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 Advice about R13's
Author: Rosewood 2017
Date:   2017-03-04 23:51

I've been playing on an E11 for about a year (playing clarinet for much longer), but I recently tested out a few R13's and loved them. Unfortunately, they were at a festival, so I lost contact with the company that had them to try out. I was considering selling my E11 and putting that towards the cost of an R13.

I'm not looking for advice about which new clarinet to get- I tried out many pro clarinets from other reputable brands and the R13 still comes out on top for me.

Would it be better to get a "Golden Era" R13, or an otherwise used horn? Or should I spend the money and get a brand new one?

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 Re: Advice about R13's
Author: NTSOG 
Date:   2017-03-05 00:48

Hello Rosewood [Marley],

I have read the phrase "Golden Era" a number of times, but have no idea when that period was in the history of Buffet instruments. When was it?


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 Re: Advice about R13's
Author: Rosewood 2017
Date:   2017-03-05 00:49

Hi Jim,

Most people seem to believe that the "Golden Era" occurred during the mid 60's to late 70's.

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 Re: Advice about R13's
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-03-05 01:17

You'll get an older ("Golden Era," if you like) R13 much less expensively than a brand new one, but unless you buy from a shop that has already put in the work to bring it up to best condition, you may need to have it worked on after purchase. If the ones you tried were new, you already know what their general feel and timbre characteristics are.

If you shop for new, you should go through the testing process over again unless you can track down the vendor from the festival. Even then, unless you wrote down serial numbers, you won't know which ones you tried. Although Buffet makes very good instruments (despite the carping that goes on), they aren't necessarily consistent. If you try a new batch (maybe at a future festival, if you don't have a source within a reasonable drive), jot down serial numbers of any instrument you really like.


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 Re: Advice about R13's
Author: ClarinettyBetty 
Date:   2017-03-05 04:42

I am a Golden Era fan.


I picked through a lot of crappy, blown out, out of tune, terrible ones. You have to know what you are looking for and be able to know what can be fixed by an expert technician and what is simply a "no go." I played about six golden eras till I found my c. 1965 Bb. My A is also a diamond in the rough, bought after going through a 1982 model, then a 2000s, then finally landing on my forever horn, my '63.

All of my horns went to a technician before being ready to go, but to me, buying a $2500 horn and putting $1000 in it is still $4000 cheaper than a brand new Divine or Tosca, etc.

So if you go this way, don't just buy one off eBay because it's old. Try to go to a shop somewhere that has several you can try side by side.

Best of luck!

Eb: 1972 Buffet BC20
Bb: Selmer Paris Presence
A: Selmer Paris Presence
Bass: 1977 LeBlanc


Post Edited (2017-03-05 19:05)

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 Re: Advice about R13's
Author: NTSOG 
Date:   2017-03-05 05:27

Hello Marley,

Thank you for clarifying the "golden age" of R13 clarinets. I have collected an R13 in Bb [192***] which should date from 1979 and an older R13 in A [136***] which should date from 1973. Both of them sound as good to my elderly [amateur] ear as my more modern Festivals and R13 Vintage instruments.

I suspect that such older instruments sit on the shelves with dealers, having been traded, for long periods unless some knowledgeable person recognises their inherent musical value.

Good luck with your search,



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