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Discussion Starter #1
My son decided he wanted to play clarinet when he takes band and I had a chance to buy a Noblet at an auction. After looking at other postings I am not sure if I should get this refurbished (is that the right term?) or if I should buy a new student type plastic clarinet?

The one I bought looks good, no cracks that I can find. I am sure it needs some work though. It seems fairly old. From the case style I would guess the 1940's-50's but who knows. The serial number is 90213. What do you think? He is 10 years old. His sister who is currently playing tuba is 11 and is also interested. Can they share it or is it like having your own toothbrush?

Thanks so much. You make for interesting reading for a scientist who knows nothing about music.
 

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Sharing is not a very good idea. A good used Noblet is a worthy instrument for a starter, but you could easily spend the purchase price again getting it working well. I prefer Yamaha YCL-250 for beginners. These are expensive relative to other beginner clarinets, but worth it.
 

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Lots of comments about student clarinets on the clarinet bboard at www.woodwind.org.
 

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Dr. Cecil Leeson, noted Saxophone educator and performer, started me on a Noblet Clarinet way back when. I still have and use it to this day. The value of of an instrument to someone learning isn't its resale value, but how it plays. You won't go wrong with a Noblet. Get it repadded or overhauled as required. Clarinet repads, BTW, are considerably less expensive than sax repads.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update: I am going to pick up the 11 year old from Texas Tech Band Camp. I think I will take it with me. Maybe someone will be willing to offer an opinion seeing it in person. I am leaning toward getting it overhauled since I already bought it and so many of you seem to think it is worth it. The only obvious flaw is bits of what looks like cork are cracked off but that doesn't seem like it'd be a big issue?
 

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Bootman said:
These are some of the most underated clarinets out there. They play very nicely when they are set-up well.
They're standard issue in music schools here...
 

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Tictactux,
it is hard enough to get some of the schools to use plastic clarinets in good repair that aren't chinese let alone giving them nice clarinet. Most of the student Yamaha clarinets are no better interms of falling apart than the el cheapo models.
 

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Bootman said:
Tictactux,
it is hard enough to get some of the schools to use plastic clarinets in good repair that aren't chinese let alone giving them nice clarinet. Most of the student Yamaha clarinets are no better in terms of falling apart than the el cheapo models.
Here the instruments are in generally good repair, due to some subsidising. A lot of the schools offer the "finished" student "their" instrument for bargain prices which keeps the stock somewhat new. Haven't seen anything outside the Leblanc/Buffet/Yamaha realm in schools.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We took it to Lubbock and had some people look at it. They thought it was well worth overhauling it... lots of conversation about potential problems with letting a young child use it eg. if it drops. He won't be in a marching band for some time and is a responsible kid so we'll start with this and consider a plastic one for marching later. BTW my daughter LOVED Texas Tech Band camp.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Forgot to thank you all again for your comments and have one more question.

He won't start band for almost a year. Can he try to self teach in the meantime or will he learn bad habits that way? I don't think there is anyone in our town who teaches clarinet outside of the school bands.
 

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Lessons at the beginning are more important than at any other time.
 

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oomyzus said:
Forgot to thank you all again for your comments and have one more question.

He won't start band for almost a year. Can he try to self teach in the meantime or will he learn bad habits that way? I don't think there is anyone in our town who teaches clarinet outside of the school bands.
Where are you? Unless you're in some tiny burg, on the edge of the panhandle, you can almost always find a Clarinet teacher. My son was at band camp in Texas Tech too. They all had a great time. I don't think he should start until he gets a teacher. it's too easy to get a lazy embouchure, and then it's hard to get rid of. Also, he might get frustrated, and give up before making any strides.

Clarinet is hard, playing it well is even harder. Go slow, and reap the rewards in time. These are great years, don't rush them.
 

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Bootman said:
These are some of the most underrated clarinets out there. They play very nicely when they are set-up well.
I totally agree.

However the design does not tolerate pads that are even slightly too thick. (Better that the felt itself is quite thin.) And the corking of keys needs discretion, with particular regard to thickness. The original corking often falls off because of use of an inferior cement.

So it is quite common for an 'average' technician to do a lousy job of setting them up. Choose technician carefully, and you'll get a great instrument. Choose badly and you will get a very stuffy-sounding clarinet.
 

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As much as I am a "Selmer forever" person when it comes to pro level instruments, I solidly recommend both Vito student horns and Noblet intermediate ones (in the soprano clarinet family only).

The Vitos have the smaller fingerholes that ease transition to an instrument family that is very unforgiving of the slightest error in finger placement, and the Noblets are all solid (if someone stogy) instruments that offer most of what most clarinet players will ever need from a horn.

Steer clear of the Leblanc branded harmony clarinets, though. Ol' Vito allowed something sinister to creep in there...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
thanks and another question

Thanks for all the additional comments. I may have found a clarinet instructor. We live in Carlsbad, NM so there are actually some things that are hard to find without driving to Lubbock, Midland or El Paso, minimum 2 1/2 hour drive. (I once thought Lubbock was small now it's the 'big city')

If this person who is an accomplished clarinet player does not work, out could a high school student train a beginner or should we wait the year until he is in 6th grade band to learn from a band teacher. He is anxious but it is only one year.
 

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"...could a high school student train a beginner..."
Yes, if he is well trained himself, and has some clues about teaching, i.e. communicating his knowledge and experience.

However if this guy has not encountered and solved a wide variety of problems in his own learning, he may not be equipped to deal with these problems if they arise in the beginner.
 
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