When is a “Sonata”?


I have never played a clarinet or ever owned one, but I just have the urge to buy and play one (I know I could rent). I’m always stopping and looking at them in shops etc. and I have seen what to me looks an excellent piece of craftsmanship in a second hand shop. Its marked up on the instrument as a ‘Sonata’. A quick Google took me to the ‘Leblanc Sonata’ and it seems it is a very good instrument. Is there any way to see if the instrument is actually a ‘Leblanc Sonata’ and not just a copy or some other manufacturers’ model etc.? It is all cased up (soft leather – there is no reed etc.) the body and keys etc. feel and look great – no chips marks or tarnishing and the corks look fine to me. I’m not even a musician but if the price on the internet and shops is anything to go by I could have found a nice buy �50/$100. Any help would be appreciated, especially where to find the manufacturers marks or model numbers etc.


TM – Hopeful player

Hello TM:
first, there are several Sonatas, and in order for it to be a Leblanc Sonata, it needs to have both words on the top joint in the front. It should also say France as well.
The serial number will be on the back of the bottom of the top joint and the same with the bottom joint.
The bell will also say Leblanc.
Usually the trademarks are inlaid in the wood, but sometimes not.
On a few Sonatas, there is a smaller inlay.
The instrument is fairly recent and should look pretty good. The silver rings around the ends of the joint should be smooth not ferruled. That was a innovation of Tom Ridenour, the designer responsible for the Sonata and other Leblanc models. He is a personal friend whom I admire greatly.
Of course, I could tell in seconds if that is the horn at which you are looking.
Might you be able to send me a closeup photo of the top joint? If you can give me the number as found I can date this instrument as well.
The number needs to be on both joints.
The stuff that looks like cork is not important and easily replaced. The pads are also easily replaced but only by a craftsman, Still they are generally inconsequential.
More important is the condition of the wood and of the keys.Sonatas had the numerical connotation 1020, and with silverplated keys, 1020S. But these numbers do not appear on the clarinet
I hope that this helps.

good luck, Sherman Friedland


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