Upgrades...why ?

Upgrades...why ?

Upgrades...why ?    13:43 on Sunday, August 24, 2008          

(141 points)
Posted by clarinet99

Why do students (and their teachers) want to rapidly upgrade to high priced professional clarinets ? After all, 90 percent of the tone comes from the mouthpiece and reed, and only about ten percent from the barrel,body of the instrument and the bell. After that, ninety percent of the quality of the music comes from the skill of the player rather than his instrument.
Consider this; if you give a student Benny Goodman's best high quality clarinet, when he plays it he will still sound like a student. Give the student's cheap plastic clarinet to Benny Goodman, when he plays it he will still sound like Benny Goodman.
If you are not very wealthy,or if you don't earn your living by playing the clarinet, don't get caught up in the hype about needing a top quality professional horn. Just get a good mouthpiece for your student instrument.
That's my ten cents worth.

Re: Upgrades...why ?    16:21 on Sunday, August 24, 2008          

(471 points)
Posted by leighthesim

i agree, but then my clariet is a bit gross, (it was bought for 25 of ebay for me to try) and it is an old selmer console so i could spent 100 fixing i up and then another 25 on a new mouth peice and still have a bottom of the range student instrument that will be lucky if it takes me to grade 3 or i could spend 150 on a like new yamaha or buffet b12 and i'd have a reasonable instrument that will take me to grade 6, so with alot of people it is economics or that they have out grown there intrument.

on that would a overhaul and a new mouth piece make my old selmer be the quality of a newer buffet or yamaha (those are the only ones i know of)?

Re: Upgrades...why ?    19:22 on Sunday, August 24, 2008          

(925 points)
Posted by tenorsaxist

only about ten percent from the barrel,body of the instrument and the bell

sorry, I strongly disagree. If you have moved up in music making, then a student clarinet WILL NOT do. It is like a snake shedding his skin, a musician is in reality eventually limited by their instrument. Eventually, a student clarinet (even with good reeds and a mouthpiece) WILL hold youback if you progress beyond it's capablilities. It is important to get a Clarinet that can sing. You do not see any good clarinetists on student clarinets, and it is for a reason. I agree with leighism (????) that a buffet e11 (was it e11 you said, I forgot!) can do you very well, but absolutely not a student plastic clarinet. There really is know way out of it. It is like riding the same car for 14 years, either you get a new one because you get sick of it, or it falls apart!

Re: Upgrades...why ?    20:24 on Wednesday, November 19, 2008          

(9 points)
Posted by BandNinja09

I agree, yet at the same time I disagree. I agree with the point you made about a student having a professional instrument. I don't think that rich parents or whiny kids who have no real experience (middle school/early high school students) should get professional instruments. But I do believe that you may want to upgrade to a professional instrument if you have talent, are taking private lessons, and plan on persuing music after high school. Yes, a student or intermediate instrument is fine for someone who is just playing through high school and that's it but if you were someone like me who is going to be a music therapy major in college, you may want an upgrade because the talent level can exceed the level of the instrument you have.

for example, i started out on a used plastic yamaha student clarinet which i used for 3 years, i found that as I progressed, in a way I 'outgrew my instrument', I got to the point where it was just too easy for me to play on it but I still did not have a great tone, so i decided to move on to an intermediate(wood artley which I only payed $75 for), which has suited me just fine now (i'm a high school senior), I have recently found the same thing as with my first instrument, I am outgrowing it. I am about to buy an R13 as recommended by my future college clarinet professor.

professional instruments are also harder to play. i'm not saying that it will 'instantly make your tone better', but if you have enough experience and talent you can make the professional instrument sound a million times better than you ever would have on a student. (also,sometimes i go back and play my yamaha and find that it doesn't sound nearly as good as my artley)

so my point is- upgrades can be made at the right time and the right level of playing for the individual. professional instruments are only benificial if the player has enough talent and puts enough work into it.


Re: Upgrades...why ?    04:50 on Wednesday, November 26, 2008          

(308 points)
Posted by dickdona

I think the first post is 90% correct. Players/students seem to want the best instrument even before they are ready for it. They think it will automatically make them better players. I had the same problem and my teacher kept telling me, get your tone right on what you have first. Then after a year she said, you sound like a tin whistle, here play this, and she handed me her Le Blanc (2000) But I wasn't ready for it. The instant jump from cheap plastic to expensive wood was too wide. I learned my lesson.
Now I have a Noblet (wood) with an AT45 Vandoran mouthpiece which I bought after trying many many instruments and 3 different mouthpieces. And it took me a while to come to terms with it. Now, after a few months, I'm beginning to find the tone. I think we/students tend to want to upgrade the instrument faster than upgrading our ability.
Is this just a human weakness?

Re: Upgrades...why ?    16:00 on Thursday, December 04, 2008          

(471 points)
Posted by leighthesim

i think upgrades only mke sence when you need them, i recently got a new clarinet(my old selmers been put in the cupboard in case of emergency or my sister want to have a go) but it was quite a jump to fo from a plastic selmer thing to my nicer almost antique bosey and hawkse regent with selmer paris c** mouthpeice but the only eson i got it was because i stuck to it and my dad found it as a bargain on ebay and it is worth alot more then it went for (i think the mouth peiee is worth what we paid for it), but it is the same with my flute apart from i haven't got an upgrade as it i fine.

I think alot of student improve when they get a new instrument due to the fact they think they have improved so make quicker progress ( bit like a plecebo but not) like you coule buy a 2.50 mouthpeice from ebay, them in gld writhe vandoren and a student would think it was amazing and improve a lot, them if they went back to there old mouth peice would still have the improvement

Re: Upgrades...why ?    02:38 on Friday, December 05, 2008          

(756 points)
Posted by contra448

What model Boosey & Hawkes have you got? Using a standard French style mouthpiece on some of them can cause dreadful tuning problems.

Re: Upgrades...why ?    07:49 on Friday, December 05, 2008          

(70 points)
Posted by stevesklar

One must also understand specific differences between a student and pro instrument.

For instance, on some student instruments, such as a Vito the toneholes are smaller, thus allows for smaller hands to properly cover the holes. Keywork is slightly better aligned too for smaller hands.

Jumping to the extreme, say a Selmer Centered Tone a student with small fingers may find that they cannot seal the RH 3rd ring or the other larger toneholes. Yes, they are quite large by comparison.

Personally, with my small thin type hands, I can stick my finger INTO the 3rd tonehole. Luckily i've grown used to it and can play it quite nicely. But when i was first introduced to Selmer large bores (and large tonehole) clarinets i had a problem of my fingers not totally covering the toneholes especially when i reached for RH spatula keys

BUT, the larger toneholes provide for more easily controlled, colorful dynamics vs a more restricted student designed instruments.

That is just one example, of 2 specific instruments. Each manufacturers student instrument is designed differently. But you will find similarities like this in the larger makers that provide a full range of instruments.

the idea of student instruments is to teach technique first. as you move up "upgrade" it opens up more capabilities. Of course, many do not understand these "capabilities" until one is experienced enough or has a quality teacher

Re: Upgrades...why ?    08:03 on Sunday, December 07, 2008          

(471 points)
Posted by leighthesim

contra, i have a regent boosey and hawkes, 59 years old, then i have a selmer paris c** mouuthpeice, but i have the two barrells so i use the one which apears to be most in tune

Re: Upgrades...why ?    10:23 on Sunday, December 07, 2008          

(756 points)
Posted by contra448

Yes - a standard French style mouthpiece works OK with the starter model Regent (Yours must be one of the wooden ones - I think B&H started making the Regents out of plastic in the early 60s)but the professional, large bore models require special mouthpieces.

Re: Upgrades...why ?    11:24 on Tuesday, December 16, 2008          

(471 points)
Posted by leighthesim

i didn't know that, and yer my clarinet is woodern, its much better then my selmer console (plastic),

Re: Upgrades...why ?    20:05 on Tuesday, April 28, 2009          

(309 points)
Posted by flute_n_bassoon

I agree, a student should not have a professional instrument, however, instrument quality can effect the tone greatly, if its anything like a bassoon.
I learned on a brand new plastic selmer bassoon. It was very discouraging, I wanted to quit because I sounded so bad. Then my parents invested in a 40 year old wooden schrieber (the selmer was a school bassoon bought that year for me with grant money) Low and Behold, I kick butt on my schrieber.
If a student does not sound good due to a low quality instrument,( or an instrument of bad material) then the student can get discouraged and quit, without knowing that it wasn't them that sucked, just thier instrument. Upgrading is necessary for a student when the student has a bottom of the line instrument.


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