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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm going into Grade 11. I've used a Vito 7214 since Grade 9, and it has served me very well. In May, I auditioned and was accepted into a local orchestra. I decided to start lessons and get a new clarinet in hopes of improving a lot.

I went to a music store and checked out their used clarinets, and found a Noblet clarinet which was rated at semi-professional and in good condition. I bought it for $830, which I thought was very cheap for an almost professional clarinet.

But when I started playing I noticed a lot of problems. On my Vito, I could reach a written high G# (4 ledger lines above the staff). However, on the Noblet I was struggling to play even a D (two ledger lines) with good tone. I took it to the store just yesterday, and found that it was leaking. It's still under warranty so they fixed it for me. I tried it out just now, but it still feels..harder to play in general. I'm not sure if it's me, or my reed, or something else, but it feels like I have to focus more on getting a sound out.

I'm wondering if I should get rid of it. I will see my music teacher for the first time after he gets back from this music camp. I'd rather not spend my first lesson figuring out what's wrong with my clarinet/me.

I'll try to answer any questions that come up?
 

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Sounds like there may still be issues with the setup or the instrument. Can you return the clarinet for a refund at this point? There are lots of clarinets that would be high quality intermediate level instruments for what you paid. I recently sold an excellent Buffet E11 for $445 with new pads and no cracks or damage to the wood. You can find this same model or intermediate Yamahas in your price range. If possible, play any horns you’re considering across the entire range before buying.
 

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It is always a good idea to have your private teacher go with you when trying out a clarinet to purchase for two reasons. 1) You can hear how the instrument sounds when played well, 2) Your teacher can detect any problems with the instrument.

There is not much you can do at this point except wait until your teacher gets back, and go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like there may still be issues with the setup or the instrument. Can you return the clarinet for a refund at this point? There are lots of clarinets that would be high quality intermediate level instruments for what you paid. I recently sold an excellent Buffet E11 for $445 with new pads and no cracks or damage to the wood. You can find this same model or intermediate Yamahas in your price range. If possible, play any horns you’re considering across the entire range before buying.
I don't feel like I can return it, and I'm currently exploring other options. I've tried looking for good intermediate clarinets, but it seems that the used market isn't the easiest to navigate. The new ones are quite expensive. Unfortunately I don't bring reeds with me, and since the store always gives me a new one to try I assume that it's because the reed is new (rather than the clarinet).
 

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Sounds like a problem with the clarinet. You may need to have mom or dad step-in and insist they take the clarinet back. Noblet Clarinets can be good but I only recommend the Buffet E-11 for Nything intermediate. Sorry it’s not working out.
 

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There's a LOT that's wrong (no offense) with this scenario.
1. You don't take reeds and/or your mouthpiece that YOU are used to when trying a new/different horn AND purchasing it??
2. Unfortunately, the majority of music stores out there know pretty much next to nothing when it comes to clarinets and woodwinds in general. They have "specialists" in drums and guitars, but I digress.
3. I'd bet the clarinet is simply not set up well. It's a chore for any semi-serious player to find a repair tech in his/her area that knows what they're doing. I would recommend asking your teacher who he goes to or finding other local semi-pro or pro players (sax players included) and ask who they go to.
4. NEVER again purchase an instrument without playing on your reeds/mouthpiece and spending a good hour or so with it first. Then go home, think about it more and go back and play it again. Repeat again if necessary.
5. You overpaid. There's no way a used Noblet is worth that money. They saw you coming in my opinion. Therefore....
6. If possible, always have your teacher or VERY good, working player go with you to try out instruments.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Updates:
I just pulled out my old plastic Vito clarinet. I used the same reeds, and the same Fobes Debut mouthpiece. The Vito responded really well, and unless someone switched out the reeds I put there it's probably not the reed. One of them felt stuffier (maybe not broken in yet), but after a few minutes I could easily reach into the altissimo register again. I'm pretty sure there's some invisible problem with the Noblet, or it isn't functioning "very well maintained" as the store had first told me.

I'll try asking the store to get it returned, but if they won't do it I don't think I can force them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Updates Again:
I just called the store. They said no returns, but they can do a "buy-back", which is that I return it less a 15% fee, essentially money lost for the time I had it (which is a bit funny considering I'veonly had it since June 9). The guy on the phone said professional models are naturally more resistant and it helps with the tone quality. Right now I'm thinking I either:
1) Scam some person on eBay to buy it
2) Do the "buy-back" thing but negotiate to reduce the fee because I couldn't stay there for like an hour to warm up and practice normally. I also haven't had it for that long, and since it had a leak in the like two months I've had it, it's either not "almost new" or I'm really good at breaking clarinets.
 

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Looking at everyone's advice, it seems that I'm just too young and too much of an idiot for this...............
Not at all. You can do this!

Things like this happen all the time, and you will not be the first person to come to the shop with this kind of problem.

I would suggest you start by asking for "store credit" towards another instrument. If for some reason they don't have anything that works for you, ask if they can order something appropriate. If they can't or won't, then you're within rights to ask for a refund (assuming you haven't damaged the clarinet or otherwise acted in bad faith).

EDIT: I see they offered a refund, less 15%, which isn't a catastrophe, but doesn't speak particularly well for them, either. I would probably just accept that and move on, but I might also tell the shop that I'd be spending my money elsewhere in the future if they insist on collecting that "restock fee" or whatever it is.
 

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Try not to be offended by the comments as people can sometimes be very direct. If you and your folks are unable to persuade the store to provide a refund (imply you'll leave a bad yelp review, negative Better Business report, etc...) I would take them up on the 85% refund if I read your response correctly. The $680 is probably more that you'll get reselling the clarinet. I wouldn't pay more than a few hundred dollars for this clarinet on ebay so selling on ebay isn't a good option. Besides, you don't want to screw someone else just because you made a bad decision! We all make mistakes and that's how we learn. I would guess that the vast majority of us on SOTW have made bad purchases at one point or another that cost us in the wallet. I know I have!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Try not to be offended by the comments as people can sometimes be very direct. If you and your folks are unable to persuade the store to provide a refund (imply you'll leave a bad yelp review, negative Better Business report, etc...) I would take them up on the 85% refund if I read your response correctly. The $680 is probably more that you'll get reselling the clarinet. I wouldn't pay more than a few hundred dollars for this clarinet on ebay so selling on ebay isn't a good option. Besides, you don't want to screw someone else just because you made a bad decision! We all make mistakes and that's how we learn. I would guess that the vast majority of us on SOTW have made bad purchases at one point or another that cost us in the wallet. I know I have!
Not at all. You can do this!

Things like this happen all the time, and you will not be the first person to come to the shop with this kind of problem.

I would suggest you start by asking for "store credit" towards another instrument. If for some reason they don't have anything that works for you, ask if they can order something appropriate. If they can't or won't, then you're within rights to ask for a refund (assuming you haven't damaged the clarinet or otherwise acted in bad faith).

EDIT: I see they offered a refund, less 15%, which isn't a catastrophe, but doesn't speak particularly well for them, either. I would probably just accept that and move on, but I might also tell the shop that I'd be spending my money elsewhere in the future if they insist on collecting that "restock fee" or whatever it is.
Everyone's responses made me see how unfortunate it was that I bought this clarinet while so ignorant of the consequences. I'll definitely remember this in the future......
In response to MLucky, I'm not sure if I'm ready for a new clarinet (especially not after this). My Vito got me into an orchestra without any lessons, and I think it'll be great for now. The 85% refund is the best option. Not a fan of the fact that I get an extra month's penalty because they have a minimum 15% fee. I guess half of my paycheck is going to my parents. to make up for it......
Thanks for the great advice everyone! Glad to know I can talk with experienced people here (instead of spamming my band teacher).
 

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I'd probably go for the 85% buyback option and chalk up the loss to not knowing how to shop for a new instrument. Just to reiterate....

1. take YOUR mouthpiece in there.
2. with YOUR reeds
3. and play the instrument you're considering buying for at least an hour. Play loud. Play quiet. Play fast, play slow.

Then you'll have a much better idea.

Grade 11 means you're a junior in high school, yes? You're right at that point where it's time to think about moving up to a pro grade horn. Before you do that, you need to think long and hard, maybe talk to mom & dad, too about whether you're going to keep playing. The number of people who play in high school, then quit when they go to college is huge. Even bigger is the number who DON'T go to college, and quit playing. If you're going to get through high school and then put the instruments down in favor of other activities, then stick with your vito.

If you're seriously into this activity, it might be time, summer before your senior year, to start looking for a used Selmer Series 9 or 10 or Buffet R-13. You'll want to buy it locally if you possibly can. I've scored bigtime buying a Selmer Series 9 A clarinet off of ebay but I dropped $700 into a complete overhaul.That took a $500 instrument and made it a $1200 instrument. I got lucky. Don't try it!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd probably go for the 85% buyback option and chalk up the loss to not knowing how to shop for a new instrument. Just to reiterate....

1. take YOUR mouthpiece in there.
2. with YOUR reeds
3. and play the instrument you're considering buying for at least an hour. Play loud. Play quiet. Play fast, play slow.

Then you'll have a much better idea.

Grade 11 means you're a junior in high school, yes? You're right at that point where it's time to think about moving up to a pro grade horn. Before you do that, you need to think long and hard, maybe talk to mom & dad, too about whether you're going to keep playing. The number of people who play in high school, then quit when they go to college is huge. Even bigger is the number who DON'T go to college, and quit playing. If you're going to get through high school and then put the instruments down in favor of other activities, then stick with your vito.

If you're seriously into this activity, it might be time, summer before your senior year, to start looking for a used Selmer Series 9 or 10 or Buffet R-13. You'll want to buy it locally if you possibly can. I've scored bigtime buying a Selmer Series 9 A clarinet off of ebay but I dropped $700 into a complete overhaul.That took a $500 instrument and made it a $1200 instrument. I got lucky. Don't try it!
I won't be majoring in music or anything, but I'll most likely stay in my city, in which case I'll try to get to first chair in the same orchestra. I'm not quitting clarinet until I get my RCM Grade 10 (Royal Conservatory of Music is the main conservatory here in Canada). I was thinking of getting a Buffet R13, but most stores here sell it for ~$5000 new, and people on eBay claim to have one for $11 (hilarious). I'll do some digging around with my clarinet teacher, but for now the prices are very off-putting......
 

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If you like the clarinet keep it. Just take it back to the tech to finish getting the leaks out. If it's out of store warranty, maybe try a different tech.
Your mouthpiece is free blowing and so are Noblet clarinets. The salesperson who told you that pro instruments are more resistant is an idiot. All but 2 'pro' clarinets I've played blew as freely as any 'student' model. One was a poorly set up Leblanc Concerto II, the other is my perfectly adjusted Selmer Signature. And the resistance of the Signature is negligible.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you like the clarinet keep it. Just take it back to the tech to finish getting the leaks out. If it's out of store warranty, maybe try a different tech.
Your mouthpiece is free blowing and so are Noblet clarinets. The salesperson who told you that pro instruments are more resistant is an idiot. All but 2 'pro' clarinets I've played blew as freely as any 'student' model. One was a poorly set up Leblanc Concerto II, the other is my perfectly adjusted Selmer Signature. And the resistance of the Signature is negligible.
I picked it up from the store today. They said they "replaced pads as needed" and did a "minor cleaning". I don't think fixing it will help much. I just thought that if I'm focusing more on getting a note out than the subtleties of the music, then regardless of the cause I shouldn't be using the clarinet. I didn't exactly buy the "pro instruments are like this" thing, but I think it doesn't matter by now.......
 

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After all the trouble it’s probably good to spend a little time with the horn. Who knows, it may surprise you. If it’s still not playing easily across the range off it goes, back to the store for a partial refund! When looking for a new horn how easily it plays is important, as is a quality of tone you and the listener can appreciate. Best of luck!
 

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I picked it up from the store today. They said they "replaced pads as needed" and did a "minor cleaning". I don't think fixing it will help much. I just thought that if I'm focusing more on getting a note out than the subtleties of the music, then regardless of the cause I shouldn't be using the clarinet. I didn't exactly buy the "pro instruments are like this" thing, but I think it doesn't matter by now.......
If properly 'fixed' it will be a nice playing clarinet.
If all you want is to bellyache about how horrible everything is about it, fine. Sell it back to the store. Go back to playing the Vito. No sence in having the store make sure you got what you paid for.
 

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I'm not shure if you said that you talked with your parents about the situation. If not, I would strongly recommend doing so and go with them to the shop to work out a solution.
I'm not familiar with the legal situation in canada, but it's my understanding that the shop sold you a clarinet, suggesting that it's in used, but perfect condition, which is not true. I assume that you are not of age, which could be a factor if you want to dispute the contract.
I would try to give the clarinet back and to get a better deal than the 15% restocking fee, which should be easier with your parents at your side.
If they refuse this I would bite the bullet and pay the 15%.
I have a noblet artist clarinet, which is a fine instrument. In my part of the world it's considered to be an intermediate instrument (but these are only words...). I bought mine for less than 200€ (not in a shop, which would raise the price, but should also make shure, that the instrument is working properly).
When your teacher's back, he'll help you to find a good instrument.
 

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I assume that you are not of age, which could be a factor if you want to dispute the contract.
This may be an important point. In California minors (under 18) lack the legal capacity to enter into binding contracts, and any contracts they enter into are voidable at their option. If the law is the same in Canada, and you are a minor, and you (not your parents) purchased the clarinet, you might well have a right to void the sale "contract" and get a full refund.
 
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