Home Sweet Buffet Tone

I have spent the past few days re-accustoming myself to my beloved Buffet clarinets. Sweetness over size. Ring over darkness. Tangy lemon cream chiffon rather than chocolate cake. These are not preferences of quality, they are instead qualities of preference.

Choosing and developing a tone for yourself is a very personal process. One Buffet may sound better than another, one Selmer design better in tune. But a good Selmer and a good Buffet clarinet are merely instruments of tone, not producers of it. The player is the real tone producer, the shaper of it. The choice to play one instrument over another is only one of countless decisions in the process of creating a your own special tone.

My tone production mechanisms had recently become somewhat generic; my breath, embouchure, voicing, the whole package had adapted to switching back and forth between Buffets and Selmers. Though this generifying adaptation was instructive, it felt good to slip back into the same familiar shoes several times a day, and to relish that intimacy and let it re-evolve toward my personal tone.

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4 comments for “Home Sweet Buffet Tone

  1. Tim
    December 16, 2009 at

    Would you consider recording the Jeanjean #2 on your Buffet so that we might hear a direct comparison of the sound difference you so eloquently write about?

    • December 16, 2009 at

      Yes, I have been working toward that. Perhaps today. It took me longer than expected to feel comfortable again on the Buffets.

  2. December 15, 2009 at

    A friend of mine has gone through two Buffet Festivals in one year and three super tech and still hates her new clarinet. So when she has a gig she borrows my Festival and marvels at the difference. Some say it is very hard to get a decent new clarinet from the big three. Dunno if that true but knocking on wood I found instruments I luv.

    • December 16, 2009 at

      Hi Gandalfe. It's hit or miss these days with mass production, cost reduction and market pressures. I think there are still great newly made mass produced instruments out there. It has definitely been an issue at times with Buffet. But a good R13 is still an amazing deal.

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