Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How does the Chadash Clarinet compare to the traditional French clarinet?
A. The Chadash clarinet has the register key exactly located where the Buffet R13 is as far as the register location. We prefer this because it provides a very nice throat Bb which is an actual note. The high B and C are not sharp at all. It is probably due to the fact that the taper of the cone is a lot more gradual than extreme. The Chadash clarinet taper is a little smaller than a Buffet at a certain location in the cone, which keeps the high B and C in tune, by two to five cents above, which is very acceptable. People who play Chadash clarinets marvel at how tune they are. In reality, it really doesn't take a musical genius to do this, because it is really a matter of understanding the total volume and knowing the limitations. There is always going to be some compromise. It's just a matter of achieving the best compromise possible.
Q. How does Chadash clarinet respond to clarinetist who are use to large manufacturers giving them the option of selecting their instrument from many clarinets?
A. With a large company, people may try 20, 30, or even 40 instruments. Because there are so many and the variations are huge, that's the only way to choose a clarinet. At Chadash clarinet I address this issue of variation when we make my instruments. I make them in batches of three or four that come out amazingly close. I've hade people come to pick a clarinet, and they couldn't decide because they where so close. What I usually tell them is "look, for your psychological well-being, take the upper joint from this and the lower joint from this. I didn't decide one should go with the other."
When I was making one instrument at a time, it was good, but it was not superb. When I started making three or four instruments at a time, all of a sudden it became fantastic. When you go into production mode, there is less of an insecurity effect. The repeating becomes very accurate, because you are doing the same thing all the time. There are still teeny, weenie variations, but you have a template you follow. When you make one at a time, you devote too much time to it. You can actually get into trouble because you judge things wrong and follow up with a course of action that's not necessarily what you should be doing. You learn it as you go.
Q. Could you please tell me more about the key work on the Chadash clarinet?
A. Chadash clarinet keys are made of nickel-silver, which is a combination of copper, zinc, nickel, and tin. There is no silver in it at all. The way some companies save money is to give you more zinc, less copper, and even less tin. Tin is the component that makes it strong. Without enough tin, the instrument suffers from "spaghetti syndrome" where you can adjust an instrument by bending it with your bare hands. Copper gives beautiful flexibility to the metal so that it machines cleanly and well. Zinc is the element that makes the keys most porous, so it is very important to keep the zinc low.
For plating I use platinum sliver, which is silver that has some platinum mixed in. This is silver plating of the old-fashioned kind, also called cocktail plating. I put my silver plating on as thick as possible, about two of three time thicker then Buffet, and I use no copper plating under my silver. The platinum I use makes the plating a little more durable, and because there is no copper underneath, it holds better, because it adheres directly to the metal of the key.
Q. Most instrument manufacturers get their mpingo wood from Tanzania through a sing German dealer. Could you please tell me where you get your mpingo from and how you age your wood?
A. The mpingo that I use to make my clarinets is from Mozambique, which is more reddish in color than Tanzanian mpingo. It is also more rare and expensive. Traditionally, when they cut the tree down, they turn the wood, so it's cylindrical, and they bore a hole through it so the wood can breathe. The wood needs to age be by being exposed to the elements. They leave it outside for years to the rain and the sun. Some of it cracks in this process, but the wood that survives is aged in that it has incredible memory. As it move through the seasons, the wood memorizes its movements, and in the process, it becomes more flexible.
In the French tradition, the wood should be aged about seven to ten years. When I started making my instruments, I purchased aged wood. I paid a lot more, but the dealer found me close to 200 sets that were very aged. It was actually a fluke. A German company purchased this wood to make clarinets then World War II started, and the company was making machine guns.
Every year, I purchase 100 sets of clarinet wood. I have plenty of it, and it's sitting on the roof of my tool maker in Long Island. All I do is go every few months and turn it to expose each portion of it to air. It is a common practice for manufacturers to not age their wood in the traditional way. They make instruments out of wood the first year after it has been cut. What they do is induce the wood by stabilizing it with linseed oil. They put it special chambers that suck all the air out of the wood. In this process, the wood starts to twist. Then, when it is very dry and there is no oxygen, they induce it under pressure with linseed oil.
Once the wood is treated by oil it begins to puff up, and the oil actually raises the burr of the wood. When it raises the burr of the wood inside the bore, it changes the bore dimension. All of a sudden, things sound a little hollow, airy, and noisy. The noise level increases, and the pitch shoots up. As the bore gets bigger, the outside instrument gets smaller. The clarinet's wood does not come back to original dimensions and loses those components that on liked when on chose it. This is why a lot of clarinet players change clarinets every three or four years.
Q. So what do you use to protect the wood on the Chadash Clarinet?
A. I use 100% carnuba wax to protect the wood. The wax I use is a very, very thin compared to the burr raised by linseed oil. Moisture is the worst enemy of our instruments, actually. It warps the wood by raising the burr. It's ironic that many clarinet manufacturers use oil to protect the wood from moisture, since oil raises the burr as well. I deal with moisture two ways: by producing an instrument from wood that is aged well, and by protecting it by sealing with wax. Paul Laubin, the maker of the Laubin oboe, believes that oil doesn't only change and raise the burr, but that it also causes cracks. When the wood expands, from oil or from water, this is when it can crack.
Q. Do you have a refund policy?
A. Please note because Chadash Clarinet is a small custom maker, we do no refunds. We will be more than willing to do custom changes and/or accommodations or if necessary arrange for a replacement of an instrument and/or parts.