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LEBLANC,PARIS, BBb CONTRABASS CLARINET, 3745

This is an early model 340 G. Leblanc, Paris, BBb Contrabass clarinet, in metal, range to low D, [commonly known as the Paperclip]. This instrument is a commission sale for Clarinets Direct, the former owner now has a similar model, but with the range to low C, and this Contra is offered to the market. This instrument was designed by Houvenaghel, Leblanc's chief designer from the 1950's. Initial models had 2 speaker key touchpieces, later models had a fully automatic single register key touchpiece which operated 2 different over blowing vents. This clarinet features 2 register keys, one for the lower notes in the clarion, and the other for E upwards. The body is Nickel Silver, and shows wear, there is some verdigris and also a few dings and dents, most significantly to the rim of the bell, and also the crook. There is some masking tape applied to the bell joint to stop wobble. The Nickel plated keywork also shows spot wear. However these cosmetic blemishes must be set against the excellent care that the last owner of this instruments has lavished on it: The instrument has been entirely re-padded by Eddie Ashton in super pads, and responds excellently throughout the entire compass. Since this work the current owner has not played this example, as he purchased the Contra referred to above. All these pads are in "new" condition. A superb modern light weight rucksack type case was also purchased by this owner, which makes this usually cumbersome instrument easy to transport. The matching serial nos. on all pieces are 333, which probably dates to the early 1960's, Leblanc serial number lists found on line are unreliable. The mouthpiece is the original in fair condition, it does respond very well. In summation, despite cosmetic blemishes, this is a responsive BBb, which is remarkably easy to play.