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Topics - DaveLeBlanc

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All about Clarinets / Thrift shop finds
« on: September 29, 2023, 04:22:51 PM »
I have literally never had any luck finding woodwind instruments for reasonable prices at any thrift shop.

Finally, this week, I found three:
$75 for a Vito bass in rather poor condition. However, it came with what appears to be a new Yamaha 4C mouthpiece, and the case is impeccable. An easy $150 in value just in the mouthpiece and the case.

$50 for a Buescher 20A alto sax. Great shape, slight bend in the bell though. Came with a rather new-looking Selmer Goldentone 3 mouthpiece. It needs a few adjustments in the lower stack, but that's probably a $200 instrument for $50.

$10 for an antique violin of some sort. It is a Stradivarius copy, and is stamped "Conservatory Violin" on the neck. I couldn't find any maker's mark, but there is an antique repair tag inside - repaired by *some guy* based in Washington, D.C., in 1936. So, it's at least from 1936, and considering that the repair was a lateral crack, and it doesn't appear to have been dropped or abused, I would imagine it's a very early 20th century piece.
It's missing the tailpiece, chinrest, bridge, pegs, and strings - it's a bare body. However, I just need to buy these individual pieces and I should have a nice 100-year old violin for less than $100 after I buy some cheap parts. Nice.

The gods finally answered my call for cheap instruments at the thrift!

All about Clarinets / Giveaway - Chinese clarinet music books
« on: January 15, 2023, 03:20:46 PM »
I have a selection of 5 clarinet music books that I picked up in China over 10 years ago.

The sheet music is a variety of songs as well as technique drills.

Comment with “I want it!” And I’ll do a random number generator in 2 weeks!

All about Clarinets / I'm leaving for a while
« on: January 20, 2022, 11:26:11 PM »
Hey folks,

Tomorrow I am officially joining the US Navy, and will be starting Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island.

If all goes well, I will be commissioned as an Ensign in the Oceanography field in mid-April.

Until then, I leave things in the capable hands of those better than I.

Godspeed, friends, and see you on the flip side!

All about Clarinets / NO Image Size Restrictions now!
« on: August 06, 2020, 02:57:43 PM »
Hello all,

Phil has effectively removed image size restrictions for image uploads. This way you won't have to resize your images first, making things easier for everyone.

All about Clarinets / ClarinetPages Museum Archive Google Drive
« on: June 30, 2020, 07:49:09 PM »
Hello all,

Here is a public Google drive that I request you use to back up any linked images you post on this forum. After a time, eBay links die and the images are gone forever. In order to preserve these images for posterity, please upload them into this google drive. I have created a variety of folders for all sorts of clarinets.


All about Clarinets / Sleiste's 1920s H. Bettony Buffet
« on: June 29, 2020, 02:45:36 PM »
User Sleiste emailed me these pictures requesting more information.

I determined it to have a manufacture date of before 1923, as the single posts really put an upper bound on the dating.  The serial of S321 doesn't tell me too much personally.

The bell is stamped with "H Bettony Boston." I have seen several stamped with Carl Fischer, but I feel like this is the first one stamped by Bettony. Neat.

I appraised this with a maximum value of about $200-250.

Please post any opinions or corrections you have to my dating and appraisal.

All about Clarinets / Please post pictures along with your links!
« on: June 27, 2020, 05:21:10 PM »
Hello all,

This is a PSA to request that anytime you post a link that redirects to an image, PLEASE ATTACH THE IMAGE TO THE POST AS WELL

This is a major problem with older threads that mention an eBay listing. After a while, all eBay links die and those images are gone forever. For preservation and posterity, from this point on PLEASE PLEASE attach images to your linked posts.

All about Clarinets / Grumpy's Lafayette
« on: June 24, 2020, 02:22:50 PM »
Hello all,

Attachments weren't working yesterday so Mr Grumpy sent me pics of his Lafayette clarinet. They are attached below.

I estimated this clarinet to be between 1860 and 1880. I feel like the "France" stamp is distinctive enough to ascribe to a manufacturer. Thibouville popped into my head, but I am not the expert here.

Please post with any thoughts on age, maker, value, and any opinions!

Dave, on behalf of Grumpy.

All about Clarinets / SOLVED: Calling all computer geeks
« on: June 24, 2020, 12:13:35 PM »
EDIT: all problems have been resolved. Please let me know if anything else glitches up.

So some of you may have noticed that there have been some technical problems with the forum, mainly in terms of avatar images and attachment images not appearing.

I have been unable to fix it myself. I've asked the SMF forum for assistance with no responses yet.

If anybody knows computer stuff, I am humbly requesting your help to make clarinetpages great again.


Hey all,

In the midst of the virus epidemic, here are some tips to stay safe when buying clarinets or other instruments in person or online.

Plastic instruments:
leave the case out in direct sunlight for several hours
spray the inside and outside of case with lysol or other spray that specifies an antiviral component
wash the mouthpiece and barrel and spray
spray inside of clarinet with spray
wipe down keys with lysol wipes with antiviral component

Wood instruments:
leave the case in direct sunlight for several hours
spray case
wash mouthpiece
run pure thyme oil through the bore of the clarinet, including all body sections, bell and barrel
wipe down keys with wipes

After doing all of the following, if you're really worried, leave the instrument in a dry, isolated place for up to three days to 100% guarantee that all viruses have succumbed.

All about Clarinets / I finally started to play clarinet again!
« on: January 17, 2020, 08:26:49 PM »
Guys, I haven't played clarinet recreationally in 2 years at this point.

I decided to pull my old contra alto clarinet out of storage, dust it off, and give it a go.

I have to say, it's very nice to be back in the saddle. I can't tell you how much I truly missed the sweet, low, and resonant sound of the contra clarinet.

All about Clarinets / Pinned but no cracks?
« on: December 16, 2019, 08:25:06 PM »
I’m currently working on a nice 1982 Buffet A.

However I’ve found a total of 6 patches that appear to align with 3 metal pins.

HOWEVER I cannot detect any trace of any cracks, anywhere. Why would there be pins, much less 3 of them if there are no actual cracks?

All about Clarinets / 1997 Charles Bay Customized R13 Report
« on: December 08, 2019, 07:57:32 PM »

It's quite difficult to find original prices for clarinets, as most contemporary advertisements do not have the prices listed, and half the time store catalogs didn't either.

So most of the time we have to go from personal recollections. I recently acquired a 1997 Buffet RC with silver plated keys (considered to be a "evolution" to the R13 - but completely failed to overtake the R13 in market share) that was purchased new for $2500 in 1997 - about $4,000 in 2019 dollars.
This is the exact price a new Buffet R13 with silver keys sells for in 2019 - so we can assume that RC and R13 models were priced about the same.

This Charles Bay Custom R13 was purchased for $3,000 in 1997. This tells me that Bay additions probably were an additionally $500, or 20%. This might seem like a lot, but consider the fact that simple silver-plating on the keys of a modern Buffet R13 boosts the cost from $3600 to $4000 - an additional 11%, and the clarinet is functionally identical.

I would estimate the barrel/mouthpiece set to be about $200 new, so you really only are paying $300, or 12% premium for Bay's customizations (tone hole alterations and, adjustments, and other minor modifications), which certainly sounds like a reasonable price to me.

Here are all of the customizations I can see on the clarinet (going from top to bottom)
Charles Bay Duckbill mouthpiece (hand-dated to 1997)
Charles Bay composite barrel
specially beveled register key cork pad
undercut tone hole on F# pad
Charles Bay custom extension-thing on F# ring
left-chamfer on F# hole
slight chamfer on C hole
"Charles Bay Customized Clarinets" metal badge on rear side of lower joint
Charles Bay custom thumbrest
Shaved-down upper post of 3-ring key
Widening of crow's-feet notches
chamfering on low Ab, F#, F, and E tone holes

Upon comparison with the similarly-aged and constructed Buffet RC (which for my purposes I assumed to be physically identical to the R13) I found that:
1. The Bay thumbrest is amazing
2. The Bay F# ring extension is pointless and gets in the way. I'm sure it's great for some people, but I didn't find it useful at all. You need to keep half of your finger over the ring-hole anyways, so the extension sort of makes it even more difficult to play higher, altissimo-register notes.
3. The side-chamfer on the C hole is great for smooth finger movements
4. The shaved-down post on the 3-ring key is sort of interesting. It's a sharp edge that I guess could be an issue after a crazy extended play session, but I never in my life even noticed it was a problem. I suppose it's a great solution to a problem that nobody knew they had.
5. The chamfering on the lowest notes is very useful. It gives better projection and a clearer sound to the low notes. Chamfering of a tone hole allows the air to escape the hole at a lower height than before, allowing it to escape earlier, and hence reducing any stuffiness in sound. [Keep in mind this might just be a placebo effect with the visuality of the chamfered holes. I don't have an solid evidence to back up my claim]

I found virtually no difference between the Charles Bay barrel and the R13 barrel. I suppose it's a tad lighter, if that makes any difference.

The widening of the crow's feet notches are absolutely pointless. They actually look somewhat haphazardly done, so I don't really get it. Maybe Bay wanted to practice the chamfering on a less-visible part of the clarinet to get accustomed to the wood's character? Who knows...

The Duckbill mouthpiece is good, but I actually prefer my Rico Reserve X5. I felt like I got a somewhat better response out of the Reserve than the Duckbill, but maybe I'm just not used to it.

I think the main differences worth paying for are the thumbrest and the chamfered tone holes [again, placebo?]. Charles Bay's touch can really be seen in the chamfering, as it takes an expert to be able to do this correctly. It's easy to overdo it and then there's literally impossible to reverse the damage.

Yamaha's YCL-230 plastic alto clarinet is definitively a stencil made by Vito.

This is proved by the shape of the keys, especially the F# plate. This doesn't have the kidney-bean key touches, but not all Vitos have that either.

The smoking gun is the factory-original pads are are marked "Vito" on the cardboard backing.

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