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 Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: dlloyd 
Date:   2009-04-13 22:29

I'm trying to learn a bit more about current brands of clarinet and I'm a bit confused... and yes, that's even after I've tried using the search option on this BBS.

Is there a general rule of thumb regarding brand comparisons between models produced by Buffet (as good a place to start as any, since I sort of understand the hierarchy there) and Selmer and LeBlanc?

I've heard of the Selmer 10S and the 10S II and a Selmer Signature... what would they be equivalent to in terms of quality with Buffet models?

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2009-04-13 22:46

Both the 10S and 10SII are Selmer's entry level pro models (the 10SII was the successor to the 10S), equivalent to Buffet's R13/RC in terms of heirarchy - though clarinets in this level have a longer lineage than the more expensive models as these had been the top models previous to the introduction of prestige level models.

The Signature is a prestige level clarinet in the same league as the Buffet Prestiges and Leblanc Opus/OpusII.

The same thing has happened with oboes and saxes, just when you thought the pro model you bought was the best you could possibly get at the time, the companies then go and launch a prestige model to top that further down the line.


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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: dlloyd 
Date:   2009-04-13 22:55

Thanks Chris, that's exactly what I'm after...

Are there any tangible differences between pro and prestige models of Selmers and Buffets other than cosmetic details?

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Iceland clarinet 
Date:   2009-04-13 23:29

Well I have not sampled many so I can't really say but If you try say 50 Buffet R-13s you could find one that is as good as any R-13 Prestige or so have I been told by several professional players so with a great R-13 you would have the same model as R-13 Prestige and the only difference would be the extra left Ab/Eb key. But in fact as marketing by Buffet is that the difference between R-13 and R-13 Prestige is that the Prestige has unstained wood(more dense) , the extra Ab/Eb left key and metal caps on the tenon.

But the price does not say too much about the quality. Many players find that a good R-13(hard to find) at 3000$ is as good or even better than Buffet Tosca at 6000$ and also the retail price in USA for R-13 Prestige is around 5000$ while the Festival which is also Prestige(metal tenon caps,unstained wood and extra left Ab/Eb key) is priced at 3200$ and the R-13 Vintage around 3600$ while all these models(R-13 Prestige,RC Prestige,Festival and Vintage) are priced the same for example in UK and why that is I do not understand so maybe someone at Buffet in Florida can tell us why this is. Maybe it's because R-13 Prestige is more popular who knows.

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Ed Palanker 2017
Date:   2009-04-14 00:21

I've always been a Buffet player for clarinets, I've played a Selmer bass for years.
After looking for a new Bb clarinet for over five year I tried a Selmer Signature three years ago and bought it on the spot, I love it. Try them out, choose the one you like best. ESP

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2009-04-14 01:34

Selmer mostly renamed their lineup so the 10SII and 10G are now no more, instead they have (in ascending order):

St. Louis

Older Selmers were:

Radio Improved (RI)
Balanced Tone (BT)
Model 55
Centered Tone (CT)
Series 9
Series 9*
Series 10
Series 10G
Series 10S

The Recital has wide diameter (and cylindrical) joints - the same outer diameter as found on the lower joint flare on a normal clarinet but both body joints are this diameter their entire length. And they weigh a ton.

I just looked up the price of Leblanc clarinets and glad I was sat down at the time!


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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: William 
Date:   2009-04-14 14:58

It is less about *who* makes the clarinet and more about how nice it sounds and how musically expressive it allows you to be. Intonation is important, but ultimately no clarinet will ever be perfect and it is really up to you to play in tune with others. The "right" clarinet for you should enable you to play as muscially as you are capable of and with a pleasing sound that blends well with others, but can project during soloist passages when you need too. Although owning a set of Leblanc Concerto's and having played many Yamaha and Selmer pro level clarinets (as well newer Buffet models), for me, my old vintage Buffet R13's are still the ones I feel most comfortable with.

Ed P played a Selmer Signiture that he loved and "bought on the spot". A few years ago, I also played a Selmer Sig that I immediantly loved, but upon taking it to a rehearsal, discovered how inflexable it really was. Bottom line: Ed got the "good" one and I did not. It's really all about how any clarinet plays for you, and less about who made it. Like reeds and mouthpieces, no two are, you should play as many clarinets as are available (in an ensemble, if possible), not just buy the first one that seems "ok".

Post Edited (2009-04-14 21:15)

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2009-04-14 16:34

I've played and owned so many clarinets over the 48 years I've played that I can't even remember them all. But, I have tried each brand mentioned above and have found spectacular instruments in each of the 3 in this thread. My current main instrument is the Buffet R-13 Greenline that was hand-selected by an orchestra pro at the factory and then set-up by a respected tech. It is by far the best I've ever played, and I include the Prestige that was also hand-selected at the factory by my clarinet professor.

I've also owned and played many Leblancs, starting with the Vito and going up to the Opus II. They are great instruments as well. For many years I argued the value of the Opus II over the best of the Buffets. The kicker for me was key-action and personal preference. I just liked the way the R-13 felt in my hand better than the Opus II. There were only slight differences in tone. The Buffet Prestige felt great as well, but it was always a bit stuffy even after being sent off for multiple attempts to fix it.

Selmers are not my favorite, but my first clarinet was a Selmer Bundy that was part wood and part plastic WAY back in 1960. That served me well for the entire time I was in grade school.

Recently (within the last 10 years) I have owned Selmer Series 10s (which were built to compete with the Buffet R-13). I did not like them as well as the R-13.

It's really personal preference on any clarinet. They all have pros and cons and they all have times when they need technical assistance to play up to full potential. My recommendation is to try as many as you can and decide by what you like rather than the brand. What someone else considers fantastic may be garbage to your taste.

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: aero145 
Date:   2009-04-15 10:18

Brenda Siewert wrote:

> my first clarinet was a Selmer

Isn’t it a bit unfair saying Selmers aren’t your favourite and then mention a Bundy, which is far from being a Henri-Selmer instrument? :)


I’m a Selmer-guy, but I am always open for whatever clarinet is good.

A few weeks ago I tried out a bunch of different Buffets and Selmers (different copies of them too) and to my ears and a friend of mine which was with me, the Privilege and Signature and the tops from Buffet (the Festival was the best) were missing a bit of ”sing” which we only noticed in the old brick from Selmer called Recital.

So, if I would be searching for a new A-clarinet (and maybe B-clarinet too), I would for sure buy the Recital, so that would be my suggestion to try out. It is sure very heavy, but I think one could get used to that.


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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: dlloyd 
Date:   2009-04-15 12:10

I understand that there will be a certain amount of variability between instruments of the same model, and that the only way to really tell is to try out a number of instruments and pick the one that's right for me, but unfortunately that's not an option I have at present... My local music shop has two clarinets in stock... a B12 and a Jupiter, both of which are chained to the wall, and neither of which I feel particularly inclined to try. And travelling to try a better range out is not on the cards.

I'm currently looking for something that's of decent quality and that's affordable (and after my recent ebay experience, from a reputable source). I've been very kindly offered a B&H Imperial at a good price from a contributor here, which I'm very tempted by, but it will take me a while to source the funds to buy it and, in the meantime, I don't want to exclude other possibilities.

Without the luxury of being able to try before I buy, I'm hoping to get an idea of how various manufacturers and models compare with each other. Obviously there will be R13s that are great and others that are just okay, but presumably there will be a range of 'general acceptability' that you can expect them to fall into? In general an R13 will be better constructed than an E13, which in general should be better than an E11, which should generally be better constructed than a B12? And different manufacturers should have different models that have you can reasonably expect to compare with particular models...

Or is that too idealistic? Do different manufacturers have different quality control tolerances? Will 'manufacturer A' reject a poor example of their entry pro level instrument whereas 'manufacturer B' would let it through?

Am I also being overly optimistic that, if bought from a reputable source, any significantly problematic instruments should be filtered out?

Apologies if these are stupid questions or if I really should know the answers from searching the archive (which I have done to incomplete avail).

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2009-04-15 14:13

Aero145, my first clarinet was a Selmer Bundy, but I have also owned a Selmer 10S (which I mentioned in the comment), 2 Selmer Signatures, and a Selmer Odyssee. I have also play-tested many other models of Selmers and I stand behind my comment. They aren't my favorite. I like Buffet and Leblanc better than Selmer.

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: ermogene 
Date:   2013-05-03 08:40

I find an interesting Leblanc clarinet on the web. It's possible that an OPUS (not opus II) Leblanc was produced in 2004 ? In French or in USA ? Which is his quality product level ? Is it really , how seems here, at a level of a Buffet crampon RC or R13 ? Which could be a right price for it ? I'm looking for the history of this brand but is very difficult , expecially after the mark was cancelled. Someone may help me to find something ?
Thanks a lot

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2013-05-03 09:52

I think the Opus II was launched around 2004-2005, so an original model Opus from 2004 is possible.

The Opus is a prestige level clarinet (above the pro level Concerto which is in the same league as the Buffet RC/R13) and has the LH Ab/Eb lever as standard.

Back then, Leblanc's main lineage was (in descending order):

Symphony VIII (rosewood body with plastic tonehole inserts, 18 key 6 rings, offset trill keys, LH Ab/Eb lever)
Opus* (grenadilla body, 18 key 6 rings, offset trill keys, Ab/Eb lever)
Ambiance (17 key 6 rings, offset trill keys)
Concerto* (17/6, offset trill keys)
Infinite (17/6, inline trill keys, separately mounted C#/G# and Ab/Eb keys - classi Leblanc LL-style keywork)
Esprit* (17/6, inline trills, separately mounted C#/G# and Ab/Eb keys - classic Leblanc LL-style keywork)
Sonata* (17/6 - entry level Leblanc clarinet)

* the most popular models on sale in the UK


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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: rtmyth 
Date:   2013-05-03 12:16

Try before buy. Only a small percentage of any make and model are of artist quality. The rest are, well, average and some not so good.

richard smith

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Rickwbliss 
Date:   2013-05-04 01:47

There are also the depose, and the Brevete, those are the ones Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman uses in the 20s.
According to Kesslers site I THINK it should be Odyssee, Recital, St.Louis, Signature, then the Privilege. All the clarinets after the Odyssee have the nice Eb lever.

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 Re: Selmer and LeBlanc Clarinets vs Buffet?
Author: Rickwbliss 
Date:   2013-05-04 01:49

Leblanc also have the Backun series, Bliss, Cadenza, Symphoine by backun, and Legacy. the legacy is at Tosca level if I remember correctly.

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