Author Topic: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)  (Read 789 times)

Offline BLMonopole

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MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« on: May 09, 2014, 10:54:48 AM »
This is an affliction that strikes many of us.  It happens when you see a cool, old, unusual, or unfamiliar clarinet on that infernal auction site and somehow feel compelled to bid on it.  \"This may be the one,\" you say to yourself, \"the one that has been prophesied....a true diamond in the rough.\"  You buy it.  You tinker with it.  A lot.  You make it playable.....even spend extra time to really do a great job.

But, in the end, it\'s still mediocre.  Not all that good.  Maybe not too bad though.  So you put it in a pile somewhere with the dozens of other mediocre clarinets you bought previously and hope that you can sell them for a small profit on eBay.  It\'s like a clarinet \"catch and release\" program.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 09:40:56 PM »
Boy, do I know that feeling.

I have around 20 clarinets in my "limbo" pile. Not worth enough to spend too much time on, not worth too little to just junk.

So there they sit, awaiting the day when I finally spend the few hours to get them up to par and sell for $20 profit...
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline shmuelyosef

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 05:52:38 PM »
...guilty
got 15 or so at the moment, but I have sold 10 clarinets this year through my local Craigslist...mostly Vitos, Yamahas to middle-schoolers, but also a Backun Alpha and a Leblanc Dynamique. All were in tip-top condition with all new soft materials, polished keys and clean bodies (oiled and/or polished depending on material). I average $100-150 per clarinet for my effort (although the markup is not proportional to the effort of a total overhaul)

I buy things on eBay, but have stopped selling there...it's very difficult to reap the value of perfect vs. "closet find" (this is the assumption of all the buyers, and for good reason).

I have seen quite a few clarinets purchased on eBay advertised as "new pads" or "just serviced" that didn't play at all...some just needed a few tweaks, and some were grossly mis-represented.
Clarinet: Selmer Centered Tone (1 ea 6-ring and 7-ring), Selmer Series 9, Yamaha Custom CS 853, Leblanc Vito V40, B&H 1-10, Leblanc VSP, plus the middle school for sale list (all fully overhauled)
BC: Yamaha 221mkii
Piano: Mason & Hamlin Model A, Fender Rhodes Stage 73 Mk I, Nord Electro
Many saxes

Offline BLMonopole

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2018, 08:58:58 AM »
I have found a cure for MCS...and it's carefully selecting which clarinets you buy, and doing much less experimenting with unusual or untested brands.     

For example, I have had great luck with Selmer Paris instruments, and they can often be found for a great price in good repair.  Additionally, many Couesnon and Thibouville clarinets (and their stencils) are also of very high quality -- I learned to identify their keywork and other markings, and try to stick to those (noting that resale on them will be substantially lower than instruments marked "Buffet" or "Selmer Paris").   But, following these simple rules, I find that I buy fewer clarinets, and those that I buy are of substantially higher quality to begin with.  Thus, fewer mediocre clarinets. 

Note that Phil's Clarinetpages.net website is a terrific resource.  And also note that you may prefer other brands names.  Just laying out my experiences for my type of playing.

Also, as a side benefit, I find that having better instruments also leads me to want to play them more.  Thus, my time is spent practicing and improving my skills as a clarinet player and musician rather than tinkering and flea marketing.  I'm finding it much more satisfying and relaxing....again, your mileage may vary....

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 08:25:07 PM »
Ah, yes, so true.

I used to buy anything that was less than $50. Pretty much literally any wood clarinet that I could buy for less than $50.

Nowadays, I stick with almost entirely Normandy and Selmer Paris instruments.

Occassionally I will get a unique clarinet just for my personal collection, but much much less experimenting.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline TMHeimer

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 02:07:51 PM »
I have 9 clarinets including an A, Eb and C (all Buffets). I have ONE Buffet Bb that is now 20 years old and so far I have had the total expense of replacing one pad ($0, I had spare pads for decades). This is what I use to play professionally each summer. I recently bought a new Selmer student model ($150 CAD + tax--can you believe how much student clarinets have gone DOWN since say 1977!?). I keep this as a spare during concerts/rehearsals. I only practice on the "good" one once monthly, so it's like a car with very few miles on it. I wish I could spend the money to get the C fixed (it and the Eb were new mid 70s). But I have no real need for it and the others now. The C was lots of fun to play. I used it in a symphony 40 years ago when I was subbing for the 1st clarinet and the conductor thought the sound was quite different. No transposing that night for this guy....
Recently I was given a blue clarinet--think some knock-off made in China--in a Yamaha case with the Yamaha logo missing.
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Offline noneyet

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Re: MCS (Mediocre Clarinet Syndrome)
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2019, 08:14:46 PM »
I guess I have an ADVANCED case of MCS. I have 40 or so (and another Pedler on the way). So far I see no hope for a cure. The only (somewhat) effective treatment seems to be directly related to my bank account balance.......
Hoarding clarinets since 2016 it's Stu Weaver only on The Clarinet Pages. :)