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Author Topic: An Interesting Italian Clarinet  (Read 137 times)

Offline Joshbarticus

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An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« on: January 18, 2023, 04:08:32 PM »
Hello everyone! I'm new here but I came on this forum to inquire about a clarinet I recently acquired off of eBay of all places. From what I know, it was made by the long-defunct Italian brand F-A.M. Bottali, which made instruments from the late 1890s to the late 1930s. What makes this clarinet particularly special is that it's a "full-boehm" instrument that is one solid body piece outside of the bell, etc. The key work I'm almost positive is bespoke to the brand, because I have never seen another full boehm instrument done like this one. The back has an 'A' marking with a four-digit serial, starting with 2---.

I had the instrument completely re-padded, along with having the key work adjusted and the instrument checked for any unsealed cracks, as there's evidence to suggest it had a few cracks repaired during its lifetime. However, it never came with its original barrel, which also could have been bespoke to it as well. I suggest this because the barrel tenon does not have a lot of room above the cork line, meaning no tenon ring like on many other clarinets. Therefore, I will either have to find another Bottali clarinet barrel, or get a new one custom made.

I ask of this forum a couple things. First, are there any recommendations for custom barrel makers? I'm currently looking at Pereira 3D as my most economic option for getting a proper-fitting barrel on, but I am open to other recommendations. I am also curious if anyone on here has ever seen other Bottali wood clarinets similar to this; and if there can be any leads on a barrel from that brand. It doesn't really play in A, but a good B flat with the 65mm bargain-bin barrel I picked up at a local shop. It has a warm, dark sound, and I would like to see it at its full potential since the lack of a proper barrel is messing with the intonation a little bit, particularly in the throat tones coming out much sharper. Anyways any help is appreciated!

-Josh

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2023, 11:34:28 AM »
How cool. Pity about the cracks, but with a FB, sometimes you gotta make some consessions.

I own an ultra-rare Brevetto Bottali (no relation?) metal plateau.

https://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php?topic=9.0

I had it beautifully restored, but I gotta find those pictures now.

David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline el gitano

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2023, 07:44:05 AM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2023, 09:17:30 AM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

You're right. I took a closer look at the pics and saw the donut key. I have only seen two other names attached to donut keys - Buffet Crampon, and M. Lacroix. I imagine you're correct with it being a Buffet Stencil. This would also mean that Buffet possibly stencilled M. Lacroix. The plot thickens!
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline Joshbarticus

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2023, 10:10:53 AM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

You're right. I took a closer look at the pics and saw the donut key. I have only seen two other names attached to donut keys - Buffet Crampon, and M. Lacroix. I imagine you're correct with it being a Buffet Stencil. This would also mean that Buffet possibly stencilled M. Lacroix. The plot thickens!

That's quite interesting! I did not know Buffet used to do stencils. That would maybe explain explain why my clarinet, despite the bargain-bin barrel, sounds as good as it does. However, what's interesting about this one-piece full boehm is that the alternate C#-G# banana key is it's own separate tone hole; not connected to the usual C# key. Was this a feature on Buffet and M. Lacroix stencils like this? If so, It's a good feature because frankly it sounds better than the usual key.

Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2023, 12:09:02 PM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

You're right. I took a closer look at the pics and saw the donut key. I have only seen two other names attached to donut keys - Buffet Crampon, and M. Lacroix. I imagine you're correct with it being a Buffet Stencil. This would also mean that Buffet possibly stencilled M. Lacroix. The plot thickens!

That's quite interesting! I did not know Buffet used to do stencils. That would maybe explain explain why my clarinet, despite the bargain-bin barrel, sounds as good as it does. However, what's interesting about this one-piece full boehm is that the alternate C#-G# banana key is it's own separate tone hole; not connected to the usual C# key. Was this a feature on Buffet and M. Lacroix stencils like this? If so, It's a good feature because frankly it sounds better than the usual key.

I am quite sure that most, if not all full boehm's have the C#/G# in this format, rather than the "regular" method. The "regular"method is inferior, mainly because the hole is not placed at the ideal position. When the clarinet has to come apart into two pieces, most manufacturers just place the key on the upper joint, as low as it can possibly go as the compromise.

Full boehms, as well as the "articulated" two pieces, have the C#/G# where it SHOULD be. I don't think this is specific to any one manufacturer, brands as diverse as Buffet Crampon and G. Bundy do this.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Irvine, California, United States

Offline modernicus

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2023, 03:43:38 PM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

You're right. I took a closer look at the pics and saw the donut key. I have only seen two other names attached to donut keys - Buffet Crampon, and M. Lacroix. I imagine you're correct with it being a Buffet Stencil. This would also mean that Buffet possibly stencilled M. Lacroix. The plot thickens!
Several other companies made donut keys I think- At least I have a Theodore Berteling with one.  Berteling was an American company started by a German immigrant.
If you ain't got 'em, that's why you need 'em...

Offline el gitano

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Re: An Interesting Italian Clarinet
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2023, 11:35:26 PM »
for me it looks like a Buffet Crampon, maybe a stencil, very commun in this historic times
Claus

You're right. I took a closer look at the pics and saw the donut key. I have only seen two other names attached to donut keys - Buffet Crampon, and M. Lacroix. I imagine you're correct with it being a Buffet Stencil. This would also mean that Buffet possibly stencilled M. Lacroix. The plot thickens!


That's quite interesting! I did not know Buffet used to do stencils. That would maybe explain explain why my clarinet, despite the bargain-bin barrel, sounds as good as it does. However, what's interesting about this one-piece full boehm is that the alternate C#-G# banana key is it's own separate tone hole; not connected to the usual C# key. Was this a feature on Buffet and M. Lacroix stencils like this? If so, It's a good feature because frankly it sounds better than the usual key.

Buffet stenciled clarinets for Carl Fischer in New York,
Keilwerth stenciled cheap clarinets for Buffet
Claus
« Last Edit: January 22, 2023, 11:37:55 PM by el gitano »