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A rare pair of early Buffet clarinets. This pair have been professionally owned and played in period instrument orchestras here in the UK. These instruments have a larger bore of 15.0 mm, and larger tone holes than the contemporary Buffet's. The result is a free and easy playing pair, with excellent 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 pair also feature wrap around speaker keys.
The Bb has serial number 491L1 dating to 1918. It is in good condition for its age, with no cracks to the main body pieces. However the bell has a repaired, glued crack, and also there is a tight hairline crack to the original barrel, which measures 67mm. However the last professional owner of the pair preferred to play the Bb with an Evette & Schaeffer Buffet barrel, of 63.5mm. The pads areused fish skin but sealing well, the instrument has been through our workshop for a thorough "check down". The stamps on the Bb bell read "Buffet Crampon a Paris, C Fischer New York". The clarinet was therefore originally supplied to the USA, where Carl Fischer were an authorised Buffet distributor.
A, S/N X [6]271, probably dates to 1906. The digit "6" seems to have been stamped later, as it of a different font type. The clarinet is in good condition throughout, though there is a repaired glued, and pinned, surface crack to the upper joint, which runs down to the first pillar for the speaker key, it does not enter the bore, which is in excellent condition. Like the Bb, the bell also has a repaired, glued crack. The instrument has German silver keywork, which like the Bb, shows a patina commensurate with its age. Again it has used fish skin pads which are all sealing well. Like the Bb, the A comes with 2 barrels, of 64.5mm and 61.6mm. The longer of the two has had the m'piece tenon sleeved in metal. A custom ebonite m'piece is included which was re-layed to 1.1mm by 17mm by the late Prof. John Playfair; it tunes the pair very well. The supplied case is of modern light weight type with carry straps and many pouches. These instruments would make an excellent addition to a period players inventory, or possibly, might delight a collector of rare, historic clarinets.