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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently changed my clarinet setup (to a Morgan J6, with a Legere EC 2.75). Unfortunately, while I really like the sound and response of this new setup, my clarinet now plays consistently flat, even after more an hour of continuous playing.

The clarinet also had a tendency to play flat under my previous setup (Vandoren 5JB, Legere EC 2.5), but that setup was a bit softer and easier to lip up to pitch.

As a result, I'd like to try using a shorter barrel. The stock barrel is 67mm, with 15.0mm cylindrical bore. I'd like to get a 65mm barrel.

Can you recommend any third-party barrels that work well with Centered Tones (my clarinet is actually a pre-Centered Tone Series N, but the barrels and bore diameters are identical across models)?

In my own research, I've found two commercially available barrel models that seem to be aimed at older large-bore clarinets: the Ridenour Ivorolon (model R) and the Backun FatBoy (Standard Plus model). However, the manufacturers do not explicitly disclose any information about the bore shapes or diameters. Has anyone measured the exit diameter of either of these barrels or tried them on a Centered Tone (or other large-bore Selmer)?
 

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I have a Ridenour Ivorolon (R) that I've used with my BT in the past. It's okay, but in the end, no matter how many aftermarket barrels I've tried (and I've tried quite a few), I always go back to the original Selmer barrel(s). I'd keep a look out for an older Selmer barrel. I think you'd most likely be better off with an original and spend probably the same ballpark money-wise.
 

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Whatever barrel you choose, I’m almost certain that the barrel tenon and socket dimensions are 19mm on most Selmer clarinets (don’t know this for a fact for centered tones). Buffet/Leblanc/Yamaha are 18mm.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Per jgreiner's advice, I looked for and found an original Selmer 65mm Selmer barrel from roughly the correct period (i.e., before Series 9 but after BT) on eBay at a really good price.

If it doesn't work out, I'll try reaching out to one of the custom manufacturers (I was hoping to avoid going this route).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whatever barrel you choose, I’m almost certain that the barrel tenon and socket dimensions are 19mm on most Selmer clarinets (don’t know this for a fact for centered tones). Buffet/Leblanc/Yamaha are 18mm.
I assume that you're referring to the tenon/socket lengths and not their diameters (On my Selmer, the socket diameter on the lower end of the barrel is about 24mm)?

If so, the tenon on my upper joint is indeed 19mm, but I don't think that should matter right? If I get a shorter barrel, that should only have the cosmetic effect of leaving a small gap visible on the exterior of the clarinet when the barrel is pushed in as far as possible.
 

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Per jgreiner's advice, I looked for and found an original Selmer 65mm Selmer barrel from roughly the correct period (i.e., before Series 9 but after BT) on eBay at a really good price.

If it doesn't work out, I'll try reaching out to one of the custom manufacturers (I was hoping to avoid going this route).
Win.

;-)
 

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If the barrel upper joint tenon length is 19mm as it is on my Selmer 10S, then the depth of the barrel socket also has to be 19mm so that the barrel can be flush to the top of the tenon as well as being flush to the body of the clarinet at the base of the tenon. An 18mm socket depth will leave a gap of 1mm at the base of the tenon, thus also increasing the length of the clarinet by that 1mm in the process. Yes, the tenon will be flush to the barrel internally, but not flush to the clarinet upper joint.

I assume that you're referring to the tenon/socket lengths and not their diameters (On my Selmer, the socket diameter on the lower end of the barrel is about 24mm)?

If so, the tenon on my upper joint is indeed 19mm, but I don't think that should matter right? If I get a shorter barrel, that should only have the cosmetic effect of leaving a small gap visible on the exterior of the clarinet when the barrel is pushed in as far as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the barrel upper joint tenon length is 19mm as it is on my Selmer 10S, then the depth of the barrel socket also has to be 19mm so that the barrel can be flush to the top of the tenon as well as being flush to the body of the clarinet at the base of the tenon. An 18mm socket depth will leave a gap of 1mm at the base of the tenon, thus also increasing the length of the clarinet by that 1mm in the process. Yes, the tenon will be flush to the barrel internally, but not flush to the clarinet upper joint.
Okay, so if I understand you correctly, you're just pointing out that I would need to account for an extra 1mm. That is, to get the tuning effect of a 65mm barrel, I would need to use a 64mm barrel, right?
 

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Yes, that is correct, mmichael. It’s a situation where a custom barrel maker may not be aware that a Selmer barrel tenon is different than the standard 18mm length of the other major clarinet makers or doesn’t get requests from enough Selmer players to make them. That’s really not custom in that regard then. Finding a Selmer vintage barrel sounds like the best choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I'm reviving this thread because I wound up needing a slightly shorter barrel (64mm) and I found a good, inexpensive third-party alternative.

Based on the fact that someone on the Clarinet BBoard reported successfully using one of Robert DiLutis's David Weber barrels on his Series 9, I decided to check them out. An additional part of their appeal for me was that these are relatively inexpensive and available off-the-shelf in a straight-bore version.

The upshot is that the barrel I received fits very well (more on this below) and actually works better than either of my original Selmer barrels. In particular, the intonation with the Weber barrel is slightly more consistent and, more importantly, the changes in timbre and pressure across the break are reduced and easier to control for me with this barrel.

For curiousity's sake, and to provide more information for future visitors of this thread (because this information is almost never provided by barrel manufacturers), I measured the bore and socket dimensions of this barrel and compared them with the relevant dimensions on my 65mm Selmer barrel and upper joint dimensions.

First, the dimensions for the David Weber barrel:
  • The bore is exactly 15.00 mm in diameter, is straight (i.e., no taper or reverse-taper) and the cross section is almost perfectly circular.
  • The upper joint socket is 18.80 mm deep and 23.77 mm in (inner) diameter.
  • The mouthpiece socket is 17.25 mm deep and 22.45 mm in (inner) diameter.
I didn't measure the outer diameter of my upper joint because the barrel fit it perfectly (i.e., enough to fit with appropriate friction against the cork). However, I did measure the bore and tenon depth:
  • The bore measured at the top of my upper joint was about 15.17mm and at the bottom of the joint was 14.93 mm. Since these clarinets were not manufactured as polycylindrical designs (and based on additional measurements and information gleaned from The Clarinet Pages), I'm guessing that these measurements are consistent with an original/designed bore of 15.0 mm.
  • The length of the top tenon is exactly 19.0 mm, which means that there's a very small (0.20 mm) gap when the Weber barrel is pushed completely onto it, but this gap is barely visible.
Finally, the original Selmer barrel:
  • The upper joint socket is 19.15 mm deep
  • The bore is slightly ovoid and differs in size between the top and bottom:
    • the top (mouthpiece end) of the bore is 15.38 x 15.05 mm (i.e., major x minor axis diameters)
    • the bottom (upper joint end) is 15.22 x 14.83 mm
My guess, based both on the axial variation in bore diameters and on the age of the clarinet and barrel, is that the slight reverse taper in the original barrel is unintended and due to a combination of manufacturing error and the swelling and shrinking of the wood over time post-manufacture.
I'd also guess that the reason the David Weber barrel plays better is that its isotropic, cylindrical bore is closer to the design specifications of the original barrel.

Finally, my main takeaway from this is that, to the extent that small changes in bore size really matter for response, intonation, and other tonal charactistics (and barrel manufacturers seem to think it does), wood is a terrible material for making clarinets.

Edit: I should add that, per @Lambros's comment above (and assuming that Buffet sockets are exactly 18mm deep), using one of these on a Buffet or similar clarinet means that the barrel will effectively function as if it were 4/5ths of a mm shorter than its nominal length.
 
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