Berkeley C clarinet

Thanks to John Holenski for giving me the opportunity to review this clarinet.

This clarinet is exactly like the Henshui Roffee / Songtielun C clarinet, but this one has gold stencils with the Berkeley logo on all pieces except the right hand joint and mouthpiece. Everything looks exactly the same, even the oddly shaped single screw ligature. The Berkeley logo is quite florid and elegant, but it is just painted on and it will quickly disappear, leaving another no-name clarinet.

Serial #none

Barrel: 47.72mm and 45.75mm.

Bore LH joint top: 14.9mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.4mm

NOTE that this clarinet is for sure from the same factory, but there is a slight variance in all the dimensions from those of the Henshui Roffee. A variance of a tenth of a millimeter won’t make much difference if you are making computer mice, but will make a real perceptible difference in how a wind instrument plays, both in response and intonation.

The bell on this C clarinet doesn’t have a hole in it. Both the Ridenour and the Henshui Roffee had a hole. I think someone forgot to make the hole on this one. Or perhaps they felt that this one didn’t have a flat enough E/B to warrant a hole.

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For the first test, I used the shorter barrel and pulled 1 mm at the barrel, and 0 mm at the center tenon.

For the second test, I used the longer barrel and pulled 0 mm at the barrel, and 0 mm at the center tenon.

Intonation summary: The intonation is not nearly as good as the Roffee clarinet I tested. BUT, the one I tested was the second one Windy got from the same source. The first one was awful, and probably more like this one. The presence of both very flat and very sharp notes in the throat register is not too bad. They can be tweaked to play in tune by someone who knows how to do it. The out of tune 12ths between low F/G and mid-C/D are going to be very much harder to improve. In fact, it may not be possible to improve them.

I play loud on these tests. I find that the C clarinets are somewhat more changeable in intonation than the Bb clarinet when playing soft. Playing the low F at a piano dynamic level brings it right up to 0 pitch (perfect, right on). This means that the clarinetist will need to be aware and make appropriate embouchure changes for softer dynamics.

What I did to tweak the intonation:

  • Use longer barrel and pull out 1.1mm. The gap helps the throat tones to be lower. Then in another test I was using a different reed and pulled 0 mm at the barrel. This last test is shown in a few numbers after /.
  • Put Poster Tack in A throat tone tone hole to lower that and throat Bb.
  • Put a hole in bell like on the Roffee clarinet, same position.
  • Now with the hole, pull the bell out by 2.5mm. Windy put an o-ring there, which is a good idea, so that pulling out there will be automatic.
  • Undercut the low G tone hole (the one closed by the low F key.
  • Poster Tack in low Bb tone hole, the one closed when playing A.
  • Poster Tack in low D tone hole, the one closed for low C.
  • Undercut and slightly widened the F throat tone tone hole, the one closed for E.
  • Undercut slightly throat tone E tone hole, the one closed for D.
  • Slightly undercut the low C# (left pinkie) and Eb (right side) keys.

Key work quality: Good. The crow foot under the low F key is plenty wide and thick, but it still bends too easily.

Pads: regular bladder pads, which seem to be good quality

This clarinet is most appropriate for: This won’t work very well for anyone unless it is modified to play in tune.

Condition issues noted: The F/C pad was not seating well. Using the right E/B single pinkie fingering was very stuffy because the F/C raised up. In other words, the crowfoot coupling needed to be adjusted.