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 Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: cooroxd 
Date:   2017-11-27 10:16

I've been wanting to upgrade my Vito Resotone 3 clarinet for a wooden one so I found a boosey & hawkes series 2-20 clarinet on craigslist. I managed to get him to drop the price of the B&H clarinet from $200CAD to $100CAD. My question is, is this a good upgrade from what I have and is it worth $100CAD?

Craigslist ad:

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: LC007 
Date:   2017-11-27 17:50

I am a staunch believer in the axiom "you get what you pay for". If you managed to move the seller from 200 to 100 without too much balking, it means he just wants to get rid of it at any cost. I have no idea if this particular brand model was ever any good but whatever the case, it's almost 50 years old now and will definitely need a major tune up ( like the seller said).

I am new to clarinets and don't know enough about them to be able to make a good judgement so it's a toss. But it's only 100.00. So personally, I would buy it for 100.00 (will he go to 75?) as a curiosity and to learn/experiment with. But I am a tinkerer. If you're not a tinkerer though and don't have the C note to spare, then walk away. If you are buying it to play regularly then get a repair estimate first.

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2017-11-27 18:39

The 2-20 was a student model. The instrument has not been made since around 1984, so even if it was the last one made its still an antique now. Even then, the basic design goes back to the 30's or 40's. Expect to have to pay for whatever work needs doing. The Vito is a better instrument.

Tony F.

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-11-27 19:22

The B&H 2-20 is an entry level wooden clarinet from the 1960s which is the same basic instrument as the B&H Edgware. They have a much larger bore than most clarinets on the market and are pretty decent instruments.

If you do buy the 2-20, then expect to have it fully overhauled (complete strip down and rebuild) as it has seen better days, but will be worth it once the work is done.

My first clarinet was one of these which I bought in a junk sale for $7.75, although the insurance value of such a clarinet was £550 at the time (in 1986). I used it to practice repair techniques on from the basic stuff to sleeving tenons, bushing toneholes.

One thing you'll definitely need to have done on this clarinet to make it reliable is have the upper ring on the middle tenon built up to make it a good fit in the socket as these clarinets (and most B&H clarinets from this time) had no upper tenon ring on account of B&H using the same width cutter to cut the tenon slot for the cork, so the middle joint ends up very unstable and you'll lose your long Bb.

I do think it's a good upgrade from your plastic Vito, but only if you can justify the repair costs or do your own repairs on it.

This design of clarinet (bore size and tonehole layout) was used extensively by B&H on all their clarinets apart from the much larger bore 1010. The Peter Eaton International is also based on this design (and the Elite being based on the 1010 design). You can use any mouthpiece with these clarinets instead of having to find one specific to it as you would with 1010s.

The barrel looks too short, so you will have to pull it out as the throat notes on B&H clarinets do play on the sharp side inless the standard length barrel is used and also pulled out by around 1mm, although a flatter playing mouthpiece (Vandoren "13" Series) can help bring things down to pitch.


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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: cooroxd 
Date:   2017-11-27 21:46

Thanks for the replies, I'll your feedback in mind :)

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-11-28 03:53

I forgot to mention the current equivalent model clarinet to the B&H 2-20 is a Buffet E11/E12 or a Yamaha 30/400 series - take in consideration how much one of those will cost you if you were to buy one new and the purchase price and cost of an overhaul on this older model. Also the fact an overhaul when carried out by a competent repairer will leave you with an instrument that will play much better than when it originally left the factory.


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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: cooroxd 
Date:   2017-11-28 07:54


Instead of a complete overhaul, could I get it tuned/serviced to a "playable" condition? And how much would you think that would costs?

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-11-28 20:19

A basic 'make it play' check-up will only cover so much as that will be the minimum amount of work to get it working. If it needs far more doing than a few tweaks here and there, then that could end up becoming a service.

A service will address more issues such as cleaning the toneholes out and replacing all the things needing replaced plus oiling the bore, but if it needs more than half of all the pads replacing as well as all the key corks and several springs replacing, then the cost will mount up and it may as well have a full overhaul.

Prices are variable from place to place and also from one repairer to another, so I can't begin to tell you the cost involved.

As far as any work goes, a check-up or check,oil,adjust (COA as it can be called) is the least expensive as only a few keys will be removed and the minimum work is done just to get things playable.

A service is more involved and therefore more expensive as it includes having all the keys removed, all the screws and key barrels cleaned, the keys polished, the joints, toneholes, sockets and bore cleaned and the bore oiled, the speaker tube cleaned out and depending on who's doing the work, either all or just the worn/damaged key corks and felts replaced and replacing any tired or damaged pads.

A full overhaul is the most expensive of the lot as it's a complete strip down and rebuild replacing all the consumables and doing absolutely everything to have an instrument that's better than when it was new (besides some cosmetics). Maybe replacing all the springs as well if they're not great - B&H 2-20 clarinets of this era had either phosphor bronze or beryllium copper springs which break easily and also have the annoying habit of breaking flush with the pillars, then the added hassle of removing the remainder as it's as soft as copper so the risk of flaring the broken end when using a spring punch is high, making their removal a pain. But once all the work is done, you should end up with a clarinet that plays better than new but without having to play it in as you would with a brand new one.


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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2017-11-28 21:49


I’m also from the Vancouver area and was checking out the Craigslist for clarinets. Are you looking specifically for a Boosey? There is a Yamaha 34 going for $200 here:

It doesn’t mention it in the posting but I believe I can see the model number from the pictures. Also there’s another one for a little more at $350 that claims it’s recently overhauled:

Disclaimer: I don’t know if I need to mention this, but I didn’t make any of the above linked postings nor am I associated with anyone who did. I’m also looking for a second clarinet for cheap but I’ve personally decided to look online so I thought I’d just pass this info on.

Post Edited (2017-11-28 21:51)

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: cooroxd 
Date:   2017-11-28 23:33

@chris thanks for the breakdown and explanation

@gavalanche Ya, I'm looking for a decent wooden intermediate clarinet for a good, fair price. I'll take a look at those links thanks. Also, if you are interested, since you live in Vancouver too, I can sell you my Vito resotone 3 clarinet for cheap after I managed to get a replacement for it.

Post Edited (2017-11-28 23:49)

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: gavalanche20 
Date:   2017-12-01 02:56

Thanks, but I was looking for something wooden as well (getting an overhauled Normandy off a certain place). Did you end up going for the B&H horn?

Post Edited (2017-12-01 02:57)

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 Re: Is this clarinet worth to buy?
Author: cooroxd 
Date:   2017-12-01 07:24


No, I ended up getting the yamaha clarinet as you suggested because the B&H may require more repairs/maintenance to get it up in playable condition. The first link with the cheaper $200 yamaha, the seller is not responding, so i assumed he may have sold it already.

However, I decided to try my luck and messaged the $350 yamaha clarinet seller. I managed to get the seller to lower the price of the yamaha clarinet from $350 to $225.

Post Edited (2017-12-01 07:26)

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