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Author Topic: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C  (Read 856 times)

Offline Windsong

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2017, 03:11:40 PM »
Interesting article, Windy.  In fact, I was wondering if Tom's clarinets had a "2nds" or a "grey market", and it seems plausible that they do.
I am not one to need to be converted to attributes of hard rubber over Grenadilla, though there are many who still refuse to accept a non-wood clarinet as legitimate.  I actually prefer "Ebonite", hands down.  It is far more thermally stable, does not crack unless grossly abused.
The Clarinet Pages forum court jester, and expert bubblegum welder.

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2017, 04:19:01 PM »
Sherman delivers the straight talk. There was a time when a really good instrument was factory delivered, I think. C.G. Conn was once a mail order company. : ;)
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original The Clarinet Pages" forum

Offline philpedler

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2017, 01:46:51 PM »
My review of Windy's second STL C clarinet is found here:
https://sites.google.com/a/clarinetpages.net/www/hard-rubber/chinese-hard-rubber/henshui-roffee-songtielun-c-clarinet

The link to my review of the Ridenour C clarinet is in the STL review.

Windy is planning to send this STL C back to me once he tweaks it!

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2017, 07:09:21 PM »
A C instrument like this really is wonderful to have, for many reasons. I would like some replies to indicate how much interest there may be in a C clarinet that is fine-tuned (acoustically and mechanically), guaranteed, and shipped from USA on an approval basis for under $500.

Please reply if this appeals to YOU so I can see if this fine-tuning service is something I wish to pursue.

What about an A clarinet? Any interest there? Same $. Same quality result.
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2017, 08:32:58 AM »
REF to Phil's review of the STL, before AND AFTER my fine-tuning:
https://sites.google.com/a/clarinetpages.net/www/hard-rubber/chinese-hard-rubber/henshui-roffee-songtielun-c-clarinet

Thank you so much for the positive review of my result, Phil! I spent over 6 hours fine-tuning mechanically and acoustically on this second STL effort. I ordered another one and expect to keep on selling these. My price is $600. I give a 14-day trial period and a one-year warranty against any defects.

I just sold one to a symphony player on eBay, and await his feedback next week. You can still see the listing at:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Clarinet-key-of-C-hard-rubber-refined-to-a-professional-standard/112558200475

If a person buys one from STL on eBay (about $200 with postage), and find that it is worthy and in need of refinement, I will do it for $400 and I will give the same 1-year warranty. My process is worked out pretty well and will only improve.

The STL A is also excellent! It has issues, but it needs a little less refinement than the C.

 Anyone interested can contact me: windydankoff at mac dot com.   SUBJECT:  BLACK HOLE clarinets !
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline mjdpa

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2017, 06:57:17 PM »
Thanks to others whove shared info about the STL hard rubber C clarinets! That info led me to buy one from eBay.
 
I am an experienced, intermediate amateur player, with two pretty good wooden clarinets (Yamaha 450 and 650) that I play in community bands, etc. I bought the hard rubber STL C clarinet on a lark, specifically to play violin duets at home with my daughter for fun.

The clarinet is surprisingly good, especially for the price.  Tone quality is pleasant and not shrill and "plasticky" sounding. The mechanism seems reasonably sturdy. The horn arrived in  decent regulation, with no obvious leaks. The long B (above the break) responds easily. To be honest, the intonation is a little off, but workable. The only real fix I did was to thicken the cork under the throat Ab key, to bring down the two sharpest notes (throat A and Ab). The included no-name mouthpiece isn't bad, but I am using my normal setup: a Vandoren M13 with Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic 3 1/2 reeds. The hard-sided case seems nice enough. Overall, this little C clarinet has met or surpassed my expectations. This is a real instrument -- on balance, roughly comparable to a name-brand, lower-end student level clarinet.

The total cost including delivery (in 11 days!) from China was $198. For the price and for the kind of use I anticipate, its a good deal!

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2017, 10:47:11 PM »
Excellent! Thanks for your review.
Glad to hear that it worked out for you! Much better than dropping several hundreds more on a name brand, huh?
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2017, 12:47:08 PM »
I just received my third STL C yesterday, so it's probably near-identical to yours, 'mjdpa'.  It feels and sounds fine right out of the box, except the A and Ab springs are way too tight. But then there's the same intonation problems as the other two I got, and worse this time, due to over-depth in the mid-joint socket. I'll explain...

Each specimen has been different in how much inside gap occurs between the joints in the barrels and in the center joint. The factory just cuts 'em back to a clean end surface and doesn't seem to know that it makes a difference what the resulting socket depth is. This recent one has a gap in the mid joint of 1.8mm, which causes all the low joint notes to go flat. I will put it on the lathe and cut it back by that amount.

The barrels have only about .3mm gap not acoustically significant, but they trap water so I prefer to close them to 0. The long barrel is probably too long for anyone. It's 2.1mm longer than the shorty. Good for a hot day in the tropics, perhaps. But the short one works fine.

To show what's involved in fine-tuning, I'm attaching two LOG sheets on which I record my work. One is for the STL I numbered C-2, and one for the recent one, C-4. C-2 is the one that Phil Pedler reviewed before & after fine-tuning, on The Clarinet Pages, HR Chinese reviews. The intonation record (before & after) has white spaces because I didn't write it all down. The numbers indicate sharpness, in cents (hundredths of a half-step). The  numbers show flatness.

The C-4 Log shows a complete record of intonation, before fine-tuning. I have not yet "entered the Black Hole", so there's no  "after" results entered yet.

I'm learning to test intonation (it's hard!) to keep better records. I use mind-over-matter best I can to measure consistently within 3-4 cents. That means learning to hold embouchure and breath very steady, and work it in intervals. For a tuner, I use Panotuner on an iPhone It's fast and graphic.

As I do this work (and play the horns), my ear improves. So when I play a poorly tuned instrument, I can tell. As a player, adjusting to a poorly tuned horn encourages embouchure corrections that may cause de-tuning when switching to a better-tuned horn. I also think that accepting tuning flaws will work against the development of one's sense of intonation.

As always, we get what we pay for, and/or work for!   Enjoy the challenge!  //  Windy  //
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline mjdpa

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2017, 05:33:32 AM »
I don't have any idea how the manufacturing process works or how relevant batches are in this context. But windy's post made sense and got me wondering, since our clarinets were purchased around the same time. Anyhow, I checked for possible gaps, and got almost the opposite result. On mine, there isn't a perceptible gap at the middle joint, but there definitely is where the barrel meets the top joint.

So, who knows, I guess.

By the way, I have a similar take on the longer barrel. It is comedically useless for this clarinet. It sits in a box in a closet.

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2017, 07:40:26 AM »
I wonder as much as you do, mjdpa. I have bought a total of 4 C horns and one A. C-1 needed the most corrections, but its mine now and I love it. C-2 came just 3 weeks later. It was an improvement, but whether corrections are major or minor, it still takes me at least 6 hours of work. C-3, I got from a different supplier because the cost was lower (was). It was a different manufacturer (Roffee, I can identify from web images). The keywork is different, but equivalent quality. The bodies have similar inconsistancies in socket depths (careless facing cuts on the ends of the sockets). And, similar mis-tunings. So, I believe they are made by the SAME shop as the STL bodies. (They have different tonehole inserts than STL, and some were misaligned.)

C-4 is about equal to C-3 overall BUT EVERY specimen, including the A (total of 5 now) shows inconsistancies in some socket cuts.

I used to own a small manufacturing company. I know how a step of the process, or a dimensional specification, can be lost or forgotten. It often happens with a change of personal combined with lack of documentation. If there is not a thorough inspection process, it can go for long periods without getting caught unless there is a customer complaint. Chinese makers are hard to get through to. Its crossing organizational and cultural and language boundaries. I am quite sure I have contact only with a sales person, but I am developing some raport. I will now give some feedback about the inconsistant cuts and how they effect the result. Meanwhile, its another hour of my time to make corrections (now that I know how).

On the plus side, the keywork is quite fine and the pads are outstanding, both in material and installation aspects. Body machining also is excellent, fundamentally, on the STL. I use favorite vintage mouthpieces, labeled FRANCE 2V (or 3V), stenciled for various makers, and attributed to Riffault. My reeds are synthetic Fibracell #1 (equiv. to 1.5 generally). I get gorgeous sound, better than any cane reed Ive tried. On Bb I get similarly gorgeous sound with my old Ridenour 147 ($40 on eBay). Its a late-90s Chinese hard rubber horn. I have several MPs and found that the C is slightly more fussy than the Bb regarding the choice of MP and reed. So if you are not getting seductively gorgeous sound, keep varying the MOST important factors (besides you) MP and reed. And not too hard on the reed, either!
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2017, 06:50:45 PM »
Dear Silversorcerer David,

You wrote, above:  "One of the first things I check on a clarinet is how well the alternate fingerings check out below and above the break.

I would like to check them on my C horns.  Can you specify, or give me a reference to those fingerings?  I have charts showing many alternate fingerings. I want to be sure I check the ones you find important and Id like to learn them as well.

Also, if you have any comments regarding the B and C trill keys which I commonly find way out of tune ... and I re-tune em quite good. What? Dont people use them? I find them wonderful to use as primary notes, like on a sax. Ive seen many clarinets where they are way off (the C too sharp, the B very flat). And, Ive tried others (a minority) that have them tuned well. I dont get it. There must be 2 schools of how they are used.

Thanks to the Clarinet Pages!  //  Windy
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2017, 02:31:28 AM »
I use the "B" trill key for a better sounding Bb.  If it is tuned for the Bb then the B natural might well be out.  That might account for some of the anomalies you see.


Offline windydankoff

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2017, 08:58:28 AM »
Yes Dibbs, it serves as the "side Bb" key but when tuned (or re-tuned) carefully, it ALSO makes a B trill when the register key is open.  I found that if I open the hole substantially larger but lower the pad height (add cork) then I can get a balance to get a good trill B without sharping the side Bb. It helps equalize both the intonation and the timbre.

The trill C I tune in for hitting BOTH B and C trills, which is much easier than moving to the C only. It seems a minority of clarinets work this way. I find it superior so I tune mine that way. Am I bucking the majority here?
Windy    The Clarinet Pages

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #28 on: October 04, 2017, 02:12:47 AM »
Yes, I know it's used for both notes.  It's just that one hole is doing 2 jobs.  It probably can't do both perfectly and I'd prefer a good Bb to a good B natural.

An even worse situation occurs on early clarinets like SS's 6 key instrument where there's no G# key.  Your only option is to use the register key alone perhaps with some right hand holes covered for resonance.  That one hole is then trying to do 3 jobs; G#, Bb and register switch.  There are going to be compromises in tuning.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 03:49:11 AM by Dibbs »

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Chinese C Clarinets / STL reviewed, compared to Ridenour Lyrique C
« Reply #29 on: October 04, 2017, 07:48:34 AM »
Windy, can you tune one to play at A= 432Hz while keeping the rest of the instrument in tune with itself?
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