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 German vs French clarinets
Author: sylvain 
Date:   2001-03-15 15:20

Does anybody on this board know the difference between German and Boehm clarinets?

My only knowledge is that german clarinets miss a few keys, but I don't know anything else about it.

Anybody out there?

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Benny 
Date:   2001-03-15 19:36

The German key system is called the Albert system, and even though I've never seen an Albert clarinet in person, my teacher told me they have rollers (like on sax) and less keys. My B-12 was made in Germany and my R-13 was made in France and they are both the Boehm system.

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Dee 
Date:   2001-03-15 19:48

The current modern German system is the Oehler system *NOT* the Albert system. The Albert system is obsolete although it is the direct linear ancestor of the Oehler system. Total keys on an Oehler system exceed that on a Boehm. However where the Boehm system has a cluster of 3 keys on the left side of the lower joint and a cluster of 4 keys on the right of the lower joint, the Oehler has fewer keys in these areas and compensates with rollers.

The term "German system" has been applied to at least 3 different key systems. These are the Mueller, Albert and Oehler key systems. However, the Mueller evolved into the Albert, which in turn evolved into the Oehler. So depending on what period in time that you are referring to, it could be any of these. If you are talking about a modern "German system," then it would be an Oehler not Albert.

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Corey 
Date:   2001-03-15 21:53

the german system clarinets have a much darker sound than boehm system clarinets

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: ron b 
Date:   2001-03-15 21:54

Hi, Dee -
Wasn't something mentioned a few weeks ago about German horns, more complex than 'normal' Oehlers; German horns that had 'custom' stuff? (Maybe it wasn't here). I guess you can do that to any instrument though. I've seen some pretty amazing things done by 'home hobbyists' too.
I have what I ( used to : ) consider a pretty standart Oehler. The latest German fingering charts I've seen show at least two more keys than mine. There's an extra L-pinky and an additional L-sliver key and that seems to be the 'standard' today; they barely resemble an Albert any more - a more distant cousin every generation :] I kinda wonder where the clarinet technology in Germany is headed nowadays....
- ron b -

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Eoin McAuley 
Date:   2001-03-15 23:07

I've been told that the German clarinets have a much lighter sound than the Boehm clarinets.

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Rene 
Date:   2001-03-16 05:34

I have described the differences in the keys a few weeks ago in detail (and claimed that the Boehm system is easier for beginners).

Also, German clarinets have other bore dimensions. More important, German clarinetists use a smaller reed, and a narrower mouthpiece. The tip opening might be individually chosen, but for the heavier reeds you will need less.

I can't say much about the sound differences, for it might be quite inidivdual. And from records, I can only hear the individual differences. One would think that the more robust embouchure results in a more stable and concentrated, but less flexible sound production. But what do I know?

If you want more details, I will be happy to measure my both clarinets for you. But they are both not on the pro level.


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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Brent 
Date:   2001-03-16 05:47

May I recommend that anyone who is interested in Oehler vs boehm keying, go to and look at there flash fingering charts.

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Eoin McAuley 
Date:   2001-03-16 06:48

The fingering charts here are Sneezy give full fingering details for both Boehm and Oehler charts, as well as a photo of each. They can be found at:

<a href=""></a>

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: Hans de Nijs 
Date:   2001-03-16 07:08

In my opinion the main difference in French/German system is bore dimension and mouthpiece design in combination with smaller reeds. The keywork is of course completely different, both systems have advantages and disadvantages.
I'm playing different systems: Wurlitzer German Boehm, Oehler and Schmidt-Kolbe system (the last system isn't built anymore). The manufacturing of German clarinets (pro level) is still for the main part handwork with a high quality level but (of course) very expensive.
There are a lot of small makers in Germany (i think completely unknown to clarinettists on the other side of the ocean). Most of them spent no money in marketing, but some of them are represented on the Web. (Schwenk&Seggelke/Bamberg, Mueller/Bremen and so on. It is interesting that some German makers are still doing a lot of research, mainly in german keywork, but in the past also in Boehm system, resulting in the german-Boehm system, played by profs in the Netherlands/ England/Korea/Japan. See for an example of recent research in german keywork:
There is so much to say about this item.......

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 RE: German vs French clarinets
Author: javier garcia 
Date:   2001-03-16 12:44

very good photos of german system clarinets are available on maker's websites:
F. Arthur Uebel:

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