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Topics - Windsong

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All about Clarinets / Backpack Stash Sack?
« on: July 20, 2017, 09:03:44 PM »
Does anyone know of a manufacturer of a long tube sack for over the shoulder carrying of a soprano clarinet?  Specifically, I am interested in a lightweight, cross-the-back "case" for on-the-go carry.
I suspect I'll be making my own, but no sense in reinventing the wheel if such an item already exists.

All about Clarinets / Ligature designs
« on: July 10, 2017, 05:43:23 PM »
We've seen them all, from traditional twin-bands, to string, to Rovner rubber assemblies, to accordian, self-setting ones of the 20s and 30s.
Recently, I acquired a lig that has but one adjustment screw, and is set on the top of the mp, rather than the bottom.  I like it, as two bands merge into one, and it makes for a tidy appearance, and easy fixture of the reed. 
There are those who profess that certain ligs embue more of the natural sentiment a woodwind evokes, but I have yet to personally experience much difference in sound or projection change, regardless what lig I use.
I'd like to hear from those who adamantly profess that one specific design is better than another, and how you arrived at your conclusion.
I'd also be interested to hear from those who know of the single screw lig of which I speak.

Welcome to  The Official Clarinet Pages Harry Pedler Thread.

Here you will find what will hopefully become the most comprehensive collection of Serial Number data on the Harry Pedler marque in cyberspace, as well as historical insight into the marvelous, mysterious maker who excelled as a pioneer and innovator--Mr. Harry Walter Pedler, himself.  Many very thoughtful and motivated people are to thank for the information thus far accumulated, and herein documented.

I offer my most sincere appreciation to Phil Pedler for making all of this possible in the first place, and for his tireless dedication to the preservation of clarinet history in its many forms across a multitude of spectrums, our own Silversorcerer for initially getting me interested in Pedler clarinets, his insistance that I start a HP thread, and his vast initial contribution of serial number data that enabled me to cobble together a noteworthy and legitimate list "out of the gate", Dean McMakin for his phenominal collection of Elkhart data and tremendous, personal dedication to the incredible Indiana musical instrument industry at large, and our own Rocket350 for his insight, personal notes on Harry Pedler serial numbers and model designations, photographic contributions of warranty cards, and assistance in finding legitimate sources of information on the internet, scanned from the original sources dating from the beginning of the last century.  I thank those, too, who selflessly went to the trouble to make such information available to us.  AND I thank all of you who have engaged this thread with your insights and contributions.  There will no doubt be a good many more who offer future contibutions for which we will be forever thankful.

Please keep in mind that this thread is a work in progress, and while fact, or presumed "fact" will be stated as fact, there will be many instances where factual data is not, or "not yet" available, and it will be stated as such.  As it is, there shall be many amendments to original posts, going forward.  It is my hope that we can develop a timeline with an accumulation of serial numbers, random bits of data, advertisements and with good fortune, a sales receipt or two.   I appreciate EVERY contribution of information, as this list will serve all who seek information on this topic.  I will accept folklore, readily, and present it as such, until such information can be confirmed as fact, maintained as folklore, or easily disputed.  The way we grow and learn is through the sharing of information, so I invite each knowledgeable reader to share what (s)he knows, or thinks (s)he knows.  Understand that we are "writing history" right now, presumably based upon honest representation and careful calculation of all we glean.  It is our inherent responsibility to be as accurate as available information will allow.  This is exciting and dangerous territory.  Readers beware:
What we think we know for certain:
Born 21 January, 1872 in London, Harry Walter Pedler Sr. was "cherry-picked" from his native England by William J. Gronert (AKA: "Tommy Atkins", born 30 December, 1851 in Hastings, England) --a fellow Englishman, and associate of Charles Gerard Conn in July of 1905, at which point he was already considered a master clarinet craftsman, having been taught the trade by his tenure with Rudall, Carte and Co., LTD from the age of 13 (1885) first as an apprentice.  At the age of 28 (1900), he reportedly left Rudall, Carte and Co., LTD, and began his own clarinet manufacturing business under his own name, until being ushered to the United States by Gronert with his wife, Louisa Hughes Pedler, and 5 year old son, Harry Junior.  Pedler worked for and with Conn until 1914, when, yearning for home, he left Conn's employ.  Bags in hand, his return to London was abruptly hampered by the outbreak of WWI, and was unable make the voyage.  Whether or not he ever returned to England is unknown.  In 1916, Harry Pedler and William J. Gronert founded the American Manufacturing Company.  It is interesting to note that Gronert worked for Conn until 1911, and "then organized the Elkhart Musical Instrument Company which merged with the Martin Band Instrument Company, of which he was the secretary and general manager at the time of his death". (Taken from his obituary posted in The Elkhart Truth, 26 July 1919).  This information raises more questions (and eyebrows) than it answers, as it would imply he worked concurrently with Pedler and the MBIC.  Any contract that may still exist, written up between any of the aforementioned fellows during their tenure with one another, would perhaps tell us about the hierarchical culture that existed at the time.

Upon Gronert's death on 25 July, 1919, Harry Pedler re-branded the company (see: Presto; February 12, 1920, for announcement) under his own name, and in March of 1930, Harry Pedler sold his company to The Martin Band Instrument Company (MBIC), but continued on in senior management capacities, and oversaw the perpetuation of his legacy until his departure, reportedly in April of 1931, (Thanks to 350 Rocket, we have an account from an April 1931 edition of Music Trade Review, confirming Harry Pedler Sr's and Jr's resignation from MBIC.  The same article also mentions Harry Pedler founding his business in 1914, which is an oversimplified interpretation of actual events) when he and his son, reportedly displeased with the direction of production under MBIC left the company abruptly and ultimately went to work with Ferdinand August "Gus" Buescher (of saxophone fame at the time, though he also dabbled in clarinets) on 23 July, 1932, making brasswind instruments. 

By December of 1937 (and one account I have states 1936) MBIC-made Pedler clarinets would no longer be stamped, "Harry Pedler and Co.", and were instead ALL stamped "The Pedler Co."  when Harry Pedler changed the name of his joint venture with Buescher from Art Musical Instrument Company and re-branded the company "Harry Pedler and Sons", directly after Gus Buescher's death on 29 November, 1937.  This is significant, because there was a 6+ year window after Harry Pedler's departure from MBIC, where his name DID, INDEED adorn production clarinets in its original form, without his own influence.  I consider this April 1931-December 1937 window of time "transitional". 

To complicate matters, some true Harry Pedler clarinets made prior to April 1930 were also stamped "The Pedler" and other similar variants, but to re-iterate,  no clarinets after December 1937 were authorised to be stamped "Harry Pedler and Co.", as Harry Pedler had re-secured rights to his name by this point.

Thus far, evidence showing that any true Harry Pedler clarinets (1919-1930) were adorned with a serial number is scarce, and a good many clarinets were not even engraved at all--even with his name, sometimes, during the earliest years.  The standing exception is that BBb models may have been serialized early in their production, and 350 Rocket makes mention of serialization starting in 1928 with the Premiere model, and noting that all metal Pedler clarinets have perhaps always been serialized.  I now have in my possession what most clearly appears to be a post-1923/pre-1931 Albert System top joint, Model 1544, myself, which bears a serial number.  Until further evidence surfaces, however, it is a cautious measure to operate under the calculated assumption that the serial number process officially began when Martin Band Instrument Company took the reins in March of 1930, but I look forward to disproving this, if such factual data is made available.

Several different materials were used in the construction of both Harry Pedler and The Pedler Co. Clarinets:  Rosewood, Grenadilla wood, Hard Rubber (Ebonite), "Gren-O-Lite", and Silver-plated brass.  It has been reported that the early heavy guage metal clarinets were not manufactured of silver-plated brass.  Rather, they were constructed entirely out of solid nickel-silver.  I cannot substantiate this claim, but I would appreciate the insights of those who may know and/or own such instruments. The professional model, heavy guage, single walled metal clarinets have been recorded at 914 grams (see reference, this site).  It has been said that Harry Pedler preferred Hard Rubber, and made clarinets in metal or wood upon request or demand.

At the height of production, Harry Pedler expanded his business to keep up with the demand for his clarinets.  It has been (incorrectly, I believe) reported that he could manufacture over 500 clarinets per day (The music Trade Review, June 23, 1923) and then reported 6 months later that he could manufacture 600 clarinets per month (The Music Trade Review, December 29, 1923).  The manufacture of 7200 clarinets, per year--Pre-Martin, is a lofty, but plausible expectation from a medium-sized shop of 10,000 square feet and 70 workers (Presto-Times, March 1930), whereas the projected manufacture of 180,000 clarinets per year is most certainly not. 

In 1937, upon MBIC relinquishing the rights to the Harry Pedler brand,  the name "Harry Pedler" would never adorn another woodwind; only brasswinds.  While a good many of the MBIC clarinets produced after April 1931 were designed and intended primarily for the student market, high-end professional models were also made.   Harry Walter Pedler Sr.'s legacy primarily resides in his own, fantastic self-branded clarinets made prior to 1931, and the truly exceptional, laboriously hand finished, carefully and cleverly executed professional level clarinets manufactured by MBIC that were simply a more refined, direct extension of Harry Pedler's original designs. 

Harry Walter Pedler Sr. died 25 September, 1950, in Elkhart, Indiana.  At the time of his death, His son, Harry Walter Pedler Jr. took over as chief of their brasswind venture, and ultimately sold the business to Selmer in 1958.

All about Clarinets / Fantastic perspective!
« on: April 24, 2017, 10:10:38 AM »

And what on earth is that last one he plays? 
(My dogs left the room)

All about Clarinets / Making your own bore oil?
« on: April 19, 2017, 09:58:14 PM »
In speaking with a tech a few months back, she mentioned making all her own oil.
One part Almond oil
One part Orange oil
One quarter part parrafin oil.

The first two ingrediants sound absolutely safe, but it's the parrafin oil that has me a little confounded.  I've just purchased all three on Amazon, and they are all pure and free from dyes or other inert ingrediants.  I think I have a lifetime supply for what it costs me to buy the "good stuff" from you-know-who.
As paraffin oil is a petroleum product, I have some hesitations before I whip up a new brew.
Either I misunderstood her, or I'm over-thinking this.

What do those of you who make your own oils use?

All about Clarinets / Ancient Pitch Pipes
« on: April 05, 2017, 02:12:18 PM »
I just purchased a German-made Congdon's Pitch Pipe with an October 1890 patent date in its original, mint condition box.  This little sucker is a time capsule, if ever I saw one.  These seem to come up pretty often on that big on-line auction site and can be had on-the-cheap all day long, shipping included, so they must have been made in extremely large volume.
That said, they are robustly made, and look like they could have been manufactured last week.
Before it arrived, I began to wonder what pitch it might be keyed to.  Quite surprisingly, whilst some notes will not play well, most do, and are precisely set to 463 hertz, give or take a few cents.  I have never heard of 463 being the norm, so I have to wonder if 125 years made the wood and the reed plate increase in pitch. 
I will now have to buy another to compare this one to, of course, LOL.

All about Clarinets / Odd, stepped barrel joint
« on: March 05, 2017, 05:33:23 PM »
Has anyone ever seen anything like this?  This is the barrel tenon (top joint) on a Thibouville. It appears to perhaps be a modification, in order to make a HP play more like a LP.  Surely, any barrel that would cover the tenon completely would have to be similiarly stepped.

All about Clarinets / Cor Anglais; Cor Blimey!
« on: February 19, 2017, 02:08:14 AM »
As of late, I have reinvigorated my interest and desire to acquire and perhaps play oboe. 
It is striking to me how terribly expensive oboes are, in contrast to clarinets.  Why is this so?  I could spend $800.00 on a fully ready-to-go vintage professional level clarinet from LeBlanc, Buffet, Selmer, Boosey and Hawkes or Penzel Mueller, and have money enough left over to buy a fancy dinner, but the same money won't buy much in the oboe world unless you like resonite.
And let's not even get started on English Horns or Bassoons.  Their ready-to-play prices are simply astronomical.

Any ideas as to the disparity, here?

All about Clarinets / HP or LP, and what key? (A buyer's guide)
« on: January 26, 2017, 07:23:03 PM »
It is often difficult to tell, in an on-line auction format, just what one is viewing.  We all know the basics, and most of us have attuned our eye to differentiate between subtle key differences among clarinets, but there are times when, despite our knowledge, we remain uncertain as to precisely what we've just purchased until it arrives.  Ofttimes, sellers know very little about the instruments they possess, and rarely provide high quality photos in abundance.  Using the total length of a clarinet is generally a good baseline, but is in no way entirely definitive--especially for clarinets from the early 20th century or before, where bell length and the length of the bottom joint past that last tone hole could vary significantly--both non-critical dimensions. 
I have found the best measurement to ask for from a seller is NOT the overall length from barrel to bell, but, in fact, the measurement from the top of the barrel to the DEAD CENTRE of the first left hand index finger tone hole (F#).  Because key and pitch are scientific, measurements will nearly always be the same within no more than a 1/8" discrepancy for a specified pitch, (regardless of bore diameter and tone hole size, within "reason", I believe).  One can then take the reported measurement, and compare it with clarinets of known key and pitch, and know what is being viewed before making a costly purchase.  The above recommended measurement is an arbitrary measurement, of course, but it's extremely consistent.  Using this as a guidline, it should then become quite clear if one is dealing with something outside the spectrum like 405-435 hertz (unusual, but extant--especially 432-435hz, prior to WWII) or super high pitch like 460+.

I'll attempt to cover the key of C, as I have several of them to compare, whereas I own no key of A clarinets, and only LP (440-442hz) Bb clarinets.  A mathematician with an interest in woodwinds would be the best person for this job, as he or she could develop a scientific graph, based upon sonic standards without needing the actual instruments to do so.  Alas, I am not that fellow, but I can provide the following (AMMENDED):

430-432hz = 6 1/8", approx*
440-442hz = 5 15/16", approx*
450-454hz = 5 3/8"-5 3/4", approx*

Notable discrepancies are often found among antique manufacturers' non-standardized products (see 450-454hz, as I have personally recorded that rather significant 3/8" discrepancy over only 4hz), as pitch and consistency is also affected by factors other than just length.  Variances in placement of some of the tone holes, tone hole diameter and mouthpiece table length are just a few of the primary factors that can skew the accuracy of the above reference regarding pitch.

*(Approximations are typically,  but not always, within 1/8" [3mm] of the median. This covers slight variations or inaccuracies in the manufacturing process or a builder's preference, albeit perhaps erroneous.)

If others would be interested in filling in HP and LP key-of-A and Bb soprano clarinets (and perhaps Eb, too), we might be able to have a sticky thread we could use as a long standing resource.

All about Clarinets / A disturbing trend...
« on: December 25, 2016, 09:39:09 PM »
I have noticed lately and continually (and no doubt you all have noticed too), that no matter the maker, one can't hardly give away a high pitched clarinet. 
We've discussed this issue, ad nauseam, before, but it strikes me as odd that this is not a passing phase.  A good many of these clarinets were made to exacting tolerances, and are phenominal artifacts.  Will the current generation reduce them to objects no more important than grocery store firewood?
I have a couple such clarinets, and they are beautiful players.  Fantastic players, in fact.  Will the legacy of a lost key be relegated to an extinct status?
As self-professed keepers of an ancient art AND science, are we not bound to preserve equally special, if not currently relevant instruments?

Make and Model lists and research / The "Harry"
« on: December 19, 2016, 05:20:04 PM »
I have just acquired a phantom clarinet--a 7 ring "Harry", made presumably between 1919-1930--not a 1930s-on "The Pedler" branded Martin.  I bought it on a whim, as I had never seen or heard of a 7 ring from the aforementioned.
Does anyone here have information regarding a 7 ring HR Harry Pedler?
There seems to be no information, whatsoever, in cyberspace to tap into.

All about Clarinets / Who here won this auction?
« on: November 26, 2016, 02:36:36 PM »


I really wanted this clarinet.  It is perhaps one of only 12-15 sopranos in existence, and one of only 27 accounted for clarinets in general, made by Heinrich Grenser.
If you are not familiar with Mr. Grenser or his instruments, he lived from 1764-1813, and apprenticed for his uncle, August (also of tremendous fame) who would later become his father-in-law (yeah, a little creepy, but things were a little different back then.)
Anyway, he worked closely with Iwan Müller, of great fame, and is cited as the inventor of the alto and bass clarinet.  His woodwinds are sought after the world over, and I was certain this clarinet would bring 4 digits, or I would have dug a little deeper into my pocket.
Anyway, study it well.  The next time you see it listed (if ever), it will be better advertised by someone who actually knows what he or she owns, and perhaps someone will have found a suitable bell.
11 keys in the 1700s?  Remarkable, and perhaps the reason that Heinrich's teacher and Uncle/father-in-law was the primary woodwind builder for none other than Johann Sebastian Bach.
His instruments are so rare, we may never see another, save for in a museum.

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