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

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


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