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 Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: allencole 
Date:   2006-07-28 19:00

A student of mine just bought a Topper clarinet off Ebay. Is anyone familiar with these? I've had no luck on either Google or the Klarinet archives.

(on one, Topper is the name of a clarinetist and on the other it is someone's username--I had never heard the name before except for Hopalong Cassidy's horse.)

Allen Cole

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2006-07-28 19:12

Alert! Suspected CSO!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-07-28 19:16

Topper?!?!?! Never 'eard of 'em!

Though it was the name of a comic, along with Beano, Dandy, Beezer... look out for those names!

If you see one called 'Viz' - it might be a bit rough and cause offense to those easily offended, but always good for a laugh.

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: donald 
Date:   2006-07-28 19:44

in 1996 i did a class at the University of Oklahoma called "Subversive Ideology in Art" and i used Viz magazine as my "case study". Not one american found it remotely amusing (and i only let them see the best bits)
donald

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2006-07-28 20:10

Apart from the old UK comic, the only Topper I know is a type of very small sailing dinghy used for teaching sailing in the UK. It's not much bigger than a large surfboard but is great fun.

Perhaps somebody's drilled holes in one and is marketing it as a clarinet?

Steve

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-07-28 20:50

Just did a search on eBay for Topper clarinets and found nuffin'.

Maybe it was a one-off.

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2006-07-28 21:50

Same here re: clars. I recall it was the name of a style of hat, and believe it was the name of a character in an OLD crime-comedy TV show , '50's ? Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Neil 
Date:   2006-07-28 22:53

Does it come with ghosts?

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: lifeforms 
Date:   2006-07-29 00:44

For some reason the name topper as a musical instrument sounds vaugly familiar to me, but I'm sorry I can't place it. However doing a search on that site, I think I've found the auction in question. On another side note there is also a Trumpet by "Topper" that was sold, however that one says its made in USA.

Is it any good tho?

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: allencole 
Date:   2006-07-29 03:56

Oddly enough, my Google search brought up a Topper clarinet on Ebay sold for 24.95. I feel sure that this is the one my student actually bought. Oh well, I guess I'll see for myself next week.

Allen Cole

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2006-07-29 08:16

Keep us posted on that, and look out for any other clarinets bearing the names of other publications.

Not a good move buying a clarinet that costs less than the initial repair bill - all within the first week of buying it, only to end up in a landfill site with all the westlife CDs. But which one is more plastic - a CSO or a manufactured pop act?

Answers on a postcard.

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: banksworld 
Date:   2006-12-20 16:31

I currently have a metal (silver plate?? or nickel on brass??) single piece clarinet recently purchased at an auction here in Upstate NY and I was hoping one of you experts could lead me down the path of 'enlightenment' as to it's history?? But nobody seems to be able to share any light so far. As a matter of fact this is the single thread I've found regarding the Topper USA

Filed Under Needless Trivia...TOPPER was also an early 1950's TV show about a young man who was visited by a husband & wife couple of ghosts. I do remember watching it in syndication as a young child in the San Fernando Valley of So. Cal in the '60s-'70s, it came on right before Gilligan's Island. on channel 13. I know, who cares!!

Well if you'd like to see pics of the TOPPER USA, email me and I'll send you some!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!



Post Edited (2006-12-20 18:05)

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 Topper Clarient, where did it come from?
Author: Katproctor 
Date:   2009-06-08 15:55

I too have a Topper Clarinet I picked up at an auction many years ago. Anyone know anything about them? I have tried all the usual places to find information on it but to no avail.

Thanks much, Kat

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2009-06-08 16:05

On the back of the lower joint between the socket ring and thumbrest, does it have 'Made in England' and a 5 or 6 figure serial number stamped on it?

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: PrincessJ 
Date:   2011-01-26 03:01

Sorry to bring back a necro thread, but how many of you have seen a wood Topper clarinet? I have only seen one, ever, and am intrigued. It looks surprisingly... nice. I like what I see, a little polish, some pads, corks, hard work, TLC, chamomile, and morning coffee, and I think we may have something here.
Someone tell me more. I have so many questions and so few answers.

-Jenn
Circa 1940s Zebra Pan Am
1972 Noblet Paris 27
Leblanc Bliss 210
1928 Selmer Full Boehm in A
Amateur tech, amateur clarinetist, looking to learn!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2011-01-26 13:38

Does your wooden Topper clarinet have a country of origin listed on it? The only Topper clarinets I've ever seen were metal clarinets of dubious quality. If your wooden Topper is marked "made in England" as alluded to earlier in this thread then it wouldn't surprise me if it was a stenciled B&H.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2011-01-26 14:54

I was also going to suggest a B & H Stencil. Does it have fat keys?

Tony F.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: PrincessJ 
Date:   2011-01-26 16:42

They keys look pretty "normal" to me. I can't find any country of origin on it, just a little top hat on the bell above the name. That's about it. It looks to be of good quality.
I'll have to look harder perhaps. I can't find any serial numbers, either.

-Jenn
Circa 1940s Zebra Pan Am
1972 Noblet Paris 27
Leblanc Bliss 210
1928 Selmer Full Boehm in A
Amateur tech, amateur clarinetist, looking to learn!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2011-01-26 17:43

A clarinet had the name "Topper",
it had been thrown away in the hopper!
Ms. Jenn saved it from death
but it took so much breath
that she gave it to an old be-bopper.




GBK, Hank, Ed, Lelia, spage ---- help me out here!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2011-01-26 17:45

I see one of these just sold on the auction site this morning. The listing (already ended) can be found here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&_rdc=1&item=250760329097

I'm not sure who might have made it. I've never seen the bumper for the right pinky G# key mounted on it's own post before. Anyone have some ideas on the manufacturer?



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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2011-01-26 18:17

Back in 2006, Neil wrote,
>Does it come with ghosts?
>

The Topper comes with a ghost or two
One hoots and squeaks and squeals at you
The other slimes your reeds and pads
And freezes key screws -- drives you mad
To rid the Topper of these upstarts
Play John Cage instead of Mozart.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2011-01-26 18:36

Seeing how large the flanged bases on the pillars are and the Buffet-style keywork, I'd hazard a guess as it being yet another Malerne stencil.

And yeah - interesting way of mounting the wire stopper for the Ab/Eb key.

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: DougR 
Date:   2011-01-27 13:37

I remember seeing cases like that in my 'yoot', always on cheaper off-brand horns, and I'll bet you a nickel this was a stencil made for e.g. Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penny, or some other large department store chain--possibly a store chain in England, for that matter (Marks & Sparks, anyone?). Or Canada! Why not Canada!

And for the record: "Topper" was a series of novels by Thorne Smith, then a bunch of movies (one starring Cary Grant & Constance Bennett) and then a '50s TV series starring the inestimable Leo G. Carroll as Topper, a stuffy banker visited involuntarily by a pair of young, mischievous ghosts (Robert Sterling and Anne Jeffreys) whom only he can see. I mention all this only out of respect for Leo G. Carroll, who (although he didn't play the clarinet as far as I know) was an outstanding comic actor of the 40s, 50s and 60s.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: PrincessJ 
Date:   2011-02-12 16:16

Now, to further antagonize the boards with this thread, I was able to get a better look at the instrument. It does have something that looks like "made in England" stamped on the back of the lower joint, it's extremely worn.
It's definitely not a department store brand, it's too nice. The intonation is perfect and the tone is rich and lively in all registers.
I'm still "fine tuning" my little DIY overhaul but upon taking it apart and looking around between the lines, it's not bad at all.
I'm going with the prior references in this thread regarding B&H.

Another thing I noticed is a bit of an "hourglass" bore, skinny in the middle, and noticeably (very, very noticeably) flaring out on both ends at the bell joint and barrel joint, more so than I have ever seen on any other instrument.
The bell is very cone shaped and almost oboe-ish on the ring end, and it differs from the topper listed in the link posted by Steve.
Perhaps Topper made several different bore designs and bell designs?

This is too weird.

-Jenn
Circa 1940s Zebra Pan Am
1972 Noblet Paris 27
Leblanc Bliss 210
1928 Selmer Full Boehm in A
Amateur tech, amateur clarinetist, looking to learn!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2011-02-12 16:22

If the keywork and bell look very similar to what you see here: http://www.clarinetperfection.com/clsnBH.htm then it is most likely a B&H.

Chris.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2011-02-12 19:41

Whilst a cone shape barrel is very typical of B&H (virtually all models except the 1010 had this straight sided bell) I have never come across any B&H clarinet with any taper or polycylindrical steps in the bore of the top joint or the barrel. The lower joints obviously had the typical Boehm flare at bell end but no more so than most other French models.

Every B&H clarinet I have seen, including stencils and even their seconds which did not carry any makers name were always marked with "made in England" on at least one joint and had a six digit (5 digit until about 1955) serial number on both upper and lower joints.



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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: PrincessJ 
Date:   2011-02-13 22:45

It is definitely some kind of B&H according to the link posted by Chris, and I can barely make out the serial number which appears to be 5 digits.
Something pointing to a prototype or modified pre-1955 model? One of the first B&H stencils?

-Jenn
Circa 1940s Zebra Pan Am
1972 Noblet Paris 27
Leblanc Bliss 210
1928 Selmer Full Boehm in A
Amateur tech, amateur clarinetist, looking to learn!

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: fatswaller 
Date:   2016-02-07 22:00

Guess this is an old thread for sure, but none the less:

I'm looking at a silver clarinet with 'Topper' engraved on the bell side by side with a Silver Conn Pan American Special and I can pretty much state that it's identical to the Conn Pan American from the bell upwards. The keywork, placement, and everything else is identical, right down to the tiny set screws that Conn used to hold the rods in place, and similar to the set screws on a 1949 wooden Conn that I have.

I wouldn't stake my life on it, but it was made by Conn.

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2016-02-08 08:20

Pan Americans were some of the worst student clarinets ever made. I in fact began on one, but I couldn't get a sound out of it, so my parents took it back to the music store and got a Bundy instead, which was fine.

I also remember "And now ... back to Topper." It was about on the same intellectual level as Francis the Talking Mule or My Mother the Car.

Ken Shaw



Post Edited (2016-02-08 08:30)

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 Re: Topper Clarinet (made in England?)
Author: Pistolpete 
Date:   2021-01-18 23:27

I have had a Topper b/ clarinet for 60 years. Same topper with top at logo on the bell. It was a hand me down so I have no other information on it. The case fell apart when I was younger and moving around. It has the same hourglass shape that you describe. Unfortunately a key is broken. The pickup that joins the two halves together and closes the opening between mid-register E and D. So unplayable. Don't know if it can be repaired; may have to find another to canabalize the key. The barrel and bell are in very bad shape as they are plastic and the finish is gone. No sign of "Made in England" but it does have 54B21 embossed on the upper joint with the barrel.

I haven't played in many years but now that I have time I am trying again. Purchased a LeBlanc at an estate sale. Back to the 1.5 reeds to build my embouchure.
Hank

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