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Topics - Windsong

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All about Clarinets / Why?
« on: October 10, 2016, 07:38:48 PM »
Why do 90% of EBay sellers mount the mouthpiece upside down, as if this were 1830?
Do you all notice this as well?
The last clarinet that used a (now considered) upside down MP was a ringless Müller.  And whilst there are infinite photos of modernesque clarinets assembled, EBay sellers want to thrust us back into the Georgian Era.
Go figure...

Dave's music video of the week / Flexible clear rubber clarinets? Fantastic!
« on: September 21, 2016, 01:54:22 PM »

But seriously, this guy is just phenominal.  I've paid good coin to watch guys in tuxes who couldn't blow half as well as this cat.
Just amazing.

Take a look at that squirrel cheek "saxophone embouchure", too.  It wouldn't work for me, but I hope embouchure purists worldwide are taking note of it. 
Love it!

(The lack of parallax correction makes for an amusing video, too.)

All about Clarinets / Treen (?)
« on: September 18, 2016, 01:37:41 PM »

All about Clarinets / Woodwind octave question
« on: September 09, 2016, 09:18:43 PM »
As we all know, the clarinet is not set up like a saxophone, where the octave key, when depressed, plays exactly one octave higher than without it depressed, on any given note.  This is a really handy feature, as it enables rapid shifting up and down, with very little thought, as the key does not change.

Are most other woodwinds (I've only ever played clarinet and sax) more like the clarinet or the sax in this regard?

All about Clarinets / Oh, how sad...
« on: September 07, 2016, 09:36:55 PM »

This is clarinet abuse, plain and simple.  The color from the Grenadilla has been completely stripped from this poor clarinet.
I'll bet the original owner of this horn is turning over in his grave.
The introductory price of this auction is tempting, but I've been down this very same road before, and I know better!

I just received a Graftonite mouthpiece in the mail today, as I needed an Alto sax mp.  I looked long and hard at Meyer, Otto Link and Claud Lakey.  All can be had for about 90 bucks, which would be my max, and even then, I'd be looking to get an $800.00 mp for that.  I'm not cheap, I'm just a deal hunter.
Then I stumbled on the relatively new Graftonite, made in the USA.  It's designed in the Rico facility, and since I primarily use Rico Royal and Rico Reserve reeds, I figured what the heck.  Apparently, Arnold Brilhart designed these pieces, and while the Brilhart name that most of us know from the 60s and 70s is a very middle of the road name to most people, there are some pros who swear by them (though I've heard more than a few people swear AT them).
Anyway, after reading about the manufacturing process, I decided I'd spend all of $29.00 on the A7.  This is designed with a very dark tone in mind, and a very open facing.  Apparently, folks are using reeds as soft as 1.5 and no harder than 2.5 on these mps, so I'm going to have to go out tomorrow and buy a box of 2s, and see what this thing will do.
I can't yet speak to the mp's aural qualities, obviously, but if it plays half as well as it looks, I should be in business.  This is the most symmmetrically perfect mp I have ever laid eyes on.  It's creepy how perfect it is.  Absolutely no variance, whatsoever.  It is clearly made 100% on a CNC machine, with no manual finishing at all.  It doesn't need it. 
There are no finishing marks, no tooling voids, nothing.  Like it just popped out of a 3D printer, or something. The window and baffle areas are so glossy, it's blinding.

The Graftonite is available in 3 facings, and 3 tonal ranges, for a total of 9 different offerings.
I went with a loose, dark sound because I have an old horn, and I play blues.  It should be perfect for that.

For clarinet-only players, not to worry;  the Graftonite is also available for clarinets, too.  Following in the footsteps of Vandoren, Rico may be onto something with their fully machine produced pieces.  They will never be the best pieces without human finishing,  but for 90% of players, they may well be perfect.   And I don't have $2600.00 for a vintage Meyer, anyway...even if my ear COULD hear the difference.
I may well get that vacation to Aruba one of these years, after all, with all the money I've just saved!
Fingers crossed...
I'm using a Rovner "dark" lig, if it makes any difference.  Personally, I've never found a lig to make much of a difference, tone wise, despite reports that they are critical to sound.  I certainly agree that the mp and reed are critical in shaping the sound of an instrument, but a lig?  I do prefer Rovners over metal ligs, simply because they are kind to mps.

I'll report back on what I experience, once I've had a chance to really exercise the mp.  If it's really good, it will be an inexpensive, intermediate option to the novice Hite Premier that I find very stuffy, and difficult to bend notes on.

All about Clarinets / Ancient pad shellac removal...ugh.
« on: September 04, 2016, 02:46:53 PM »
I have to believe that shellacs have changed in composition over the years, and that the aging process, itself, also plays a part in how easy or difficult a pad's adhesive is to remove.  I found myself with a few extra hours today (a true rarity in a life consumed by constant interruptions and more pressing matters), and knowing I had to get going on this Cundy Bettony piccolo (a cute little piece, but one that will, I've decided, serve only as funding for more clarinets), I labelled everything, tore it down "to the studs", and began stripping what may be 100+ years of shellac, using heat and mineral spirits. 

For those searching for relevance, I think this would be applicable to any woodwind, I believe.  I do not like to have to scrape shellac from a pad cup, and on clarinets I have repaired, I seldom had to resort to such.  The fact that the piccolo cups are so very thin also gives me a bit of heartburn, regarding heat applied leading to distortion of the sterling.  I am not a bull in a china shop, however, amd if it takes me 10 times longer to do it right, That's what I'll do.  I had considered soaking the keys in mineral spirits overnite, but that also gives me some concern. 

I'd love to hear from you all regarding your preferred methods of shellac removal from sensitive keywork.


All about Clarinets / The Buescher
« on: August 31, 2016, 08:50:42 PM »
This is a cozy place to rest my hat, so instead of joining a Sax forum just to talk about a random saxophone, I figured I'd post this here, hoping the thread will be welcomed. 
I recently acquired an alto Buescher of 1920s vintage, and I am most pleased by its arrival and overall condition. 
I've not played saxophone in more years than I care to recount, but when I saw this one, I had to bite.  I cleared it for a reasonable fee, and it's worth double what I payed for it, if I regulate it myself.  Wow, what a nightmare of intersecting keywork.  I keep saying this of each new woodwind venture I undertake, but this alto is a spagetti factory.
This alto has lived a humble, easy life and has no dings or dents and has never been repaired (just how I like them, as in this day and age, that's a rarity unto itself).

Unfortunately, when it was last repadded, a "Buescher Butcher" had his way with it, and ground off the original key cup spuds, and mounted modern (small) steel resonators. 
This particular issue gets me worked up like you wouldn't believe, as I have heard all the justifications for not keeping the original spuds and brass resonators, and they all fall on deaf ears with me.  A well set-up Buescher needs no augmentation from its original design, and the second guessers who attempt to bring bright modern sound to an ancient horn boil my blood, unless they are specifically directed to do so by the customer.  In these instances, I blame the customer for not buying a Yamaha.  It's essentialy akin to someone who claims they are an art expert stating that Da Vinci' Mona Lisa looks too much like a boy, and repainting her to meet the modern standards of beauty.
Anyway, I'm not posting to "soapbox", but I'm easily diverted, so back on topic.
This horn will serve as my proving ground for whether I still have the chops to play saxophone recreationally. 
In any event, it's a beautiful, unrestored satin silver Buescher with a polished silverwash bell, quite reminiscent of my first Buescher ( which was my first sax), and I am anxious to put her through her paces.  The seller stated that the top stack had an air leak, and I found it immediately and repaired it.  The register mechanism was bent just enough to keep the vent from ever closing.
I will post photos in time, if anyone is interested.  I suppose there must be some doublers in our midst, and some Buescher fans at that.

All about Clarinets / Bundy Resto
« on: August 27, 2016, 05:37:59 PM »
I was over at a friend's house this evening, and I looked on the kitchen table, and there was an unmistakable box sitting there.  I inquired, "A clarinet, eh?  May I?"  She told me to have at it.  (Back story:  This is a clarinet she mentioned to me a couple of years ago when I mentioned to her that I repaired clarinets in casual conversation, and she kept promising she'd get it from her parents house when she next visited, but she forgot and forgot, and I forgot about it, summarily)
Inside the presumably original H&A Selmer case was her mother's Geo. M. Bundy.  Close inspection revealed a beautiful, crack free body, but a couple of bent keys, a few frozen keys and a good many stripped out key post screws. 

I can find precious little on Bundy serial numbers (which surprises me, as they are so prolific and ubiquitus) but based upon what I know about Bundys, and upon the design of the case, the fact that this is a grenadilla model, and the fact that her mother played it in the late 1950s (and it was used at that time) and FINALLY, that Bundys began being made from resonite in 1948, I will take a guess that this one was manufactured after 1945 and before they phased out wood production, altogether.  The serial number is low; 42883.  Sound about right?
This is a conventional 17/6, and there are no special qualities, save for the fact that the lower joint's tenon has a nickel cap, and it is a factory fitting.  There are no other nickel tenon caps, surprisingly, and this is the first I've seen like this. the keywork is not great (chrome over brass), but it appears leaps and bounds ahead of Mazak's garbage.  The orientation of the RH trill key cup arms look like B&H, as they engage the cups sideways.  There is only the serial number stamped into it, and the vestige of the old Bundy sticker on the top joint and also on the bell.  No other insignias remain, but I believe all parts to be original, as the wood is an exact match and fit.
30 years ago, when my friend began playing clarinet, her mother took it into the local repair shop to check on having it repaired and put into playing condition (bent/frozen keys, missing pads, stripped out flat blade screws) and the technician told her she'd be better off buying a new horn for all the trouble this one was going to be.  I find that assessment a bit harsh, as all these things are easily repairable, but I will NEED a name of a good key post screw supplier, as I'd like to replace most of the screws, and erase the damage of the last ham fisted mechanic who meddled with it.
So in summary, YES--I told her I'd restore it for her for the cost of parts alone, so now I need a screw supplier and if any of you have serial number data, I'd love to partake of your knowledge.

Make and Model lists and research / Funky kidney bean key touches...
« on: August 27, 2016, 08:11:09 AM »
I have a late 1940s Noblet stencil (Jeffrey) soprano Bb, and it's a marvelous horn.  It has many of the finest noblet features of the time, and very well selected and extremely dense grenadilla.  It's one of my best players, certainly.
Until yesterday, I had never seen another clarinet with the odd LH5 key touches.  They are not fluid, as on a Noblet or Leblanc, and were tacked in place after the the key mechanisms were forged.

Have a look:


And now mine:

All about Clarinets / Woodwinds in Bluegrass?
« on: August 10, 2016, 12:06:01 PM »
As someone who was brought up on traditional "standards" music, and who loves folk and roots music of all varieties (zydeco, Gaelic, Indian, Reggae, etc.), I have always lamented the fact that as primarily a woodwind player, I'm not able to sit in at Bluegrass fiddlers conventions--something I attempt to attend at least twice yearly in the remote Apppalachians. I have considered purchasing a Tin Whistle, as Bluegrass and Gaelic music have much in common.  More interesting to me is the piccolo or flute, though, as they are more complex, and closer to what I know as a clarinetist, but maybe I'm overshooting, and the Tin Whistle would be a perfect thing to pick up.  I have never played flute, and while I know it requires a bit more air, I think I'm game.  I'll be purchasing a Db piccolo shortly, to fiddle with.
I'd love to sit in with an impromptu group and lay down a few licks that are regarded as enhancements, rather than concessional liabilities.
Your thoughts are always and most appreciated...

All about Clarinets / Official "What a Steal!" thread?
« on: August 08, 2016, 01:51:40 PM »
My guess is that this is a nice horn.  It's also got a name that is very close to the maker's real name (examine keywork; no question). 

And this is precisely why I do not *typically* purchase stencils.  Some stencils are just as good as the horns they emulate.  Some are better.   A carefully selected, 1940s vintage stencil is an ideal purchase for someone looking for a player.  One can scoop them up for next to nothing, invest several hundred dollars into a full scale restoration (undercutting of tone holes, premium pads and regulation, cosmetic corrections, etc)  and have a fantastic player for a fraction of the cost of a modern, semi-professional piece of junk.  They do not make good investments, as resale--no matter what you have done to it--typically suffers.
Take a gander...


All about Clarinets / A good foundation resource for clarinet repair
« on: August 08, 2016, 02:06:15 AM »
I'm always on the hunt for good clarinet repair manuals, new and old, and lately I've purchased, of all things, a Haynes manual.
Yes, yes; that's right--a clarinet repair manual.  Now, as many of you know, Haynes is a well known manufacturer of automotive repair manuals, but that's not all they do, anymore, and typically their manuals are quite instructive. Stephen Howard does a fine job as primary contributor and auther of this book, titled:  Clarinet Manual:  How to Buy, Set Up and Maintain a Boehm System Clarinet.
It' a great resource for anyone who wants to understand more about their clarinet, regardless the system. 

All about Clarinets / How does this happen?
« on: August 02, 2016, 09:47:36 PM »

Am I missing something, here?  Why is it that such treasures sell for "chump change"?
Admittedly, nobody asked any "posted" questions, and we can only guage condition by photos, but these two are beauties, and this type of aquisition seems to me to be worth twice the final selling price.
"Slump market", I say. 

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