Author Topic: The Value of a Charles Bay Customization  (Read 209 times)

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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The Value of a Charles Bay Customization
« on: October 18, 2019, 07:32:31 PM »
In a few days I will be accepting delivery of a 1997 Buffet R13 with Charles Bay customization on a consignment deal. I wanted to find out the "value" of Bay's work, so here's how I determined it.
It's always hard to find the original purchase price of things, so often we have to go off of personal recollections.

I have a sample size of two:
1. 1997 Buffet RC (silver plated)
2. 1997 Buffet R13 w/Charles Bay customizations

1. The 1997 Buffet RC was purchased new, for $2500. Putting this into an inflation calculator, $2500 in 1997 is $4,000 in 2019 dollars.
Since the RC was considered an "evolution" of the R13, it is reasonable to place both instruments in the same tier.
Looking up prices of a brand new Buffet R13, silver plated, from wwbw.com, we find it selling for $4,000.
Since the inflated price of the RC and the current price of the R13 are identical, we can assume that both the RC and R13 sold for the same price.

2. The 1997 Buffet R13 w/Bay customizations was purchased new in 1997 for $3,000. This inflates to $4,800, or about the cost of a new Tradition, Festival, or R13 Greenline A clarinet.
The Bay customizations included the following:
adjustment and fine-tuning by Bay himself
custom adjustable thumbrest
Bay mouthpiece and barrel

I will estimate the cost of the Bay mouthpiece and barrel by themselves at $200, or $322 in 2019.

The difference in price between a factory R13 ($2500) and the Bay R13 ($3000) is $500, or a 20% premium.

We can subtract the price of the bell and barrel and end up with $300, or a 12% premium for Bay's other services including the thumbrest and adjustments.


Percentage-wise, a new R13 with nickel keys costs $3600, while a new R13 with silver costs $4000, a difference of $400, or an 11% premium.

So for just 1% more than the cost of silver-plate upgrade, the original buyer got a Bay bell, barrel, and adjustment by the man himself.

Sounds like a good deal to me!

What are your thoughts - would you rather pay a 20% total premium for a premium mouthpiece, barrel, thumbrest, and adjustments by a legend? Or, would you rather pay to upgrade to a Festival or Tradition?
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline Airflyte

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Re: The Value of a Charles Bay Customization
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2019, 11:26:36 AM »
I would go for the upgrade. It's the "blank slate" factor that appeals to me as well.

Without "provenance" it's very difficult to place a value on work done to anything by any legendary person.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 05:35:11 PM by Airflyte »
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: The Value of a Charles Bay Customization
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2019, 04:03:48 PM »
I would go for the upgrade. It's the "blank slate" factor that appeals to me as well.

Without "provenance" it's very difficult to a value on work done to anything by any legendary person.

I forgot to mention in the original post that about 7 of the tone holes have been severely chamfered/beveled. This is as you know a completely permanent modification, and you can never go back.

Soooo if you happened not to like the difference the tone hole abuse makes, then you're flat outta luck!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages

Offline CLarrynet

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Re: The Value of a Charles Bay Customization
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2020, 11:14:11 PM »
David, i bought that one from you from Reverb last year.  It is a rarity. It makes my job as a clarinetist much easier.  The thyme odor is still there.  I have used a Rovner platinum ligature with great success.  It loves my CWF mouthpiece.  The Ikon barrel makes this R13 extremely light and with more projection.  I canít foresee any clarinet that is better than this except for my other R13 which is closing in on 50 years 1972.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: The Value of a Charles Bay Customization
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 10:37:20 AM »
Hey Larry,

That's great! I'm very pleased that it's working out well for you! I felt that it played better than any of the clarinets I had worked on in the past. Here's to another 50 years

(Sorry about the thyme, I usually dilute it 1:3 with almond oil, but it looks like that's still too strong a concentration)
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages