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An extremely rare and fine matched pair of Buffet RC clarinets. This pair have only had one professional owner, and are a commission sale for Clarinets Direct. They have an outstanding provenance, having been hand selected by the owner, and her then professor at the RCM, the late Dame Thea King, from Buffet, Pages Walk, in London in 1975. When the American investor Martin Tolchin bought Buffet Crampon he felt that though the R13 sold well in the USA, different models would be more successful in Europe. The S1, Continentale and BC20, which became the RC, were all attempts to make darker, more focused sounding clarinets. They are part of the earliest production specifically targeted at the UK market and both intruments carry a UK stamp. As part of that initial production run, these instruments were the finest and most expensive Buffet clarinets of the period, priced at approximately 15% more than the contemporary R13. The RC did sell very well: It had a more relaxed warm tone than the R13, which attracted many UK players.
The Bb, serial no. 161359, is in very fine condition, there are no cracks or repairs. The instrument has the original Nickel silver plate, which is in very good condition, there is only minor wear to the rings, the plating is about 95%. The key regulation is tight, there is no joint wobble. This clarinet has recently been re-padded in tan leather pads, all in very good condition. there are two supplied barrels of 63 and 66mm.
The A has S/N 161499, which also dates to 1975, there is no damage to the wood. The Nickel silver plate is also in excellent shape, around 98%. The pads are mainly fish skin on the upper joint, with tan leather on the lower. All pads are sealing well, with touch corks and regulation in fine order. There are 2 barrels, of 63, & 65mm respectively. These instruments play with a dark, focused sound and excellent evenness and intonation. they were manufactured as Buffet's top professional instruments with unstained Grenadilla wood. Today one would have to spend over 6000 on RC Prestige instruments, and choose from a large number of examples, to get anything of like quality. The case is the original, in good condition, though the dust cover which has preserved it, is showing wear. The mouthpieces are an ultra rare Peter Eaton, stamped RC/R13 O, for open, S/N 4536, in good used condition, and a stock Buffet C in ebonite, unused.