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 American Leader Clarinet
Author: Alan 
Date:   1999-12-27 18:04

I recently aquired an old "American Leader" clarinet by "Herco". It's in a small tweed case and is wooden. Can anyone offer any information about this instrument? I would like to know if it is worth having cleaned up so I can play it. Thanks.

Reply To Message
 RE: American Leader Clarinet
Author: jim lande@ 
Date:   2000-01-02 02:50

Never heard of them. If it was made in this country,
then either it was a stencil (meaning made by Ohio Band Instruments or Pedlar etc and then branded with the name of the local music store or distributor) or it was made by someone fairly obscure. You could check the Langwell
index and perhaps learn some more.

If the clarinet is marked made in france, then Herco
might be an import name meaning you still don't know who made the horn, but it might be better than student quality. (or maybe no). The fact that it is wood does not necessarily mean that it was any good to begin with.

One possibility is to take it to a good tech who might be
able to tell you some things.

There are some signs of better unstruments. Silver
plated keys (good solid plating and very smooth).
When you take the keys off, better clarinets tend to use more hinge screws and fewer pivot screws. Thin easy to bend keys are cheap. Look at the low register C# key or the
banana key just above that. Some better clarinets have
the key part (that you press bent) next to the tube and then a similar arrangement for the pad cup. This is very strong. A cheep one may have the pad cup and the part you press all in one piece with the metal tube simply intersecting it.

Don't get your hopes up.

Reply To Message
 RE: American Leader Clarinet
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   2000-01-02 03:22

No American Leader or Herco in <i>The New Langwill Index</i>

Reply To Message
 Re: American Leader Clarinet
Author: saxmanrich 
Date:   2013-09-26 04:00

I also acquired an American Leader clarinet as part of a bunch of repair tools I purchased from a former music store owner's family. Since I am a repair tech by trade and a clarinet player I did a thorough over haul on this horn. Much to my surprise, the thing plays really well. I own a small collection of a few of the better pro clarinets out there (R-13, Selmer 9*, Centered Tone, etc) and have played hundreds of clarinets. I was totally knocked out by this AMerical Leader. I would like to know who made it. I did a back to back comparison against a customers R-13 and noted that the American Leader was a bit brighter sounding than the Buffet but played in all registers equally well. It's a fine non-classical horn, for swing band doubling, Dixieland, etc.

Reply To Message
 Re: American Leader Clarinet
Author: clarinetguy 2017
Date:   2013-09-26 11:14

I don't know much about the Herco brand name, but I remember it as a company that made (and possibly still makes) student line brass mouthpieces.

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