A Guide to the FAQ Page
Below are product and policy questions that we have received over the years. We have done our best to group these into categories including: Woods, Models, Clarinets and Policies. If you don’t find your questions answered on this page, please send us a message through our Inquiry Form – we will be happy to answer them for you. Who knows, they might even end-up on this page.
Q: What is the difference between Grenadilla and Cocobolo?
A: Grenadilla and Cocobolo offer very different tonal characteristics. The sound that Grenadilla products produce contain more high overtones and, therefore, have been described as having “ping.” Cocobolo has less of these high overtones and is often described as being “warmer” than Grenadilla. Cocobolo also tends to project more efficiently than Grenadilla.
Q: Why isn’t Cocobolo used by more manufacturers?
A: While Grenadilla is a predictable wood that is relatively easy to work with, Cocobolo requires advanced knowledge and practices in design and manufacturing. Cocobolo can be difficult to work with and creates challenges in the way it must be machined.
Q: Does Cocobolo crack more often than Grenadilla?
A: Our experience manufacturing thousands and thousands of pieces of Cocobolo is that it cracks no more, and no less, than Grenadilla.
Q: Should I oil my clarinet?
A: Morrie Backun recommends oiling your clarinet four (4) times per year, often with the changing of the seasons. It is best to oil your clarinet using a clean (laundered) clarinet swab. Apply just a few drops of pure almond oil (Note: Not sweet almond oil!) to the clarinet swab, then rub the swab in your hands to evenly distribute the oil. Next, pull the swab through your clarinet a few times, making sure the bore is evenly coated throughout. This can be confirmed by holding the clarinet up to the light and looking through the bore to make sure it is oiled. If you see any dry patches, pull the swab through the bore, or apply a few more drops of oil to the swab, and repeat. When you’re done, wash your swab!
Q: What if my barrel/bell is not fitting properly?
A: Most woodwind technicians are able to adjust a barrel or bell’s tenon cork to make it fit. Sometimes fit problems are due to changing weather conditions. These often remedy themselves over time.
Q: Does BMS make barrels and bells out of other woods?
A: Over the years, we have experimented with hundreds of different wood species. We have found that Cocobolo and Grenadilla provide the most desirable sound for the clarinet (along with Tulipwood for the Eb). Other woods have given us good results in terms of sound and response, but have not been ideal when holding: manufacturing tolerances, stable temperature, or humidity.
Q: What is the difference between Traditional and MoBa Bells?
A: The Traditional Bell is designed after the length and taper seen on the most common clarinet bells. It provides an even response and unparalleled resonance. The MoBa Bell is shorter in length and has a different taper than the Traditional Bell, providing the player with more resistance – in turn, this allows for more projection. The shorter length of the MoBa bell does not affect intonation on most instruments.
Q: Do I need the Backun Voicing Groove in my Bell?
A: The Backun Voicing Groove was designed to improve register changes throughout the clarinet, including the clarion register. It is our experience that most clarinets benefit from this feature, though some specific models do not need this feature due to their inherent design.
Q: What happened to the Ringless Barrel?
A: While popular during their time, Ringless Barrels have been phased-out and replaced by Protégé Barrels. Ringless Barrels are still available in some Studio Barrel sizes.
Q: What is the difference between Fatboy, MoBa and Protégé Barrels?
A: Each barrel has a different outside profile, bore design and weight, all of which effect the tone, response and projection. The Protégé Barrel is designed to improve the response, intonation and tone of student and step-up clarinets. The Fatboy Barrel is very free blowing and responsive. The MoBa Barrel is slightly more resistant than the Fatboy Barrel and has more projection. The best way to experience the differences between these models is to try all three for yourself.
Q: What barrel lengths do you offer and why would I want a different length than the stock barrel I already have?
A: We offer Bb/A barrels in lengths from 64-68mm for Buffet, Leblanc and Yamaha Clarinets. We offer Bb/A barrels from 62.5-66.5mm for modern Selmer Paris Clarinets, as well as specific models and lengths for German, Reformed Boehm and Yamaha G Series Clarinets.
A: For clarinets with pitch/intonation problems, we manufacture a wide range of barrels to help solve your tuning issues. Contact us to inquire about barrels for your specific needs. Don’t worry: whatever your problem, we have heard, and solved, it before!
Q: What does the “+” mean on your barrels?
A: The “Plus (+)” model barrels have a slightly enlarged bore, which offers a more free blowing feel and improved intonation in the throat tones on many models of clarinet. We offer the Plus (+) barrel in 65mm and 66mm lengths in our Fatboy and MoBa models.
Q: What clarinets do your products fit?
A: Our barrels and bells are designed to fit most common models of clarinet. The standard models will fit Buffet, Leblanc, Yamaha, Selmer Series 9 and 10, and many other clarinets.
We manufacture barrels and bells specifically for modern Selmer Paris Clarinets such as the Recital, Privilege, Signature and St. Louis models. We also manufacture barrels and bells for Wurlitzer, Rossi and Yamaha CSG clarinets.
Years ago, Backun Musical Services started making custom barrels and bells – A service we still offer to this very day. Should you have a rare, or vintage, clarinet in need of a barrel, or bell, we would be happy to discuss custom accessories for your instrument.
Q: What is the difference between Backun and MoBa clarinets?
A: Backun and MoBa Clarinets have several key differences: The MoBa Clarinet is made with a different bore design than the Backun model and comes with a Low F Vent, MoBa Barrels and a MoBa Bell. As well, the MoBa Clarinet weighs slightly more than the Backun model. This is not a disadvantage, but rather, an affect of the additional keywork.
Q: Why are your clarinets so expensive?
A: Our clarinets are made using highly-figured, naturally-aged exotic hardwoods that are selected for their quality and beauty. Furthermore, we utilize modern materials such as carbon fiber and employ certain manufacturing processes that have not been used in the clarinet industry before. Once through the manufacturing process, each clarinet is then laboriously hand-assembled and hand-finished to exacting standards. These factors, coupled with ongoing research and development, all contribute to the final cost of the instrument.
Q: Can I order custom keywork on your clarinets?
A: If you have a special request, please use our Clarinet Order Form to send us a message. We will consider all requests. Please note: Custom requests carry additional parts and labour charges.
Q: What effect does gold plating have on the tone? Why offer gold plating?
A: In our research, there is no discernable effect on tone from gold plating alone. Each instrument has a slightly different voice and there are too many variables to prove whether the plating of keys has an effect on the tone of the instrument.
Gold plating is offered both as an aesthetic option, as well as an option for those players who have an adverse reaction to silver plating.
Q: Will a Cocobolo clarinet blend with my section?
A: While Cocobolo does have a different sound than Grenadilla, we find that players are able to adapt this sound easily to any playing situation. In addition to this, anecdotal evidence has shown us that, in many ensembles, other musicians actually prefer the sound of a Cocobolo clarinet.
Q: How should I break-in my clarinet?
A: Every new instrument should be broken-in through a gradual increase in playing time, from 5-10 minutes a few times a day, to the player’s normal schedule after a week or so. Following this procedure will ensure that the clarinet is more resistant to cracking and warping over time.
Q: Why do you not include a mouthpiece with your Artist or Protégé Clarinets?
A: While we think we make some of the best mouthpieces available today, we know that most players will already have their favorite mouthpiece and will generally use that mouthpiece with our clarinet. Therefore, we don’t see a need to add that additional cost to the instrument. However, if you really want a MoBa Mouthpiece with your new Backun, MoBa or Protégé Clarinet, let us know – we are more than happy to sell you one!
Q: I’ve seen your clarinet on TV. What model does (Insert Backun Artist Name Here) play?
A: Please visit our Artist Community for information on your favorite Backun Artists.
Q: How do I order a clarinet?
A: Please complete our Clarinet Order Form. After receiving your submission, one of our staff members will contact you.
Q: How long do I have to wait for a clarinet?
A: Currently, the wait list for our Artist Model Bb Clarinets is approximately 9 months. Protégé and Alpha Clarinets are in-stock and available now.
Q: Do you make A, Eb, C, D, G, or Bass Clarinets?
A: Currently, we manufacture Bb Clarinets. Backun and MoBa A Clarinets are in development and will be available for purchase in the future, along with the All-Wooden Tuba. (Just Kidding)
Q: How do your mouthpieces compare to my XXX XXX mouthpiece?
A: Please see our Backun to Vandoren Comparison Chart for tip opening comparisons between our mouthpieces and some other popular models.
Q: How do I order a Backun product?
A: Please visit your local Authorized Backun Dealer. If there is no dealer in your area, please use our Inquiry Form to send us a message. We will direct you to the closest Dealer that stocks the product you need.
Q: Can I exchange a barrel or bell that I no longer use?
A: We do not offer an exchange policy on our products.
Q: My Backun Barrel or Bell is cracked. What do I do?
A: Buy another one! All kidding aside, Backun Musical Services Ltd. offers a two-year (2 year) warranty on all Backun products. This warranty covers cracks not caused by negligence or misuse. To qualify for warranty, the product must have been purchased from either an Authorized Backun Dealer, or directly from Backun Musical Services. Ltd.. Products purchased from online auction sites, or through a third party, are not covered by our warranty. Full details can be found on our Shop Policies page.
Q: Do any music stores carry your products?
A: Absolutely! Please view our Dealer Map to find an Authorized Backun Dealer in your area. If you don’t find a dealer in your area, please contact us to suggest one.
Q: Why are there so many questions on this page?
A: Over the years we have been asked a lot of questions over and over and over… well, you get the point. This page is our effort to keep you informed. If you don’t find your questions answered on this page, please send us a message through our Inquiry Form – we will be happy to answer them for you. Who knows, they might even end-up on this page.