I hear so many clarinet players say the good clarinets are made from wood…. I hate to break it to them … but… there are more bad wood clarinets on the planet than there are good ones….
Over time wood bores change, hell, the bore changes every time you pick up the clarinet… that is why clarinet players are always looking for another barrel or clarinet. clarinet players do not keep their clarinets for a lifetime……
As far as plastic or metal are concerned… there is no difference in the tone color…. When you check them on a spectrum analyzer the overtone series are the same….
There have been many blind fold test and no one can really tell the difference in the materials when they hear the clarinets played.
I hear people talk about how the molded clarinet bores are not the same each time… Hell, the wood clarinets are not the same every time… When I worked at Buffet I would play as many as 50 or 60 clarinets on single day and believe me none of them played the same… all very good but none the same…. When you look at the video of how Buffet makes their clarinets… the last step is a guy that puts a dowel rod with a cloth and cutting compound on it… then spin it through the bore of the clarinet to polish it…. try to tell me he can make each bore the same….
In the world of making instruments there are many variables that no one has any control over…. When you make something there is 10% possible change in the material after the product is made.. It bore can get 2% larger or 5% smaller.. it also might not change… but … the maker has no control over this in the making process..
I have a car that has never given me any problems… I have a friend with the same car and has had nothing but problems since she got it…. Everything in life is a crap shoot!
Clarinet players always talk about the Buffet clarinet being the best clarinet on the planet… I agree they are very good…. But.. they are not the only game in town…
I personally do not know anyone that plays the clarinet out of the box… they always want to pick a different barrel or bell, adjust pd heights etc.
I talk about this stuff because I make an ABS plateau and an Hard Rubber traditional clarinet that both play great… I personally own close to 100 clarinets.. every brand, from the 1700 hundreds to all the modern clarinets.. I love the clarinet have a great time playing it and working on them….. I have played several thousand clarinets over the years as repairman… many belonging to great players, many to us regular fun-loving clarinet players.. The one thing I am positive of is “No two clarinets play the same”. Wood, Plastic, Metal, or Ceramic….. Remember, when you hear makers say their instruments are all the same and they all play great.. they are just full of BS…. As a manufacturer I find it necessary to discard or not sell about 1 out of a dozen instruments I have made…. Hell, I have a warehouse full of instruments I cannot sell in good faith… I figure that loss into my overhead, just like warehouse rent, insurance, electricity etc. and will not sell an instrument that does not play…
So, keep an open mind about material… yes you will feel a difference most of the time… but.. that does not make one material better than another.. there is a difference between a Buffet and a YAMAHA… Hell, there is a difference between two Buffets….