Klarinet Archive - Posting 000478.txt from 1998/04
From: Jack Kissinger <kissingerjn@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: Old Strasser Clarinet
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 10:06:48 -0400
SML (from Strasser, Marigaux and Lemaire) is a French woodwind manufacturer
very well known among double reed players for its oboes and english horns
(considered among the best in the world). It also still manufactures a
limited number of clarinets. Below, I have quoted a brief company history
from an article by Fred Cicetti. You can find the complete text of the
article and a list of testamonials to SML saxophones (no longer manufactured
but further evidence of the quality of this company's products) at:
You can also find an interview from 1982 with SML's managing director at:
Brief company history (according to Fred Cicetti):
"Rumors of SML's death are highly exaggerated. The company is still
doing business at the same location where it began.
The company maintains offices and workshops in Paris, and a
manufacturing plant in La Couture Boussey, 100 kilometers west of the city,
region famous for making woodwinds. The company now has 60 employees.
SML makes oboes, English horns, oboe d'amore, musettes (small
and clarinets. It also has an import/export business that distributes the
products of Yanagisawa, Rico, Vandoren, Otto Link, Berg Larsen and other
Strasser Marigaux & Lemaire was founded in 1934 by three partners:
Charles Strasser, a businessman who was born in Switzerland; Marigaux, an
instrument maker who trained at Buffet-Crampon, where his father was
ouvrier," and Lemaire.
After the death of Lemaire many years ago, Strasser and Marigaux
their partner's shares and the company became known as "Strasser-Marigaux."
Marigaux died in the early 1970s, leaving Strasser the sole owner of the
company. Strasser then sold SML (it continues to use these initials) to a
holding company -- Strasser-Marigaux S.A..
Since its earliest days, SML has been known for its oboes. Marigaux
considered one of the world's best oboe-makers. The company made a broad
of woodwinds that once also included saxophones, flutes and bassoons."
I can also tell you that for several years (probably during the 1970's),
King contracted with SML to make wooden clarinets for sale under the King
brand name in the U.S. (King wanted to be a player in the clarinet
market.) King/Marigaux was the name used for the professional line and
King/Lemaire was the name used for the intermediate line. I own a
King/Marigaux alto clarinet and it is a beautiful instrument (to the extent
an alto clarinet can be beautiful ;^) ). A few months ago, I found a
German music store on the web that listed two new SML clarinet models for
sale. One appeared to be a professional model and the other an intermediate
model . Both appeared to be comparable in price and features to Buffet
instruments. (I didn't bookmark the store, however, and I can no longer
remember how I found it.)
I believe that SML's production of clarinets is quite limited -- which would
their not being well-known but, if my alto is an indication, the quality is
quite good. I don't know whether you have an intermediate or a professional
model but, if the latter, it is likely worth fixing up. If you plan to sell
it, you should keep in mind that, because of the company's limited
reputation among clarinetists, most potential buyers will treat it as an off
brand. (Fred Jacobowitz addresses this point in one of his messages in the
Strasser-Marigaux is an active participant in/sponsor of the International
Double-Reed Society's activities. The Cicetti article gives their Paris
address and you may be able to find an e-mail address for them as well (I
looked but not very hard.) If you send them a description of the instrument
and its serial number, they may be willing to tell you more about it. Also,
for some additional comments on SML, search the Sneezy archive of the
Klarinet list using the keywords (without the quotation signs) "Strasser or
Marigaux or Lemaire."
> My father was given a SML Strasser clarinet, serial number
> 6543, by a friend. He brought it home to me - I'm now the owner of a
> brand-new R-13A and in the long run am looking to replace my Selmer
> Signet with an R-13 as well.
> I had never heard of this instrument before, but I played it for a few
> minutes and was amazed at its nice, rich tone compared to my Selmer
> horn. And its shape and mechanical layout almost exactly matches my new
> I guess the question I'm asking is if I have this clarinet repadded and
> adjusted, will I, as it seems now, have a R-13 quality instrument?
> Michael Connolly
> P.S. I'm a high school sophomore, have been in All-west two years on
> alto sax, and all-state one year on clarinet. Currently, I'm preparing
> for local youth symphony auditions on clarinet.