Opus, Selmer and Buffet, big orchestras influence markets

Dear Mr Friedland
I am in Boston, where it seems most people play Buffet clarinets. I want to sell my son’s Leblanc which he used for only 2 years, and I am not sure where to advertise or how much to ask. It is in great shape, but the clarinet teacher wanted him to have a Buffet. He has only used this instrument at home because I would not allow him to take it to school. It is in excellent condition with a nice case cover and 2 reverse curve barrels.
Any guidance would be appreciated,
It is a Leblanc OPUS wood clarinet with an extra key on the left hand pinky. Not sure which note this is for. Also not sure if the keys are silver. Is it possible to tell the difference between nickel and silver plating just by looking?
Thanks, Terry

Dear Terry:
If the clarinet is only two years old, it is one of the finest clarinets available today anywhere and is worth a considerable amount to either sell or trade for a Buffet if your teacher insists.

I cannot help but insert here some pertinent information concerning all the clarinets mentioned above, and that you are in Boston, which was my home .

Back then, (in them there times) nobody, simply nobody played a Buffet, because the entire Boston Symphony Orchestra clarinet section played Selmers. So, all the teachers played Selmers as well.

Gino Cioffi, one of my last teachers, was Principal clarinet and of course, he played Selmers, as did Cardillo, Valerio and Mazzeo, the others.
Buffets were known and sold in New York, where all the clarinets in the New York Philharmonic played Buffets. So, there you have the whole story, and I’m sorry you have to sell your Leblanc Opus, which is considered the finest clarinet made today. Two of the most important clarinetists in the US play the Opus or a derivation of the Opus, Larry Combs, Principal Clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony,(retired), and Eddie Daniels, arguably the best Jazz clarinetist.
The lines in clarinet buying have been blurred in recent years, first by the Opus, designed by Tom Ridenour when he was the chef designer of Leblanc. Ricardo Morales, whos reputation is considered above all those mentioned here, is principal in the Philadelphia Orchestra. He plays the Selmer “Recital” clarinet. That particular clarinet has a smaller bore and a larger diameter than others. It is called frequently, “the fat clarinet”
Now, Larry Combs and Eddie Daniels both played Buffet prior to the Ridenour-designed Opus.
I have owned a set of both Opus and of Recital Clarinets and also Buffets and can say unequivocally that they all have good qualities, however the Buffet as a clarinet, is the most inconsistent.

In German and Austria many play play on a different system: an Oehler system with a different fingering, bore and resistance factor. Or they play the Wurlitzer Reform Boehm in Concertgebow Orchestra and the Hague in Holland.  I’m told that French style clarinets  mentioned above are making their way into European orchestras.

But, all this is not in your direct interest. What is, is the worth of your Opus.

If you want to simply sell the horn, it has to be worth about 1500 or perhaps even more.If you would consider trading for a Buffet, call Emilio Lyons, who works for Rayburn Music in Boston, (and is an old old friend) and tell him of your concern. He will give you a good trade on the Leblanc.
If you wish to sell it outright, you could use the internet, specifically Ebay,however this is frustrating unless you are an experienced seller on Ebay.
My recommendation is to find out from Emilio Lyons, determine if your teacher will get the Buffet from Rayburn, who I’m sure, sells them and go from there.
I truly hope that this has been of some help.
Good luck.
Sherman

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4 Responses to Opus, Selmer and Buffet, big orchestras influence markets

  1. bulldoggy2008 says:

    Is this student striving for a position with the Boston Symphony (where I assume Buffets are the norm)? Otherwise I would tell his teacher, “Sorry, I’m keeping today’s best clarinet, the Leblanc Opus. If you have any question, just discuss it with Larry Combs, Eddie Daniels, or Sherman Friedland.”

    I play in the local community orchestra. I am the only clarinetist not to be playing a Buffet. Mine is a 1958 Selmer “Center Tone,” which I would not trade for all the Buffets.

  2. piedpiper1284 says:

    Oehler system clarinets are only popular in Germany and Austria and parts of Switzerland. The rest of Europe plays mostly Buffet/Leblanc, as do an increasing number of players in Germany.

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