Leblanc L7 and L27 and Opus

I bought a LeBlanc L7 on a lark, virtually sight unseen for $400. Upon receiving the instrument, it looks to be in fantastic shape: no cracks or chips; it’s not kindling wood, serial numbers match, all pieces match, keywork appears to be silver plate … a little dull but not worn through, all the mechanicals work fine. It definitely needs pads, cork, and leather. By the way, I’m intrigued by the mother of pearl inlay. Nice touch, but a little unexpected and odd.

Is this a good find?

I bought this clarinet because I am interested in playing again, at 52, not having played since high school. I still have my wooden student Noblet with the double diamond logo and honking lime green burlap briefcase style case, but I’m a little ashamed to be seen with it (horn or case).

I thought that before I jump into a $4k horn, I might as well buy a used, but reputable, horn that can be restored, even if restoring means spending an additional $1K or something (by the way, I have no idea whether $1K would cover a restoration of the horn I describe … I’m blissfully ignorant at this point).

So, what about this L7? Is it a playable horn and a good choice to relaunch with?

BTW, I am considering having my Noblet re-padded and giving it to my best friend’s son, who is in junior high school and just finished his first year playing a resin Bundy. All this at the risk of embarrassing myself — I tried to give my nephew my old 1987 impeccably maintained Mercedes 300D diesel three years ago when I bought a new one, thinking he would be happy to have a like-showroom-new vintage Mercedes … for free, no less. I was wrong. He “refused me.” Apparently no diesel, not even a Mercedes, is a chic magnet. I don’t think I can handle another well intentioned gesture of giving something away, like my Nobet, only to be met with “you’re kidding, right?”
Concerning your L7 Leblanc Clarinet, I feel happy to tell you that in my opinion it was one of Leblancs best clarinets. I owned a set (Bb and A ) L7 clarinets several years past and found them to be really highly professional regarding tuning and even quality of sound. These particular horns were custom-made for someone who had been used rollers on the little finger keys and they had been expertly installed. I think they also had articulated G# mechanisms. I remember them quite fondly in musical terms and would play them anywhere, You have an excellent instrument. The mother of pearl inlay was in the L7 and L27 . I had one of those as well.Both terrific instruments. I
Though terribly maligned in the US , especially in the so-called mid-western music schools and conservatories, they are unquestionably a better instrument thanxany other French clarinet. I amspeaking of Selmer, Buffet and if you wish, even Yamaha.

They were controlled and mismanaged for number of years when their home office was in Racine ,Wisconsin, but the clarinet itself, made in France has always been superior. I have also played a set of Opus clarinets, designed as were many Leblancs , by Tom Ridenour when he was with Leblanc and those were even better than my L27 and the L7.
But, keep in mind that this is a wonderfully consistent instrument, really excellent. Hold on to your new L7 and keep

As far as theMercedes Diesel, if you still have it, I will espress my sincere interest in purchasing this baby. No kidding. I know it rusts if you even look at it, but I love the diesael and the particular car.
best S


2 Responses to Leblanc L7 and L27 and Opus

  1. jkena says:

    Thank you so much for the reply and for the encouragement. I moved quickly on this one. I have already left the horn in what I think are capable hands for a complete refurbishing. I found what I think is a jewel of a shop in suburban Washington, D.C. The owner attended Eastern School of Musical Instrument Repair in Irvington, New Jersey and achieved a Certificate of Completion in musical instrument repair. Apparently his is also a member of NAPBIRT (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians). I spent about an hour with him in his shop going over the horn. Wood, mechaicals, and keys are all in good condition. The keys and posts will be stripped and sent out for re-plating (I requested rhodium instead of silver) and all the pads, corks, and leathers will be replaced. All this over 12 weeks time, for what I thought was a hugely reasonable price of $700, lock, stock, and barrel. I was thrilled.

    I was so wrapped up in the moment, and so excited to begin again, that I thought to myself, how am I going to wait 12 weeks for this horn and a month for my Noblet. The answer is, I’m not going to.

    One of the wonderful things about stepping in to one of these family-owned music stores, is everything you’ll find there, including horns from a day gone by, waiting for a second soulmate to pick them up.

    I bought a refurbished Selmer Centered Tone — 1956 apparently, from the serial number — my birth year, as luck would have it !!! She’s in a stodgy replacement case, but I don’t care. She’s beautiful to me.

    I just couldn’t stop myself. I picked up a Vandoren mouthpiece (one with the new beak — 88), a 10-count box of Vandoren 3-1/2’s and a box of 4’s, a couple of conditioning storage cases, stand for the horn, music stand, Rubank books (intermediate and 2 advanced), “the” Kose book, a Vandoren Optimum ligature with silver plated cap, an Eddie Daniels neoprene ligature (don’t like it, yet), and a Francois Louis sterling silver ligature — most unusal and BEAUTIFUL thing that I have ever seen. It looks like a sterling silver spider hugging itself. This latter, the Francois Louis ligature is “incroyable!” After fiddling with the Eddie Daniels and the Vandoren Optiumum for a couple of hours, with disappointing results, I tried the Francois Louis. I ripped through the chromatic in no time flat (which i can do, snoring in my sleep … apparently with both piano and clarinet, my fingers never forget … I don’t even have to think about it) … pushed the horn back and thought to myself … Oh my gosh … she PLAYS !!!!! It is a magical ligature, at least for me.

    Not to “diss” my old Noblet, but compared to this Centered Tone with the Vandoren mouthpiece and Francois Louis ligature, it’s like the difference between sledding down the hill on Rosebud v. a break-neck luge.

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