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BUFFET C CLARINET, £895

A very rare Buffet C clarinet, which has an impressive Provenance. The instruments' last owner is a UK based professional [who has used it for much Opera work] and it was formerly owned by Tony Coe, who modified it in order to improve the intonation. The instrument dates to 1888, and, at that time, the Buffet large C bore design of 14.75mm employed only a very slight flare at the bottom of the lower joint, which, while creating a rich focussed sound for the lower pitches, also means that they can be flat. Accordingly Tony had a hole drilled in the lowest tenon and bell, in the German/ Austrian manner to correct the tuning. In addition some work has been done on the upper part of the upper joint bore to reduce the bore which was presumably to help the problem of narrow 12ths in the RH. The Grenadilla wood and German Silver key work are in good condition, and it is obvious from inspection that this instrument has had little use. The wood has only light surface scuffs and shows no cracks or damage, apart from a tight hairline crack to the upper tenon of the lower joint, see photo 7. This crack does not enter the bore, and consequently has no effect on the response. All main pieces are matching and original. The instrument has old fish skin pads which are sealing well, it has had a thorough "check down" in our workshop, and the key work has been regulated. The S/N 577C dates to 1888, Buffet made less than 1800 clarinets in that entire year. The m'piece is a Pillinger copy of a Carl Fischer steel ebonite Buffet m'piece as supplied with a set of 1903 Buffet instruments, however the lay is an open facing with a 1.21mm tip. In the past the clarinet has been played professionally with a Vandoren B45 mouthpiece also. The intonation and response of this C are superb: The instrument is stable in terms of tuning and remarkably even across the registers.  The Yamaha case is not original to the clarinet, but protects the clarinet  well.