The sound characteristics you want to achieve, the look of the completed instrument, and the cost are all things to think about when changing clarinet barrels. The type of wood or plastic used, as well as the finish on the inside bore, have an impact on tone and price, and the most expensive clarinet barrels are usually custom made to match the mouthpiece and instrument section. Only a few companies allow you to try out a new barrel and then return it for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied; as a result, you should carefully review any seller’s return policy and warranty. In general, a person selects a barrel that will work with the mouthpiece and instrument to provide crisp articulation, focused intonation, and a stable bore that will not warp.
Manufacturers of musical instruments are constantly reworking and improving their products. You should research what sellers have to offer in the current market to ensure that you are purchasing the best clarinet barrel. Although the majority of the barrels are mass-produced, even with strict manufacturing specifications, small variations in the barrels can affect the sound. Some sellers let buyers try out two barrels for one to two weeks before deciding which is the best. Other sellers offer flexible return policies that allow you to evaluate the sound quality of the barrel.
Student clarinet barrels are usually made of plastic, such as delrin, and are the most affordable. One of the benefits of a plastic barrel is that it does not warp. Warping is caused changes in temperature and humidity, and wood barrels are more prone to warping. A wood barrel is a good option if you want a stylish barrel with good sound quality.
Different types of wood produce distinct sounds, such as a clear, bright tone or a rich, robust tone. Read what other clarinetists have to say about the various woods, but keep in mind that some people describe sounds in a hazy manner. Central American cocobolo, Asian ebony, and African blackwood are just a few of the woods to consider. Hard woods are used in barrel construction because they resist warping.
When purchasing clarinet barrels, one factor to consider is the shape of the barrel. Conical, cylindrical, and reverse tapered cones are some of the most common shapes. The bore lining, which could be made of synthetic, vulcanized rubber, or another material, is another consideration.
When comparing clarinet barrels, make sure to select the correct size for your instrument based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. The sound is affected the bore dimension, mouthpiece exit bore size, and barrel length. Another factor to consider is that some sound frequencies may be absorbed the barrel wall. Some woods or linings, for example, absorb higher frequencies, giving the music a darker tone. Another reason why professional clarinetists prefer to test a barrel before purchasing one is because of this.