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Author Topic: R. Malerne Professional  (Read 6250 times)

Offline loyd63

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R. Malerne Professional
« on: January 02, 2017, 11:59:02 AM »
I have an old clarinet i need to find out information on before i sell it. if some of you experts will chime in i would appreciate it. I know NOTHING about horn instruments so pardon my inexperience.
I know my wife had it redone back about 15 years ago and its been in the case in the house ever since then, i cant find any flaws other than the reed is missing so i cant play it. I don't know what key it is or anything like that.
It says R. Malerne Professional on it and the serial number on both sections are D2113
Thanks for your help.

Offline modernicus

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 01:08:44 PM »
That's Malerne's best model- looks like a Bflat and with 7 rings as opposed to the standard 6.  They were a respectable French maker no longer in business.   Apparently people consider these to be something like a good intermediate level compared to current instruments?
If you ain't got 'em, that's why you need 'em...

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 07:10:02 PM »
Anything with 7 rings is immediately a cut above the rest.

Although back in the day it was considered professional level, it hasn't aged all that terribly well.

Definitely an intermediate level instrument today, like Modernicus said.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline loyd63

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 08:11:40 PM »
what do you think a fair price for buyer and seller would be?

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2017, 10:11:49 PM »
I didn't find any completed listings for Malerne Professional models on ebay, so not much of a price comparison to go off of there.

Malerne Standard models, a step or three lower than the Professional, sell for no more than $150.

I think you could reasonably ask $300, but be prepared to wait a while for the right buyer to come along.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Windsong

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2017, 03:07:43 AM »
what do you think a fair price for buyer and seller would be?
Dave is on point with his assessment, but I believe starting high with a Buy-It-Now will have you waiting for a while.
The vintage clarinet market has gone soft, lately, and while that's a shame, it simply is what it is.
If it plays (go buy a pack of reeds and have someone you know--your wife, a neighbor, the local technician, etc.) play through it, bottom to top, and make sure there are no issues.  Consider also springing for some bore oil (almond oil) and give that old gal a drink she so desperately needs after all these years.  I might recommend oiling the bore before fitting a reed to it, as an instrument that has not been played in a while is more prone to cracking after such a hiatus, but that's your call.
A Robert Malerne "Standard" (often seen on that on-line auction site) 15-20 years out on the restoration typically commands no more than 60-75 bucks, all day long.  It's not that they were bad clarinets, but that there were a good many made.  Again, the fact that yours is the "professional" line with 7 rings is relatively uncommon, and certainly worth more.  You could probably sell it tomorrow for $150.00, but for 300 clams, you will have to wait.
Robert Malerne made some good horns.  Problem is, he moonlighted and made so many stencils, that IMO, he dilluted his own product line.  Nobody will actively go after a Malerne before scouring the bins for a good LeBlanc, Selmer or Buffet.  That said, most of the stencil French clarinets of the 40s and 50s WERE Malerne products, and there are probably more Malerne products in existence than clarinets of any other manufacturer.
At the end of the day, when history has its final say, Robert Malerne will be among the most pivotal influencers of the proliferation of the clarinet, worldwide, even if his clarinets do not command top dollar.
Expert bubblegum welder, and Pedler Pedler.

Offline philpedler

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2017, 08:02:15 AM »
Great comments and answers, everyone!

This diverges from Windsong's comment, and is a request for help, maybe in the form of a new thread:
You will note that on the Vintage wood page at clarinetpages.net, I try to show which makers were bought or transitioned to what other name brands.

It seems that most stencils sold by music stores in the States in the mid-20s and 30's were Couesnon made. But Thibouville fits in there. And then in the Malerne period there is a relationship with SML. Then we have major names like LaMonte and Martin Freres. Is there someone among us who could help edit, correct, and bring better clarity to the generalizations on the Vintage page? I'll start a new thread on this.

Offline loyd63

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 08:11:25 AM »
I appreciate all the info guys. I am curious as to find out how old it is. Is there a way or a good guess? I searched the net for hours yesterday and found nothing on dating it.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2017, 12:43:08 PM »
I appreciate all the info guys. I am curious as to find out how old it is. Is there a way or a good guess? I searched the net for hours yesterday and found nothing on dating it.
It's hard to tell for sure as I'm not sure if there are any published serial number charts.  I would estimate this anywhere between 1950 and 1970.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Windsong

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2017, 09:37:30 PM »
Dave- that's precisely the problem; no concrete records of serial numbers for dating purposes are readily available.
I took an active interest in Robert Malerne; "The master cobbler" a while back, as more and more brands I was unfamiliar with kept popping up on Ebay, and I wanted to understand their origin, and while I kept no records, if I had to hazzard a guess as to when the above clarinet was made, I would say between the late 1950s and early 1960s, based upon seller's reports and the logo used.  It may, in fact date to the early 1950s, but no earlier, I suspect.  Consider that the 7 ring Malerne Professional was, with little doubt, the best of his own branded creations.  Consider, also, that among the dozen or so stencils he made, his own branded instrument was perhaps near the best, but not the best of his creations.   How can this be, you may ask?  It goes back to the old adage that: "The cobbler's children are always the worst shod."  It's the same reason you find exposed wires in an electrician's home and leaky faucets in a plumber's, cracks in the walls of a plasterer's home, and sinking foundation piers in the home of the mason.
It can be safely assumed, as some of his stencils have a consistently higher pricetag than others, that either an undue, highly biased, and poorly formed and founded value has been placed on those that have been coveted, or in some instances, true consideration, regulated by a tangible measure of quality has been factored into collectors' desires for some over others.  No brand name or lack, thereof, will ever fool a good objectively centered technician.  The play test in experienced hands does not lie. 
It's not unreasonable to assume that some firms who enlisted the talents of Mr. Malerne had much higher expectations for quality (and paid more, per instrument, for finish work) than others.  I am a trade carpenter, and would NEVER dream of investing the time and trouble in my own home that I have in my wildly imaginative customers' homes. 
I am insterested in Phil's desire to collect more data on this matter.  It should not be that terribly difficult to do, as the information is abundant in cyberspace, and on "that other woodwind websight".  It's simply a matter of time investment and fact checking, but for that precise reason, I'll not be throwing my hat in the ring at this time, as my time is in short supply.
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2017, 11:17:39 PM »
It goes back to the old adage that: "The cobbler's children are always the worst shod."  It's the same reason you find exposed wires in an electrician's home and leaky faucets in a plumber's, cracks in the walls of a plasterer's home, and sinking foundation piers in the home of the mason.
Same here, I spend a whole lotta time making clarinets look nice but my personal player, a Noblet Stubbins looks absolutely DISMAL.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2017, 09:52:40 AM »
This is another instance (Malerne, Lebret) where we need to look for instruments with date certain documents along with serials. Because Malerne acquired other makers and brands, we should also look carefully at key-work details and also serialization format, location of stamps and also the "type set" of the serials. These are the factory fingerprints and are far more reliable than "brand". I have a handful of the Malerne Standards and one stencil (Benetone) that is most certainly a Malerne match, although I would not construe that all "Benetone" clarinets are Malernes.

Some "Standards" appear to be more "standard" than others. One "Malerne Standard" barrel I bought is several degrees finer in manufacture than any of the "Malerne Standard" barrels that came as original with other clarinets. That barrel leads me to believe that even the "Standard" model varied in quality of manufacture and possibly even place of manufacture depending on the year. One of the most recent Malerne Standards (assumed to be most recent) had key work and details that if I had to guess the maker without seeing a name, looked like a Martin Freres Lamont;- in every detail.

I am further convinced that models marked L. Lebret are not all original Lebret clarinets, but branded L. Lebret and are very little different from the typical Malerne Standard model. Actual Louis Lebret clarinets are very old and would not have any modern key work details, such as an adjustment screw at A/G#, or a T shaped lower bridge link.

I do have one transitional L. Lebret / R. Malerne that has unique markings and authentic period key work. That means the later "L. Lebret" marked ones are actually just later Malernes and branded Lebret (he owned the brand so he could put it on anything). And that is indeed the trouble with tracking Malerne makes. Over the years brands drifted between factories, drifted between quality levels.

In any case, the Malerne Professional model was a later Malerne model, the top model at any time of production, and generally commands a price two to three times higher than the most common Malerne Standard model. There is one in A now listed as restored around $2000. Keep in mind that any professional model in A is going to be pricey due to the general rarity of A models of any kind and this is an "ask" price, not a current bid on that one.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2017, 11:21:28 PM »
I had forgotten about the one hard document that I have found linking Malerne serials to a definitive date. It is covered in a previous thread here:
http://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php?topic=1048.msg5246#msg5246

Malerne serial number A-3287 was sold Oct. 10, 1956. One reference point doesn't help much unless you have some idea of how the numbers were assigned. That era covers the examples I have and by appearance, the numbers follow a simple alpha-numeric progression. But that is an assumption based on a very limited sample. Based on that assumption I would guess that your Malerne Professional was built between 1960 and 1965.
- Silversorcerer (David Powell) exclusively for Phil's original “The Clarinet Pages" forum

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: R. Malerne Professional
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2017, 01:15:28 PM »
Nice sleuthing!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States