Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Golden Era
Author: DeletedUser 
Date:   2018-03-22 05:59

OK I have to ask why is the term Golden Era being used as a selling point for Buffet R13 clarinets ? on EBAY - They say it is from the mid 60s to the mid 70s but when exactly is it. And does it mean anything ?

Post Edited (2018-03-22 06:01)

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: qp 
Date:   2018-03-22 08:13

It's a complete load of hogwash invented by people obsessed with finding a clarinet to fix their own personal playing inadequacies.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2018-03-22 08:23

It's basically the time where most people believed Buffet was producing their clarinets in the highest quality possible, and with the highest quality wood. So that's why there is no exact start and end date.

-- Ray Zhang

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: RBlack 
Date:   2018-03-22 08:36

Realistically anyone who is selling a Buffet R13/other model can say it's a "golden era" horn all they want, regardless of when it was made, or if it is even any good.

As Ray says, it refers to the time prior when Buffet supposedly made its best clarinets with its best wood. This is not definitely defined anywhere, and is extremely debatable. Close to as you say, I'd place it roughly 60s-70s. However, I could be selling a 40s Buffet, or a 90s one even, and announce it is a "golden age" specimen. It doesn't really mean a whole lot. Usually when someone says their horn is "golden age" they are trying to say it is good in their opinion.

For what it's worth, I picked my personal R13 (an '83) over a 70s model. They are all so varied that it is hard to make definite statements about certain decades.

My 2 cents.


Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Simon Aldrich 
Date:   2018-03-22 21:23

There is a phenomenon called the "golden age syndrome",

Woody Allen made a film about the golden age syndrome, titled Midnight in Paris. In the film golden age thinking is revealed to be “the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in" and that this notion “is a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present”, going so far as to declare “nostalgia is denial, denial of the painful present.”

Of course none of this means that Buffets were not actually better in the 60s and 70s :)


Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Bennett 2017
Date:   2018-03-22 23:02

For those curious, the Golden Age phenomenon (in Western thought) goes back to ~600 BC. See, e.g.,

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2018-03-23 06:06

Maybe this is not very related: I think all clarinets have a relatively short peak performance period (about 30 years in my opinion). Therefore even if some instruments were indeed well-made in 70s, they are very unlikely to be good now.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-23 06:49

I just play tested a 1978 A clarinet (hand picked by a former player from the Spokane Symphony who has lived in NZ for the last few decades) and it was easily a better instrument than any number of more modern clarinets I've played in the last few weeks (including 5-10 year old Buffets).
This doesn't mean that 1978 is part of any "golden age", but that this player found a GREAT instrument and looked after it. Some instruments age badly- other pieces of wood seem to retain their dimensions better than others (which really should come as no surprise). He also has a 1963 B flat clarinet :-)

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Chris J 
Date:   2018-03-23 15:35

Same with people.

The older we get, the better we used to be...

Chris J

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Curinfinwe 
Date:   2018-03-24 21:28

There's a word for the phenomenon I'm thinking of but I can't recall it. Couldn't it be an example of only the best clarinets from that time still being used, so people assume that all of the clarinets from that era were of that level?

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: gwie 
Date:   2018-03-25 07:14

Well cared for and regularly maintained, I think clarinets can last for many, many decades, if not longer. My first teacher still plays on the set of R-13's she bought back in the 70's, and they sound great. After all, we routinely perform on 300 year old violins and 200 year old bows...

I just find that some clarinetists are unwilling to play an instrument that has visible repairs, or has had cracks in the past (even if they are fixed). It's likely because the cost of clarinets is relatively low by comparison so a complete replacement is easier. After all, $5000 is still only in the range of student-level violins, but that will easily fetch a new Buffet Festival or Tradition model.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2018-03-25 16:49

There have been design changes to the R13 over the years. Design changes tend to trade one advantage or problem for another.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Ed 
Date:   2018-03-25 17:50

The part I find really funny is that back in the day, people would try a dozen clarinets to find "the one" because they were reputed to be inconsistent and many were supposedly dogs.

What ever happened to all of those? How is it that any instrument from that era is now great? Did the lousy ones get better over time, or were they all disposed of in a landfill or ground up to make greenline instruments?

Yes, there were some really fine instruments from that era, but I believe there are some really fine ones from any era. There are really nice ones being made today. There were certain great qualities to the old instruments and some things that make them desirable, but I still think that it all comes down to each individual instrument and one against another. I don't know that you can categorize all instruments from any time as the same.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-03-25 17:57

Ed wrote:

> The part I find really funny is that back in the day, people
> would try a dozen clarinets to find "the one" because they were
> reputed to be inconsistent and many were supposedly dogs.
> Yes, there were some really fine instruments from that era, but
> I believe there are some really fine ones from any era. There
> are really nice ones being made today.

Trouble is, as people here often point out, there are few places a player can go today to try a dozen instruments.


Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-03-25 19:29

Remember people in the '70s, now sometimes thought of as the Golden Age, saying the Buffet was no longer as selective with the wood and had changed the aging routine to speed it up because of demand--more people worldwide were buying top instruments than in previous decades. None of the people I heard say this had any particular connection with Buffet, so it was probably speculation and urban legend. Still, world demand has probably increased steadily, and there have been lots of times when Buffet's profit margin has been problematic. Don't know that I've seen any kind of authoritative description of changes in the protocols for handling grenadilla billets at Buffet, or the finishing time per instrument, over time. The phenomenon of people selling new instruments after doing work on the pads, springs, tone holes and so on was certainly alive and well during the Golden Age. There were fewer cost-saving materials "innovations," though.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Ed 
Date:   2018-03-25 21:48


Trouble is, as people here often point out, there are few places a player can go today to try a dozen instruments.

I don't think that there were that many back then either. These days there are a few places around. If one is in the east, it is possible to go to Buffet in NYC. One option for many is to buy from someone who hand selects instruments.

Reply To Message
 Re: Golden Era
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2018-03-26 00:06

I don't rule out completely that instrument quality could have been higher.
1. More abundant grenadilla wood. Clarinet makers could select higher grade wood for the same money.
2. Not as fierce competition from mostly Asian producers. This has probably forced Western makers to cut some corners.

Advancements in technology and knowledge speaks against the golden era theory.

Btw. Stradivarius and Guerneri violins represent a golden era, but blind tests give a firm indication that the hype of the instruments is all in their name.

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 

 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Remember my login:
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Major events especially for clarinetists

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

Great reeds available from around the world

     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact