Midwest Musical Imports is very excited to introduce our new partnership with F. Arthur Uebel Clarinets and Moe-Bleichner Distribution!
Ricardo Morales - Principal Clarinet of The Philadelphia Orchestra is now an Uebel artist. Come learn and try for yourself why Morales made the switch to these amazing clarinets!
Saturday, October 5, 2019 1:30pm-4:00pm at Midwest Musical Imports
The event will start at 1:30pm with an introduction of the clarinets by an Uebel representative.
The remainder of the event will be an open house with the chance to:
- Meet and greet with Uebel representatives
- Learn more about the history and unique details of their production process
- Trial several Uebel clarinet models
To learn more exclusive details about the clarinets, listen to the Clarineat Podcast with Sean Perrin and CEO Victoria Moe and instrument maker Andreas Moe.
History of Uebel Clarinets: The company was founded in 1936, but within the past 10-15 yrs the clarinets have been reinvented with modern improvements.
Wood Selection: Wood is hand-selected, aged for 5-7 years and another 2+ years after the bore is drilled. Other manufactures now kiln dry their wood, taking it only 5 weeks from tree to completed clarinet. The Uebel clarinets have lesser chance of cracking due to their selection and aging process.
Selection process includes looking for wood density, where the wood comes from and if the drying process is slow enough. Each joint of the clarinet is matched in wood density, weight and grain direction. These factors contribute to an even tone throughout each register.
Durability: The wood of every Uebel clarinet is hand-selected and includes multiple layers of silver plating on the keys which results in a very durable clarinet inside and out.
Clarinet bore: As with most German clarinets the bore is larger than French clarinets. This provides a thicker wall and in turn has a larger, darker sound. The modern Uebel clarinets have a hybrid bore that is smaller than a traditional German bore, but appeals to those most familiar with a French bore system.
Ergonomics: Due to the larger bore, the tone hole placements are also different from French clarinets. The feedback has been that the reach, particularly in the pinky keys, is easier. Those with smaller hands or younger students have an easier time getting around the clarinet; especially on their very popular bass clarinet!
Did you know that we put extra time and care into each instrument we sell?
MMI specializes in working with world renowned clarinetists to hand-select our professional line of clarinets. 100s of clarinets are played and we look for the following qualities in selecting the best:
• Tonal center with a consistent tone throughout a wide dynamic range
• Evenness in response and resistance in all ranges of the scale
• Exceptional tuning throughout the instrument
Once selected the clarinets are setup by our repair technicians that have over 30 years of combined experience working on woodwinds.
The customized MMI setup includes:
• Resurfacing tone holes as needed to eliminate unnecessary friction/fuzzy notes
• Upgrading pads to Valentino Masters, cork and/or leather and replacing select key silencers
• Reseating and leveling pads to create a proper seal
• Key fitting, balancing spring tension, adjusting key venting and tenon fitting
• Cleaning and play-testing
Other companies charge extra for the setup of a new instrument. We are offering the setup at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Our setup includes 3-4 hours worth of work valued at $450 and to you it is FREE!
Recent trends in the world of bassoon reeds have introduced one of the great debates for a new reed-maker: knife or file? There are many advantages to both tools; while files can remove cane very quickly over a broader surface area, a sharp knife is able to make a precision scrape without compromising the structure of the blade to the same extent. Knives do, however, require more time to master the skill of scraping.
The other main issue with today's reed knives is the cost. The most recommended type of blade is the double hollow ground, which even at MMI will run you at least $40. With the cost of bassoons already so high, a young initiate to the world of reeds can't help but question the wisdom of the choices they've made. Personally, I balked at first at the cost of reed equipment and very often it still shocks me how costly some tools are.
Enter the Opinel knife
Opinel is a French knife manufacturer that produces quality blades for all types of purposes, from regular table knives to steak and chef's knives, as well as outdoor knives for camping, hunting, and much more. The blades are made of either carbon or stainless steel. The handles of most of their products are made of high quality wood and feel comfortable in the hand.
The best part is, at least for a reed-maker, the price. Now, of course, this brings to mind several questions for the more discerning reed enthusiast: is it made well? Will it keep from wearing out and rusting? Will it hold its edge? And the answer to all of those is yes, and remarkably so.
I was first introduced to the Opinel knife when I participated in an orchestra festival the summer of my junior year of undergrad. It was in a quaint seaside town in British Columbia. Every night after rehearsals we enjoyed exploring the town or heading to the beach right on the edge of the Puget sound. One day, for our "masterclass," the bassoon teacher took us aside to show us his reed-making process - pretty standard fare for a 2-week festival. The big takeaways from his lecture were to have cane ready in every step of processing, and to obtain one of these Opinel knives. He informed us that he'd been using one knife for several years without needing to sharpen it. While an oboist would cringe at the mention of such a fact, I was fascinated; because, naturally, I didn't like having to sharpen my reed knife every couple of days.
Blade grinds and their shapes
Image from Wikipedia
The most important aspect of any knife is, perhaps obviously, the blade. But what goes into a blade? How does it maintain its edge and what factors determine this? For reed-makers, one of the most advertised features of a knife is the grind of the blade. Reed knives are generally made with a hollow (#1) or chisel (also known as bevel, #4) grind. The bevel grind makes for a very effective cutting edge - it is a typical blade grind for Japanese kitchen knives. Conversely, the hollow grind, often used for shaving razors, makes a blade that is exceptionally sharp but structurally weak. This means that it will need to be sharpened more often, and consequently will need to be replaced more frequently as well. As a side note, they should actually be sharpened using stropping, as opposed to using hard stone or glass (take note, oboists!).
Opinel knives, in contrast, have convex blades (#6). This is basically the opposite of the hollow grind, where the blades curve outward instead of inward. This means that the blade is structurally stronger and is able to hold its edge well while maintaining a good amount of sharpness. To me, this is the perfect marriage between practicality and utility. Bassoonists do not strictly speaking need blades that are as sharp the hollow ground knives - we don't dig into the cane the way an oboist does because of a bassoon reed's tapered slope. Rather than sharpness, longevity becomes the name of the game; I've been using my Opinel No.8 for five years and I've never looked back. The handle feels comfortable in to grip, much more so than any reed knife, and I've only needed to sharpen it a handful of times.
Opinel also has a fantastic variety of woods for their handles, and a plethora of other color options and even some etching patterns that look really amazing. In the future we hope to carry a greater variety of these types of handles. I think any practically-minded bassoonist will really fall in love with these knives, just like I have!
Choosing the right bassoon can be a daunting task. This guide will clarify what bassoon brands and models we offer as you seek the right instrument for you. We are always happy to speak with you over the phone, so please don't hesitate to call us at 1 (612) 331-4717. Click on the model number of each listing below for a link to our store page for that instrument.
Tip from head repair technician, Eric Anderson
Summer is that time of year when humidity increases and the wood body of instruments begins to expand. This happens along the width and length of the wood grain affecting both the fit of keys, levers, and tenons. When the wood expands in the summer months, woodwind instruments often don't fit together without a struggle, if they even fit together at all! We find that this issue is most prevalent during the first year of a new instrument's life, and especially prevalent in newer clarinets.
If this happens with your instrument to the point where abnormal force is required to take it apart, it's best to have an experienced repair technician take care of it. A technician will be able to adjust the fit of the tenon cork, the exposed wood on the tenon, or sometimes both. Ignoring the problem and blowing warm, humid air down your instrument will only make it worse!
The humidity will also make keys fit looser, but don't worry! We never fit keys too tightly in the summertime because they will most likely expand in the fall/winter and potentially bind once the humidity drops. Loose key fittings won't harm your instrument, they only cause them to be slightly noisier. If you can live with the loose key fitting in the summer, great! It should return to normal in the fall/winter. If it is an issue for you, we can certainly fix it, and if we do, don't forget to come back to get the fit readjusted after the humidity changes.
If you ever experience issues with your instrument and don't know what to do, remember we are only a phone call away and are happy to help!!
We are happy to announce that we have a new team member! Brian DeGayner has joined MMI in the repair department. He graduated from Southeast Technical in Red Wing with a diploma in band instrument repair in 2016. Prior to joining the repair team at MMI, Brian worked for Twin Cities Instrument Repair in Edina, focusing on flute and double reeds. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, and attends state and regional conferences. Brian spends most of his free time outdoors, or playing in local orchestras.
We asked Brian a few questions to get to know him better!
What got you started in repair?
"After a few years of playing horn, I realized my love for working with my hands could be applicable to the industry. After talking with Greg Beckwith, I dropped everything and went to Southeast Tech in Red Wing."
What groups were you playing in prior to going to school for repair?
"I have played for several orchestras around Minnesota. Mankato Symphony, St. Andrew’s, Bloomington Symphony, Minneapolis Civic, Wayzata Symphony, and currently St. Paul Civic."
Any favorite pieces?
"I love Mahler’s symphonies, especially 3, 4, and 5. Ein Heldenleben, Holst’s Jupiter, Sibelius....basically anything horn-heavy. Otherwise, I’m usually partial to playing in small ensembles, such as Daniel Baldwin’s Landscapes for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Piano, Martinu’s Quartet for Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Snare Drum, or Barber’s Summer Music."
What is your favorite repair to do?
I love a challenge. My favorite work to do is overhauling instruments: breathing new life into an instrument is very rewarding, and hearing an instrument I fixed on stage always makes me smile.
Any hobbies at home?
I would consider myself a maker. I’ve used my machining experience to make plenty of hand tools and a few machines to help with various projects. Currently, I’m refinishing my tool chest, painting models, and working on my jewelry making skills. I wouldn’t mind getting into watch and clock mechanism repair...
You’ve mentioned your love for the outdoors...
I go hiking and camping as much as I can, year round. I am an Eagle Scout (Troop 494, White Bear Lake, 2009), so I basically grew up outdoors. My family moves a lot of timber every year, and I hunt and fish whenever I can.
Please join us in welcoming Brian to MMI! We are so happy to have him part of our team!
You're invited!! FREE!!
Reception following the class
Large selection of oboes and English horns for trial
Free small repairs
Emily Brebach joined the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra playing English horn and oboe in the fall of 2012.
Ms. Brebach, a Philadelphia native, has performed with several orchestras throughout the United States, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Houston Symphony. In past summers, she has performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Des Moines Metro Opera, Tanglewood Music Center, and the Aspen Music Festival. Prior to joining the ASO, Ms. Brebach held the position of English horn and oboe with the Sarasota Orchestra.
Ms. Brebach holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, and studied with Louis Rosenblatt, James Caldwell, Robert Atherholt, and Robert Walters. She is an Artist Affiliate Instructor of Oboe at Emory University, a faculty member of the Atlanta Symphony's Talent Development Program and maintains an active private studio in her home. Ms. Brebach has also given masterclasses and reedmaking seminars at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Florida State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and the North Carolina School for the Arts. She spends her summers in residence at the Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC, as English horn and oboe as well as artist faculty.
We look forward to seeing you at this great, FREE event!! RSVP here!
Mini-recital with works by Bach, Mignone & Winstead
Reception following the class
Large selection of bassoons and bocals for trial
Free small repairs
Darrel Hale is the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at Louisiana State University and the Principal Bassoon of Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he also performs regularly as a member of the Timm Wind Quintet and the Conundrum Reed Trio. Before joining the faculty at LSU, Mr. Hale serviced as the Acting Principal of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Bassoon of the Kentucky and Springfield Orchestras. His teachers include Dr. Yoshiyuki Ishikawa, Per Hannevold, and William Winstead.
We look forward to seeing you at this great, FREE event!!
We absolutely love our new location and think you will, too!! The store has doubled in size!! We've added practice/lesson rooms, a recital hall, increased the size of our repair shop and sales floor. Please stop by for a visit! We'd love to show you around!
Our repair staff working hard in the new repair shop!
Our new recital hall with seating capacity of 60!
One of our new teaching/practice studios!
A street view of our new space.
We look forward to welcoming you in the store soon!
Join MMI's Ginny Dodge for a two-hour event on mindfulness, healing and intentional goal setting on Saturday, June 17th. Stop by in person or virtually with our Facebook Live broadcast. We’ll be offering four interactive and informative sessions on popular topics in personal development and holistic wellness, specific to musicians! Learn about and try essential oils, practice using powerful vocabulary, learn why goal setting hasn’t worked in the past and what to do about it, and build your knowledge of breathing exercises and meditation.
10:00-10:20 Session I: Meditation and Breathing Exercises
10:30-10:50 Session II: Affirmations, Gratitude and Mindfulness
11:00-11:20 Session III: Essential Oils for Musicians
11:30-11:50 Session IV: Goal Setting in the World of Music
We’re excited to see you!