Henshui Roffee / Songtielun C clarinet

Thanks to Windy Dankoff for giving me the opportunity to review this great C clarinet. This is the second Songtielun (STL) C clarinet that Windy purchased. (Songtielun is a seller on eBay.) The first one had significant— but fixable, intonation issues. This second STL is quite good right out of the box, and better than many wooden French C clarinets from times past. HOWEVER, this this clarinet brand will have be quite variable in quality, and the buyer should be prepared to make tweaks to fine tune the intonation himself/herself, or send it to someone who will do that.


This clarinet has no name stamped anywhere on it, not even on the bell! Windy thinks that company which makes this instrument is Henshui Roffee. This clarinet is a bargain at a couple of dollars less than $200, and that includes the shipping from China.


Serial  # none

Barrel:   The longer barrel is 48.15mm. I used the shorter barrel, which is 45.55mm.

Bore LH joint top:  15.1mm

Bore LH joint at bottom:  14.5mm This is Very Poly-cylindrical. Either this clarinet could be made according to different specs than the Ridenour, or it could be sloppy manufacturing aiming at the same specs. Windy says the barrel bore is smaller than that of the Ridenour C barrel. We don't know if the two brands are manufactured at the same factory.


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


For this test, I pulled 1.5  mm at the barrel, and 0 mm at the center tenon. For the second test with the bundled mouthpiece, I pushed all the way in.


High register


Android ClearTune

 with the bundled plastic mouthpiece

F

very flat

 

E

very flat

 

D

-10

 -10

C

0

 0

B

0

 1

B-flat

4

 0

A

0

 1

Mid



 

G

12

 5

F

10

 8

E

1

 0

D

0

 0

C

0

 -2

B

-2

 -2

Throat tones



 

Bb

-5/using side key fingering, 15

 -12

A

12

 8

G

5

 0

F

4

 0

E

1

 0

Chalumeau



 

D

0

 0

C#

0

 -8

C

4

 0

B-flat

6

 4

A

1/-1

 2

G

-5

 -6

F

-12

 -16

E

5

 -3

Intonation summary: This is wonderful intonation. It has a few places where it almost comes up to the Ridenour C clarinet in intonation. The throat tone Bb better in tune on this STL than on my Ridenour C (which I have sold). A -5 cents on that note can easily be fixed! One thing that Windy and I discussed about Chinese clarinets: Many of them have problems in the barrel. For instance, if the barrel has a gap on the inside, the player will probably never know. It is invisible to the player because the joint goes together fully on the outside. But that gap can cause huge problems in intonation. This one has gaps above the upper joint and the middle tenon.


The bundled no-marking plastic mouthpiece played quite well. It only felt a tiny bit more resistant than my Chedeville Prime mouthpiece. The bundled mouthpiece is slightly more open than my Chedeville. And the clarinet played better in tune (although flatter) with its own mouthpiece than with mine. However the tone lacked center, became dull, lacking in higher overtones.


Windy feels, and I agree, that this C clarinet has a different tone than the Ridenour C. I cannot test the two side by side, but my general impression is that the tone on this C clarinet is more like a Bb clarinet than the Ridenour was, in the low register, throat register, and clarion register. The timbre of the Ridenour was nice, but sounded a little more in the direction of an Eb clarinet, or more like a piccolo trumpet compared to a regular trumpet.


Key work quality: Seems quite good.

Case: Very nice hard case with good latches.

Pads: Windy says they are kid. I forgot to look.


This clarinet is most appropriate for: Anyone willing to have someone work on the intonation. If you are lucky, maybe your's will be good enough without fine tuning work. See Recommended Clarinet Tech Services.


Condition issues noted:  None. All the pads seat well. So far, all three clarinets Windy has purchased from this source have had Very Much too-tight tenon corks. This is a frequently commented on trait of all Chinese clarinets in purchase reviews everywhere— such as at Amazon. The purchaser just needs to expect that. (File them down with an emery board, and apply cork grease. Don't file them down too far!) The tenon corks on many new clarinets are so over-sized that there is danger of bending keys in assembly and disassembly. This also leads me to think that most inexpensive Chinese clarinets have not actually been play tested.



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