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Help! Advice Needed!

#1
Hello, everyone!

So I've been playing soprano clarinet for 2 and a half years now, and I'm pretty serious about it. I'm in 8th grade and the first chair at my school. I've done well in All-region competitions (2nd chair in my region), and currently play a used Buffet R13. However, my private lesson teacher now recommends me to buy a new clarinet and sell my old R13. He has let me try 3 different Buffet Festival clarinets (even better than the R13), and I'm impressed by the superior tone quality of the horns. However, the Festival is extremely advanced and a silver-keyed one costs $4,100 on most websites. As so, I'm also considering buying a new R13, which would cost $400+ less.

When I bought my current R13 last year, my school teacher told me that it could last me through college, and he now advises me to not get the Festival and just get the R13. I'm really not sure about this, so can anyone give me any feedback? Thanks.

On an unrelated note, does anyone else's Festival also have a mild buzzing sound on the third-bar B and Bb?
 
#2
As you're already playing a reputable professional-level instrument, unless there's something particularly wrong with it I'd be inclined at this point to spend your money on your present instrument. If you were to have a first-class tech experienced on Buffets to carry out a service on your instrument, restoring it to as-new condition, then you'd have something that would probably exceed your requirements for some years, for a great deal less than the cost of a replacement. If you select your tech and book the instrument in on a specific date then you'll minimise downtime.
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#3
1st step - seek out a reputable clarinet technician and have your instrument thoroughly examined. If it proves to be sound have whatever the tech recommends done to it done. At this point in your development you need to spend time with one instrument and not go out chasing the holy grail of clarinets. Spend your time and money improving yourself as a player and musician.

2nd step - If there is a serious flaw, consider that your instructor recommended this instrument to you just last year as a long term instrument. Also consider that some stores give kickbacks to teachers who send students to them. Neither of these may be the case, but you need to be aware of the possibility that you may be getting less than the best direction from someone in whom you have placed your trust.

3rd step - log off and go practice!
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
+1 to Carl H and Tony. Having a tech look over your horn is going to cost you maybe shop minimum (say, $50 or so) and, unless the horn's really beat, I doubt you'd spend more than $500 on repairs. After that, I'd be more interested in looking at mouthpiece/reed/ligature choices. The use the rest of the cash to buy a car or books in college. However, if you're independently wealthy -- like, you're one of the three folks that won the $550 million lottery last night -- buy a new horn. Send me your old R13.

Your mild buzzing could be from a lot of things. Easiest: it's out of adjustment or has a leak.
 
#5
+1 to Carl H and Tony. Having a tech look over your horn is going to cost you maybe shop minimum (say, $50 or so) and, unless the horn's really beat, I doubt you'd spend more than $500 on repairs. After that, I'd be more interested in looking at mouthpiece/reed/ligature choices. The use the rest of the cash to buy a car or books in college. However, if you're independently wealthy -- like, you're one of the three folks that won the $550 million lottery last night -- buy a new horn. Send me your old R13.

Your mild buzzing could be from a lot of things. Easiest: it's out of adjustment or has a leak.
Thanks for all of your advice (not just Pete!). However, my current R13 have less than mediocre intonation (it's like 50 cents sharp), and I feel like having a used instrument is kinda meh. If I insisted on buying a new clarinet, what would you guys do?
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#6
Thanks for all of your advice (not just Pete!). However, my current R13 have less than mediocre intonation (it's like 50 cents sharp), and I feel like having a used instrument is kinda meh.
If it is that far out of tune you should have never bought it in the first place!
But there are things you may be doing to make the situation worse - things your instructor should be working with you to correct. If it is consistently 50 cents sharp you need a different barrel - or you need to stop biting.


If I insisted on buying a new clarinet, what would you guys do?
I'd tell you to get your current instrument looked at before you do anything, and then consider your teacher's qualifications to recommend anything. If it's an adjustment issue you should investigate that option first. If it's a simple matter like chosing an appropriate barrel or technique issue on your part that should also be addressed. Don't go throwing away a decent instrument until you have proof the instrument is at fault. You might just end up in the same place you are right now, except missing a whole bundle of cash. Don't look for equipment to solve your problems until you have defined exactly what the issue is.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#7
You know ultimately you're gonna do what you want to do no matter what anyone sez. We think you probably have a fine instrument that may need some tweaking and that you'd be better off spending your money on lessons--that's us. You do what ya gotta do. There is no one path to success, but sometimes it's easier going on the highway rather than cross-country.
 
#8
Thanks for all of your advice (not just Pete!). However, my current R13 have less than mediocre intonation (it's like 50 cents sharp), and I feel like having a used instrument is kinda meh. If I insisted on buying a new clarinet, what would you guys do?
I don't think we'd "do" anything, but we might think that you had gone for the easy path before exploring the problem fully. I have to say that I think the advice you say you're getting from your teacher concerning the need for a new instrument sounds a bit dubious. The fact that your R13 is playing sharp is not necessarily an indicator that the instrument needs replacement. In all probability its caused by something that can be adjusted or tweaked away. In the end it's your money and I'm sure you'll do whatever it is that you've decided to do.
 
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