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 Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-07-18 00:59

Buffet has introduced limited edition mopane wood clarinets in several of its pro models:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=clarinets+in+mopane+buffet



Post Edited (2021-07-18 01:00)

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-07-18 18:31

Does anyone have a good idea why Buffet did this?

I'm not emotionally vested in Buffet's decision here; I'm just curious what their "angle" was/is.

From what little I've read the wood can be more challenging to work with than grenadilla given that it is harder (more dense).

With a limited production limit of 85 instruments, even if each is sold at enormous profit, it's not bound to make much of a dent in Buffet's balance sheet.

Maybe this is just promotional. Maybe Buffet is testing the waters with this new species. Maybe the clarinets are being given in part to influential players to promote sales of their more conventional instruments.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-18 20:19

Secondtry/ The firm I occasionally work with has been making mopane instruments for over ten years. It isn't harder to work with than African blackwood and is actually cheaper. It's not denser, but almost as dense: about a 5 per cent difference. This clarinet makes for a warm, round sound: slightly brighter than with African blackwood. There's no reason why Buffet should charge more, except for the fact that they aren't mass producing it.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


Post Edited (2021-07-18 23:30)

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-07-18 21:18

Secondtry,

It would be nice to think that Buffet is trying something new to satisfy a demand or create some stir, but I think they're flirting with mopane mainly because of the dwindling supply of blackwood and all the controls related to its export and import.

As Ruben writes, mopane is significantly less expensive than blackwood because of these things.

This is an opportunity to charge even higher prices for a clarinet that will cost less than the same blackwood model to produce. (My guess is that Buffet won't even have to change tooling because of the similarities between the two woods.)

I predict that Buffet will be mass producing one or two of their "standard" models in mopane soon, but that these will continue to be marketed as "special" instruments at much higher prices.

B.
(Who stopped being a Buffet acolyte decades ago.}
(Who also loves his mopane Rossi instrument.)



Post Edited (2021-07-18 21:26)

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-18 23:37

Bmcgar: I would love to have a mopane clarinet as a second instrument. But, I would stick to a blackwood clarinet as my primary clarinet. I must hand it to Buffet: they have considerable marketing genius. Leblanc, for example, was totally devoid of this and that's why they went under.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2021-07-18 23:52

So what are Mopane's downsides?

Was it at one time more expensive than African blackwood but isn't anyone given its (African blackwood's that is) shortages?

It is more subject to cracks or dimensional changes than African blackwood ?

Do people like it's sound less/more? Do the instruments have a different feel/weight/action?

It is harder to work with?

It is easier to screw up (read production costs) when making an instrument?

It is just as prone to extinction and as a result, should clarinet manufacturers be thinking about making instruments out of other materials?

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-07-19 05:47

Ruben,

I've gone the opposite direction. My mopane Bb instrument has supplanted my blackwood instrument as my main horn.

I now use two clarinets, a 1963 Buffet R13 when I want a more-aggressive sound and the mopane for everything else, especially chamber music. Excellent though it is, I'm looking to sell my blackwood Bb.

To each his own.

B

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: donald 
Date:   2021-07-19 06:10

bmcgar- I have a 1963 R13 that I absolutely LOVE. The keywork is the most worn I've ever seen (after it's previous owner played it for 50 years for 4 hours a day) but the sound is amazing and the tuning not any worse than a modern R13.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2021-07-20 01:43

I talked with a German instrument maker about this mopane situation once.
He didn't in any way dislike the material, even went as far as to say he didn't find the differences too relevants, except that people didn't buy them as they expect a clarinet to be black. He did state that it was slightly softer, but couldn't say more about its durability.

Mind you, he had these mopane models years ago, and the typical German clarinet buyer is pretty conservative, so that might explain the lacking sucess.

It is rather mind-boggling that mopane is yet another reason to jack up prices (as do Schwenk and Seggelke and Uebel), but if you're "cool" and can stay relevant in today's market, that's probably easy to do.
I stopped being mad about such issues though. Look at french horns and what big names like Alexander can charge. Simply insane. There's still alternatives, anyways ;)

Best regards
Christian

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-07-20 02:14

Yawn. Yet another new Buffet.

Chris.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2021-07-20 08:21

Chris,

...but would a clarinet with any other name sound as sweet? I wonder why they've never just gone by Crampon?

Fuzzy
;^)>>>

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-20 12:25

Chris P: Vandoren also brings out a new model mouthpiece around every other day. This must be a new business model.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-07-20 18:37

Just when you thought the market was already saturated and their lineup is at bursting point, they go and launch another clarinet.

Yes it's always nice to have choice, but when that choice is dominated by one company, it's no longer choice - it's a monopoly.

Chris.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-20 19:27

Plus the fact that they buy up other companies: Rigoutat oboes, Powell flutes... I wouldn't be surprised if Selmer weren't next.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2021-07-23 02:01

Well they must have been popular, according to a contact at Buffet USA all 85 sold out the same day...

-JDbassplayer

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2021-07-23 04:13

With a cheering squad of such players as Baldeyrou, Frost, Meyer, Michael Arrignon, Alexander Chabod, Romain Guyot, Florent Heau, Pascal Moragues, Vincent Penot, and Jean-Marc Volta, Buffet probably felt they had all their aces covered. Who can argue with success? The saga continues with two more videos:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mopane+clarinets+testamonials+buffet+part+1.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mopane+clarinets+testamonial+buffet+part+2.



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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-23 15:22

Seabreeze: you have to give away a lot of clarinets to get these stars! Still, I would rather a company made clarinets than weapons. And I would rather a company succeed than lay workers off until the ultimate demise of the firm. Selmer makes fine clarinets, but are not doing well financially at all.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-07-23 21:24

Seabreeze,

If I had the choice of dozens of clarinets to try, an expert tech. to tweak the instrument I chose, hours of attention by the big shots of the company, and got the horn (or maybe more than one horn) free, then got it fixed for nothing if something went wrong, and also a nice endorsement fee on top of it, I might play Buffets too...or any other top-end maker's.

(I wish I could tell you what one of the really big "stars" told me about his own experience, but I wouldn't want to get him in trouble.)

B

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-07-24 11:45

All of the perks you have listed are real! -there might be one or two more one could add. Free publicity for the artist is one. That said, the companies that were stingy were their artists: the old Leblanc for example, went under.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-08 01:05

I started counting how many clarinets Buffet have in their lineup, but very quickly ran out of fingers.

Here - count them all yourselves: https://www.buffet-crampon.com/en/instruments/clarinets/

Chris.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: EricBlack 
Date:   2021-08-08 04:29

I don't know if it's still available, but Liam Burke had the only Mopane Legende available for sale in the U.S. For anyone interested, you might still be able to contact him about it via his website!

https://www.burkewoodwindrepair.com/store

He mentioned in an IG comment a few days ago that he was taking offers on the instrument, the retail price is $14,791.



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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-08-08 16:36

The company I work for has an excellent one they make for under 4000 dollars.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-08-08 18:32


Nearly $15000?

P.T. Barnum was right.

B.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-08 19:33

For nearly $15,000 I'd expect it to have solid silver keys and pillars (or more like solid gold for that price), be finished to an impeccable and flawless standard and not finished using the same peel'n'stick foam shapes used on entry level Buffets as is the norm.

Why would anyone want to pay that much for a soprano clarinet which by rights shouldn't cost anywhere near as much as a pro level low C bass, let alone considerably more?

Chris.

Post Edited (2021-08-08 19:34)

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2021-08-08 20:40

Well,
you could still get a mopane Uebel for almost half that price. And with gold plating. Or you have S&S make one, maybe even as a reform Boehm?
Really wish I didn't have to see geniuses like Fröst and Baldeyrou lend their names to this sort of advertisement, but apparently looking more approchable by playing table soccer in the Buffet factory aids in saling these instruments.

To think someone watched the videos and buys one eventually: "Oh, Fröst TOUCHED this instrument and played a few notes on it!!"
Guess that's marketing in the 21st century.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: bmcgar 2017
Date:   2021-08-09 04:57

Or, if you can be patient, have Luis Rossi make one for you with your choice of bores, then test it THOROUGHLY and tweak it himself, for less than $7000 USD.

(Oh, AND give you the best customer service you could ever want.)

B.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-09 20:11

And there I was wondering how could Buffet slap on a pricetag of around $15,000 on a soprano clarinet, only to answer my own question.

Chris.

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-08-10 10:27

bmcgar ★2017
wrote:

"...I've gone the opposite direction. My mopane Bb instrument has supplanted my blackwood instrument as my main horn.

I now use two clarinets, a 1963 Buffet R13 when I want a more-aggressive sound and the mopane for everything else, especially chamber music. Excellent though it is, I'm looking to sell my blackwood Bb..."

I heard the mopane R13 and liked its sound- very warm with a pretty ringing tone; I would describe the tone as being warm and centered; it was less bright compared to a R13 Prestige, but a little brighter than Selmer Priviledge.

Looked nice too, with its gold-plated posts and silver-plated keys. Regardless of its look, the tone was nice, esp. for chamber music, IMO



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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2021-08-10 13:44

To my understanding, Mopane is at least less endangered than Grenadilla.
Great article that probably covers everything: https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Colophospermum_mopane_(PROTA)#Growth_and_development
It doesn't seem like there's a fair reason to charge more for instruments made out of this. Also, it would probably be more sustainable to finally develop decent composite materials, rather than just switching to another type of wood. But that's something most musicians are still not willing to discuss, even with recent catastrophic events in mind...



Post Edited (2021-08-10 13:47)

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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2021-08-13 11:28

Buffet has done some crazy promotional stuff in their time !
https://www.leboncoin.fr/instruments_de_musique/2025134430.htm?ac=1481102916
There was also a white resin Bb.





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 Re: Limited edition Mopane Buffets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2021-08-13 20:39

The clear plastic B12s were made for Buffet by Schreiber who also made their own brand limited edition clear plastic basic German systems.

Chris.

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