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Topics - DaveLeBlanc

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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?

All about Clarinets / Buffet RC vs R13
« on: October 05, 2019, 09:26:20 AM »
I have noticed that the Buffet RC sells for less, and less often than the R13.

Why is that? The RC is supposed to be an upgrade, or evolution of the R13, but they sell only infrequently on eBay. Checking sold listings, they sell as low as $800 as-is, and I don't see any recent sales for a restored one.

Compared to the R13, which sells like hotcakes.

It this just because the R13 is a household name, whereas the RC is not?

On a related not, does this make the RC the greatest sleeper?

All about Clarinets / Risking the biscuit with a Zero Feedback eBay buyer...
« on: September 26, 2019, 09:38:32 PM »
I've had this nicely restored Buffet R13 for like 4 months with virtually no interest. It was burning a huge hole in my pocket and I just wanted it gone.

Along comes a brand new eBay buyer, with 0 feedback - generally a huge red flag.

She is ready to buy and puts in an offer for $1200. Low, but acceptable after so long with no interest.

Knowing full well that the odds were heavily against me, I went for the sale.

Lo and behold, The buyer paid in full immediately after I accepted the offer. Within a day of receipt, I receive a positive feedback.

Whew, dodged a bullet I did there.

The things I do for money... One time I was trying to sell a Selmer K series. I wanted $360; the guy literally only brought $300. SO I JUMPED IN HIS CAR AND GUIDED HIM TO THE NEAREST ATM.
Needless to say, I got my money, he got his clarinet, and I nearly wet my pants for fear of getting organ trafficked.

All about Clarinets / Why don't clarinets come standard with low-Eb?
« on: September 15, 2019, 08:19:32 PM »

It just involves one extra key and like 2 more inches of material. So why is a low-Eb soprano clarinet like $500 more expensive?

For that matter, why are some alto and bass (and even contra alto!) clarinets NOT extended to low Eb?
I have personally played on larger clarinets with no Eb.
V. Kohlert wood alto
Conn hard rubber bass
Selmer Paris rosewood contra alto

Why in the world would they even make a larger clarinet without the extension?

This topic has been moved to [Make and Model lists and research].


Trading Post / MOVED: Who was Henry Gunckel?
« on: August 31, 2019, 11:59:37 AM »
This topic has been moved to [Make and Model lists and research].


All about Clarinets / When did pads transition from leather to bladder?
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:21:15 PM »
The very early square-keyed clarinets seem to have had pads made out of a square of felt or some kind of cloth.

Later, with circular keyed clarinets starting in probably 1860 leather pads were pretty much universal.

At some point, clarinets transitioned almost entirely from leather to bladder. Does anybody know when and why this happened?

Leather is objectively more durable and is immune to the pad mite.

Why then did clarinet makers depart from nearly 100 years of leather pads to use skin-covered felt?

All about Clarinets / "Carbon Fiber" clarinet?
« on: June 20, 2019, 11:42:43 AM »
Backun recently popped out "the world's most technologically advanced clarinet."

This is made of cocobolo with a carbon fiber "shell." Looking at the pictures it appears to be at least 75% wood (and 100% wood where it matters, namely the bore). Only the outer "shell" is carbon fiber.


My question is - does the carbon fiber shell do anything at all for overall sound, tone, or timbre? Since it's mostly wood anyways, I feel like this will sound indistinguishable from a standard cocobolo wood clarinet from Backun.

What are your thoughts about the newest development in the clarinet world?

All about Clarinets / "Too geeky to be fraudulent"
« on: June 10, 2019, 11:57:14 PM »
Yesterday I met with a lady who was interested in a reconditioning of her Buffet R13.

She found me on ClarinetPages, and happened to live just 10 miles away so we met up at a Starbucks.

She was naturally a bit hesitant to hand over a $1500 instrument, but I explained things with enough technical detail to convince her I was the real deal.

She also dropped this bombshell:
"When I found you online I decided you were probably too geeky to be fraudulent"

AMAZING. To be honest, clarinet repair is, without a doubt, such a geeky and niche thing that it would, in fact, be much to geeky to have anybody running fraudulent scams about it.

I got a laugh from it.

All about Clarinets / What is the most OVERHYPED clarinet?
« on: May 31, 2019, 10:28:44 PM »
The clarinet world, like most other industries, has "name brands" that dominate in price and market share, often for no other reason than the simple brand name of the product.

In your opinion, what are the most overhyped clarinets? In terms of price, market share, or visibility?

For me, I think the Buffet R13 is overvalued and overhyped. It is true that the Golden Age R13s are really primo products, but does that justify the $1300 asking price for a used, 40 year old instrument? (I recently sold a restored GA R13 for $1300, so I know the price is realizable).

You can get just about any premium offering from Selmer or LeBlanc in the same "Golden Age" time period for usually half or three-quarters the price of an R13.

Heck, unrestored, "as-is" R13s regularly go for $800. For that price, you could purchase a freshly restored Selmer Centered Tone AND a premium mouthpiece (my max price for CT sale is $750 restored).

That's just my opinion. What are yours?

All about Clarinets / Case "CHALLENGE"
« on: May 25, 2019, 06:24:42 PM »

This guy "challenges anyone to find a case with the same design and color"

I wonder what the prize for winning is...

An advertisement from 1960 shows the Normandy 14P (resonite) retailing for $149.50, and the Normandy 5P (wood) retailing for $159.50.

Adjusting for inflation:

Normandy 14P: $1290
Normandy 5P: $1377

For comparison, you can buy a new LeBlanc L225 intermediate wood clarinet for $1600 new.

It's interesting how vintage clarinets sold for so much new, but nowadays we can get them for next to nothing.

I purchased a Normandy 140P for like $80 one time.

All about Clarinets / Buffet Identification Guide
« on: May 16, 2019, 05:25:04 PM »
One of the most common questions I get is to identify someone's mystery Buffet clarinet.

Here's a quick guide, and PLEASE comment with any update/clarification/additional info.

Buffet clarinets are generally produced in one of two places: France and Germany.

French-made clarinet are usually wood, and usually of a more premium quality. These are often made by Buffet themselves.

German-made clarinets are either wood or plastic, and of a relatively lesser quality (at least, compared to top-of-the-line French ones). These are usually made by a stencil manufacturer, often Schreiber.

That being said, let's ID your Buffet.

If it says MADE IN FRANCE it could be:
Buffet R13
Buffet "pre"-R13
Buffet C13/International
Buffet E13
Auguste Buffet
Most modern and vintage premium line instruments (RC, Divine, Legende, etc)

Is your Buffet an R13?
1. look for is any indication of a metal or other kind of tag attached to the upper section. The premium line clarinets often have a metal tag (such as the RC or Tosca).
IF there IS a tag, it is NOT an R13.

2. Look for any indication of a PHYSICALLY STAMPED Buffet logo. R13 always had a stamped logo; the E11 for example often used a transfer-stamp that did not physically alter the wood.

3. Look for PLASTIC/composite tone hole inserts. If the tone hole inserts are NOT wood, it is NOT an R13.

4. Check out this serial number chart:
If the date appears to be earlier than 1955, it is NOT an R13.

If your Buffet is made in France and is NOT an R13, and is NOT modern (ie, within the last 20 years), and it DOES have plastic tone hole inserts, then it is either a C13 or E13. Flip a coin on this one, although E13 seems to be slightly more common than C13, since many C13s were marked "International."

Buffet B10
Buffet B12
Buffet E11
Buffet E12
Buffet Prodige

German-made clarinet can be either plastic (B-series) or wood (E-series).

Is your plastic Buffet a B10?
1. Look for BLACK rings on each body section and the bell. If the rings are black, then you almost certainly have a B10

Is your plastic Buffet a B12?
1. Look for SILVER rings on each body section and bell. If the rings are black, then you almost certainly have a B12.

Is your wooden Buffet an E11?
1. Look for a transfer-stamp-style logo. There will be a small "E11" directly underneath the logo.

If you KNOW it's a Buffet and simply cannot see the logo and/or model designation, then there's probably a 80% chance it's an E11, since E12 seems to be significantly less common than the E11.

Finally, if you purchased your buffet NEW for less than $200 then it is a Chinese counterfeit.

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