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An ultra rare Eb clarinet stamped "Schmidt Mannheim", which is a commission sale for Clarinets Direct, having come to us through a Dutch professional clarinettist. This is a unique instrument of experimental Schmidt Reform Boehm type. It lacks a dual function register key and separate dedicated throat Bb vent, which are common to most SRB instruments. Unusually it has a low A/E vent instead of a low G/D compensating vent. So for these reasons it is perhaps best described as an experimental Schmidt Reform Boehm Eb. This clarinet is unique in that it is stamped "Schmidt": Usually Schmidt, the player's name, was stamped alongside the name of the maker, as in Schmidt Kolbe. Schmidt Kolbe Schmidt Reform Boehm instruments were played by the legendary British player, Bernard Walton. The excellence of his playing can be heard in the Philharmonia recordings of the 1950's and 1960's. It is possible that this instrument was in fact made by Hammerschmidt, the style and type of key work may support this theory.
The instrument features the following Schmidt Reform Boehm improvements: Vent for D/A, low A/E vent, and a full time hole in the bell to raise bell E/B. There are no cracks or damage to the Grenadilla wood, though it shows surface marks and scuffs. It is possible that this instrument dates to the 1st decade of the 20th Century i.e. it is over 100 years old. The thumb rest has had minor damage in the past, see photo 10. The pads, whilst not all new, are in good condition, the instrument has been down to our workshop for a partial re-pad and full regulation. The intonation and scale are amazing, this Eb actually approaches a Bb clarinet for quality of sound. The clarinet plays well with the supplied new Leitner & Kraus m'piece. NB it plays with German Eb clarinet reeds. The original m'piece is included though it shows much wear, as it may be of use to the next owner should they wish to have it copied. The case, which I believe to be original, still latches and protects the Eb well.