Is this really an 'A'? Looks flat to me.

Discussion in 'A, C and D Clarinets' started by LowThudd, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. LowThudd

    LowThudd

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    A key Clarinet with hard case, New

    To me it just looks like a standard student Bb with "Wood grain" finish bakelite. Though, I am not really sure how to tell. This seller usually has really good deals on unique guitars, but I happened to see this and it's got me curious.
     
    Tags:
  2. clarnibass

    clarnibass

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hard to say from a photo since even different Bb clarinets have different proportions of the joints and barrel. If the proportion of this clarinets is "normal" then it looks like an A clarinet, but it could be a Bb clarinet with a barrel shorter than most (more than a few are).
     
  3. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,564
    Likes Received:
    96
    It is very hard to tell. It looks like a Bb to me though.

    A few weeks ago I was reviewing "A" clarinets with a friend as she was thinking of buying a case.

    I showed her the lower joints of an E-11, R13, LL, preR13 "A" clarinets.
    All the joints were different lengths and would not fit into certain other cases.

    I think the E-11 was the longest of all of them, but either way, the proportions of various "A"'s vary.
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,713
    Likes Received:
    432
    FWIW, it's extremely difficult to tell the difference between A, Bb, C and D clarinets when they're separate. A pic of all of them together -- provided they're the same make and model -- is a lot easier because you can see the length differences. On saxophone, the main problem is comparing a C melody tenor with a "tenor" neck to a Bb tenor. Again, if you just look at separate pictures, it's very difficult to tell. If you have a C melody and Bb tenor together, it's very easy to tell the difference.

    (There have been some "rules of thumb" to compare the saxophones if you only have pictures, like "it's a C if the bell doesn't reach up to the G# key" and such. It doesn't always work.)

    You can also have problems determining if an alto flute and C flute are different if the alto flute has a straight headjoint. Fortunately, a lot of them have curved headjoints.
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,564
    Likes Received:
    96
    The smaller clarinets are easier to pick off by themselves as the keywork is closer together and they start pushing padcups to the side so that fingers do not interfere with them.

    Whereas Bb & A may even use the same mouthpiece and barrel. But the smaller clarinets normally do not. Barrel sizes really get small on the C too
     
  6. kevgermany

    kevgermany

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    0
    The seller's a big US dealer with a good rating and feedback. I'd think it's genuine.

    But if you're not sure get them to assemble it and shoot a pic with a tape/ruler alongside it. Then compare that to a known Bb. An A is a semitone deeper - one tone hole to tone hole gap longer....
     
  7. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes Received:
    24
    I always look at...

    ...the finger spacing on the lower joint, and compare it to a Bb that is in my hands. Those right hand fingers holes are considerably further apart than on a Bb.

    However, there aren't too many cheap As on the market. I don't think the Chinese instrument mills are all that into the A clarinet market segment at this point.
     
  8. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,578
    Likes Received:
    173
    I looked at the dealer stuff and he's got all no-name stuff. Think I'd pass, but then that's just me.
     
  9. LowThudd

    LowThudd

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    "High-end" no name. Some of the brands of guitars they are selling are known as good deals for the price. Korean small run luthier companies mostly. There are some really nice pieces of wood coming out of Korea, for alot less than 1/3 the price of a name brand. I have quite a few Korean made guitars, both name brand and no-name. The quality is generally pretty good except for the electronics and the final set up. Both processes I like to do myself anyway. But that does not mean the woodwinds are any good.
     
  10. kevgermany

    kevgermany

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agree. Loking at the shots, it looks like a low end model.

    We bought a cheapo chinese clarinet a few years back when our son wanted to learn. It played OK, but the keywork was poor, pads worse. And no-one will work on it, cos of the crappy keywork. The total cost was less than a year's rental of a student horn. So it served it's purpose while we waited to see if the lad was going to continue or not. Must get around to repadding it.
     
  11. clarnibass

    clarnibass

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have to work on instruments like this sometimes. I always explain any issues like these and if I can't guarantee something. If I didn't repair these, some people would just not have instruments to play.

    Some are really so bad that I suggest it's just not worth it. The most recent had almost half the range playing more than a quarter tone sharp and almsot half the range a quarter tone flat, plus the tone holes had more chips than can fit in the circumference of the holes, not to mention maybe a few keys were aligned with the tone holes (front/back-wise). So yes, I didn't "repair" this one.

    But I still need to repair a lot of lousy Chinese instruments and have to find ways to make them play reliably for a significant length of time, so I do.

    The only way to know one of those cheap instruments is not bad is either to try them and have the ability to tell the difference, or buy from someone who you know is trustworthy and will only sell a decent one (which IME there are very few...).
     
  12. kevgermany

    kevgermany

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    447
    Likes Received:
    0
    Must be difficult for you. The guys here won't touch them.

    I've no regrets, it did the job and potentially saved me a lot of money.

     
  13. clarnibass

    clarnibass

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    670
    Likes Received:
    1
    Not really.
     

Share This Page

Our staff's websites:


Loading...