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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