Confusion about my Buffet Clarinet

Dear Mr. Friedland –

I’m sure you probably get many questions about the Evette & Schaeffer Buffet Crampon clarinets, since so many people seem so confused about them. As I progressed on the clarinet in high school, my parents bought me what they thought was a Buffet clarinet. I’m rather confused about the brand of my clarinet.

The clarinet came in a hard case with blue velvet lining. It came with two different barrels. On the top joint of the clarinet is an oval. Above and outside of the the oval are the words “Master Model” (the words follow the curve of the oval). Inside the oval at the top are the names “Evette & Schaeffer”; centered inside the oval is the word “Paris”; at the bottom inside the oval

is the word “France.” Outside of the oval, following the bottom curve of the oval are the words “Modele Buffet Crampon.” This same logo appears on the lower joint of the clarinet and the bell. A serial number (K9463) is engrave on the back of the top and bottom joints, at the bottom. Also at the bottom on the back of the bottom joint, right above the serial number, are engraved the words “made in France.”

Now comes the confusing part. On each of the two barrels which came with the clarinet, there’s an entirely different logo. This logo has an engraved lyre which is on top and outside of an oval. Inside the oval, at the top, following the inside curve of the oval is the name “Buffet”; centered inside the oval are the words, in cursive, “Crampon & Cie.” Inside and at the bottom of the oval are the words “A Paris”, following the curve of the oval. Beneath, and outside of the oval, are joined cursive letters “BC”, and beneath that are the words “Made in France.”

So my question is: is this a Buffet clarinet, an Evette & Schaeffer Buffet clarinet, or what is it? All I know is that it has the most wonderful tone. I recently had it completely overhauled – all it needed were new pads and corks and a general checkup. It has no cracks – I’ve always taken excellent care of it because I know my parents had to really scrape to provide me with a good clarinet (or what we all thought was a good clarinet?).

Since I had to have a root canal done on a front tooth and had to have a crown put on, I’m not going to be able to play the clarinet anymore; the crown just wouldn’t take the pressure (plus I no longer have health insurance and so can’t afford to damage the crown). I’d like to sell my clarinet – I’d like to see it in the hands of a good student who would appreciate it.

Where would I go to get my clarinet appraised? I’d like to find out what it’s worth. Are there people who appraise only musical instruments? I’ve seen Evette & Schaeffer Buffet Clarinets on eBay, but none that match mine. Plus, my clarinet’s case is like new; some of the cases I’ve seen on eBay are in terrible shape. My clarinet is still shiny and new-looking.

Thank you for any information you can give me.

Sincerely yours,
K H

Dear Kathy:
Thank you for your letter about the clarinet with the doubtful provenance. I can give you as much information as I can, but as to the actualy beauty of the clarinet, it’s in intonation, its bore, its basic playability in the hands of a clarinetist, there is nobocy who can give you conclusive comments, because it is a matter of opinion based upon a combination of the different players who may evaluate it.
Ont thing for sure, it is a Buffet Clarinet, but not the R-13 or the Prestige, or others; It is an Evette-Schaeffer Master Model which is a cut below that of the highest and best Buffets. Shiny doesn’t matter, but condition of the body, pads, bore, springs and corks do.
To my understanding, all of the clarinets manufactured in France by Buffet are placed in one style or another. The Evette Schaeffer is not the highest level, however someone might find it excellent. All of these Evettes fall below the quality of the first-line Buffet, and there are many who state that their grading system is highly inaccurate. Be that as it may, Buffet Crampon clarinets are those, everything lower than that can be almost anything.

Barrels for clarinets are made literally in every grotto in France, and none can qualify for inclusion into the fantastic category box.
Again, it is the job of the particular appraiser or evaluator for a declaration as to quality and playability..

I will now refer you to the article preceding this one, which gives hints on selling your clarinet.It concerns Leblanc clarinets, but with the name change, it works equally well for the Buffet. The philosophy of the company is questionable, calling all of its products,Buffet-Crampon, but differentiating wildly between them. In other words, they allow so much depth in perception, giving the retailer the ability to sell Buffets at all price levels, without actually stipulating the quality. It’s questionable at best and I find it very frustrating personally. While I find an excellent Buffet to be a very good instrument, they are few and far between, wildly fluctuating between instruments. Your Buffet-Crampon Evette and Schaeffer, Master model, is just that, and nothing more. Perhaps that is enough, or not.

good luck, sherman

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