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 RE: changes in 50 years.
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   2001-04-17 18:43

Bob -

There have been lots of changes in the details of Buffet clarinet design over the years. For the evolution of the keywork, see my posting on "Older Buffet Key Design" at and the very helpful additional information posted by other participants. For information on the bore and toneholes, see my recent posting at .

At least in the opinion of a (highly opinionated) former Moennig apprentice, the amount of time-consuming work put in at the Buffet factory has greatly decreased over the years, to the detriment of the quality of the instruments. See .

At least for me, the hand-forged keys on the 75-year-old Buffets feel better than those on my 20-year-old R-13s. Also, the old keys were made from unplated German Silver, which, for me, has the best feel and doesn't wear through, as the newer plated keys do.

The 75-year-old instruments were also made of wood that was denser and had a tighter grain than any wood that is available today. The effect that the material of which a clarinet is made has on playing qualities is of course the subject of loud debate, but there is certainly a difference in the wood between older and newer instruments.

On the other hand, if you search on "Platinum Service" on the Klarinet board and here on Sneezy, you will find everyone agreeing that Francois Kloc has significantly improved the average quality and consistency of new Buffets imported into the U.S., so that you're much less likely to get a dog than you used to be.

As to whether the polycylindrical bore R-13 plays differently from earlier designs, I find that there is a difference. There are things I like about the pre-R-13 design (which, by the way, had a big change in the late 1960s, which is why Buffet put out the R-13 Vintage, which is the original design). I recently got a 1937 Buffet, which has significantly different playing qualities from my R-13. Not better, not worse, just different. The pre-R-13 blows more freely, I can get different tone colors more easily, and the intonation is less stable. It has to be played in tune. The R-13 is more focused and powerful, harder to get a variety of tone from (though the basic sound is very good), and it plays better in tune by itself. Finally, the older instrument is smaller in outside diameter, physically lighter and feels better in my hands than the R-13.

This is of course all my opinion and what feels best for me.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 Topics Author  Date
 changes in 50 years.  new
bob gardner 2001-04-17 13:10 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
Anji 2001-04-17 13:51 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
David Spiegelthal 2001-04-17 14:20 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
Dee 2001-04-17 15:38 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
bob gardner 2001-04-17 15:46 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
Ken Shaw 2001-04-17 18:43 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
Roger 2001-04-17 18:49 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
bob gardner 2001-04-17 18:57 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
Brenda Siewert 2001-04-17 19:15 
 RE: changes in 50 years.  new
joseph o'kelly 2001-04-18 02:25 

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