2018 Cheap Chinese No-Name A clarinet
This is an update to the Berkeley A clarinet review. I have found it so useful that I wanted another. At a cost of $170, I can afford to have one in Indonesia and one in the USA. No need to carry one back and forth. The seller for this on eBay was 2015hkjianq.
When in early high school, I joined the adult orchestra in my town of Hutchinson, Kansas. This was a very, very amatuer organization, but we managed to sound OK. The two ladies who were members before me did not have A clarinets. They affixed a thin rope with a wire on the inside of the clarinet bore, which lowered the pitch of some notes by a half step. This makes the clarinet play very stuffy. And many notes were way sharp. They were impressed when I learned to play a half step lower instead. Now with the appearance of cheap Chinese A clarinets like this one, players will no longer have to suffer so much when they need to play an A clarinet part. Even if someone was unable to get this clarinet tweaked for intonation, it would still play better than a Bb with a rope down the bore. And for someone willing to spend the time, this clarinet can be made into a very well-in-tune instrument. See the tweaking instructions on the Berkeley A clarinet page.
This clarinet has no name stamped on it at all, not even just the bell, like the Berkeley. This clarinet came with two barrels (both standard style with rings), both too long, just like the Berkeley. The bundled case on this one is much nicer than the Berkeley. It is the same style as my Ridenour Bb case. The Berkeley came with a very inferior soft sided case with thin, flimsy zippers.
Barrels: 65mm and 62.3mm
Bore LH joint top: 14.55mm
Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.55mm
Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.
For this test, used the shorter barrel and I pulled 0 mm at the barrel, and 0mm at the center tenon.
Intonation summary: This test was made before the work I will do to tweak the intonation. According to my memory, this is not quite as bad as the Berkeley was out of the box. bBt the same strategies will need to be employed to make this a good player. I anticipate that this can be improved to at least medium professional-level intonation. I would say it would be possible to bring this to full professional level intonation, but it should be observed that drastic tuning measures will often affect the tone or response of some notes.
Key work quality: Exactly like the Berkeley. The pads appear to be white kid skin.
This clarinet is most appropriate for: Anyone who is on a budget who can get it tweaked to play in tune.
Condition issues noted: The pads seat well, and better than the Berkeley when I received it. The low F/C key is positioned too low, making that note stuffy.