Choice of Woods
As the wood your clarinet is made of is more than just the material accommodating the keywork, we exercise great care to ensure we choose the right piece for your desired instrument. The surface, created both on the inside and outside, when a piece of wood is turned into the body of a clarinet, plays a crucial role in the sound behaviour of the finished instrument. In the past, we have experimented continously with various different materials and manufacturing techniques to obtain optimal results we can repeat in a controllable manner. With our tried and tested techniques we ensure the highest dimensional accuracy, providing you with the blowing feel and the range of sound you require.
For the clarinets in Bb, A and C, we offer the following selection:
Grenadilla (also known as African Blackwood and Dalbergia Melanoxylon) from Mozambique is a popular material traditionally used for all orchestral instruments. Its enormous density allows for the highest brilliance in sound range, resulting in a centered and balanced sound.
Pic.: barrel joint made from grenadilla
with silver-plated brass ring
Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) from France and Turkey: since the early days of the clarinet over 300 years ago, Boxwood has been drawn upon for instrument making. However, due to industrial manufacturing and the rising opportunity of importing exotic woods in the course of colonisation, its popularity subsided. Besides, with the stand of trees only slowly recovering, the necessary amount of wood was no longer available. Even so, our experience with period clarinets and the distinct acoustic properties of boxwood induced us to reintroduce this fantastic material to the manufacture of modern clarinets.
Pic.: barrel joint made from boxwood
with gold-plated brass ring
As yet, we have made more than a hundred clarinets using boxwood, in a whole variety of construction types - and counting. Not only are the instruments visually extremely elegant. Their capability of directly transposing the most subtle of dynamic shadings, allowing for a more expressive play â€“ neither to the detriment of volume nor to the focus in sound, is particularly impressive. With that said, we might aswell work exclusively with boxwood - were it not for the desire for maximum robustness and the brilliant shine offered by grenadilla.
The choice will always remain a personal one. And that might just be exactly what enriches the world of sound and, ultimately, music.
Furthermore, we have been engaging ourselves in working with "Mopane" (Colophospermum mopane) in the past few years, a type of wood only known to us by its African name. In terms of density and weight it strongly resembles Grenadilla (which Africans refer to as â€œMpingoâ€ - hinting at the proximity), yet differs in grain and colour. After oxidation and oiling it turns a deep red, which looks absolutely beautiful combined with gold-plated pillars or even an entire gold-plated keywork.
Pic.: barrel joint made of Mopane
with gold plated brass ring
If you have had chance to play a boxwood clarinet and are familiar with grenadilla's features you might well conclude that Mopane fills the middle between the other two types of wood.
It is a little less shiny than grenadilla while offering a similar compactness to boxwood, lending it its own voice. The density of its surface brings more compactness and focus into the sound. The grain, however, is shorter than typical of grenadilla, taking away from the intensity of some of the partials.