Author Topic: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??  (Read 294 times)

Offline BLMonopole

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So, I thought I was done with Eb clarinet and sold them all.  Easily 3-4 years have passed and I haven't missed them at all.

Now someone is asking me to play one post-apocalypse on a regular basis.  Given how personal and individual these horns are, I'm thinking of buying one again. (I know, just shoot me...)

I don't want to spend a lot, and have briefly considered buying one of those Chinese models.  Yinfente in rosewood is the one that caught my eye.  Anyone have any experience with these?  (I know...I'm sure they're terrible, but thought I'd ask)

Opinions? 

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2020, 06:12:42 PM »
I think Windy will be your best bet on this one! He's highly experienced in customizing the Chinese products to something really nice.

I have a very old (1910 or so) Boehm Eb that I've had sitting around for ages. If you can find a barrel that actually fits, then you can have it for cheep :)

Years ago I bought a "Butterfly" branded Eefer from China. It was actually quite nice. I remember there was a problem with the order and the seller sent me a nice commemorative set of Chinese stamps too. Haha
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2020, 09:56:04 PM »
Thanks for the referral, Dave! I have good experience with the Chinese C clarinets. I've worked on nine of them so far. I spend about day fine-tuning each, then I guarantee it as "concert quality". I love mine. I have not yet worked on an Eb, but I am willing.

I would avoid the "bakelite" versions, which is the Chinese mistranslation for ABS plastic. The "ebonite" ones should be good. Every ebonite item I've purchased from the Chinese has been fine quality hard rubber. I have ebonite  C and G clarinets, and love the material and tone. The wood ones cost about 4X the price. I doubt if there is much advantage, and there is much more risk of material issues, leakage, warping, cracking, etc.

Whatever you may purchase, if you find that it needs fine-tuning or ergonomic (hand fitting) adjustments, I will be happy to improve and adapt it for you. And, as with my other adventures, I'll report my experience to the Pages!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 09:58:30 PM by windydankoff »
Windy  ~  BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
C CLARINETS & Pruefer Silver Throat
Refined to concert standards
Thanks to The Clarinet Pages

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2020, 01:42:59 AM »
Hey Windy. I’m curious.

Do you find any extra “difficulty” working on smaller clarinets? In other words, do the C clarinets give you more trouble than the Gs?

Ive personally found alto and bass clarinets more forgiving than Bb and I’m curious if that translates to the smaller genus.

In any case, if you do get into the Eb improvement business I’m 1000% certain you’ll have a herd of satisfied customers! :)
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2020, 01:52:51 AM »
So ABS is what they mean when they say bakelite.  I was pretty certain it wouldn't really be bakelite since it's obsolete and expensive to make. 

There's a guy on youtube who's been preaching about there being asbestos in mouthpieces from China because they're made of bakelite.

Offline jdbassplayer

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2020, 07:20:10 AM »
My 2 attempts to tune Chinese Ebs have been met with failure. The problem is some toneholes would need to be enlarged so much that you would cut through the tonehole chimney. You would have to machine off a few of the old tonehole chimneys, replace the rings on some keys with larger ones and make a custom chimney. This is in addition to giving the instrument a full repad and overhaul. I've heard that the Grenadilla versions are better, but this is unconfirmed. Even so you would still need to level the toneholes. Given the trouble with rosewood in general, I would avoid them.

For Ebs, Bundys are the tired and true choice for a cheap instrument.

Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2020, 07:40:03 AM »
Excellent advice all!  I have loved my Chinese (-manufactured and finished by) Kessler Bass Clarinet, and was hoping there would have been progress across the board.  It's sounds like there has been....but eefers are difficult little things to tune under the best of conditions and manufacturers. 

I think I'll wait patiently for a vintage Selmer Paris or good ol' Bundy eefer to rear its head.  (Or maybe stick with my original plan to just stop playing eefer entirely!)

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2020, 08:56:06 AM »
Thanks Jared for your experience.

Dave, regarding:
       extra “difficulty” working on smaller clarinets?
       do the C clarinets give you more trouble than the Gs?

The C clarinet keywork is very good for small/medium hands. I have large hands (men's L glove size). For that, I trim metal off the sides of the key touches for the L4 finger (pinkie) and the L3 Eb sliver key. I flatten and bend the C# L3 touch and also sometimes, the top A key.  (I am not against voiding the nickel plating). Even for small hands, I add some clearances for the sake of any future player of the horn.

I sold one C to a man with XL hands AND fat fingers. We did a video chat and I looked at his hands on his Bb, compared to my hands. I trimmed it accordingly, and he plays happy duets with his violinist wife.

For an Eb. I would take the same approach, considering the owner's hand size. Fortunately, I have a good Eb mouthpiece so I'm equipped for testing.

On the G clarinet, the problems are the opposite, as I described in the topic:  "G Clarinet Boehm (French) system, new from China". It was a more challenging project.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 08:58:36 AM by windydankoff »
Windy  ~  BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
C CLARINETS & Pruefer Silver Throat
Refined to concert standards
Thanks to The Clarinet Pages

Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2020, 06:45:29 AM »
So, I took a chance on a Chinese clarinet that someone (not on this Board) said that they improved and play tested.  It was a terrible instrument and was sent back.  Lesson: Chinese Eb clarinets are not good (yes, I realize that you all already told me this...sometimes I'm a bit thick-headed).

I flirted with the idea of buying a vintage no name eefer (there are actually about 3 on eBay at the moment), but just couldn't make myself do it.  Too much cost and too many questions....someone on eBay wanted almost $800 for a no name, dubiously overhauled instrument.  No thanks!

Finally, a vintage 1974-ish Noblet Eb in what looks like decent condition appeared.  I snapped it up for a bargain price.  Fingers crossed that it turns out to be something worth renovating.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thanks for the insights, information and help (here and in private emails as well). Much appreciated!!

Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2020, 11:38:10 AM »
Quick Update:  The Noblet eefer arrived.  It's dry and crusty, but a nicely constructed horn.  It played top to bottom, and with surprisingly good intonation.  It should be even better after an overhaul.  Fingers crossed...

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2020, 06:56:35 PM »
Awesome, keep us posted on how the little runt cleans up!
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 04:21:32 AM »
Good luck with it
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2020, 07:23:41 AM »
I would avoid the "bakelite" versions, which is the Chinese mistranslation for ABS plastic. The "ebonite" ones should be good. Every ebonite item I've purchased from the Chinese has been fine quality hard rubber.

I'm also very interested in the Chinese nomenclature regarding clarinet materials. Contrary to your findings, I have seen what appears to be ABS plastic bodied clarinets under the auction title listing of "ebonite". Not saying you're wrong Windy, just that the term may be very 'loose' amongst different ebay sellers from China.

When I see a little Eb clarinet listed as "ebonite" for $89.99, I have to assume it's just ABS. Looking forward to your thoughts on this!

(I can post an auction link if needed.)
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Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 03:51:47 AM »
The Noblet eefer is refurbished!  Take a look at this "born again" beauty!

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Looking for an Eb clarinet...anything decent from the Chinese??
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2020, 07:08:32 AM »
Sweet!   Those old Noblet cases are nice as well.
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