Yes, I played one several days at a shop in France and almost bought one. I tried it with all the Buffets and Selmers, and it was the only model that I just loved. But I play a lot of jazz, and in the end I felt like the CSG was a little too focused in the high register and the low register. Rich, colorful, and very focused sound. I am still regretting not buying one though. The intonation is exceptional too.
I didn't buy a new clarinet at the shop. I was so surprised by the Yamaha CSG that I was going to buy it even though I have several clarinets. I actually find myself picking up my Ridenour Libertas a lot lately because it plays so evenly and is slightly quieter. (worried about my ears). The CSG is definitely a different kind of clarinet, so I don't think changing mouthpieces is going to make it suddenly sound like a buffet. I would like to try a CSG next to the other Yamaha pro models such a the SEV. There is a shop in Paris that has a few in stock. It is very difficult to find many Yamaha pro clarinets in the same place. They don't send out a lot of inventory.
I play a II. Very consistent, excellent intonation and a good sound for blending. Great section clarinet. I’ve played it for 3 years. Very comfortable and well placed keywork, fits my hands like a glove. I’ve played professional productions of West Side Story, a very difficult clarinet book and it was consistent, easy to play with a good sound.
Now, with that said, a Selmer St. Louis came into my hands recently which matches the CSG for intonation and consistency. I feel the Selmer is more responsive with excellent feel, maybe a hair below the CSG. Though I would characterize as a “solo” clarinet, I tried it in my trio d’anches (we have some 2 clarinet and 1 bassoon arrangements) and it performed beautifully.
For one thing, the sound had more clarity with more of the higher overtones. Response was easier than the CSG and intonation was excellent.
Comparison was with a Vandoren BD5 Black Diamond with an Alexander 3.5 reed.
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