Buffet R-13 from 1975, For Sale, what price?

May 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I was a clarinet player for many years before  to the bass clarinet and baritone saxophone. About 15 years ago, I bought a used 1975 Buffet Crampon R-13 from a former instructor, who had apparently purchased the instrument from her own former instructor (the original owner). When I bought it, there was a crack near the bottom of the lower joint that had been pinned. I played this clarinet on a daily basis and in various conditions for many years, and I never experienced any additional problems with cracking. It is a fantastic instrument with an absolutely gorgeous and rich tone. It is also still in fantastic condition since I was pretty consistent with padding and corking.

Unfortunately, my Buffet is now sitting in a closet. I feel like I should sell it to someone who will use it to make music, but I don’t even know where to start with pricing it. I don’t see a whole lot of cracked Buffets on the market. Additionally, it seems as though I won’t have much luck selling to a shop because the resale value will be so much lower.

Because of my sentimental attachment, I am hesitant to let it go for little. Is the crack going to keep the price low enough that I should just hold onto such a great instrument? What kind of range should I be looking at in terms of price?

Thanks for your advice,

Dear LF:

Thanks for your letter concerning your Buffet R-13 clarinet from 1975.

In range of price, I would really have to see and play the clarinet, however if excellent and depending on the serial number, anywhere from $650 to perhaps $1,000 is possible.
As you mention selling this instrument, you should be aware of the fact that this particular Buffet, made in that time, can be one of the most desired of many and probably one of the best Buffet R-13s. I say probably because the exact date of the emergence of this R-13 is actually not known. Many feel that a serial number of less than 50,000 is not an R-13. After 50,000 and until 60,000 can possibly be an R-13, and after 60,000 can be an R-13.Identifying a clarinet as a “true” modern R-13 can be a bit tricky. Part of the problem is that Buffet has never made it easy by putting “R-13” anywhere on the instrument. In addition, there’s no definitive serial number list that can be used to identify which instruments were built as R-13’s and which were something else.
As fars as the R-13, it will be as easy to sell as a used clarinet can be. The latest Buffets are not reputed to be as good as the original r-13,problems in flaking plating, intonation, and plastic connecting pins having appeared.
As to the crack in your clarinet, it will in no way diminish its value unless it is terribly unsightly and/or it actually leaks, and even that can be fixed. Actual pinning is hardly done any longer. Rather the crack is filled in with adhesive and grenadilla powder, making it indiscernible to the eye and having no change in the playing of the instrument.

If you have pads which are all good and not leaking or discolored,if there is virtually no wear on he keys and if they happen to be silver-plated you can depend upon a good resale, though without seeing and playing the clarinet I would not be able to estimate its worth on the used market.

Summing up, the crack should cause you no concern about price, but determining the price will be difficult as the quality of all Buffets is not terribly consistent, regardless of the reputation of the name .

Start comparing by looking at the online auction. You are correct in not offering it to a music store. They will give you only the lowest possible price because they do not know what the reaction to your clarinet will be. Online auction will be a good place to look and possibly to sell, but one must make a good description, honest and including good close up photographs as well.

All of these considerations will help you to sell your R-13.

Best of luck.

sherman friedland


Roll out the barrels!

May 17, 2010

Dear Mr. Friedland:

Could you please give me a recommendation as to what type of barrel you would consider using on both a Selmer Centered Tone and LeBlanc Dynamique Clarinet. The fact that these are large bore instruments to the DEG barrels etc. work well on them or should I stay with the barrels that came with them?Thank you for your time,ML

Hello ML:

My information is that the Accubore is made for Buffet clarinets, though only that recommendation can be found, no reason at all.
I think that aluminum is a good stable alternative to wood, but ebonite or hard rubber may as good or better. That being said, the best judge of which barrel is best is you, and your reaction to the barrel, its response and of course, its pitch.

Regardless of the small difference in the bore of the Dynamic or the CT clarinet, no one barrel is better than another. The final judge is the player. The addition of the rings to take up the space is a good idea, however the cost is also a factor. The barrel, made by Ridenour clarinet products is as good as any and less expensive. There are all sorts of things out there at even more sorts of prices, but one must remember, in order the compare a barrel, one must listen and play more than one at a time, an impossibility. The time it takes top change barrels is enough to obliterate ones recent memory for reponse and/or pitch.

Here is the description for accubore:
AccuBore Clarinet Tuning barrels replace your existing tuning barrel and improves intonation and sound. Machined from aluminum alloy with a distinctive and acoustically beneficial fluted design which provides a stable bore unaffected by temperature or moisture changes. Each barrel is supplied with 3 bore matched tuning rings, 0.5mm, 1mm, and 2mm.Your Choice – Please SpecifyB Series – (For Buffet Clarinets) Measured in Millimeters – B60, B62, B64, B65, B66, B67M Series – (Moennig Bore, Professional Clarinets) Measured in Millimeters – M64, M65, M66, M67C Series – (Reverse Taper Bore, For Leblanc, Selmer, and Yamaha Clarinets) Measured in Millimeters – C62, C64, C65, C66, C67S Series – (For Student & Intermediate Clarinets) Millimeters – S62, S64Specially designed for Buffet clarinets, these barrels will add more tonal focus and even intonation to your playing. The aluminum construction makes it very stable in environmental changes.

There is a huge “group thought” that the two clarinets are big bore, meaning as part of the group thought, they are best for jazz, wrong, wrong wrong.
Many of Bennies recordings were made on clarinets other than the CT, nothwithstanding the legend, and the original advertisement for the Centered Tone Selmer he made so many years ago, and virtually all of my classical symphonic playing was done on a pair of Centered Tone Selmers clarinets, so the CT is not a particular instrument for a specific type of music.

Good luck, and play well.


Darius Milhaud, 1922: La Creation du Monde

May 16, 2010

Viewers interested in the music of this prolific composer, should also see the positing on the performance of  “Suite”, for Violin, Clarinet and Piano,(1936).

Funny thing about  La Creation du Monde. It was written in 1922, a ballet for 17 instruments, including a long lovely saxophone solo and a long difficult clarinet solo that some   know.
Just think, 1922, which is two years prior to Rhapsody in Blue, by Gershwin, a piece we all know, written orginally for about the same instrumentation, Paul Whitemans band, then for symphony orchestra. The Milhaud preceeds the Gershwin by a couple of years. Both are mixtures of Jazz and classical elements. Both are unique for being “firsts”
The Milhaud is a far  uglier and raucous work, and much more like the jazz that Milhaud heard in Harlem, than the ordered and melodic Rhapsody in Blue.
Of course, we all know the Gershwin from the opening clarinet solo, one that Gershwin didn’t write, nor did Ferdi Grofe who orchestrated it. The glissando was Ross Gormans idea, (the clarinetist in Whitemans band), of a rehearsal joke, and his playng of it as a glissando became the norm in all subsequent performances.
I’ve always compared these two works because they were written so close together and were unique. Actually the Milhaud is more akin to actual jazz and the wildness thats occurs in the climax of the piece is very much like the kind of jazz being played at the time.
It is written for 2 violins, cello, doublebass, 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets, bassoon, alto saxophone, horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, piano and percussion.
Most all clarinetists have played the Gershwin, probably less have played the Milhaud.
Milhauds piece was written as a ballet, certainly a kind of fertility theme.
Gershwins work was written for a concert of experimental music, mixing jazz and classical music, but played by Whitemans Band, with Gershwin as soloist. It then was arranged for full symphony and has become one of the most frequently peformed works in the symphonic repertoire.
I receive many questions about the glissando, how to play one, and specifically, it. It is not just a bent note, or a  couple, but a long run upto the C.
I have a friend who called it the longest agogic accent ever written.
(An agogic accent is an accent by delay)
The saxophone and clarinet solos cannot be played by a doubler in the Milhaud, though I suppose it could be done with some rearrangement of the work, but it works just fine as it is written.
I happen to be thinking of a very special double bassist last night, Buell Neidlinger. Anyone know him? Cello and doublebass! A wonderful player and musician.While famous for Jazz, he has also played in the Boston Symphony. (We played together in Buffalo)I’d love to hear him play the beginning of the jazz fugue which begins the second section of the work, which is written for doublebass solo, followed by the other instruments.
In any event, this is an article calling attention to the two works, their closeness in  time of composition, the fact that they had no influence on one another and have the striking similarity of both being Classical works about Jazz. Perhaps the first two.
Keep practicing that gliss.
stay well.

“The dreaded strings”,the teeth, and the dentist

May 4, 2010

I have a 7 year-old son who has started playing the piano and recorder at school. The school would now like him to play an orchestral instrument as he seems musical; first thoughts are clarinet. However, my son has not yet lost his top front teeth and the dentist has estimated 12-18 months. By the time the new ones come down Fred will be in Year 6 and will have missed out the whole of prep school orchestra!

Does one really have to wait for the permanent teeth to come through? Please tell me I don’t have to consider the dreaded strings! Any advice would be much appreciated.

UK CC Snr Ops

Hello KB
Thank you for your note from the UK.
Your young man is 7 and has started playing recorder and piano at school. He seems musical. Your first thoughts are clarinet, but you have concerns that your sons front teeth are still baby teeth.

If “any advice will be apprec1iated”, let me first ask the question. Has your son been consulted? And if so, what are his wishes, for they need to be considered , actually, perhaps they deserve first consideration. Is he happy with the piano?And the recorder? I think that if it were I who was your son, I would chose either to continue the recorder or the piano, prior to the consideration and suggestion of the school. The schools wishes wishes are based upon the need for  balanced instrumentation, not necessarily the wishes of Fred. Perhaps he would like to move from recorder to flute, which will be not nearly as demanding as switching to the clarinet.

And before we go further, who is it that dreads the strings? Is it Fred or perhaps someone else? There is nothing to dread about playing a string instrument. Next to the piano, it may provide him with the greatest wealth of repertoire of any instrument, for as long as he wishes, during his lifetime, which follows prep school orchestra.

But, what about the orchestra? The prep school orchestra.If he waits until his teeth come in he will have” missed the whole of prep school orchestra.” Is that of great concern to Fred, or to you?

Those are questions you need to answer in order to help guide your son.

To teeth, to dentists, and their reaction to the clarinet embouchure. Dentists despise the clarinet embouchure as its characteristics include pushing out the front teeth and the lower teeth in, and the dentists job is to have alignment which is correct, which is not necessarily derived from playing and practicing the clarinet.( There are several postings here on that subject).
The consideration of clarinet goes back to the condition of your sons teeth. If I had consulted a dentist prior to selecting the clarinet, I would not have played the clarinet, but it wouldn’t have mattered because I was drawn to the instrument and nothing would have kept me away. And because of the clarinet, I have had a lifetime of difficulty, from the standpoint of teeth, but that is the subject of another article.

I think that 7 is not too young to start the clarinet if indeed Fred would really like the clarinet, but his teeth will be a concern. You should consult with your dentist about commencing the clarinet prior to the teeth coming in, and what effect, if any, the clarinet may have. That is of course, if  the dentist is informed concerning the playing of a musical instrument which is placed in the mouth. Some are, others are not.In gathered opinions, most dentists prefer that their patients do not play the clarinet.

You do not have to worry about “the dreaded strings” Fred does. He will let you know.

One hopes his choices are in line with the family and the family dentist, and the school board.

best of all good fortune.

Sherman Friedland


If you will put the word “teeth” in the search space, you will find four or five articles which I have written on that subject.

(Below, you will see automatically generated pertinent postings. They are not pertinent, Ignore them sf