Author Topic: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)  (Read 86 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Offline BLMonopole

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 03:43:33 PM »
Well, it WAS a thing.  Not much written for D clarinets these days (or, really, ever).  I can think of maybe 4 pieces of music and an Eb can handle those just fine.

Offline el3637

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 12:48:13 PM »
I grew up with a living room lamp my dad made from an Albert system C clarinet.  I had forgotten about that sort of thing until I started playing sax and remembered the disassembled Wurlitzer / Conn stencil C melody saxophone that was always kicking around our house.  Too many parts missing to do anything with it now and it wouldn't make a good lamp.  But I have never heard of a D clarinet.  I have my mom's Selmer - probably made in the 30s or 40s - and dad's clarinets, a 1949 Selmer A, a mid 60s Selmer Eb, and his unique Centered Tone modified Bb. 

Albert system clarinets were being given away or sold for pennies in the 1960s.  Now they are desirable it seems, now that I don't have any.  At least if they are low pitch.  My godfather and my dad's best friend died in the early 60s and left a Buffet Bb and A set to my dad.  But he sold them somewhere along the way when he needed cash. 

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 11:17:04 PM »
Many Albert system clarinets can be bought for $50 or less, but some are worth a LOT more, for no real reason.

I suspect it might have something to do with a general societal shift towards "older" things. For example, 20 years after the literal death of film photography, film is one of the hottest trends in photography today.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline el3637

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 01:59:13 AM »
A C melody sax can be had for next to nothing, even a Conn stencil but a genuine Conn will cost you.  I paid $400 for mine, in pretty much unplayable shape due to need of a repad.  I never had the money and the desire to get it done at the same time.  But there's a sax teacher at the place we take our guitar lessons who just fixed up a Wurlitzer for himself, and I want to see what he'd charge to do mine if I ever have money to spend on it.  I haven't shopped at all for an Albert System clarinet.  I remember we had one when I was a kid, and I couldn't really play it because of the open tone holes and the reach - my hands were too small, but I could play a Boehm.  That Bb and A set vanished around the time my parents got divorced so I imagine dad sold them.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 09:50:44 AM »
I purchased a Wolverine (Conn stencil) C melody sax for around $220 or so. After very painstakingly taking FOREVER to restore it, I finally sold it for $750 to some guy in Canada. Good profit margin, but it took so long that I do not plan to do that ever again. I'll stick with clarinets, thank you very much.

There isn't too much use for an Albert system clarinet. Unless you're looking for a High Pitch instrument to play in some sort of period band, Albert systems are as a general rule pretty much unusable. They're simply too old to be comparable to modern instruments, and nobody wants to learn a different fingering anyways.

You can usually find Albert systems for extremely cheap, sometimes as low as $40. They're fun to work on and bang around with but please don't take it to your local symphony!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline el3637

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 10:58:12 PM »
Are all Albert system clarinets high pitch?  That would tend to make them useless, but ISTR in the 1970s jazz players seemed interested in them but I never really knew why.  I thought they existed into the low pitch era and there was some transition, but if they are all high pitch they aren't much good.  I guess you could stick a 5" barrel on one but that would probably mess with intonation totally... lol.

The only reason I am even thinking about having my C melody overhauled is just because I don't have a tenor right now and I can't afford to replace my Selmer.  I let it go for slightly more than I paid for it, but a Series III tenor tends to go about 2 grand higher than that.  I knew when I sold it I could not replace it for the same money.  When I ebay something it's an auction with a low starting bid.  Most anybody with a III or a Ref 54 or any of these newer super Selmers has a buy-it-now price equivalent to the best deal out there for a new one at retail.  Vintage I would not buy sight unseen.  Really I should not buy anything in that price range sight unseen.  The prices of all saxophones have nearly doubled in the 20 years since I started.  The smart thing to do would have been to keep my Selmer tenor and Series II alto, but needing money is needing money.  I could have sold a bunch of little stuff and spent a week packing and shipping... or sold one big thing and made the bills for the month, which is what I did.

That's one reason I'll never sell my dad's CT prototype.  Without providence i.e. a certified letter from Selmer, which I could never get, or having some well known player try it and say "It blows away a regular Centered Tone... AND my R13!", I'd never get any real money for it.  It's not much of a looker.  Dad replated the keys a couple of times but they are very dull right now.  Like I said, if my mom's former student / dad's former employee that wanted it so badly was younger than me, I'd will it to him but he's about 15 years older and not even sure he gigs anymore.  Last time I talked to him he said he was in the "restaurant business".  And he was a damn good clarinet player too.  Something I used to hear on the old saxophone forum, for every good player, there are 1000 better players who aren't working.  Working I guess is relative.  But without a regular gig either as an established session guy or with a symphony, making a living as a musician usually means teaching and possibly still having a day job.  I will never be paid to play unless our little 7-piece band ends up opening for one of our leader's bar gigs and we'd probably get 5 bucks apiece, wouldn't even cover gas money.  Music for me is a very enjoyable hobby.  I actually have many enjoyable hobbys and the enjoyment would be lost if I had to do it for a living.

Offline Dibbs

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Re: Eb & D clarinet set (what?)
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2019, 04:09:04 AM »
Are all Albert system clarinets high pitch?  That would tend to make them useless, but ISTR in the 1970s jazz players seemed interested in them but I never really knew why. 

...

No they are not all high pitch. 

Traditional jazz players like them because that's what the old players used and they think they are necessary to get a particular sound.  There may be some truth in that.