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Platinum Music Pen / Platinum Music Nib Fountain Pen
Posted 04 June 2011 - 23:35
I'm passionate about two things: writing and music. Sadly, musical passion doesn't always translate as musical talent. I've picked up and left several instruments, unable to stick with one until I discovered ocarinas over two years ago and fell in love with their sound. I had always played by ear, but as I progressed, I felt I needed to re-learn how to read & write sheet music if I ever wanted to play a piece without spending too much time getting it right by trial and error.
Appearance & Design (9/10) - A serious looking pen
The Platinum Music Pen is a rather serious and formal looking pen in black with golden accents. It's the kind of pen I'd have in a boardroom or in front of a piano. It just has a rather professional air about it that in some sense reminds me a little of Montblanc pens. The cap ends in a conical shape and it has a broad clip. Golden accents include a thin band at the bottom of the pen, the clip itself and a single thick band at the lower part of the cap where you can visibly see the following inscription: Platinum #3776 Japan. The furniture appears to be gold plated and not true gold. Uncapping the pen shows a thin golden trim/collar near the nib. It's rather nice looking, but the oils of your hands and the inks will usually keep it at an opaque tone unless you polish it a lot.
Construction & Quality (7/10) - Sounds hollow in there
Appearance is nice, but upon taking the pen in hand it feels cheap. It's something about the plastic that doesn't convince me compared to the elegance on looking at it.. I write notation either standing up in front of an atrium or on a desk and the pen feels so thin and light that I'm scared of ever dropping it and having it develop a crack. The pen has actually resisted a few falls on a carpet when it rolled away from me once, but I'd be reluctant to do this on solid floors. This "filmsiness" is further reinforced by the converter. If you tap the pen against a surface or your hand you can hear the converter rattle inside. The first time this happened I thought I installed the converter wrong and that it was loose. Even when inked with the included converter, it feels very light. This is an advantage for long writing sessions, but that rattling bugs me to no end.
Weight & Dimensions (8/10) - Lightweight
It is lightweight and that is a great advantage for long writing sessions. Capped it's 13.6 cm, uncapped 11.7 cm and posted it's 14.9 cm. The cap is a screw-on cap.
Nib & Performance (10/10) - Drinks ink like a camel, but writes like a feather
The nib is huge compared to the other pens I've got. It's a 14k gold real music nib, not a stub italic. It has three thines opposed to the two found in regular pens. This allows for a very wet juicy line. The nib is engraved with the Platinum logo, #3776. When I got this pen, I immediately loaded it up tried it out. The first thing I noticed was that the left thine skipped. Further investigation with a BeLoMo loupe showed that the left thine wasn't properly aligned. I fixed it and now it writes like a charm. This does make me doubt about Platinum's QC, but sometimes things slip by. I usually keep the pen inked either with Noodler's Polar Blue or Green due to my sweaty or oily hands while playing. The music pad I use is a rather cheap one whose paper reminds me a bit of the one used in watercolor pads. Writing note heads is a snap. Usually with a quick circle and a half and I've a quarter note drawn up. Compared to how long it took me to fill up the note head with a regular M fountain pen, this is a breeze.
Filling System & Maintenance (9/10) - Beautiful smooth converter
Filling system is a cartridge/converter. The cartridges are Platinum's. As for the converter, it's actually quite an elegant looking one with a black plastic knob and an upper sleeve of gold. It looks great, it's just a shame you'll hardly ever see it since the whole system is covered by the barrel. The converter's piston is smooth and I can't place enough emphasis on this. It fills up really fast. I have several C/C and piston pens, but this one beats them all. It also cleans up rather fast. I had expected to see staining on the converter or hoping to see ink that wouldn't come off from the rubber section of the piston due to the fact I'm using Noodler's Polar line in them. This is good because the downside about the C/C is that you'll quickly run out of ink. Remember that the nib releases a lot of ink and the converter holds such a small amount compared to the diameter of the barrel of the pen. On average and using my notation as a guide, after four sheets I'm at about 70% of ink usage. This isn't something to hold against the pen, but something that is common to C/Cs. Also keep in mind it's an italic music nib and that also contributes to it running out of ink faster.
Cost & Value (8/10) - Good value
This was one of my most pricy pens at $136 dollars. I bought it from The Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation). Just a word to the wise, the pen barrel is announced there as being black metal. It's not, it's plastic. While the pen's construction doesn't really reassure me in case of an accidental drop I do feel it's a good value for your money for the nib alone and that's what really matters when you buy a pen.
Conclusion (8.5/10) - Good entry into music nibs
It works for what it was intended. I wish I could add more, but given my limited experience with music nibs (this is my first) I can't really compare it except with regular nibs and trust me, this one really works better for musical notation than standard nibs. My only hope is to catch one of the elusive Noodler's Music pens before they are sold out when they come out so I can compare both these pens and their performance, but so far I'm really happy with this pen and I wouldn't go back to using any other fountain pen for musical notation. It's like trying to use the wrong tool for the wrong job. It's possible, but unsightly.
Posted 04 June 2011 - 23:41
In the Irish Channel of
New Orleans, LA
Posted 05 June 2011 - 02:15
Posted 05 June 2011 - 04:02
Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:00
However, I've always been puzzled why this nib design works for (Western) music notation. The stems are vertical and are supposed to be thin. The beams are generally horizontal (or nearly so) and are supposed to be thick. Also the flags/hooks are thicker along the horizontal and thinner in the vertical. Half and whole rests are horizontal and thick. Etc.
An Arabic-style nib would make more sense in my mind.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 13:59
Posted 09 June 2011 - 16:31
As much as I love my Nakaya, the converter/cartridge rattling issue has tempted me to try a high end Sailor in the hopes that they don't have this problem.
Posted 10 June 2011 - 02:44
Thanks for such excellent reviews, especially useful as I am considering getting a Platinum pen with a music nib. Would it be possible to see some examples of handwriting with this pen?
I don't actually write with that pen anything else other than notation, however, I hope these posts can help you as they have good pictures of the nib in action when writing regular text.
Japanese Music Nib Shootout
Pilot 742 vs Platinum 3776 Music Nib
Music Nib Comparision
Posted 14 June 2011 - 17:40
Thanks so much for those links, they give me a much better idea, and confirm that I want to get a music nib.