Some of the testimonials from Ridenour Clarinet customers genuine reviews/opinions
Below are some emails from delighted customers from all over the world
Leading freelance clarinettist in London
“Les – this 576b Ridenour clarinet is fantastic – so easy to play much less resistance in the bore which means crossing the “breaks” between registers is so smooth and effortless. It is also so well in tune and the ergonomic register key means much less movement in the left hand thumb.” (thus reducing the risk of RSI -Les)
“Evenness of note from Chalumeau to Altissimo is amazing also. Being made of hard rubber means it is not affected so much by heat or cold and remains stable pitch – wise during a long show. It also means the clarinet will not crack or warp due to extremes of climate.
I was looking for a clarinet to keep in the theatre rather than carry my much more expensive clarinet to the theatre every day (I do not leave the clarinet there as the dry atmosphere has caused many instruments to crack) and now I have found one that has a lovely dark warm sound in all dynamics – Les I am delighted. Best wishes James”
Bart Watté Solo Clarinet at Royal Band of the Guides Belgium
Solo clarinettist of Belgium’s most prestigious Band – Bart bought a pair of Ridenour clarinets to use when he does not wish to expose his expensive Selmer clarinets to extreme climatic conditions. “Les the clarinets arrived today in excellent condition – I had high expectations but they exceeded all my expectations and the set up you have done on them is superb – thank you very much” Bart
Professional Jazz / doubling musician / recording artist in Spain
” It’s the player and not the instrument as they say – but there are exceptions to every rule. The 576bc clarinet I got from Leslie a couple of months ago might be such an exception. The fantastic tuning, even response over registers and general low resistance has really made things way easier and actually helped me to reach a new level as a sax/clarinet doubler. After consulting Leslie I went for the 576b with the custom setup and the clarinet plays and feels absolutely fantastic. It has a big warm and flexible tone just as Leslie described it. Thank you!
“ All the best! Fred” www.fredrikcarlquist.com
about one year later Fredrik sent one of his students to visit me and he also purchased a Ridenour 576b Bb clarinet:
Dear Leslie – Anselm my student sounds great on the new clarinet. Quite interesting to see how his sound and phrasing improved thanks to the even scale on the Lyrique. I’m quite addicted to mine I must say. My Selmer series 10 doesn’t get much play time these days. I’ve practised hard the past year and I’m now started to record a jazz clarinet album. I’ll be more than happy recommending this instrument to anyone. I think it’s fantastic! Best wishes Fred
July 2018 A happy C clarinet customer:
Just a short email to confirm that I am more than happy with the Ridenour C clarinet. What a beautiful instrument.
I find it very straightforward to switch from Bb to the C, although, I need some practice to familiarise my fingers to the inevitably closer layout of the key work. The intonations seems to be pretty good and tonally, it is straightforward to avoid a more strident sound one often hears on these smaller clarinets. Thanks all round, Les, for your excellent advice and speedy service. Will certainly recommend you if I hear of a clarinet playing colleague who needs anything which you offer. Many thanks and best regards Chris (East Anglia)
freelance professional with many major orchestras in U.K.
August 2018 – I am currently working as a freelance clarinet player with orchestras such as RPO, RLPO, BBC NOW, WNO, ESO, London Concert Orchestra, Red Note Ensemble and others and am looking forward to playing my C clarinet as much as possible!
“I have now owned my Ridenour C clarinet for a few months and couldn’t be happier!
I came to Les in need of a C clarinet as I had been booked last minute for a run of opera performances that required using one. Les had an instrument ready to go and after playing it for less than 15 minutes I threw it straight in to first rehearsals.
I was a little trepidatious as C clarinets that I had played in the past (not Ridenour) were hard to play well in tune and weren’t very even in response. To my delight, the Ridenour C clarinet played with immaculate intonation. As is often the case with orchestral music, the clarinets had many phrases in octaves with the bassoons and other woodwinds, which can quickly expose bad intonation. However, this was no problem and I felt that I could both project my sound in solo passages but also, crucially, blend with my colleagues in tutti passages. In fact, one of my colleagues asked if was I transposing some passages onto the Bb and was stunned when I said that I was in fact playing a C clarinet!
I believe that the Ridenour C clarinet represents excellent quality and exceptional value
Perhaps the best thing about this instrument is that it will never crack! I certainly could not have gone into a dry opera pit with a brand new wooden instrument and have it come through unscathed. Be assured however that the hard rubber body has just as much projection and warmth as a wooden instrument, without the negative aspects that come with wood. Thanks Les – Will White
June 2018 – A satisfied Libertas buyer from Malta – Michael is a friend from years ago and wanted to buy a Libertas – he is a very fine player – I gave him a master class many years ago.
Professional Maltese freelance clarinettist
bought a Libertas in Summer 2018
Dear Les, Your service is amazingly good and love the work you have done on the new Libertas. It is so responsive and it seals perfectly , the top register is very easy to play. I am delighted to play on my new Ridenour clarinet . Tomorrow will play with it in a classical symphonic concert and Saturday another pop gig in Gozo. Cheers Mike
left: Michael Pirotta Maltese clarinettist during an interval in a concert
from the Czech Republic April 2018 A happy 576b Bb customer –
I’m happy with the Ridenour 576b clarinet. I played several years Buffet Crampon B12 (plastic ABS). The Ridenour has richer more colourful sound, the key work is very smooth and easy to play. I’m really happy with this clarinet. Best regards, Roman
A happy customer in Scotland who after a year sent his clarinet for a service: Dear Les, the clarinet arrived today. It is a dream to play. Thank you very much for all your help. Regards, Hugh
Busy freelance professional clarinettist Yorkshire – he bought a Bass in 2017
right: Michael Grant “As someone who does a lot of work in pit orchestras, I find the Ridenour 925c bass clarinet ideal. It is well designed, reliable and robust, and is always a pleasure to play on. ” ” https://www.michaelgrantmusician.com
This review from a very happy Austrian customer Gunter Pellin who bought a Bb 576b and a low C Bass 925c in January 2019
A very detailed, sometimes critical and very personal view from someone who plays in a semi -professional orchestra and a small ensemble ( I have replied to some of his personal observations in italics)
As promised, I send you my opinion on the bass clarinet after a detailed test.
What I like:
It plays very well and is, except for a few little things, neatly processed. It is good to play and meets my expectations for an instrument in this price range.
What I dislike:
The sound and the response from the altissimmo F is not good, but in this highest register no bass clarinet really sounds good – the bass clarinet is a low instrument and should be played in the low register! but my Buffet Prestige is not much better.
That’s why I sold the Buffet now, because the Ridenour bass works wonderfully!
(Very few Basses have a good High F but if you open the A key with the index left hand it improves it considerably – most professionals would do this automatically – Les)
The low D on the left hand is too hard to play and has too much travel.
(I agree it is the biggest weakness of this Bass but some individual 925c basses are better than others in this regard – and before selling the Bass I always point out the pros and cons to my customers and this is one of the less positive points – generally I use the other low D the RH low D for most passages Les).
This instrument should be slightly upgraded in terms of the above details and silvered for an additional cost. The keys for the low C, C# and D in the right hand on the back of the Bass, as in the German system, should be equipped with rollers, so they are easier and facilitate fast passage work. (This is another of Gunter’s personal customisations that can be done but if silvering, adding rollers and an improved mechanism on the LH low D were improved it would cost considerably more – probably about £1000 plus, thus defeating the object of providing an inexpensive alternative to the really expensive main brands – Les)
Then it would be actually an inexpensive alternative to more costly famous name branded products. The original case is not very good and should not be produced (I agree the case is not good and Gunter bought a Reed and Squeak case a courtesy upgrade on which there is not a profit margin – they are given at cost plus postage i.e. no profit to me – Les)
The Reed and Squeak Bass clarinet cases sold by Leslie are very good, except that you cannot fit A4 music in it because they are too narrow. Otherwise, these are very good cases. (Reed and Squeak cases are as compact as possible and to take A4 music sheets would be counter productive as the case would have to be heavier and bulkier – the main thing is they protect the clarinet ! The case is not a music bag – Les)
Yesterday we played the beautiful Galatea (by Franz von Suppe) in the orchestra, which is a real challenge for the bass clarinet and :
“It worked wonderfully with my own mouthpiece.
(Gunter did not like the Ridenour mouthpiece supplied – but I find them to be very good – it is a personal choice…)
I give for this clarinet at this price an absolute-buy recommendation!!”
(Thank you Gunter – you are not easy to please! – Les)
Furthermore, I also bought a Lyrique 576b, which was set up by Leslie incredibly well.
(I do a lot of extra silencing and professional tweaks free of charge– Les) This clarinet is mechanically extremely quiet, speaks extremely well and is played by me in a small ensemble in which I almost exclusively play the first part.
“I never had a clarinet in this price bracket that works so well.”
“Again, an absolute buy recommendation for this instrument. ”
(Phew ! glad about that! – Les)
Best regards from Gunter – in the Tirol – Austria
A delighted customer in Poland Mr Stawieski who bought a Bb 576b in February 2019 :
“I played for a few moments. I will not send it back for sure 🙂 The mechanism works perfectly. The thing I like most is when playing, the whole instrument resonates, I’ve never had such a warm sound full of overtones. High sounds are beautifully tuned. Playing this instrument is easier. Sounds, or intervals that I was not sure of before, now come out without a problem.” “I am very pleased. Thank you very much for your help…………..Thomas
More testimonials and comments from delighted customers:
29/4/2018 A happy Scandinavian customer who bought a 570c C clarinet :
Dear Les -Yes it all has arrived, and it sounds great! I understood the importance of correct assembly to get the sound right, your drawing was helpful!……. the testing so far gives me a good feeling. It sounds great! Thanks for all hints and tips! Best regards, a happy c and b clarinet owner!
Thomas – NORWAY
June 2018 Bass clarinet buyer in East Anglia:
Played the bass at band last night and all was well – very good projection and it was much admired by my baritone sax buddy. Played with the clarinet choir this afternoon. Those extra three low notes make quite a difference to the whole colour. I’m a happy customer! In brief, It’s so refreshing to buy from someone who cares about giving good value and service and who does what they say they are going to do. Especially, in setting up the clarinet. I have experience of other retailers who claim a ‘pre-sale and pre-delivery check and set up’ who do nothing of the sort and the instrument, on arrival, needs attention before it will play well. So thanks again Les best wishes John
This customer also from East Anglia sat next to John (above review) in an orchestra when he was playing his Ridenour Bass and came to me on the strength of what she heard and bought a low C 925c Ridenour bass in February 2019 –
” The Ridenour quality is really good. As a Low Eb player I dreamed of a Low C for a long time, until by chance someone played a Ridenour 925c next to me. Leslie Craven has been of great help. Thanks to him the Bass has been looked after, plays well, has a good response and I look forward to years of joy.” Martine – Ipswich
Comment from another delighted 925c Low C Bass buyer (April 2018):
I gave the new instrument a good workout yesterday at a Concert Band Workshop hosted by the Wiltshire Police Band, under the direction of the former RAF Principal Director of Music. It, and I, held up very well!! Tony F. (experienced clarinet choir player and Bass clarinettist / Contrabass clarinettist)
Below: From a customer who bought a C clarinet in April 2018:
“I’ve recently bought a Ridenour Lyrique C clarinet from Les Craven, having previously owned a wooden C clarinet. I much prefer the Lyrique of the two – I find it to be lively and enjoyable to play, with reliable intonation and a surprising quality of tone. I have previously tried cheaper modern (non-wooden) C clarinets, which I believe were manufactured in China, but have never been impressed by them. The Lyrique also has the advantage of being a comparatively large bodied C clarinet, therefore it feels similar to a normal Bb clarinet to play. I was most impressed with the level of personal customer service supplied by Les Craven.”, Shirley Exeter
This from a happy 570 C clarinet customer in Orkney Scotland who bought a 570c clarinet in October 2018
Les – the clarinet did indeed arrive in good condition. I had quite high expectations but these were surpassed within an hour of playing. The sweetness and consistency of tone, the intonation, responsiveness and the ergonomic feel of the instrument makes it pleasingly comfortable to play. I’m absolutely delighted. I personally like nickel keys and the hard rubber. I’ll certainly be considering a Ridenour clarinet when it comes to replacing my Buffet Bb………………………………………..
Thanks again Leslie, Steve – Orkney
A happy ATG reed system recipient wrote:
“Thank you Leslie, the package arrived safely and I have been busy renovating reeds I had given up on 21 years ago many of which are good now for practice. This product is excellent and I look forward to working on my next new box of reeds. Thank you for your excellent service and I will contact you in future with a view to purchasing a new clarinet. Yours sincerely,” E Smith
Another delighted Scottish customer:
May I take this opportunity to thank you for providing me with a wonderful clarinet and great customer service.
I do not know of any shop sale person that would be so caring and thoughtful as you have been Les.
I would have no hesitation in recommending you to others.
Thanks again Les and thanks for everything. Jim (Glasgow, Scotland)
This from yet another happy Scottish customer who bought a Bb then came back to me for a C clarinet “After long deliberations, I set my heart on a (U.S.A. based) Ridenour C ‘hard-rubber’ clarinet and was delighted to find there was a U.K. agent, aka Leslie Craven, who not only takes care of the shipping details but checks and sets up each clarinet to ensure post-transit ‘health’.
Les is meticulous not only in his attention to the professional setup of the clarinet, but also in his desire to provide an instrument tweaked to perfection for the individual specifications of the player.
The Ridenour C clarinet itself exceeds its reviews with its amazing tuning, ergonomically designed register key and exquisite mellow tone; this clarinet is an absolute delight to play!!
Due to Les’ attention to detail of both instrument and customer, the whole process from initial communications, individual specifications, speedy and protective delivery to holding a beautiful instrument with stunning tone and quality in my hands was stress-free, efficient and an absolute pleasure.
I can highly recommend both Les Craven and the Ridenour C clarinet to anyone looking to invest in a new clarinet!!!”
I am really enjoying this clarinet, it has done wonders for my confidence as it produces such a lovely reliable sound!!
Kind regards Lynn” (Scotland) (Lynn later also bought a 576Bb she was so delighted with her C clarinet!! – Les)
From Northern Ireland:
Since buying the Libertas clarinet last year I am happy to say my long time interest in “clarinetting” has greatly revived. This is an instrument which easily lives up to the claims of the maker in all ways. The construction is excellent, the key work too. There is absolutely no hint of distortion in any weather or temperature conditions, moist or dry, and the clarinet comes with it’s own very good case. Lastly, I have to say that the price for such a quality instrument is amazing, coming in at some hundreds of pounds less than one might pay for many another top rated clarinet. I should add that, on your expert advice I subsequently invested in a Silverstein ligature which is a revelation for it’s ability to adjust to the players requirements. Finally, Leslie thank you for your ongoing help and instant response to emails. “Edward Kearney (N. Ireland)
Another satisfied Libertas customer from the Czech Republic :
“I have been playing a Lyrique Libertas Bb clarinet for 9 months and have a great feeling about it. Compared to my previous student level wooden instrument (famous make) the Libertas feels much more mature. I liked my old instrument but the Libertas has something more to it , it allows me to go much further when I blow ( – my breath seems to take me further) and I was surprised when I realised this……………….I feel pretty secure with the new instrument and Leslie was really friendly and helpful not only during the discussions before ordering but also when I began to play the instrument and needed some clarification regarding fingerings and other related things after the purchase….Thank you Leslie and it is great to know there is a top professional player able and willing to support even at distance…..I also play Leslie’s mouthpiece now and after some transitional period settled on it and more often I experience these moments when I and all around me know “it is there” Bob Popek ( Czech Republic)
From a 570c C clarinet customer in Zurich Switzerland:
“Finding a good C clarinet was something that occupied my attention for a long time. The quality of the two C clarinets I bought before (not Ridenour clarinets I hasten to add) were extremely disappointing: I returned both a couple of weeks after buying them. I had read about Ridenour C clarinets before, but did not want to spend so much money without testing the product first. This is where Leslie came in. When I went to the UK on holidays last year, I asked Leslie if I could stop by his house to try and buy the C clarinet. The rest is history. Leslie was extremely hospitable and gave me great advice and support. As someone else already said: completely beyond the call of duty. The clarinet itself is fantastic. The mechanics are solid, the sound is rich, full, completely stable and reliable in all registers. I can full heartedly recommend anyone to buy Ridenour clarinets. I currently have an A and Bb clarinet from ‘one of the two famous French brands’; I have no doubt that if I ever need to replace one of them, I would buy a Ridenour. I would also definitely buy them through Leslie. The level of quality control and (after) sales support he offers is second to none!” Dirk (Zurich – Switzerland)
This below from a player in the South of Ireland who purchased a Bb Lyrique Libertas
Les, The clarinet arrived early this afternoon and the initial impression is very good. On testing out of the box, the clarinet is lightweight, free blowing and very accurate intonation. I look forward to playing on it over the next few weeks and hopefully its light weight will allow me to comfortably play the clarinet for many years to come…………. John
(a few months later I followed up with a courtesy email to ask how John was getting on with the clarinet)
“Les, great to hear from you and hope all is well with you. I am really enjoying playing the Libertas, I have played it in rehearsals and performances. I am really pleased with the tone and intonation and the lighter weight of the instrument. The extra work you did makes it a very satisfying instrument to play…………………” ..John – Ireland
This : From another delighted C clarinet customer in the North of England:
“Thanks Leslie I’ve received my clarinet and trying it out. I’m very pleased with it. ” Thanks Again Ruth
This from a customer who bought a slightly used 576Bb at a bargain price:
“The clarinet sounds really nice, even in my somewhat inexpert hands. So thanks again for all of your help and advice ” BW,
Dave (Whaley Bridge)
Another satisfied C clarinet customer in Sussex :
“The clarinet arrived safely today and I have enjoyed playing it this afternoon. It works very well and is nicely in tune throughout the range.” Best wishes, Melville
Even sales of accessories receive high praise from top pro players from Royal Opera House Principal Clarinettist : “Hi Les “Got back from a little holiday yesterday and the block was there. Super efficient service, thanks. Thanks for the paper and info etc., also, much appreciated.”
Tim Orpen (Principal Clarinet of the orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden)
Another happy Bass customer in Colchester Essex : “Hi Les The bass is great and can get up to C in the altissimo very smoothly. ……. Overall a great bass and am happy to know it will never crack. All the best” – Ian Essex