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Author Topic: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question  (Read 69 times)

Offline dulcettones

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Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« on: October 16, 2020, 07:10:51 AM »
This is my first post, so apologies if I'm breaking protocol by posting in the wrong place...I wasn't sure if I'm supposed to introduce myself or not?
So I've been playing clarinet on and off for years, but recently returned to more consistent practice now the kids are a little older.
The clarinet I have played longest is a vintage Conn 448N, which I love—I've also just purchased a vintage Buffet R13 which plays beautifully too—although I have discovered a hairline crack in the upper section of the instrument, where it joins the lower section. This was disappointing given the price of the instrument. I'm taking it to the repair shop today to make sure it's not going to cause me problems going forward.
I also play a vintage Conn 10m saxophone.
But I have a question re. my Conn 448N—the instrument has always played a little sharp. I'm told this is because it doesn't have its original barrel. Does anyone know where I might find the right barrel? (other than eBay of course)
Thanks, Mark

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2020, 08:46:35 AM »
Good luck finding an original barrel without some very good luck.

Yo can always get a custom made barrel from Backun or Martin Freres, but the cost is pretty high
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2020, 08:56:40 AM »
It would be useful to know the dimensions of an original 448N barrel (that model, not just any Conn). Perhaps a dear reader has this instrument with original barrel and could take measurements? Obviously length is vital, but the bore diameter is critical to peak performance and it also influences the tuning. So, you would need both numbers to score a replacement to match the original dimensions and performance.

If anyone here has an original barrel, you can measure the bore if you would be so kind. It requires inside calipers or a telescoping (snap) gauge, which is then read by a micrometer. Automotive and machine shops have these tools. Read both ends of the bore to see if there is a taper.

Another approach, until an original comes your way, is to go to an instrument repair or clarinet hoarder, and try a bunch of barrels to see what plays best. Or contact some major well-known barrel and mouthpiece makers. They may have something, or have the data.

I have a bunch of barrels myself, that can be matched up or adjusted. I have an idea what may be best. Feel free to send me a message to inquire. You may also inquire of Jared De Leone, one of our group members.

The dimensions are critical. The material is far less important. Even a plastic barrel that performs optimally by virtue of its dimensions, will get you by very well until such time as you may find an original.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 07:46:48 AM by windydankoff »
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2020, 10:03:19 AM »
Dulcet – You aren't the only one ... Look at this post from early this year:
https://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php/topic,1811.msg12983.html#msg12983

You may want to contact that fellow and see if he learned anything that can be of help.  // Windy
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Offline dulcettones

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 08:21:28 AM »
This is really useful. Thanks guys.
Fortunately, I can still play the instrument and have been for years—it just plays a little sharp.
But that's a great idea; to reach out to the guy in that link you've provided, to see if he can measure the barrel for me.
I'll let you know what he says.

Offline dulcettones

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 08:32:13 AM »
This is the exact clarinet I play! And I have reached out to him... but this thread is real old, so a bit of a long shot!
https://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php/topic,913.0.html

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2020, 08:10:08 PM »
I just bought a 424N made in 1951 – overhauled with original barrel. ... it's one of the best made clarinets I've seen, and appears it was little-used.

I oiled the bore, did some needed regulating, and ... it was hard to blow, dull sounding with any MP. I wasn't happy (yet). But the intonation was good. I've found lately that my large-bore horns do best with a reduced-bore barrel. It seems to balance it out (matches the impedance, presumably).

So, I opened my junk box of old barrels. I tried the ones that fit its tenon. Lucky, I found one that plays like a DREAM. My experience may serve as an example, so here are the numbers ...

Upper joint of my 424N bore close to the top is 15.34mm (15 is considered large) The top flares out even larger. Also the bottom expansion is very large. This is a really large bore horn! – favored in the big band era.

Original barrel is 64mm X 14.9mm bore (verified elsewhere)
My "better" barrel is 63mm X 14.7mm bore   (both with no taper)

Now the tone is as good as I've ever produced AND the blowing is easy! The intonation is superb.

I had to try a bunch of mouthpieces. An old Noblet FRANCE 2V takes it to perfection (for a clarinet). With a steady embouchure, it rolls up the scale like butter.

My conclusion/advice:  Don't worry about the original barrel dimensions. Find something that WORKS! Of course its sockets need to fit (standards have varied much since old times). An invisible difference in bore makes an amazing difference in the result!

If you live in a large city, maybe a repair shop has a bunch of barrels to try? If you can get bore measurements, maybe someone here can help. I, or another techie on the list may be able to fit up the right thing. (For me, I would ask you to send me the instrument.) If you love the horn, it may be worth it.

If you are so inclined, I would may make suggestions based on your measurements. To measure bore, I use a machinist's telescoping "snap gauge" which I read with a digital caliper. Wood is never round so I find the average ID.
« Last Edit: Today at 07:53:24 AM by windydankoff »
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