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Messages - DaveLeBlanc

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All about Clarinets / Re: Arts and crafts projects
« on: August 04, 2020, 11:37:09 AM »
Grumpy, if you want to make a lamp, I know a guy who manufactures non-destructible lamp kits. Basically, you assemble the clarinet as normal and then the lightbulb socket inserts into the barrel, sort of like a mouthpiece. Comes with a stand and a shade. Last I heard the kits were $23

All about Clarinets / Re: Klezmer anyone?!
« on: August 02, 2020, 07:39:43 PM »
Allen, thanks for joining!! Glad to have you here. I admit that I have zero knowledge, experience, or even any efforts toward playing klezmer.

I looked it up and I like the sound, and the players always seem to be having the time of their lives!

All about Clarinets / Re: Value of Reconditioned Vintage Clarinets
« on: August 01, 2020, 11:29:45 AM »
Most vintage clarinets will sell anywhere between $200 and $300. You only exceed $300 when you have something special such as a Selmer Paris (CT, Series 9, 10, etc) or Buffet (E11, R13, etc)

I sell Normandys all day for $300, but never more than that. Sometimes I have to let them go for as little as $250, but with patience $300 for any Normandy is very achievable.

Edgewares are going to probably top out at $250; expect to get around $200 for those.

I'm not sure what the American Student is, but probably no more than $200 for that one.

Selling venues:
1. eBay - PROS: widest reach, even international
                          simplest selling and shipping process
               CONS: ~13% total fees between eBay and PayPal
                          buyers have all the power and can sometimes abuse sellers
2. - PROS: wide reach, though mostly domestic
                                    more specialized/direct market
                                    lower fees than eBay, (advertised "3.5%" fee is inaccurate - ends up being closer to 8-10%)
                          CONS: nothing to note
3. - PROS: best prices, mostly cash-in-hand transactions with no fees
                             CONS: very limited reach, only local
                                        always a danger when meeting in person

Hope this helps

Thanks for sharing. It's not too often you see a metal clarinet with a special badge like that on the bell. That must have been a REALLY nice example for sure!

All about Clarinets / Re: W. R. Yorke, Inc clarinet
« on: July 28, 2020, 11:33:58 PM »
I never thought Iíd ever see one of these again!

All about Clarinets / Re: Arts and crafts projects
« on: July 24, 2020, 08:26:25 PM »
I tend to stick with a machine buffing wheel with brown Tripoli compound. Good results every time

Make and Model lists and research / Re: Silver Throat clarinets
« on: July 21, 2020, 08:17:04 PM »
Well, considering that Silver Throats are generally not the greatest clarinets, you may well be wasting your time.

However, if you got the time, and the interest, then you may enjoy the uniqueness of the silver throat inner sleeve.

All about Clarinets / Re: Penzel Mueller Brilliante clarinet advice
« on: July 19, 2020, 09:11:44 PM »
Hello! It's great to hear that your daughter is serious about clarinet playing.

As a big clarinet player by trade, I can certainly speak on bass clarinets. The one she is playing right now the Selmer USA, is a VERY solid kit. Unless she plans on being first-chair bass, that clarinet will be more than suitable. If you really need to upgrade, I could recommend a vintage LeBlanc wooden one. Those can be had for about $500, but will need repair. I do bass clarinet repads so I can hook you up.

As for soprano clarinets. Plastic Yamaha are excellent, and are great for marching band. If she does marching band in college, I would highly recommend sticking with the Yamaha.

For symphonic bands, the Yamaha could definitely use an upgrade.

In terms of E11 vs R13, R13 is somewhat overpriced in my opinion. Unless you have a spare 2 grand, I wouldn't go that direction. The E11 is pretty good as well, and although has plastic tone hole inserts is still considered the "industry standard" for an intermediate-level clarinet.

Back to your PM Brilliante. Those were probably made in the 1960s (this forum has a few experts who can chime in). They are generally considered quite good, I would say at the level of the E11 if it has gone through a good adjustment.

The one thing to consider: vintage clarinets often lack the poly-cylindrical bore which is prevelant today. The PCB generally provides better intonation and response than ones without.

Without having the instrument in-hand, here is my advice:

Unless you have between 1 and 2 thousand dollars to spend on a Buffet product, use the PM Brilliante

All about Clarinets / Re: Arts and crafts projects
« on: July 19, 2020, 01:22:36 PM »
This is probably more of a maintance issue.
Let me start with general cleaning. I have tried the sitting in vinegar which does a good job but leaved behind a sort of film which has to be buffed off. I have tried the baking soda, aluminium and boiling water which does a slightly better job and still requires some buffing. Denatured alcohol for shellac works well.
Now for the buffing part. I could use a dry rag to buff after I clean I suppose but doesn't do as good a job as a compound. Being slightly on the keeping it simple I looked into what works and what I could do myself. Jewlers cloth for buffing and cleaning sounded good but I wasn't too sure what went into them, prices weren't horrible for them but... So I found an alternative, watered down toothpaste impregnated piece of flannel(dried). It works pretty well for me, picks up the gunk and leaves it shiny. I'm sure the fluoride is a mild abrasive and whatever else they put in it helps to shine.
This leads me to the question.  How do you protect the shine?  I just shinned a pan american standard, has some black spots and uneven tone. I got it to where it looks pretty even and nice but I want to keep tarnish and finger prints at bay. Do they make any specific product for this application or can I go with a carnauba wax like turtle or something?

Hagerty Silversmith Polish is supposed to lock out tarnish with R-22 Tarnish Preventative. I've used it with good results, it tends to keep tarnish and fingerprints at bay.

Turtle wax is also likely a good option. I use it for my stainless steel and brushed nickel faucets and the like and it's really good at repelling water stains and fingerprints.

All about Clarinets / Re: Pieces of history? Parts or instrument.
« on: July 18, 2020, 04:54:49 PM »
It's going to be tough to find a matching bell or barrel. However, it's easy to sell clarinets with non matching parts, they just sell for a bit less. No biggie

A followup.

When I was in 4th grade, my parents asked the school music teacher what a good clarinet was for a beginner. Without hesitation, it was the Buffet B12. He did not even suggest other options such as the very solid vintage Bundy or Vito models. It immediately went to Buffet B12.

That was an expensive instrument, costing $500 on sale. Bundy and Vito can be had easily for $100 in good working order.

Fast forward to middle school. Parents asked what a good mouthpiece was. Again, without hesitation the reply was Vandoren B45, an $80 mouthpiece at the time. No other options were even considered, although you can get a VERY good Geo M Bundy 3 for like $20.

In high school, the "best" clarinet for budding clarinetists was automatically the Buffet R13, again with no second option.

Here's the problem: for students from families that aren't dripping with money, a $1500+ R13 is simply out of the question. But, for the past 6-8 years they've been told that the "only" clarinet even worth playing is a Buffet of some variety.

So when their parents can't afford an R13, and their peers can, some students get discouraged and end up quitting since they feel like they can never reach their true potential without a premium clarinet.

From age 8 to 17 or so, I never knew of a single classmate who actually tried out several options - they just went with whatever they were told.

In college, these same students are now married to the Buffet train, and often won't consider any other (potentially superior) brands since they've been essentially brainwashed for over a decade to rely on Buffet.

Now of course Buffet is great, but the cost just doesn't match up.


I think theyíre good, but the price is far outweighing the benefits.

You can get a selmer that is just as good for like half the price. Even second hand buffets are wild.

I sold a Charles Bay 1997 R13 for like $1800... the buyer loved it, but I canít help thinking that one could have spent no more than $1000 for a really premium selmer of equal or greater stats.

I think part of the problem is middle and high school band directors beating it into parents and students heads that Buffet is Best. The kids grow up thinking that the R13 is the best in the world. Half the time they donít even know other brands exist. Iíd they do, they still figure Buffet is better.

This is sort of like Texas Instruments vs Casio. Casio graphing calculators are objectively better and cost about half as much as a TI that hasnít been updated since 1983.

All about Clarinets / Re: Arts and crafts projects
« on: July 14, 2020, 07:49:12 PM »
Wow, excellent work for sure! As for the register key, I have found that as long as there's enough cork on the key lever to prevent a clacking sound, it usually suffices.

Thanks for the new pictures, they help a lot.

I can now say with near certainty that this is a "Corton" clarinet, most likely a product from the Amati-Kraslice factory in the former Czechoslovakia.

I did some more looking and it appears that all Corton clarinets feature a somewhat discolored hard rubber bell. I myself had one in the past; due to the key shape I assumed it was an Amati clarinet with a mismatched bell. However, that bell is original to the clarinet. They were marked as both "Corton Czechoslovakia" and "Corton Foreign." I don't think there was a difference between the models.
See here:

The way that I can say for CERTAIN that it is NOT a BH is due to the very unique shape of the C#/G# lever - BH products simply did not use that shape for that key at any point in their history as far as I know. Key shapes can be very indicative of maker.
(Picture 1 highlights the key in question.)
(Picture 2 shows a relatively standard BH C#/G# key with a distinctive "teardrop" shape)

Amati did on select models, and you can see this on the Corton as well as on a variant of the "Luxus" model.
(Picture 3 shows the key on the Amati Luxus)

As for the 1885 date, this is again, unfortunately quite literally impossible. There is no evidence of two posts for the LH pinky keys prior to around 1923. Nearly every Boehm system clarinet in existence with two posts simply must be post-1923, discounting, of course, the oddball experimental key systems, or those with a left hand Ab/Eb lever.
(Pictures 4 and 5 show the single and double posts, both are of Boosey clarinets of pre-23 and post-23)

The serial number unfortunately doesn't tell you much unless you can match it up to a known-correct list. I somehow doubt that Corton, or even pre-1993 Amati at all for that matter would have kept detailed serial number records.

Even for a well known, popular US brand like Conn, the charts don't always work. I had an alto clarinet that was very clearly from the 1960s with the serial "790." All the charts put this at 1890, but it was most definitively from the 1960s.

Questions for you:
1. Is the clarinet body itself marked with Czechoslovakia or England? Cortons are not marked, with only the bell stating a country.
2. How did you determine it was a BH? Cortons generally have no markings at all on the body itself.

In conclusion, I can say with high confidence that you have a 1960s-1980s Amati product called the Corton due to the evidence presented above.

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