E11, there about £800 over here, but as I'm still at school there are numerous schemes where I can get it VAT free, so only end up paying about £650! Thanks for the advice!
 

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Putting aside the smob value of timber... As for flutes, nothing wrong with a student Yamaha, well adjusted.
 

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My advice would be to buy the best instrument you can afford. I double a lot. I also don't really subscribe to the point of view that you have a doubler's instrument. My clarinet is a Buffet R13. You have a current budget but you also have a current clarinet. If it means working harder and saving a bit more then I just don't get the hurry. I always try to buy myself good instruments because I like the sound and the feel AND the reliability.

I disagree with Gordon that it is 'snob value' having a wood clarinet. There is nothing wrong with the Yamaha but the difference to me between that and my current clarinet is night and day.
 

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For years I was an advocate of the E11. We would have all our beginners start on that wooden clarinet and I would recommend it to my private sax students interested in doubling. Saw a big drop in quality over the past 4-5 years - namely the wood. I have to say that IMHO, the Yamaha 450 clarinet trumps that horn now - the original E11 (Schreiber made). Our local dealer made me take some 450's home to try. The Yamaha has beautiful wood and the 5-6 that I have played had a very even scale with consistent response one note to the next and with no buzzy/fuzzy notes. My daughter, and E11 clarinetist in high school, wouldn't part with the 450 when she tried it and wanted to trade. Again, I am referring to the former E11 (Schreiber) that we all have come to know. The new E11 France is strong but at a much higher price point. As I understand it, the new E11 France is made in the former Leblanc factory that Buffet bought in France a few years ago.
 

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I am interested about what mouthpiece you use. A good mouthpiece is the cheapest n best investment. Furthermore, reeds and ligatures makes a great difference also.
 

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You might want to look into the Yamaha 650's also, which is the entry line professional clarinet form Yamaha, and usually about the same price point as an E11.
 

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There is nothing wrong with the clarinet you have for doubling. If you don't like the sound try a different mouthpiece, get it checked out, and get your clarinet chops back in shape. More than likely you've gotten sloppy from spending more time on sax.

If you REALLY think you need to get something different the E11 is a good option. It's an intermediate level horn.
There are other options out there that you might want to concider. Buffet isn't the only manufacturer of fine playing clarinets. Try a few made by Leblanc, Selmer, and a couple of different Yamaha models.
Vintage pro horns can sometimes be found for very reasonable prices so don't discount those.
 

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Artstove, the Buffet E13 is around about £1000 if that helps at all, do you have any idea if there's much of a difference between the E13 and the E11?
Sorry, it has been too long since I compared them to give you a current/good answer. Try a few E11s, and see how they work for you. If you like the sound and how it plays, it should be fine for a long time.
 

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I've played in over 160 seasons of shows, primary instrumnet being flute. During only 4 of those shows, I was blown away by the beautiful tone and playing of the clarinetist beside me. One was on a timber Buffet. One was a probably-Bakelite, very basic student model Boosey & Hawkes Regent. One was a student Yamaha. One a Selmer Bundy. I guarantee if you heard those last three, you too would have been blown away. If the instrument is not junk, and well adjusted the sound produced is 98% player + mouthpiece. IMO.

I also doubled in many of these shows, convincing audiences that I was an accomplished clarinet player. That was on a Yamaha 62. But as a technician I have often played plastic Yamahas, play testing after working on them. I am absolutely certain that the audience impression would be no different if I played one of those in the shows.

Sometimes I wonder if people in this forum, preaching the virtues of timber clarinets over plastic ones, have actually spent much (or any) time on a well-adjusted plastic Yamaha with decent mouthpiece.

A local, very accomplished player did acknowledge that a plastic Yamaha is a fantastic instrument, until he started getting commission from the marketer of a different brand that was not plastic. Hmm.
 

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Sometimes I wonder if people in this forum, preaching the virtues of timber clarinets over plastic ones, have actually spent much (or any) time on a well-adjusted plastic Yamaha with decent mouthpiece.
I think the issue of adjustment is v important. IMO many techs would not take the trouble to adjust the action of a cheap instrument in the way they would if it's an E13 (R13 a fortiori). Of course, if the customer specifies that that is what they want and are prepared to pay for some extra time and trouble then things are probably different.
 

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I think the issue of adjustment is v important. IMO many techs would not take the trouble to adjust the action of a cheap instrument in the way they would if it's an E13 (R13 a fortiori).
Yeh, the old "Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds" theme. Some myths die hard:

"Hard rubber mouthpieces are superior."
"The stiffer the reed, the better the player."
"Wooden clarinets sound better."
"Teacher approved." :lol:
 

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Any of the instruments mentioned, in good repair, will do what you need. The main problem for beginning doublers is the difference in resistance between the typical sax mouthpiece and the typical clarinet mouthpiece. Try to find a free-blowing clarinet mouthpiece. Mouthpieces that are recommended as good for klezmer or jazz are a good place to start. You can still get a good classical sound on the best ones.
 

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I was going to say that full Boehm clarinets are good for doubling. They're just a tiny bit more like playing a sax than a standard Boehm...but that's not quite what you asked!
 
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