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 Vintage instrument search
Author: zms5063 
Date:   2018-08-14 09:37

Hello, This is my first time posting. I'm looking for a new to me fully wood clarinet for use in amatuer chamber, symphonic, or solo setting. I have not played seriously in about 3 years, but am looking to dust off the rust. I played for about 10 years and have dabbled in bass clarinet and even managed to make my regions district band. This whole time, however, I have been using a hammy-down Bundy 577 which is a good horn for what it is. Sadly, the refurbishment from 2004 is now broken down and its ready for another overhaul.

I have found a number of what I believe are Thibouville stencils and imports and would like some help selecting an instrument to take to get professionally worked on. I have heard many of these horns have suberb intonation and erognomics. I have a slight dexterity problem in my right hand which casues wome issues in the lower forks. Looking at the keywork things seem promising in this respect.

1. Appears to be a very early Jean Barre (in case w/cracked barrel) along with two other horns one of which appears to be an intermediate Buffet import and perhaps a second later Jean Barre. :

2. A Jean Dumont which appears to be a combo of a Jean Barre and Rene Dumont:

3. Gently used Rene Dumont:

4. Another unrelated horn which looks in good shape (also appears to be a fine french instrument):

Thanks for the help, please don't snatch any of these out from under me... Me and my Bundy have suffered enough together.

Post Edited (2018-08-14 09:38)

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: Steven Ocone 
Date:   2018-08-14 15:39

If you are interested in a Thibouville, you could but a Thibouville.

Steve Ocone

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-08-21 05:42

It would be easier to provide advice if you posted a budget for your new clarinet...sounds like it is very limited and you are looking for a 'bargain' rather than the instrument for the rest of your life.

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: zms5063 
Date:   2018-08-21 05:58

Well, I have a few reasons for wanting a vintage instrument. I am financially able to afford a new horn, but I'm only just getting back into this hobby after a few year absence.

1. Restoring an old clarinet is how I got my beginner instrument (Bundy 577)
2. I can't justify the expensive of a new wood clarinet with my current ability
3. Vintage instruments tend to have more stable wood
4. I like the weird factor when I show up with a label no one has ever seen before
5. Grendilla is only getting more scarce
6. Not in a rush for a new instrument
7. Old instruments have their problems presented up front as opposed to them developing from new
8. Like the idea of having a couple of different horns in my collection someday e.i. Bass clarinet (which is really my primary instrument), plateau keyed clarinet, full boehm, albert system, wide bore, narrow bore, etc.

Bottom line getting out with a new to me clarinet that is a good play for only $500-700 would be ideal

Post Edited (2018-08-21 05:58)

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2018-08-21 10:08

You can find a wood buffet e11 in that price range. There’s a used German system by Yamaha for sale on a certain site for $600.

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: Burt 
Date:   2018-08-21 11:19

Why do you insist on wood?

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: DougR 
Date:   2018-08-26 19:49

I don't know if I can be of much help, but I understand the impulse to do what you're doing. You seem pretty clear in terms of focus; we have someone here on the board who's posted a lot over the years and has a penchant for off-brand stuff. You might search for posts by Dave Spiegelthal--I don't have his contact info, but he may have an inventory of instruments such as what you're looking for.

Another source (of knowledge if nothing else) might be Clarinets Direct--he's in the UK, and you probably wouldn't find anything there to be a bargain, but he does have the occasional Malerne, SML, Couesnon, earlier Noblet instruments in addition to Selmer, Boosey, Buffet etc. Usually there's at least one plateau-key clarinet on the website too.

Good luck!

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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: glin 
Date:   2018-08-26 20:51

You might want to contact the Vintage Clarinet Doctor. Website:


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 Re: Vintage instrument search
Author: zms5063 
Date:   2018-08-26 22:03

I went ahead and bought the Jean Barre, but the barrel is cracked in two places. Otherwise it is in restorable condition. I also bought the Jean Dumont and it appears identical to the Barre aside from the label. The barrel on that horn is in good shape but the lower joint is badly cracked. I talked to Jeremy, and I'm going to send the Barre in to get redone using the Dumont for salvage components. The cases appear to be Noblet's/Leblancs and the keywork appears to be Couesnon. There was an article I read that at the end, Thibouville and Noblet briefly worked together before getting their inventory sold off to Couesnon. So perhaps I have a Thibouville clarinet with a Leblanc case and Cousenon keywork? Hahaha clarinets live in a mixed-up world lol.

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