Our clarinets’ manufacturing process – from As to (contra) bass
Unlike with industrially produced clarinets, all our clarinets’ components are handcrafted individually to fit one specific instrument: To a corpus chosen by our team, toneholes and keys are added, according to their specifications. This way, we are able to build the instrument you have envisioned!
This video clip gives you a quick overview of our manufacturing process:
Our wood originates from sustainable forestry and is being tested carefully for its usability by our team. Its meticulous storage time, as well as the wood’s preparation process which allows for it to later become a clarinet corpus, is a lengthy process of several years. It is however, vital for the instrument’s quality. Over the course of 10+ years, the wood is being processed all throughout its different stages, slowly transforming it into its later shape. Periodical intermediate storage is necessary for this natural resource to adjust to its new shape and thereby minimise the risk of cracks later on.
Alternatively, the usually silver-plated brass rings on barrel, lower joint and bell can be substituted by carbon fibre reinforcements. Besides the optical difference, it decreases the air resistance. Our barrels are also available with wooden rings.
In collaboration with leading clarinettists, we have developed our own bore concepts and are thereby able to offer you one of the widest ranges of possible sound options. We are working adamantly on finding ever more ways of helping our customers achieve the unique sound they are looking for.
Besides the choice of wood and the bore, the number and positioning of the toneholes has a vital influence on the instrument’s sound character. The interaction between toneholes and mechanism is being checked regularly and individually adjusted by our team.
Our clarinets’ mechanic pieces are made from nickel-silver, as well as nickel-free brass precision casting and nickel-silver milled parts. At the last processing stage, they receive a strong silver-plating or gold-plating.
Our models speakertubes and thumbhole-tubes are made from delrin, a black plastic material which reduces the amount of condensation forming. The standard material for our rolls is also Delrin, yet we offer silver-plated / gold-plated nickel-silver parts as well.
To minimise the abrasion during the mechanic pieces’ storage process, we use bronze tubes in conjunction with stainless steel screws.
All clarinet toneholes by SCHWENK & SEGGELKE are drilled by hand on a cnc positioning system and, using the appropriate tools, are filed down for optimal sound and intonation. To achieve the best possible result, we dedicate a lot of time and effort to this step, as this is where individual deviations by the customer come into play. The toneholes’ upper surfaces are being specially sealed to allow the Clarissonno quarz resonance pads to close efficiently, thereby preventing the emission of noise.
To achieve exact, reproducible results, we have been using computerized linear motion control and positioning programs from the beginning (also to guarantee the mechanic parts’ precise fit). All necessary programs have been written by us.
After the silver-plating / gold-plating process, the mechanic which was built specifically for this particular instrument, is being assembled and customized.
As our mechanisms’ sound insulation, we use natural kork, synthetic cork and silicon.
As an experienced clarinettist, Jochen Seggelke knows about the requirements finished clarinets face, especially in regards to tonal balance and intonation. After their completion, all instruments are being tested personally, disassembled and adjusted if necessary. This process of checking and re-checking the interplay between mechanism and acoustic form the tonal foundation. After our customers have played their new instruments for a certain amount of time, we repeat this process to customise the instrument optimally to meet the players requirements.
Your instrument’s manufacturing process is done by hand. That makes our hands our most precious tools, which need to be unscathed and free to work. Furthermore, we train our apprentices which takes time as well. As this ensures SCHWENK & SEGGELKE being able to sell instruments of the best quality in the future, you as our customer benefit, as well.
As we also repair and maintain our customers’ clarinets alongside the other tasks mentioned above, deliveries of new instruments can only roughly be planned. Halfway through the production process, we will notify you that the second instalment is due. (cf. terms & conditions)
We capitalize customer service here at SCHWENK & SEGGELKE.
All instrument sold come with comprehensible information on the pieces used, the bore and the employees involved in the manufacturing process. This documentation allows customer and manufacturer alike, to customize replacement parts and further additions, as well as maintain the instrument’s character. Moreover, we inform our customers about recent innovations that can be inserted subsequently – comparable to a computer update.
As not only an increasing number of players, but also other manufacturers are interested in our (legally protected) clarinet innovations and are using the developments, made marketable by SCHWENK & SEGGELKE, we would like to point out that only instruments that contain our original “SCHWENK & SEGGELKE Bamberg” signature display the features mentioned above and are covered by our function warranty.
You have further questions or special demands?
Don't hesitate to contact us!