020 8893 3172 or 07787 770071

Home Clarinets Mouthpieces Delivery and Terms About Us Contact Us


This is the earliest, and rarest Buffet Crampon clarinet, that Clarinets Direct has been privileged to offer to the market. I am indebted to Professor John Playfair, for his initial work, in preparing this Vintage instrument for sale.
The clarinet is in Grenadilla wood throughout, including mouthpiece. To the best of our knowledge all pieces are matching and original. Only the barrel no longer has a Buffet stamp, but the tenon rings are a match for the other parts of the clarinet. The pad cups are of the "salt spoon" variety. According to Rendall, this style of cup was adopted circa 1820, and was superceeded after 40 or 50 years by the modern type flat pad cup. Thus we can confidently date this Buffet Bb to the decade commencing 1860.
The instrument itself, is in excellent condition for its age. It features a bore of 14.8mm, with the usual Buffet under-cutting. There is a short flare at the bottom of the lower joint. The overall diameter of this clarinet is some 1mm less than a modern Buffet, so the walls are approximately 0.5mm thinner. The tuning is A=440 Hz with modern Vandoren or Gigliotti m'pieces. With the original mouthpiece, which is very large inside, the pitch is closer to A=438. There is some narrowness to the twelfths, especially in the RH. We suspect that the bore at the top of the upper joint may have slightly closed up over time, which exacerbates this problem. As is usual with modern Buffets the barrel is of larger bore than the start of the upper joint. There are no cracks or damage to the main pieces, though the bell shows multiple cracks; 11 in total. In addition, the lowest ring tone hole of the lower joint has been re-lined in metal. In the past the bell tenon ring has been removed and replaced incorrectly, upside down. This may in part account for some of the damage. The keywork is beautifully crafted and features barrels fashioned largely from solid silver. This explains the oxidisation of the throat and register key barrels. Note the particularly fine double pillar mount for the G# throat key, see photo 4.
Please note that this clarinet has been photographed part way through a process of restoration. This accounts for the screw heads protruding from the pillars, tape temporary repairs to the tenon cork, and also for the fact that the key work has not been buffed. The instrument is now with one of the UK's top instrument makers and restorers, for a symapthetic and complete restoration. It is highly likely that the bell will have to remain "in situ", as we would not want to risk any further damage to the bottom tenon or bell. The clarinet plays superbly, with a freedom and evenness. Also a particularly light and sweet tone: Quintessential Buffet Crampon.