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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000346.txt from 1999/01

From: Jack Kissinger <kissingerjn@-----.EDU>
Subj: Re: [kl] question
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 04:50:08 -0500


I can't tell you which instrument is better. Without actually seeing them
side by side, I doubt anyone can. When they were made, they were both good
quality instruments but both have been around long enough that they *may*
have suffered some abuse. The Buffet has apparently just been overhauled but
you have no way of knowing the quality of the work done.

There are actually a number of design differences between the two instruments
in question. The Leblanc 1176 uses the company's "in line jump" trill keys
(all the holes for the right-hand trill keys are in a straight line), the
Buffet uses the traditional (offset) setup. I can't say that either is a
better approach -- and you will probably not have difficulty finding players
with have different opinions -- but the designs are different. If the in
line approach is superior, however, why doesn't Leblanc currently use it in
any of their top-of-the-line models (Symphonie VII, Opus or Concerto)?

Probably the biggest difference between the two instruments, however, is in
their bore designs. The R13 has a polycylindrical bore, the Leblanc is
cylindrical (not conical as the seller indicates). Is one better than the
other? Again a matter of opinion. (Perhaps this accounts for the tuning
issues Roger raises.) Note, however, that, all the major manufacturers now
produce and sell many more polycylindrical bore professional clarinets then
cylindrical bore professional clarinets. Also, most "top-of-the-line"
instruments are polycylindrical or reverse conical in design. IMHO,
cylindrical bore design is old technology. The major makers still produce
some instruments using it and there are still some players who prefer it but
they account for a relatively small portion of the market.

Both sellers have good feedback records but the guy selling the Leblanc
doesn't seem to know much about clarinets -- and he has a tendency toward
over-enthusiasm about his instrument. For example, he quotes an appraisal
value for this 18 year-old instrument in "superb condition -- above average"
(so which is it?) of $1,800. A NEW 1176 sells for around $1,700 at the mail
order houses. The seller also refers to the instrument as the
"top-of-the-line" conical (sic) bore clarinet from Leblanc. While it is true
that this is the best cylindrical (not conical) clarinet that Leblanc
currently makes and that it is a professional model, it is not among their
"top-of-the-line" models. The Symphony VII and Opus list for almost twice as
much as the 1176 but neither is a cylindrical bore instrument. The seller is
probably entirely honest but odds are, if there is a problem with the
Leblanc, he might not be able to recognize it.

All other things equal (including price), primarily because of the design,
the R13 is probably the more desirable instrument for most players. However,
considering that both of these clarinets are already over $700 with over a
day to go on their auctions (and there is almost always a flurry of activity
in the final few hours and minutes on instruments like these), I would
predict that both may reach the $900 level (or higher). The best buy then
may well turn out to have been the Selmer 10S that sold yesterday for around

Best regards,
Jack Kissinger
St. Louis

Karena wrote:

> i was checking out the eBay list of clarinets for sale. What's a
> better instrument? they both look to be in decent condition. One is
> a LeBlanc LL from 1980. The other one is a Buffet R-13 from 1968.
> I'm under the impression that they are of similar quality and the
> specifications are similar. of course, since I've never heard of the
> LL model, this is only an assumption. thank u.
> Karena

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