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 buffet S1
Author: Naftali 
Date:   1999-08-24 11:08

I own a Bflat Buffet S1 clarinet manufactured early 70's.
Can anybody tell me whether this is a student, intermediate, or professional level clarinet ?

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 RE: buffet S1
Author: ted 
Date:   1999-08-24 17:19

If price is an indicator, I'd say "pro."

I have a fall 1985 "Clarinetwork," and there is an ad for new and reconditioned clarinets. Here's an excerpt

Noblet Artist 45 Bb $395
Selmer Bb Series 10S $695

Buffet S-1 Bb, #125000 series $525
Buffet R13 Bb, #195000 series $550
Buffet R13 Bb, #23000 series $450
Selmer A Centered Tone $500
Selmer Series 10 Bb $550

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 RE: buffet S1
Author: Doug 
Date:   1999-08-25 17:38

I think Ted is right about the S-1 being a top professional model. I have a Boosey & Hawkes/Buffet price list from 1984 which lists the S-1 (1121) at $1475 and the R-13 (1131) also at $1475. Other models listed were: Prestige (1106) at list $2525 and RC (1111) at $1530. These four models with their accompanying models in A and Eb were all enclosed in a printed square. The next section, in another square, started with the C-12, the E-14, E-11 and B-12. So, from the prices, and the manner of display in the price list, it certainly seems that Buffet, at that time had those four models, all considered professional level.

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 RE: buffet S1
Author: Daniel 
Date:   1999-08-25 23:37

I remember readong an article once, though where i read it escapes me, that the S-1 was intended to be an improvement on the R-13. I believe it sold "OK" in Europe, but even worse in the US, so they discontinued it.

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 RE: buffet S1
Author: Heather F 
Date:   1999-08-26 00:38

I own a S-1 too, I believe it was made in the late 70's however, I bought it 8 years ago, while in middle school. It had only been used as a model at the store, they told me at the time that it was an intermediate instrument(and that was the only time I was ever told that). Everywhere else I've heard its a professional, just with slight changes from the R-13. I think back that I really liked it and enjoyed playing it. Unfortunately 4 years ago, I let someone that was not capable of overhauling it properly touch it. To put it shortly, it hasn't been the same since and I don't play it too often, since I have an R-13 now. But it has the same case the R-13's had of the time and at least mine has silver-plated keys. Unless you are looking to sell it, I think you should be more concerned whether or not you are happy with playing your S-1. I know I'll never part with mine, hopefully someday, I'll be in a position to have it working properly. And I wouldn't slight the model just because it isn't an R-13, there are other models in the world.

Naftali wrote:
I own a Bflat Buffet S1 clarinet manufactured early 70's.
Can anybody tell me whether this is a student, intermediate, or professional level clarinet ?

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 RE: buffet S1
Author: Jeff Anderson 
Date:   1999-08-31 17:17

I have one too. My instructor told me it was the best one to buy. I think I got it in 1974 or so.

I wish I could find out more about it. How many were made? Would Boosey know?


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 RE: buffet S1
Author: mrcrow 
Date:   2009-05-29 17:45

i too have an S1
i have a list of serial numbers and have dated it to 1975
i found out on the wikipedia site that buffet introduced this model as an option to the R13 for those who desired a traditional bore
perhaps this would be the central european orchestras with their solid tonality and the uk orchestras
i have used it to play in marching bands and jazz
its a reasonable instrument but lacks the ring on the 3rd hole upper section and the subsequent articulation linkage

hope this is also of some help

manchester uk

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2009-05-29 19:26

The S-1 as definately a professional model, in the 1970's several leading UK players switched from B&H to the S-1. I was told by a pro player who studied with Jack McCaw (for many years principal of the Philharmonia and London Philharmonic orchestras) that Jack played on this model.
I am in process of overhauling a pair from 1972 that I recently acquired.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: donald 
Date:   2009-05-29 20:00

I believe that Charles Neidich played on a pair of S1s, until he left them in a taxi (I seem to remember that they were eventually returned, but not until after he had already replaced them with R13). This is from an interview with him in The Clarinet.
I seem to remember being told these clarinets had slightly smaller (and re-positioned) tone holes compared to the R13 in order to make a the sound a little "sweeter".

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Ru 
Date:   2010-04-16 09:25

I agree with Donald. I remember, back in the 70's in high school, the girl sitting next to me had an S1. She said something about it having a sweeter sound than the R13. R13's sound was darker.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2010-04-16 14:31

Naftali -

The S1 has been discussed several times. See the threads at and

Ken Shaw

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Sarah Elbaz 
Date:   2010-04-16 19:11

Mitchell Lurie had an S-1. Its a professional. He told me that many jazz players used it.
His grandson is using the clarinet now.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: MTZMichael 
Date:   2010-06-22 16:16


I agree with everyone else - the S1 is a professional model. Back in 1978, my parents bought my S1 for me as a present. I remember asking them to get me the S1 and not the R13 because I heard from someone I trusted that it was a better model. Maybe that's up for debate, but I always have loved the sound I get from it.

So, it was a choice between the S1 and R13 for back in the 1970s. I'm not sure when my clarinet was actually manufactured - I haven't checked. But it was brand new when I received it in 1978.


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 Re: buffet S1
Author: mankan 
Date:   2010-06-23 21:33

Mine was brand new when I bought it in march 1972. I still have the receipt. Price: 1 400 kronor (swedish crowns, about 250 dollar).
It was one of the first S1:s shipped to Sweden and it has been my primary instrument since then.



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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Dottie Hazlip 
Date:   2016-07-02 02:00

It is a professional model. You can go on the Buffet website to check it out by the serial # as far as value goes. Please keep in mind that the Paris factory burned down.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2016-07-02 03:15

I think you'll find it was the Leblanc factory that burned down not Buffet.
p.s. I think it was well established that S1 was professional model about 6/7 years ago. As a newbie to the site it might be worth mentioning that it really isn't worth re-opening a thread unless there is something significantly new to add to it.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: fromsfca 2017
Date:   2016-07-02 04:42

I owned one: a bigger bore as I recall so a lot of sound.

I bought mine when I went to conservatory in 1972 and kept using it professionally.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: MRSax 
Date:   2018-01-02 01:03

Hi, it really annoys me when people rubbish the Buffet S1 . I have been a multi woodwind session musician for many years and have used a Buffet S1 clarinet from new, bought in roughly late 1978/1980. I know of at least one principle radio orchestral musician who switched his pair of B&H 1010( which he had a sound on like the side of a house) for a pair of S1 and got an even better sound. I personally know some world class woodwind musicians who use and have used an S1 and swear by them, and I have yet to try an R13 that has impressed me. Very stuffy LH C#/G# and RH G/D to the point of feeling almost flat. I currently own an RC, two x S1 a 1010 and an R13 which I dislike. I cannot for the life of me understand why Buffet stopped making them. The sound on both of my S1 is bigger that the RC. The latest S1 was purchased so I have a spare, and it plays equally as well as the first, with an enormous sound. The great clarinettist 'Mitchell Laurie' used an S1 for many years. I fail to see how it could remotely be described as Stuffy. Also, they have never slit or cracked, something that seems to be a common theme on new or nearly new Clarinets. I would recommend these instruments to anyone for their wonderful sound and relative cheap expense, and have several pupils who use them and They have made similiar observation to me.

Post Edited (2018-01-03 18:42)

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-01-02 11:45

"Stuffy" and "Resistant" are comparative (to what you are used to). I owned a very interesting 1970s Uebel boehm clarinet that felt very stuffy and resistant compared to my R13... if it had been the only clarinet I played for 20 years I'm sure I would have found it "normal" (as it was, I didn't like the sensation of playing it, but ever time I played it people said it sounded GREAT... why did I sell it?????)
I imagine that those players (in the thread linked above) who described the S1 as stuffy were just comparing it to what they are used to. My S1 Bflat was a great instrument but had a bum note (I won't elaborate- but no easy fix). Years later I met a trad jazzer playing my old horn, and he allowed me to play it again. MAN it just SUNG! A lovely clarinet, but then I found that bum note... it was still there...
More years later- another clarinet by Buffet (RC A clarinet) was found to have the same problem, and a solution (that involved tonehole reamers!) was found as I now had a friend who had apprenticed making Bassoon and clarinets and knew a bit more than your average repair expert.
Oh boy, I wish I could get that old S1 back, it was cracked in 1984 (which was why I could afford it) but sung like a Strad...

Post Edited (2018-01-03 01:01)

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-03 04:10

Facts about the S1. Yes as others said it was a pro model. It was kind of based on what Hans Moennig was doing with his reverse taper barrel so the S1 had a reverse taper at the upper joint. It also had a very sweet sound and played well in tune. Actually better than the R13 models that were now new with larger bores. I think the S1 had the smaller bore, because of the reverse taper. Hard to really say because of the taper. The upper notes played well in tune. Hans did say with the A clarinet you didn't need to use the pinky finger on the upper register with his barrels. Interesting. Sadly though, I never played one.

I was lucky to see Hans work on a few and he did use a 67mm barrel. So the horn tuned slightly sharp, just like the old 1950's and 1960's R13 horns.

If you can find one, buy it.

It's that good of a horn. It may need some adjustments, such as tuning since it is 40 plus years old, but it may be well worth it. Too bad Buffet didn't continue making them. I've been looking for one for years. They are hard to find in decent condition. But buy it for the sound quality.

NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist

Post Edited (2018-01-03 04:25)

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: MRSax 
Date:   2018-01-03 18:50

Hi Donald, I am interested to know which note you found bum on your S1, it's quite obvious to me, as with all instruments there are goods ones and some bad ones. I have found the LH C#/G# very pure quality on my 1010 and I am having it altered this month, the same note and the RH G/D are very stuffy on my R13 A clarinet with a very similar issue on the Bb which I have now sold. Every R13 I have blown seems to have the same problem. Both my S1 sing all the way up to altissimo top C. The later one is F 204XXX, The 'F' denoted 442 pitch for France or Europe, and they did flatten the pitch of the throat notes for some strange reason, but I have had them undercut slightly to sharpen them up, and the result is an even better instrument than my other S1.

Post Edited (2018-01-03 19:08)

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2018-01-04 14:36

The comments above assert that the S1 had a larger bore and a smaller bore, so what's the truth? I've just been restoring a 1977 S1, so here are some measurements of the top and bottom of the upper joint, compared to some other Buffets to which I have access:

S1 (1977): 14.90 14.62
RC (1979): 14.97 14.67
BC20 (1974): 15.07 14.67
R13 (1982): 14.96 14.72
R13 (1959): 14.90 14.69

So with the usual caveat that it's only one example, yes the S1 seems to be on the narrow side - although hardly any different from an early R13. And the early R13 and S1 feel quite similar to me - with a more covered sound than the overly bright tone of the 1982 R13 (although I certainly wouldn't describe either as "stuffy").

Regarding "bum notes" on the S1, there was one: the LH E4 (one octave above the very lowest note). This was very airy, although the overblown B5 was fine. This wasn't due to poor venting, and I was only able to cure it by undercutting the hole between 1st & 2nd fingers.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: MRSax 
Date:   2018-01-04 17:55

Very interesting, the LH E4 is perfect on both of my S1, the earlier one is 1978 and bought new, and I've never had that touched, so presumably they may have addressed this at manufacture. The newer one had as I say a slight flat A/Bb on the throat, which showed up signicantly when you pull the short barrel out or use a long barrel, this I have cured by under cutting. Interesting your comments and measurements for the bore. I swoped a 1010 in 1978 for my first S1 and it matched the sound of the 1010 pretty damn closely. I also knew a few classical 1010 users at the time who did the same thing and bought pairs of S1. I was always under the impression they had a bigger bore, so who knows.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-04 20:31

Yes I thought I was correct. Thus that sweet sound. Great information. This is why I've been looking for one.

That smaller bore is key to that sweet sound and that huge ring in the orchestra halls, which is lost now.

Too bad Buffet doesn't get this HUGE hint. Dummies

NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist

Post Edited (2018-01-10 11:44)

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: donald 
Date:   2018-01-05 07:24

My S1 had the same problem as John Peacock described (even taking the ring key completely off didn't eliminate the hiss). When I then encountered exactly the same problem with my RC A clarinet we discovered that the tonehole had been very carelessly undercut- a big scoop of of one side, and a weird "bump" in the other. Reshaping the interior of the tome hole, restoring some symmetry while trying to keep the same degree of undercutting seemed to do the trick.
I suspect this problem (with my s1) was more to do with sloppy workmanship and not specific to that model, though interesting that JP encountered the same problem.

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 Re: buffet S1
Author: jthole 
Date:   2018-01-13 13:40

donald wrote:

> I suspect this problem (with my s1) was more to do with sloppy
> workmanship and not specific to that model, though interesting
> that JP encountered the same problem.
> D

My Continentale (also a slightly smaller bore than the R13) also had the problem of an airy E4, so it might be a design thing. In my case, it was also remedied by carefully reshaping of the tone hole, and adjusting the pad height. Now it's very even, with near perfect intonation in all registers (making my current teacher jealous ;-) ).

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