Yamaha Artist & Ideal G Models

Hello faithful readers of ponyreviews! I was in Tokyo for a few days and was very fortunate to visit Yamaha Ginza. There I tried the two premiere models of Yamaha’s B-flat clarinets: the SE-bored Artist model, and the Custom-bored Ideal G model. Little bit of a background: the SE bores are Yamaha’s take on the “French-inspired” bores, and the “Custom” bores are more “German-inspired.” I have to say this is kind of a crude generalization of clarinet sounds and designs, but perhaps the best way to understand what I am (or Yamaha is) trying to get at is to listen to recordings of many French players and many German players. Also of course if you can, try these instruments for yourself.  Instead of trying to describe my feelings about the Artist and the Ideal G in words, I decided to simply add a rather “raw” footage of my playing each instrument for the very first time. The first clarinet (with the Silver emblem) I try is the Artist model (b-flat). Few seconds into it I mess around with the thumb-activated low e/f correction mechanism. I have never actually tried these mechanisms before but was really excited and fascinated. The second clarinet in the video of course is the Ideal G (also b-flat). This one didn’t have a thumb pitch correction mechanism. I was kind of rushed to make this video so please ignore (as much as you can) any playing flaws (there are many…). The clarinets were both in perfect adjustments and any flaws were due to my own shortcomings. Thanks for reading/ watching and let me know what you think of each model (on here, on YouTube, or on Facebook, whatever is most convenient  for you)!

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6 thoughts on “Yamaha Artist & Ideal G Models

  1. This is a comment on your comparison of the Yamaha SE Artist and the Yamaha Ideal G clarinets. Neither appears to be available for sale or trial in the U.S. I thought both sounded good but the SE Artist seemed the more “covered” and Germanic of the two and the Ideal G seemed more tightly focused and French! I know the CSG models with the short barrels have a more Germanic sound. By the way on the Milhaud Duo YouTube performance are you using a German Boehm clarinet (S & S?) with a wrap around register key?

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    1. Hi Robert, thank you so much for your comments. The SE Artist is available in Japan and Europe only, while the Ideal G is only available in Japan. That is very interesting because I felt the Ideal G felt and sounded more Germanic to me. However I do agree that the Ideal G does sound more focused and direct than the SE Artist (which is more covered-sounding). Yes, my main instrument is a S&S M1000 French system clarinet.

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  2. The Ideal G seems to have a very distinctive tonal quality different from any of the Buffet, Selmer, or other Yamaha models. I’d love to try one. I suppose they’re made in both Bb and A? Do you have any idea why models like these and the SE Artist and the SEV KFuji Masters are not available for sale in the US?

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  3. Hi again Robert, that’s a great question. I am pretty sure they are made both in B-flat and A, I cannot be sure at the moment. I also liked the Ideal G very much. I think there are probably many reasons (although again, I cannot be sure). US is a huge country which could bring great success if a new clarinet is popular, but first of all, it’s mostly still a Buffet R13 nation (and has been for basically from the beginning of orchestra clarinet’s popularity in the US) . As someone just switched from R13 to a completely different instrument, it isn’t easy to adapt to the drastic differences in mechanism and in sounds. I won’t get into why people are not willing to explore past the R13s here but trying to appeal to such a strongly R13 nation would take a lot of preparation and assurance, to actually profit from production. Of course you know, in order to make great profit you would have to make a LOT of clarinets and sell at least most of it (for such a huge company with other expenses, anyway). I would guess that Japan tests out their lines first in Japan, and then in Europe, and then at conferences like NAMM/ ICA in the US and then finally in the US. They are perhaps smart about this; if anything, they seem very careful. These are just my thoughts.

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    1. Just one last question on this interesting Yamaha model clarinet topic. Some players I mentioned the Ideal G to said they thought it was just another name for one of the CSG model Yamaha clarinets (CSGi, CSGii) that one can easily buy in the US. But to my ears the CSGs blow with a wider, less concentrated sound, and they have the low F adjustment key and the shorter barrel. Are you familiar with the CSG (Michael Collins plays one), and what do you think. Are these two different models (perhaps within the G line) or just the same CSG with a different name in Japan?

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  4. Another good question. Although I’ve never played the CSG III, I really doubt it’s the same as Ideal G. Like you said the sounds are quite different. Really the best way at the moment for you to find out is if you try a CSG III in North America and then go to Tokyo to try the Ideal G and judge for yourself. Sorry I can’t be more help! I’ve wondered these questions myself.

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