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These are an exceptionally rare and fine pair of Louis early English clarinets. The firm was strongly associated with possibly the finest ever French makers: Martel Freres. Each Louis instrument was completely hand made and undercut in their London premises, 2 Burnsall Street, Chelsea W3. The finishing alone took 2-3 days. These instruments are a one owner pair, their former owner was a London professional who owned this pair and a later set of Leblanc LL's which he used for the duration of his career. Charles Draper personally endorsed these makers. The perfect uninhibited open response, and excellent tuning make for a true "players clarinet" which is a physical delight to blow, superior to much on the mass produced market today.
These instruments are in excellent condition, for clarinets made in the 1920's. Clarinets Direct have just entirely re-padded the instruments in Pisoni Premium Deluxe Fish Skin pads, and the clarinets are sold with our full 1 year warranty. There is a small crack to the top of the lower joint of the Bb, which runs from the tenon ring down to the first tone hole, see photo 7. The crack is a surface crack only, and has no effect whatsoever on the response. This apart, the wood is in very good condition, with only scuffs and marks associated with careful professional use. There is no joint wobble. The German Silver key work shows absolutely no wear or play to the mechanism. The wood is Grenadilla, apart from the bells which are both in Cocus wood. This was a popular choice of wood with superior class instruments of the period, I believe that the finest craftsman thought that a Cocus wood bell would give extra vibrancy and resonance to the bell notes. Certainly when one changes register on these clarinets the timbre of the bell "B" is much more lively and this results in a lovely even scale across the break. Both instruments features an ebonite "bushed" C/G hole: I have several theories concerning this. 1. The hole may have been moved at the request of the original owner, certainly on both clarinets the thumb rests have been repositioned slightly lower, and the the wood surface filled with shellac, see photo 10. 2. The clarinets may originally have been made with 7 rings and the owner requested the tone hole chimney be remade, in the standard fashion. 3. As undercutting this tone hole can be extremely difficult, and indeed, the D/A twelfth is often very poor on modern clarinets, perhaps ebonite inserts were made so that the undercutting could be done to the most exacting standards, and then fitted to the clarinet. Certainly the scale, intonation, and response of these clarinets, is the equal, or superior to, the most expensive clarinets made today. The supplied m'piece is the original and it has been relayed to 1.1mm by 17mm. With a bores of 14.65mm for the Bb and 14.75mm for the A this pair will work well with any modern French bore mouthpiece. In fact these bore dimensions are exactly the same as for a Buffet R13 pair. A box of original, used Louis reeds is also included. The case is a brand new Backun Leblanc double puochette with pouches and carry strap.