Leblanc Cadenza

This clarinet, which is model LB130, is stamped “MADE IN USA.” I believe that I read that the wood is machined in Maine, and the work supervised by Morrie Backun, whose name is also stamped on the instrument. Without a doubt, this is the finest clarinet brand ever to be made in the United States. The barrels are actually made by Backun in Canada. And who knows where Leblanc makes their keys? (France or Kenosha, WI)

Morrie Backun doesn't believe in using bore oil, but promotes waxing the clarinet. The Cadenza clarinet has a wonderful polished bore and exterior. It appears to me that this instrument might not ever need to be oiled. The wood is not stained, so shows more color variation.

The Cadenza has an extra adjusting screws for the right F/C key, which makes it easier to adjust how the low E/B key interacts with the F/C key.

The name plate is purely decoration. The low E/B rod seldom gets bent.

What's that next to the register key? Is that a register key lock?! That's what I thought at first. Thanks to Josh I now have the answer:

“It is in fact an adjusting screw to regulate the height to which the register key opens (for fine adjustments of intonation of the throat Bb and the clarion register of the instrument).”

Well, how about that?! My response is that most of us have been getting along fine with the repairman adjusting the size of the cork underneath this key. Makes me think that I should be more careful about this adjustment! My experience is that the height of this key is not often a problem. It is a “speaker” key, with a tube that goes into the bore. Small differences in adjustment will hardly make a difference in the clarion register. If the pad is way too close, yes, the throat tone Bb will be flat. But all the same, I would be interested in playing with this on a horn with this adjustment. Thanks, Josh!

The instrument I tested below is a blended instrument. The left hand joint has the serial number P1498, while the right hand joint is marked P1490. The barrel I used was a 65.5mm barrel from ClarinetBarrel.com. I bought brand new key-less joints, and applied new model Vito's keys to them. The joints may be defective in bore or in position of tone holes. Also, post-assembly tweaking by Leblanc technicians has not been done. I do see a few places where some undercutting of tone holes would help.

Bore LH joint top: 15mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.4 This instrument obviously is using a reverse taper. And the difference between the top and bottom is a lot more than other instruments I have tested with poly-cylindrical bores.

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

Intonation summary: Bear in mind that this is not a true Cadenza and may not reflect Backun's true design. The intonation good, but not as good as many other poly-cylindrical bore instruments I have tried. However this may have been designed for freeness of play, since it starts with such a wide bore. And this test was made without the benefit of a Backun barrel, which would normally come with this instrument.

Sherman Friedland did not like the Cadenza better than his Lyrique. LINK