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 Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-07 12:54
Attachment:  image000000.jpg (536k)

I have an opportunity to start playing in an amateur symphony orchestra, so I started looking for a used A clarinet. So far I have not seen a good A clarinet on e-bay that I could afford and there are no listings for an A clarinet on CL.

The repair tech who fixed my R13 (which I bought off e-bay) said he knows someone who may be selling an old Leblanc. He sent me a picture of the clarinet.

I noted that there are two pads for the lower F key; also, there is a shared post between throat G sharp and A keys.
The tech says that the metal/keys are in very good shape and the clarinet was not used much because the tone holes are not worn out.
I am wondering if anyone saw an instrument like that and what would be a fair price (if the condition were as described).

Thank you

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-07 13:39

That looks like it will also have a throat B flat mechanism... I'll buy it if you don't want it!

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-07 13:43

The double pad cups on the F/C key are to fully vent the G/D (xxx|xxx), so effectively it's like playing G/D but with the F#/C# tonehole open (which you can't do on a regular clarinet).

Chris.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2018-09-07 17:12

If you can get it for anything less that $1000 it would be an absolute steal. This is a very rare instrument given that it has an SK mechanism (automatic throat Bb like bass clarinets have) along with several other features. Restored this instrument could easily be worth $1500 to the right buyer.

-Jdbassplayer.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-08 07:29

Chris P wrote:

>The double pad cups on the F/C key are to fully vent the G/D >(xxx|xxx), so effectively it's like playing G/D but with the F#/C# >tonehole open (which you can't do on a regular clarinet).

Hi Chris,

What is the advantage of fully vented G/D?

thanks

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-08 07:39

to JDbassplayer:

It is not going to be a bargain- I was told that the owner wants $1300. The tech says the clarinet is in great condition and does not need any work.
The owner is out of town so I would not be able to see this clarinet until the end of the next week.
My concern is not only the sound but also if the clarinet is in tune and, possibly even more important in the beginning, how much it differs from my R13. I am not young and may not be able to adapt quickly from Bb to A if they have very different keys placement.
I would prefer to get an R13 A clarinet but apparently they are out of my price range.

Thanks for your help

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-08 12:47

Just a small note- it doesn't have an "SK mechanism". That is activated by the thumb ring and isn't an "either register OR throat B flat" mechanism as on a bass clarinet. The SK mechanism opens one hole when being used for the register key, and two holes when being used for B flat. This one has a mechanism activated by the throat A key, and is "either/or" in that it opens a register hole OR a B flat hole depending on if the A key is open.
The SK mechanism is more reliable- but tends to result in lower pitches in the altissimo (this depends on other elements of the instrument design). The "either/or" mechanism tends not to have this drawback, but is mechanically less reliable (complex mechanism that relies on counterbalanced springs etc).

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2018-09-08 15:34

I'm confused, I thought you were looking for a cheap A clarinet? Check "that auction site" again. There is at least one Buffet A for far less than $1300.

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: ebonite 
Date:   2018-09-08 15:55

I'm curious about the fact that it has a ring for L3 (as in full boehm system), but no extra vent between L3 and L2. Anyone familiar with this type of system?

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Johan H Nilsson 
Date:   2018-09-08 16:11

I think an old Leblanc of this kind in A would sell on ebay for $300 to $600 depending on condition. Higher from shop, lower from CL.

They are not seen every day, therefore a little higher price tag.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-09 02:17

btw the advantage of the fully vented G/D is that D (and G to a lesser extent) tends to have a much better sound and matches the F/C much better. On many clarinets F/C has a very clear tone, and G/D is a bit denser and less resonant. There are many factors of course, and many good players don't even notice this in standard Boehm clarinets as they have become accustomed and compensate for it already.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-09 09:07

donald wrote:

> btw the advantage of the fully vented G/D is that D (and G to a
> lesser extent) tends to have a much better sound and matches
> the F/C much better. On many clarinets F/C has a very clear
> tone, and G/D is a bit denser and less resonant. There are many
> factors of course, and many good players don't even notice this
> in standard Boehm clarinets as they have become accustomed and
> compensate for it already.

Donald,
thanks for your explanation

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-10 02:25

donald wrote:
Just a small note- it doesn't have an "SK mechanism". That is activated by the thumb ring and isn't an "either register OR throat B flat" mechanism as on a bass clarinet. The SK mechanism opens one hole when being used for the register key, and two holes when being used for B flat. This one has a mechanism activated by the throat A key, and is "either/or" in that it opens a register hole OR a B flat hole depending on if the A key is open.
The SK mechanism is more reliable- but tends to result in lower pitches in the altissimo (this depends on other elements of the instrument design). The "either/or" mechanism tends not to have this drawback, but is mechanically less reliable (complex mechanism that relies on counterbalanced springs etc).

There should be a reason why this (and SK) mechanism is not used on modern instruments. Is it because of slow action and reliability or complexity making the instrument more expensive?



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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-09-10 11:13

There will be many answers to your question- but I imagine most of them will be a combination of the reasons you mention. It's always struck me as odd that saxophones survive perfectly well with a double octave mechanism, but we can't universally have a throat B flat mechanism????? So I imagine it's really mostly to do with economics...

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-09-15 06:25

I have done the experiment, and saxophones with the body vent disabled (closed) are much more difficult than a standard Boehm clarinet.

Modern soprano saxophones (like the newer Yanagisawas and Selmers) have a 3-way vent, which dramatically improves the evenness of tone and intonation of these beasts.



Post Edited (2018-09-15 06:27)

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-16 01:24

shmuelyosef wrote:

"I have done the experiment, and saxophones with the body vent disabled (closed) are much more difficult than a standard Boehm clarinet."

- Saxes being conical bore instruments need the two 8ve vents (which are both a compromise) in order to get the upper register easily - the lower vent to allow D-G# to overblow and 8ve and the upper vent to allow A-C# to overblow and 8ve as well as allowing high D to high F# or high G to sound.

Oboes also have the same thing as do taragatos, sarrusophones and contrabassoons as they're all conical bore instruments and work on the same principles.

With just the upper vent open, conical bore instruments will overblow a 12th from upper register D-F (sounding A-C as that's the 3rd harmonics of low D-F) and then a dodgy F#-G# as they're not vented correctly with just the upper vent and finally A upwards will be business as usual with the upper vent, so you'll lose the entire lower part of the upper register with just the top 8ve vent working on them.

And being able to open just the upper vent on instruments fitted with fully automatic 8ves for the entire upper register won't be possible - the automatic 8ve mechanism will only allow the notes from A upwards to speak in the upper register as anything below that will remain in the lower register until you release LH3 to make the 8ve mechanism vents switch over.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

"Modern soprano saxophones (like the newer Yanagisawas and Selmers) have a 3-way vent, which dramatically improves the evenness of tone and intonation of these beasts."

- I'm not sure what you mean by a "3-way vent" - all soprano saxes have two 8ve vents, even the early ones with two separate 8ve keys. No Selmer nor Yanagisawa, nor any other soprano sax to my knowledge has three 8ve vents.

One thing a lot of sopranos have is a split C# vent where the open C# has full venting in the lower 8ve, but has reduced venting in the upper register to keep the open C# in tune where the 8ve key lowers a perforated pad cup or the upper of two small pad cups that make up the C# vent key.

Not all sopranos, but most - Yamaha have done away with that on their 475, 675 and 875/875EX sopranos, but the 61, 62 and 82Z has the compensating mechanism. On older sopranos, the C# vent was either lowered or completely closed by the 8ve key to tame the upper register C# - the rest was up to the player to control if intonation up top was wild.

The only saxes built with three 8ve vents as standard are Yamaha bari saxes (32, 52 and 62 series), Buffet and Jupiter and also Chinese copies of the Yamaha 32/52 bari where the lower vent has two vents that open/close together which helps clean up the upper register G and G# and a single upper 8ve vent just below the socket.

Yamaha even provided info about how to add an extra lower 8ve vent to their older 61 series baris as they did suffer with a dodgy upper register G/G# as they only had two 8ve vents in total.

Chris.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: m1964 
Date:   2018-09-16 08:53

Donald wrote:

>Just a small note- it doesn't have an "SK mechanism". That is >activated by the thumb ring and isn't an "either register OR throat B >flat" mechanism as on a bass clarinet. The SK mechanism opens >one hole when being used for the register key, and two holes when >being used for B flat. This one has a mechanism activated by the >throat A key, and is "either/or" in that it opens a register hole OR a >B flat hole depending on if the A key is open.
>The SK mechanism is more reliable- but tends to result in lower >pitches in the altissimo (this depends on other elements of the >instrument design). The "either/or" mechanism tends not to have >this drawback, but is mechanically less reliable (complex mechanism that >relies on counterbalanced springs etc).

Hi Donald,

You are absolutely right: I got the clarinet and I do not like the "feel" of the throat A key- it feels "OK" when playing a scale at slow tempo but as soon as I tried to play a quick passage I felt that it was not responding as easily and quickly as in a "standard'' system.

The levers had slight amount of extra travel and could use new corks but I felt that it would not improve the feel how it opened significantly.

In addition, the first octave B was muted comparing to the C, C#, D, etc.
Yes, the B, not Bb.

In fact, Bb sounded very similar to throat A or G#.

The tuning was OK to my ear but with a tuner I noted some unevenness in tuning but nothing that could not be compensated by the lips tension.

The sound was good. I recorded the sound of the 2nd movement of Mozart concerto on my cell phone playing the Leblanc and then R13 half tone lower. The Leblanc sounded as good if not a tad better then my R13.

If not for the A throat key mechanism and muted B, I would consider buying this clarinet.

I made an offer on an Buffet RC on ebay and hope I get it. If I do, I could "report" my impressions here if anyone is interested.

Thanks a lot to everyone who participated in this thread.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-16 20:52

Leblanc basset horns, altos and basses used that same type of throat Bb mechanism with the linkage arm from the throat A key - maybe it was a good idea to use it on soprano clarinets, but not all that good in practice. Perhaps it feels mushy because it hasn't been set up correctly what with ventings, spring balance or materials creating too much friction.

And with it linked to the throat A key, that will rule out using some special fingerings as the Bb vent will open instead of the speaker vent when both are held down together - you'd definitely lose one fingering for an A-B trill with this mechanism.

Vito, Normandy and Noblet altos and basses have the same type of mechanism employing separate speaker and throat Bb vents, but they only come into action depending if the left thumb is on or off the thumb ring, so less likely to cause grief with special fingerings using both throat A key and speaker key together.

But that means the Bb vent will open as soon as the left thumb is off the thumb tube with the speaker key held down, so that will ruin one fingering for the 'Rhapsody gliss' and one of the altissimo Bb fingerings.

Chris.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-09-17 09:15

Chris said:
"One thing a lot of sopranos have is a split C# vent where the open C# has full venting in the lower 8ve, but has reduced venting in the upper register to keep the open C# in tune where the 8ve key lowers a perforated pad cup or the upper of two small pad cups that make up the C# vent key. "

This is what I was talking about with the 3 vent positions. it is a pain to pad, but I find that my Yanagisawa S990 plays more evenly than the Yamahas or Selmers that I have played/serviced; in both intonation and timbre in the upper register. Might just be design. For several years I had both a Selmer SA80 soprano and my Yanagisawa and ended up selling the Selmer.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-17 20:06

I had an SA80II soprano but ditched it in favour of my Yamaha YSS-62 which is much easier to play, better tuning, better ergonomics and above all much lighter in weight than most sopranos on the market - maybe the new 82Z soprano is around the same weight as that's based largely on the 62.

I use cork pads on the split C# mechanism on Yanagisawa and Selmer sopranos - a perforated cork pad like that seen on oboe split D#-E trill mechanisms (the RH3 fingerplate) and a smaller cork pad in the piggyback pad cup. Being open standing keys, theywork fine, but cork pads on sax 8ve vents can stick due to the heavy spring tension they're subjected to, so I use synthetic pads in the 8ve vents instead of cork or leather which can get sticky as well.

With the Leblanc clarinet and the double pad cups on the F/C key, I wouldn't mind seeing one of these to see how much it evens up the tone quality of the upper register D - someone was asking why their upper register Eb was brighter than the D and E either side of it and that's because Eb is better vented compared to D or E, so having the extra vent for the G/D should even things up. And that's most likely why the venting of the Ab/Eb pad on most clarinets is often set lower than the other large pads which should take the edge off the Eb to make it sound similar to the upper D and E.

Chris.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2018-09-17 23:58

On Facebook under Clarinet Equipment there is a like new Buffet E11 A for $1100.

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: Need help identifying an old Leblanc
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-09-18 02:05
Attachment:  debe.png (18k)
Attachment:  debegerman.png (14k)

Attached are diagrams showing how upper D, Eb and E are being vented on a standard Boehm system and on non-Boehm systems (German/Oeher/Albert/simple system).

With the F/C key's double pad cups and toneholes on the Leblanc, the venting for these notes is more like that on German, Oehler and Albert/simple systems with the patent C# mechanism.

Chris.

Post Edited (2018-09-18 02:10)

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