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A rare early Buffet A clarinet, without serial number. These instruments have a larger bore of 14.9mm, and larger tone holes than the contemporary Buffet's. The result is a free and easy playing A, with good intonation, and none of the third register problems inherent in the polycylindrical design. The drawbacks are flatter notes on low E and F, but to some extent this is corrected by the fact that, at this period, Buffet reamed the neck of the bell, continuing the flare of the lower joint: this does result in exceptionally even response across into the second register, a pity this is no longer standard practise.
This instrument is a commission sale for Clarinets Direct, and came to us from a young woodwind repairman who has prepared this clarinet to a fine standard. Buffet Crampon began to stamp serial numbers on clarinets from about 1885, either this clarinet is earlier than this [which from the key work and bore design is possible] or it is later, but with no serial number. Certainly, given the keywork design, large bore and small flare in the lower joint, this instrument is pre-WW1. The wood shows some surface cracks, scratches and marks, but for a clarinet of this age, it is in good condition. The first crack runs into the first trill key hole, it does not go into the bore, see photo 5. The second crack runs from the upper tenon ring of the lower joint to the first tone hole rim, again it does not go through to the bore or enter the tone hole, see photo 8. The third crack is at some 180 degrees to the 2nd, at the rear of the upper part of the lower joint, again it is a surface crack only, seee photo 10. All cracks have been glued, filled and sealed by the aforementioned owner. He also had the instrument entirely re-plated in Silver, consequently the key work is in exceptional condition for a vintage Buffet. All pads have been replaced with tan leather, apart from the register key, which is in cork. The stamps read "Buffet Brevette SGDG". All pieces are matching and original, excepting the barrel, which is of more modern Buffet type. The key regulation is excellent and there is no joint wobble. The mouthpiece is a Selmer C85 115 in very good condition, which plays the instrument at A=440 Hz. The case is brand new Buffet Prestige, in black leather, with warranty card and lock instruction manual.