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 Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: ndfay 
Date:   2018-03-26 22:16

I'm trying to date a very rare Buffet musette. Everything about it screams mid-1800's--including the folks at Buffet, who say it would certainly look nice in their museum in France. It has the "LP" marking, which one "expert" told me makes it post-1915. I've already positively debunked this, having found examples on Buffet clarinets as early as 1899. Does anyone have a marked "LP" on an instrument which can be dated before that? Preferably to the 1840's? Thanks!

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2018-03-26 23:26

I would think that in the 1840s there were so many different pitches being played around Europe that an LP or HP designation would be rather unlikely.

by the end of the 19th century the pitches seem to have settled more and the two competing pitches of HP and something close to 435-439 being called LP liely to have come into regular use.

I have seen several Buffet Bassons of the WW I era with an LP stamp so it was definitely established by or before then.

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 Re: Earliest use of
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2018-03-27 00:27

While not providing a clear answer to your question, the following site might help:

At first, I questioned the reference to the Treaty of Versailles, but sure enough the treaty referenced:
"(22) Convention of November 16 and 19, 1885, regarding the estab-
lishment of a concert pitch."

I'm not certain that LP has always meant A=440.

Side note: my primary instrument is an 1898 Conn...definitely LP, but not labeled as such.


Post Edited (2018-03-27 00:42)

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: TrueTone 
Date:   2018-03-27 00:29

There are some 1880s Buffet Albert System Clarinets that have an LP or HP marking at the NMM, (link: ) so I'd expect it to be from around that time, as like Caroline said above, they had a lot of differing pitch standards in the 1840s. Additonally, Buffet went to their normal circular logo like on all of their clarinets (well, from before 2016, when they changed it...) today have on them.
I know of someone who has an A Clarinet that Buffet made in 1910 that also debunks them, but my 1918 Eb Clarinet is a bit wierd in that it's marked NB. The twelfths are too narrow for it to be in tune at any standard, (about 10 or 15 cents off on both sides at best.) but I'm pretty sure that was caused by someone tampering with the bore, as it looks rather roughly bored out. It's got a bore of about .530, from when I measured it about a year and a half ago with a pair of calipers, I'm planning on taking it to get it repaired by someone who might be able to help a bit, but that's not relevant to the topic on hand.
Back to your Musette though, could you take some pictures of it? I'd be interested in seeing what it looks like. And does it have any kind of serial number? If it doesn't, it's from the mid 1880s or earlier, assuming that it wasn't just worn off, and if it does there are some charts on the internet for Buffet Oboes of the time, although they restarted their serials a few times.

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: ndfay 
Date:   2018-03-27 13:45
Attachment:  20180320_183941.jpg (1303k)

Thanks, all! Earliest I've found so far is 1887 at the NIMM. Thanks for that link! And Fuzzy, I've seen that article before excellent information. Important to remember that in the mid- to late 1800's, the Germans were mostly LP while France, England, AND the US were HP, given European manufacturers some incentive to differentiate their instruments, even if the exact frequency of "HP" and "LP" hadn't been standardized. TrueTone, I think Steve Sklar has a Buffet NB as well, and he doesn't know what it stands for either. The serial of the Musette is 214X (as written) and both pieces also have a 19C stamped elsewhere. No clue what the last is.

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-03-29 13:11

My wife has several Oskar Oehler clarinets from 1890-1920 and they all play well in tune at A=440 (a bit off topic, but yes Germany WAS at A=440 in the late 19th century. However collectors need to be careful when searching for the older German clarinets- when the pitch went up a lot of older instruments were shortened to raise the pitch (diminishing the value to collectors, and the intonation for performers) dn

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2018-03-29 13:22

"NB" is frustrating. 100 years ago, its meaning must have been common knowledge. Is there really now no-one at all who knows what it means?

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: ndfay 
Date:   2018-03-29 13:32

Thanks! So far, the museum curators I've spoke to place this in the 19th century, with the only thing that pulls it into the 20th being the "LP" stamp. Since I've found "LP" used as early as 1887 by the same manufacturer, though, I think I'm sticking with a late 1800's assessment. Still hoping to find a stamped instrument from prior times, though. Preferable a Buffet.

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-03-29 15:41

I assumed the Low Pitch patent came into being on December the 8th, 1914.


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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2018-03-29 15:48

Don't forget the possibility that the LP stamp may be added later on the instrument.

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: ndfay 
Date:   2018-03-29 16:01

It may have been patented or standardized in 1914, but it was very clearly in common use before then. I've found dozens of horns that pre-date by almost two decades, and it doesn't seem likely to me that they were all stamped by the owners 20 years later using the same font in the same location. And none appear to be hand-engraved, which I think we would see if people were trying to label the horn they bought in 1895 to match a standard that came out in 1915.

It does make sense that importers or other entities stamped horns prior to re-sale. We know for certain that Fischer, Bettoney and other importers added their stamps post production. But again, there is such a gap between 1887 and 1914, and I doubt importers were waiting 30 years to sell the instruments, or recalling them from the owners to stamp them.

It does make sense that "HP" and "LP" were in common use in the mid-19th century. Even if their exact meanings were not standardized, there was a huge incentive for manufacturers to mark their instruments with some kind of general designation for use in the already-varied pitch markets of the time.

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 Re: Earliest use of "LP" and "HP"
Author: TrueTone 
Date:   2018-03-31 22:26

If the serial is 214X, the X might just be to show that they accidentally made two with the same serial, which would put it in the 1880s. ...Maybe that's it? I have no idea how Buffet's practices for any messing up of serials went. And perhaps 19C was the model number? Anyone have an old Buffet/E&S Catalog who can check?

Also Chris, I think you're confusing the rolled tonehole patent from Haynes (link to a copy: ) that is seen on Conn and Buescher Saxes (and maybe Haynes flutes? I don't know, I'm not a flutist and haven't looked at a 1920s Haynes. The Buescher Tenor about 3 feet away from me mentions the patent, at least.)

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