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 B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: LGS316217 
Date:   2019-04-20 01:30

I recently ran across a clarinet for sale described as an early B&H Emperor. Serial number was reported as N149xxx. I've never seen letters of any kind in a B&H serial #, all the serial # references listed here and elsewhere are typically 6 digits, no letters of any kind. Can anyone confirm if this naming convention was used by B&H in any date range?

Amy Paul

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-04-20 02:21

That's a '50s one - they often had an 'N' prefix stamped using a separate stamp to the rest of the serial number as it's stamped on a bit wonky compared to the serial number.

Ignoring the 'N' and what with the overlaps in B&H serial numberings, it was made between 1957 and 1959.

Chris.

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: LGS316217 
Date:   2019-04-20 04:28

Thanks, Chris! In your experience have you heard if those were years of quality manufacturing by B&H?

Amy Paul

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-04-20 08:39

My 8-10 is slightly newer, with a serial in the N163xxx range.

B&H used some really superb wood in the late '50s. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to purchase an 8-10, 1010, Emperor, or 926 from that era. I have every confidence that my 8-10 will outlive me.

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-04-20 20:41

The wood is definitely some of the best you'll ever see on these clarinets compared to most clarinets from clarinets made in the last 30+ years.

The first clarinet I used to borrow was a '50s Edgware which wasn't stamped at all besides the 'Made in England' and serial number. My first clarinet was a mid '60s Series 2-20 (same as an Edgware but with a metal bell ring) which had seen better days and I bought it at a junk sale for $7.75 back in 1986.

I know a local player with a similar age Imperial 926, but I've never seen an Emperor from the '50s as most Emperors I see are later ones ('60s through to '80s) which are silver plated versions of the Edgware. And also a Bakelite bodied Emperor which is essentially a regent with silver plated keys and the scalloped socket rings.

Chris.

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2019-04-21 00:28

I have seen a few "N" prefixes on B&H clarinets, mostly from the 50s, and have a theory that it signified some small "modification" from standard.
One I have has a special link between the C#/G# key to close the LH ring 2 key and enable a clever Db-Eb trill. It has no negative features that I can see and wonder why B&H didn't incorporate it into standard practice.

My first clarinet was an brand new Emperor #85xxx from 1953. This instrument was an EXACT copy of the Imperial, even down to the forging marks on many keys, and the clarinet was fitted with rod screws throughout, not a point screw in sight. This was exactly what the Imperials had (in common with the 1010s) for a few years during the 1950s until B&H reverted to fitting point screws again. I suspect the reason was that Imperials were widely used in military bands, where they suffered a harder life. Knocking a key with a point screw caused minimal problems and was easy to fix. Bend a key fitted with rods and it will almost invariably bind, and also be harder to repair.

The only difference between that Emperor and an Imperial of same vintage I possessed, was in the key plating, Nickle vs Silver. Plus, although my warranty card was signed off by Bryan Manton-Myatt, I suspect he did rather more fine tuning work on the Imperials. The cost difference was £30 vs £55 in 1954.

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 Re: B&H clarinet serial # naminig convention
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2019-04-22 06:53

My understanding is that the "N" prefix denoted instruments for sale in the North American market.

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