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 Louis & Co 'Chas Draper' vs Yamaha 650
Author: Superzavoo 
Date:   2019-04-14 02:43

I'm an intermediate/advanced player looking for an upgrade from my Yamaha 450, to use in university/college bands. I recently tried a friend's 650 and it was a great improvement, so have been looking around for one. I've found one advertised on a local store's website - along with a Louis & Co 'Chas Draper approved' clarinet, which looks intriguing.

I've Googled Louis & Co clarinets but have found very few for sale, so I'm not really sure what the price should be. The one I've found is £930 (about $1200) - does this seem reasonable?
Also, I can't seem to find out which 'mainstream' clarinets they compare to - are they roughly Yamaha 650-standard? The prices for them at my store are virtually the same.

(Apologies for the lack of detail on the clarinets - the website doesn't give any extra info, but I'll probably go there next week to try them. And also sorry for my lack of clarinet knowledge - I've probably said some dumb things.)

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 Re: Louis & Co 'Chas Draper' vs Yamaha 650
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2019-04-14 03:23

These Louis clarinets will date from somewhere in the 1920s or early 1930s.
They were a very top of the range professional clarinet of that era. I think from memory they were quite a large bore instrument.
However it's almost impossible to make a comparison with a modern Yamaha 650, which is a top level intermediate or entry level professional clarinet by today's standards.

They are just so totally different.
You would have to try them to figure out which works best for you.

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 Re: Louis & Co 'Chas Draper' vs Yamaha 650
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-04-14 10:38

I own a Louis of Chelsea clarinet, although not one marked as Chas Draper Approved. I think the price quoted of 930 pounds is a bit on the steep side for what is a possibly a 90-y-o instrument. In their day they were top of the line professional instruments, being based on the designs of Martel, but it's probably not possible to compare one with a modern Yamaha, which has benefited from technological advances that were not available in the early 1900's.
Mine was bought from an antique dealer in Scotland who had no idea what he was selling and it cost me 90 pounds in good playable condition. It tunes very well and plays beautifully with a modern mouthpiece, in this case a Clark Fobes CF+. I looked for a Louis instrument for some years and found only 2 others before I bought mine. One was for sale in Canada for $1000 Canadian (I think this one might still be available, although the price may be different. Email me if you want details), and one in Sydney, which looked like a piece of firewood and which was offered for $A600.
Offered the same choice, much as I love the Louis I would get the Yamaha 650. The Louis were to a large extend hand finished, parts for them no longer exist and you might find it difficult to find a tech prepared to work on it.
I also own a Martel, and I don't think it is as well finished as the Louis. It doesn't play as well.

Tony F.

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 Re: Louis & Co 'Chas Draper' vs Yamaha 650
Author: Superzavoo 
Date:   2019-04-14 21:47

Thanks very much for your replies - I think I'll stick with my search for a 650.

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