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 What's this?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-10-12 16:52
Attachment:  1.JPG (77k)
Attachment:  2.JPG (59k)
Attachment:  3.JPG (52k)
Attachment:  4.JPG (44k)
Attachment:  6.JPG (21k)

It's probably one of worst clarinets I've ever seen. The old generation of awful Chinese clarinets are impressive in comparison... Here are some photos, the last showing what is engraved on the body. Any clues?

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 Re: What's this?
Author: SteveG_CT 
Date:   2010-10-12 17:05

Wow... That instrument really does bring the concept of clunky keywork to a new level of awfulness. I've never seen one like that but if I were to guess I would say it's probably Soviet in origin.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-12 17:22

It's definitely Soviet-era Russian - and a very poor Uebel copy! I think some may have even had stamped out sheet metal keys throughout (unless I'm mistaking them for actual low-end Uebels).

They made bakelite oboes as well in the older German/Russian style, there were loads of them on eBay.de, probably all relics from former East Germany.

What does it play like?

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-10-12 17:33)

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Le9669 
Date:   2010-10-12 17:57

In Soviet Russia, Clarinet plays you! xD

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-12 17:58

That truly is one ugly set of keys. Notice how the key contours vary from one part of the instrument to another: I wonder whether some of the original keys were so brittle they snapped and got replaced with keywork that doesn't quite match.

In the last picture, the three letters to the immediate right of the numeral 160 are in the Cryllic alphabet, indicating this is indeed a Russian instrument. These three letters would transliterate phonetically into the Roman alphabet as: R Ch B. Interestingly, though, there's no Cryllic equivalent of the letter N stamped below, and it's stamped with a different font set (notice how much thinner the lines are). That N was added later. Just a guess, but I think the added N supports Chris's hypothesis that the clarinet was exported from the USSR into Europe, where the Cryllic alphabet never did take over from the Russian alphabet even in the SSRs.

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: What's this?
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2010-10-12 20:12

That may be the clarinet currently (or recently, anyway) on eBay auction -- I believe that auction ad had some information on the manufacturer of the instrument.

I have a Soviet-era 'simplified Oehler" (that is, barely more sophisticated than an old Albert) clarinet in hard rubber, unrestored, which I haven't found the motivation to work on! Probably not worth the effort.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-10-13 06:09

Russia/SU makes sense. This clarinet reminds me of only one other clarinet, the absolute worst I've seen (even much worse than this one), which was from Russia/SU.

Re the N in a different font, does anyone know how they "engraved" those letters and numbers? I imagine it was some type of stamp and it's possible they had a different set for Western letters so it wasn't necessarily added later.

Dave, it's not on ebay now and probably wasn't on ebay any time recently. It might have been bought on ebay at some point, I'm not sure, but I don't think it was. There are many people from former SU countries here, especially a lot of musicians too. So I'm pretty sure at least most instruments from there were just brought by people.

>> and a very poor Uebel copy <<

It's barely a clarinet copy...

>> What does it play like? <<

Overall, pretty bad. It's not worth repairing.



Post Edited (2010-10-13 06:36)

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-13 06:33

The maker's logo, letters and numbers are applied with a heated metal stamp probably by machine - the serial number has been stamped on afterwards with individual number stamps by hand.

Chris.

Post Edited (2010-10-13 16:10)

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 Re: What's this?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-10-13 06:46

OK I just had a Russian see it and he told me a few things. The line with 160 simply says the price is 160 Ruble. The C means "year" i.e. when it was made and the 19 is the year, whatever year that is, since I guess it's not 1919). Although most Russian instruments didn't have Western/English letters on them, it's still possible and then the N would mean Number, followed by the S/N.



Post Edited (2010-10-13 07:32)

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-13 07:34

Now there's price fixing for you!

Chris.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Plonk 
Date:   2010-10-13 08:18

The ц symbol probably stands for the word for price. I don't speak Russian but I speak Bulgarian (which is a European country that uses the Cyrillic alphabet, Lelia, in fact it was invented here, not in Russia...) In Bulgarian the word is "tsena" and is written цена in full.

The Г letter is a hard G sound, not C. It stands for "godina" which means year. It looks to me as though they stamped all models like this then filled in the last 2 digits for the year when the instrument was completed, although that sounds like a strange thing to do.

The Latin N is commonly used in countries which use Cyrillic, even though it's not in the Cyrillic alphabet. It is used (as well as No.) to denote "number". I have a Cyrillic keyboard on my laptop, and it's included as a standard letter, and looks like this № - as you can it's rather stylized.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-10-13 15:11

Someone with a Russian last name corrected me privately (and I hope he'll take credit here for the helpful correction) to say that what I transliterated as Ch is not that, but Y, and that the three letter abbreviation, RYB, is a common one that stands for ruble. Does anyone know what the exchange rate was then? I don't think I've ever seen a musical instrument before with the price stamped onto it permanently!

And, Plonk, thank you for the additional information. I didn't know that the Cryllic alphabet originated in Bulgaria. Gee whiz, and I thought the Russians invented everything! [That's a worn-out old joke for those of us old enough to remember the Cold War....]

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: What's this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-13 16:13

They left the year of manufacture out - just the 19 (which is part of the main stamp) and nothing else. The last two year numbers would've been stamped on by hand like the serial number.

Chris.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: tonyl 
Date:   2010-10-14 01:31

Worst clarinet ever.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Chris Hill 
Date:   2010-10-14 03:43

What's this?
A lamp in waiting!

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 Re: What's this?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2010-10-14 04:17

>> What's this?
>> A lamp in waiting!

Actually that's exactly what it is. There is nothing else to do with it. For less than the cost of repairs it's possible to buy a much better clarinet, so it would never be worth it. So it's being lamped now.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: beejay 
Date:   2010-10-14 21:22

I had one of these once, when I lived in Brezhnev-era Moscow.
The engraving on the back is indeed the price (tsena) -- 160 rubles.
The ruble at the total official rate equalled 1.40 US dollars. If you had hard currency and access to certain Arab or Cuban diplomats needing to unload their rubles, you could have bought this instrument for the equivalent of 15-20 dollars, maybe less. I don't know what happened to mine. It was probably lost in the move. The pictures certainly brought back a few memories.

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 Re: What's this?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-10-14 21:29

I've scoured former Eastern Bloc eBays for more of these clarinets and the oboe version and can't find any. There were loads of them back in 2000-2005 but obviously all now landfill - the cheapo Chinese ones are now the dominant factor.

Chris.

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