Vientos Vintage's Barrel and Ligature implemented the most recent 3D printing technology. Designed to meet the clarinetist's need in every way. It is a new chapter for the clarinet market, and introduced clarinetists to a new clarinet sound.
Founder Alejandro Pugliano is a saxophonist and woodwind maker. "My passion is restoring vintage saxophones. In 2016 I bought my first 3D printer and made my tools to repair saxophones. I saw great potential in this technology and how fast it was advancing. I started researching biodegradable materials for 3D printing and realized that you could make anything without the need to generate plastic, and at the same time taking care of the planet."
In Vientos Vintage, the products are using materials such as wood polymers, without using protected and endangered woods. They started manufacturing saxophone ligatures and researching the sonority that each of these materials produced in the instrument.
According to the founder, "In last year, I researched about 3D SLA resin printing in which better finishes are obtained than with 3D FDM printing as most people know so far. We made sonority tests obtaining very good results and very good reviews from the musicians.
Making clarinet barrels with biodegradable resin, we found the best results in terms of density, sonority, durability and giving better results than the barrels made with traditional woods.“
My first impression of the barrel and ligature is their amazing design. The barrel is shaped like a honey cone with a beautiful-looking hexagon pattern. The ligature is transparent and feels very light yet sturdy in hand.
In this review article, I'm going to test out several factors of the barrel and ligature. Including Quality, tightness, Sound and timber, pricing, and versatility. Also, I'm going to test its ability by playing it in both the jazz and classical genres, with extensive octave switches. In this test, I’m going to use my Backun Model F clarinet, Legere #4 European Cut synthetic reed, and Gleichweit #8 mouthpiece.
Quality: The quality of the ligature looks very well made, even though it is made solely with a machine, it has no defect or uneven parts. The material of this ligature is very steady and feels much harder than traditional plastic used in 3d printing. I love the design of this ligature, which is ring shape and very easy to put on. It also features a small slot inside the ligature to deliver a tighter fit of the reed and mouthpiece. On their website, you can also customize your name onto the ligature, which is super cool!
You can also choose your ligature size fitting on their website, to ensure that the ligature will have a perfect fit of the reed and mouthpiece.
Sound: The ligature can offer a very bright sound to your clarinet. Personally speaking, its brightness can penetrate, and I'm surprised by its sweet and soprano sound. I believe this ligature would be a great choice for orchestra and band setting, because of its nature of delivering the sound and stand out among other instruments.
Price: This ligature is currently priced around $44 USD or €37 EURO. This is very ideal for someone who wants to upgrade their ligature for a reasonable price! The transparent look will attract a lot of attention. On their website, they also have other models of the ligature, such as different colored, and diamond-shaped ligature with cheaper price.
Quality: This barrel is a testing model sent directly from Vientos Vintage. It has the most special appearance out of all the barrels I've tried. The honey cone-looking pattern can attract everyone's attention! Similar to the ligature the barrel feels sturdy, it also has a smooth inner bore and great for air to pass through.
Sound: This barrel has a darker sound, and despite it being dark, it also has a full sound in all register. Playing-wise, it feels a little stiff. In all octaves, I'm able to play a rich sound, but the sound is reduced when I'm playing the altissimo range. In mid and lower octaves, the sound is slightly muted. I believe because of the material density of the barrel. It does have a clean sound for articulation, the tonguing notes are very clear without fussiness.
Versatility: Out of all the styles I tested using this barrel, I believe it's best suited for something mellow and lyrical, like a ballad or a chamber setting. Its timber has a great quality of blend in and merges with other instruments. The darker tone also offers a good amount of sorrowful sound to the instrument, it is a great barrel for a sad passage for ballad pieces.
Price: The price of this barrel is currently undecided due to it being a testing model. A similar model listed on their website is around $100 USD or €83 EURO. Similar to the ligature, this is a fair price for musicians. It could be a great secondary barrel for clarinetists in search of a darker and more mellow tone to their clarinet.
My overall impression of the Vientos Vintage barrel and ligature is I'm very impressed by the sound it delivered, and I felt great playing them. Due to its nature of being a 3d printed product, the production cost can be significantly reduced, such as labor time, and material used. It can also be an environmentally friendly product because we can finally reduce some deforestation! I would recommend people to try this product out and get the first hand of the advancement of clarinet products.
Article written by Ye Huang
Published by Clarinet U
About Ye Huang:
Clarinetist, saxophonist, pianist, and composer. Ye performs music across classical, jazz, pop and many other genres. He toured with world-renown musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Daniels, and many.