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 Antique Clarinet?
Author: Cherish 
Date:   1999-09-21 02:43

I am 32 years old and live near Branson, MO. I would like some information on the clarinet that my mother handed down to me.

It was given to my mother when she was in grade school or high school, probably the 50's. It was given to me when I was old enough to start playing in bands in school. I did play it for awhile but did not keep playing. It has red wood, metal keys. (Forgive me professors, but I don't know what to call these pieces) The top section with the keys has a surface crack running the entire length directly under the keys, hard to see unless you are really looking. The same piece also has a couple of chips at the end of the cork, but is actually in the wood. The pads were replaced when I was a child.
The bell does state "Pan-American, Div.C.G.Conn,LTD USA. I can find no dates. The case looks really old, a reddish rustic color, easily scratched, in poor condition. I know virtually nothing about clarinets so any information would be gratefully appreciated.

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Cherish 
Date:   1999-09-21 02:55

Would this be Grenadilla wood? My mother and I used to call it a Cherry wood because of the color. I've never seen another one like it. Can anyone give me an idea what it might be worth? I'm not planning on selling it, as far as I'm concerned it's priceless. I would just like to know what it is worth.
Thank you!

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-09-21 04:29

This is probably one of the clarinets that Conn made from laminated wood very similar to plywood but with enough layers to make a "log" so that they could turn a clarinet out of it. Most were stained a reddish color. Due to the effect of cutting across the laminations, the wood often *appeared* to have a very pretty grain pattern, especially in the bell (the flared section at the bottom of the horn). I don't know what particular wood they used to make the laminated logs but it was not grenadilla or cherry.

Conn was attempting to make a sturdy, crack resistant, student grade clarinet out of inexpensive materials. Unfortunately they failed as they had problems with the lamination process and the end product was MORE prone to cracking than standard wooden clarinets. Very few are left since they suffered such serious cracking problems.

If you have one of these it is very difficult to assess the value of it. To look at, they are physically very beautiful. But their overall construction (not just the laminated wood) was not of very good quality and they had serious problems with intonation. One in perfect playing condition with NO cracks sold on eBay for around $300 due to its physical beauty and the rarity of an uncracked horn. However one would not dare risk playing it. Less perfect specimens have sold on eBay for under $50, which is consistent with what other used Conn student horns of a similar age typically end up fetching on the auction.

Polish it up and hang it on the wall.

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Cherish 
Date:   1999-09-22 04:08

Dee, Thank you for answering.
Yes, I can see the straight lines on the side of the clarinet, very pretty grain pattern on top and bottom which would be consistent of lamination. The inferior intonation may also explain why I never developed a real love for actually playing it.



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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-09-22 04:19

As I said, they are beautiful though. So keep it for a display piece. If you want to get back into playing, there are some good quality instruments out there, both new and used.

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Beth 
Date:   1999-09-23 01:10

How about making a lamp out of it? That's what I am intending to do with an old worthless Prufer...if I can every find the electrical makings. Lamps like this sell for over $100 in "The Music Stand" a mail order catalog. Just a thought.
Beth

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: jim lande@ erols.com 
Date:   1999-09-23 03:48

Lamps like that have a hard time getting $50 on eBay. It is possible that this is one of the 'violin finish' models
that were made from birch (according to something I read.)
I have one of those and it is very red and does not have long running parallel lines.

Someone said that some of the laminated wood models were made from old airplane propellors. (sounds doubtful)

Somewhere on the Klarinet site is some info on the laminated model. Anyway, I think one sold for over $150 on ebay about a year ago -- as did the violin finish model. So, it has some curiosity value and collector value. It is not likely to be a great player.



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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Cherish 
Date:   1999-09-23 16:48

For the record, I am not about to sell my clarinet or make a lamp out of it. My mother played it when she was a teenager and then gave it to me to play when I was a teenager, so it is priceless as far as I'm concerned.

It's not really red red, more like a beautiful deep amber and brown mixture. Laminated sounds like it would not look very pretty but it actually made it prettier than any other clarinet I've ever seen. They alternated light and dark woods to give the real wood effect, and I'm assuming they stained it with a cherry wood color. I did not realize it was laminated until I took a really good look at it after what Dee posted. I suppose it was not THAT hard to play, I just had better things to do at that time. A cousin of mine enjoys playing it.

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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Dee 
Date:   1999-09-24 03:59



Beth wrote:
-------------------------------
How about making a lamp out of it? That's what I am intending to do with an old worthless Prufer...if I can every find the electrical makings. Lamps like this sell for over $100 in "The Music Stand" a mail order catalog. Just a thought.
Beth
-------------------------------

If it is indeed one of the laminated clarinets, it will some day be worth more as a displayable clarinet or collectors piece than as a lamp.

I hate seeing clarinets turned into lamps. Many times that instrument could be returned to playing condition with a little TLC and bring some one a lot of joy even if it isn't a top of the line instrument. And there are some old instruments that would be actually lose value if turned into lamps.

Besides that, clarinet lamps are ugly. The proportions are all wrong for a lamp. I wouldn't pay 10 cents for one.




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 RE: Antique Clarinet?
Author: Cherish 
Date:   1999-09-24 22:39

I have to agree with Dee. Beth, please don't do that to your instruments, no matter how worthless you think they are. In my opinion (and apparently Dee's) lamps made out of something else, especially instruments, is really tacky. I you want to display them, try setting up some kind of antique arrangement. Make it look classy, not tacky.

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