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Author Topic: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets  (Read 2433 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« on: March 05, 2018, 02:35:43 PM »
Hey folks, so I've been having a bit of trouble lately, I call it a "pre midlife crisis" when it comes to clarinets.
I started repairing and selling instruments since Jan 1 2012, and was pretty consistent.

However, I haven't touched a single clarinet in about 3 months, and I have no motivation to continue. It's tough because this used to be my passion but I've lost the drive. I have probably a dozen and a half projects in half-completed stage. For example, I have a very nice articulate Penzel A clarinet in pieces, a Bundy eefer, a Vito contrabass, and a 1923 silver Buescher True Tone alto sax that I started on and never finished. The rest are just collecting dust.

It makes me sad that I'm at this stage, and I'm wondering if any of you have experienced something similar to this and how you got "back in the groove".

Thanks in advance.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Windsong

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2018, 05:08:57 PM »
I understand.  I've been through this with motorbikes and autos.  With those, you cannot simply tuck them away until you *may* want to see them again, but with instruments, most of the time you can.  I've also been through this with cameras, comics and coins, and oddities of all varieties.

I recommend taking good notes on where you left off, and packing each insrument away with specific materials you purchased for their refurbishment.  That's it.  Unless you need the cash from their sale, simply tuck them away.  Let them stay tucked until you have a yearning to look at one, for some reason, whether that be a month or 3 years.

Absence typically does one of two things:  It either makes the heart grow fonder, OR it makes the heart go yonder.  Only time will tell which one it does for you.  If you find, over time, that you no longer have a passion for woodwind collecting and restoring, it's likely because you've found something else more exciting to fill your time.  If, however, you find that you miss your collection, you'll be glad you were not rash in its disposal. 

This is quite normal in the ebb and flow of life.  As we age, we become more pragmatic and spartan, but true passions typically hold for good, regardless how involved we choose to be over time. 

You will find as time marches on that certain passions in life you felt you would hold in the highest esteem forever will reveal themselves to be nothing more than intimate flirtations.  They will, however, enable the development of fundamentals that will become the building blocks for other, greater things in your life, and you'll be forever grateful for all these experiences.
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2018, 08:50:56 PM »
Thanks, Windsong, I appreciate it!

I'm sure it's just a phase. Some time ago I went through a "purge" phase and sold off a bunch of good stuff, like a superb Henri Frenier HP C, and an excellent wood tenor recorder for just $55. That one hurt.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Tinker73

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 10:23:27 AM »
Dave, I feel your pain!  I have not touched a clarinet either since roughly Thanksgiving.  I packed most of mine away with the exception of a Martel Freres & a Conn 444N that my daughters still grab to play regularly when they are at home.  I replaced a few pads on one of their everyday clarinets a few weeks ago, but as for restoration purposes I have not done much of anything.  I have everything sitting here to do some pretty major repair work on a Henry Gunckel boxwood A clarinet, but just have not been able to muster the enthusiasm to undertake the project.  I also have a beautiful Henry Gunckel C HP sitting in the box yet that I got from you that I will be helping my daughter restore at some point, but with basketball season and her busy schedule it too has just been sitting.  I am thinking one weekend I will just get the "bug" again and sit down and do the major surgery to it, but for right now I'm content to just let it sit until I get the spark to complete it.  I go through these cycles from time to time whether it's with clarinets, or my baseball card collection, but always seem to come back to either one with a new found enthusiasm.

With the market for vintage clarinets where it is I'm glad I only sold off a few of my lower end clarinets, the only thing I even slightly regret is there have been some real "steals" over the last couple of months that I wouldn't have minded picking up, but as everyone else has probably noticed, it has been a very quiet market as of late.

I wouldn't worry too much about it Dave, one day you will just wake up and the passion will be there again.
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 06:15:12 PM »
During my pre-midlife crisis, I made flutes. During my midlife crisis I did sculpture. In my post-midlife crisis, I fix clarinets. I've been going in 7-year cycles all my life. With age comes patience (or time passes faster).
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 08:39:20 AM »
Hey folks, so I've been having a bit of trouble lately, I call it a "pre midlife crisis" when it comes to clarinets.
I started repairing and selling instruments since Jan 1 2012, and was pretty consistent.

However, I haven't touched a single clarinet in about 3 months, and I have no motivation to continue. It's tough because this used to be my passion but I've lost the drive. I have probably a dozen and a half projects in half-completed stage. For example, I have a very nice articulate Penzel A clarinet in pieces, a Bundy eefer, a Vito contrabass, and a 1923 silver Buescher True Tone alto sax that I started on and never finished. The rest are just collecting dust.

It makes me sad that I'm at this stage, and I'm wondering if any of you have experienced something similar to this and how you got "back in the groove".

Thanks in advance.

It's quite simple Dave. Time to buy some old European (workshop) violins and fix those up!  There are tens of thousands of them out there!
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Offline bbrandha

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 07:56:20 PM »
Me, too. I just stopped.

Today, I decided I'd better fix a wobbly joint on the clarinet I actually play the most (which means not enough) or leave it unplayable. Broke into the toolbox, found a box cutter to get the cork off, and promptly stuck it into my thumb. Paused for first aid, came back, and found out my contact cement had hardened, and I can't put a cork back on.

Since I had practice, I grabbed another clarinet, drove to practice, and, of course, same problem, different clarinet. [[insert emoji of your choice here]]

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2018, 08:57:18 PM »
Hey folks, so I've been having a bit of trouble lately, I call it a "pre midlife crisis" when it comes to clarinets.
I started repairing and selling instruments since Jan 1 2012, and was pretty consistent.

However, I haven't touched a single clarinet in about 3 months, and I have no motivation to continue. It's tough because this used to be my passion but I've lost the drive. I have probably a dozen and a half projects in half-completed stage. For example, I have a very nice articulate Penzel A clarinet in pieces, a Bundy eefer, a Vito contrabass, and a 1923 silver Buescher True Tone alto sax that I started on and never finished. The rest are just collecting dust.

It makes me sad that I'm at this stage, and I'm wondering if any of you have experienced something similar to this and how you got "back in the groove".

Thanks in advance.

It's quite simple Dave. Time to buy some old European (workshop) violins and fix those up!  There are tens of thousands of them out there!

Not a bad idea. This past summer I made one single foray into the stringed world. I (mistakenly) bought an old 3/4 Strad copy of some kind (I thought I got a 4/4 but...).
I ended up making something like $15 on the sale, but hey, it was a neat experience.

I feel like I'm way too outclassed dealing with wood like that, heck it took me years to even attempt any sort of wood work with clarinets!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 08:58:22 PM »
Actually, my "sabbatical" has come to a forced halt, as I just got a call from a guy who wants to me restore three clarinets of his.
Time to get my tools and stuff out of storage...
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Airflyte

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2018, 07:27:05 AM »
Well there you go!  I still need to set up my workbench.  You know, so I pile up a bunch of stuff on it.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 12:34:48 PM »
I haven't touched my clarinet in months, but today I decided to get the book out that I had for my birthday in December, and start learning properly, from the top. Hope to have a 30 minute practice session per day.
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 01:36:07 PM »
Hey Larry, good for you. I'm amazed at what 30 (meaningful) minutes per day can do for learning ANY instrument.

The key is consistency. Same time, same place, and of course the desire to play better and better each week.
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Offline LarryS

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 02:58:15 PM »
Hey Larry, good for you. I'm amazed at what 30 (meaningful) minutes per day can do for learning ANY instrument.

The key is consistency. Same time, same place, and of course the desire to play better and better each week.
Well the place will be the same (upstairs) but the time might be different...
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.
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Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2018, 04:51:21 AM »
I took a new job in summer 2016, and have been too busy with it to do much with my clarinet collection/obsession.  I have sold a few horns to "thin the herd" but have several others that are not currently being played.  I'm in the early stages of deciding what to do....maybe sell them all (well, minus a couple of very special ones) and start again.

In the end, that's why this is a hobby for me -- work and family take precedence.  This is just a thing I do to amuse myself and pass the time.  It's like any collection or hobby, really...but I'll hop back in again someday. 

Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Pre midlife crisis with clarinets
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2018, 09:20:26 AM »
Also, it's funny...I lent a friend of mine a treasured Eb clarinet (which I purchased on eBay a few years back and had refurbished and upgraded) which I decided I didn't have time to play.  She loved it so much, she asked if I'd be willing to sell it -- so I sold it to her, for a tidy profit, actually, and after having enjoyed the instrument myself for many years and saving it from perhaps a garbage bin (I bought it missing a key which I was able to get fabricated). 

Long story short -- I like rehabilitating clarinets and making them useful again.  I like playing instruments that are as old or older than I am and still perform beautifully.  I like making some money and having someone appreciate the loving restoration that I did. 

And, I loved selling a horn for a tidy sum...so I could use it to buy my next project (which I just did....I guess I'm back into my hobby again!)