Andrew Roberts Clarinet Service  Latest News

Jack Mc Caw RIP

It is with much sadness that I heard of the passing of my friend and outstanding teacher John, known to all as Jack, Mc Caw this week.

I was fortunate to have studied with Jack over two years  under a Martin Trust Scholarship. He was a shining light for me with my playing and interest in developing clarinets. Many players regarded Jack’s version of the Nielsen concerto to be the definitive performance, you can still find this on You Tube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4cAKATejfE


Jack’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 28th July at 4pm in the Mortlake Crematorium.

Rest In Peace, we have  lost a true great of the clarinet world.


ARCS Clarinet Academy 2015

ARCS are pleased to announce they will host a Clarinet Day which take place on Saturday 1st August in the Music Room at Hope University’s Hope Park Campus L16 9JD from 11-6pm with Andrew and Peter Glenville and Sandra Roberts.

Limited places are still available, the cost for the event including lunch is £60. Please Email for further details  aroberts@theclarinet.co.uk you can download and application form here application form 2015 ARCS Clarinet Academy Clarinet Day

The information for the ARCS Clarinet Day is now available to download here

Academy one day event 2015 information


Texas Clarinet Colloquium 2015


My trip to the US began in Oklahoma working on mouthpieces with two renowned mouthpiece makers, Brad Behn and Lee Livengood, how good is that? Not many people get the chance to see two greats of the mouthpiece world working on their excellent products, so it was a fabulous start to an exciting week, my thanks to Brad and So for looking after me so well.

We arrived in Dallas the night before the Colloquium began, a good time to grab a quick rehearsal with my accompanist for the following day, Dianne Frazer. We were both surprised to see the size of the Majestic theatre, plenty of room for the 350 people attending the Colloquium.


Thanks to Dianne the recital went well, just a presentation the next day to think about on behalf of BAPAM ( British Association of Performing Arts Medicine) as the event was to host some fascinating health and wellness components, a first for this and perhaps any other Clarinet Congress? There were of course a wide variety of trade stands to fill the time between the scheduled performances and Masterclasses. It was also a great opportunity to see some old friends including Ricardo Morales and Michael Lowenstern.

IMG_0119 IMG_0062

A big thanks goes to the event organiser Mary Alice Druhan for inviting me to take part, thanks also go to my sponsors Ton Kooiman, D’Addario, BAPAM and TCC!


ARCS developments

ARCS is always seeking to improve and we are pleased to announce that the latest version  of the ARCS pads, Mk5, is available now!

IMG_0053 (1)

As each pad takes considerably longer to produce there is a premium charge to pay which means a full or haul including Mk5 pads will now cost £460, but if you demand the best these pads are a significant improvement over the existing models and can be resurfaced very easily reducing on going costs. Email aroberts@theclarinet.co.uk for further info or to book your overhaul, remember, there is quite a long waiting list so book early

C#/G# improvement

Continuing with the development of the clarinet ARCS can now offer some significant upgrades to most clarinets. The improved C#/G# is achieved by repositioning and enlarging the tone hole making the note much clearer and less sharp. Please call for details of this customisation option.

Further Bass clarinet developments

Having discovered a crack in the middle tenon of a  25 year old bass clarinet( surprising after such a long time) a solution has been provided by sleeving the joint in metal (see pictures below).

IMG_0039 (1) IMG_0050

The result was not only to avoid the crack spreading but a significant improvement in the resonance of the whole instrument. This is quite a big job but one I can recommend, call if you would like more details.

If you own a Selmer Bass clarinet and like me, you have been annoyed by the register mechanism only being sprung open on the crook key, then we have a solution! A spring and catch have been successfully added to my instrument and it is now possible to make faster transitions from notes in the upper register and across the break. Makes me wonder why the manufacturer hasn’t done that yet?



 Bass clarinet problems

Some players ask why the springing on the clarinet needs to be quite firm, in answer to this  read on…..

We have received an interesting bass clarinet into the workshop in the last week which although only a few years old, it demonstrated some problems, which are currently being worked on. Before we started work we thought it would be interesting to show the effect of too weak springing on the bass, or indeed any clarinet! The video shows the energy within the body of the bass clarinet is strong enough to lift the closed pads on the lower joint producing a rattling buzz and a spectacular loss of air and energy, it is impossible for the player to actually fill what is effectively an open tube, with enough air to make this happen.

This loss of air tight seal will significantly affect the intonation as when the pad was pressed closed, the pitch of the note went down by 30 cents. It will also affect the upper register harmonics which may be less obvious but can still be felt.

Click on the link below to see the video of the low F sharp and G sharp pads buzzzzing away!

If you can’t view this here try the Youtube link below!

Bass clarinet pad buzz

Read the latest testimonial from a very recent customer below

It is my belief that a good repairer studies the problem from both within and independently of context in order to work a solution. Andrew Roberts is one such example; being a consultant and lecturer on behalf of the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), as well as an experienced and most meticulous clinician for players and instruments, means his results are borne of an holistic approach.

Such is the case with me; whilst I may be a life-long musician and competent clarinettist, there were aspects of my technique which were impacting my instruments beyond the usual wear and tear expected from playing.
Where a previous repairer has in fact denied there was any problem (by refuting my abilities and knowledge of my own instrument) Andrew has worked with me, discussing with me everything from the fundamentals the physics of the clarinet through to the very music. As a result, my understanding and fascination have grown; my instruments have changed beyond all recognition for the better; most importantly, however, my enjoyment of playing my instruments has also been greatly enhanced.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone as knowledgeable and scrupulous as this gentleman; to find those same attributes in someone as personable as Andrew Roberts is rarer still.

Kat Browning RNCM post graduate student


 Silverstein Ligatures

We are pleased to announce that ARCS will have the latest CRYO models of the outstanding Silverstein Ligatures, check out their site here http://www.silversteinworks.com/ligature/

Silverstein ligature

The latest innovation from the Silverstein works is the Light, a sanitizer for clarinets and mouthpieces. To find out more have a look at their site here http://www.silversteinworks.com/sanitizer/  Available soon through ARCS.

My good friend Les Craven wrote an interesting article on the Silverstein ligatures which you can read here CASS-article-copy

 Reserve reeds

The New Reserve and Reserve Classic reeds are now available through this website. After a period of substantial trials with many players around the UK involved, Reserve reeds now have a new profile and are proving very popular. Why not try them for yourself? Check out the D’Addario website here

  New ARCS instruments in stock

ARCS now has a larger range of pre-owned clarinets in stock, check them out in the for sale section of the site including a very rare pair of Leblanc Concerto clarinets and some “new” clarinets from the Leblanc factory sounds interesting, why not ask for more details?

Advertise your second hand instruments

Want to sell your second hand instruments then advertise your second hand clarinets somewhere that will attract interest. With some many hits our website offers the perfect place to add you instrument, include a picture and make it sell quickly. Why pay too much commission? Our initial commission rate of just 5% is the lowest available and will mean you get more cash from your instrument sale. Ask about our enhanced sales offer, you can’t lose! Contact us at sales@theclarinet.co.uk for further details.


I first met Andrew, just after I joined the Ulster Orchestra three years ago, having tried his clarinets during a rehearsal I realised that my ageing Buffet clarinets were not performing as well as they could. This was mostly due to the wear over 15 years since I had never been brave enough to allow any repairer to work on my instruments as I was scared that they might change in the wrong way. Andrew worked on my clarinets in an emergency and it was clear to me that he understood my demands for the instruments. I eventually got the courage to take my instruments to the ARCS workshop in Liverpool and stayed with them to check that everything was done to my satisfaction. I was so happy with the work that was done to my instruments that meant I could play with so much more security and control, this is important to me as the clarinet sound should be flexible and easy to change colours and dynamics. I also found that legato was now much easier to achieve than I had thought possible. During our work together in the Ulster Orchestra I began to trust Andrew’s tuning ability, which is unusual as most repairers cannot play to the highest levels you need to change the tuning of an instrument for another player. I now feel I have the right tuning and setup with my clarinets for the first time in my life, I don’t know anyone else in the UK or in Europe that I trust in this way. My friends, many Principal clarinets around Europe, have been made to try my clarinets and they were all shocked as to how well they worked and how quiet the ARCS pads were. The ease of legato which no other pad has allowed before was a big surprise. I now send my friends and students to ARCS to find out for themselves what they have been missing in their clarinets! A huge thank you to a friend that has made my life easier Francesco Paolo Scola Principal Clarinet Ulster Orchestra

More testimonials…