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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
some days ago a guy sold me what, for him, was an old clarinet from the 50s.
From the photos it was clear that he was wrong on many levels: the instrument is an oboe (albeit a quite particular one) and while he was right in saying that it was from the 50s I must suppose he was thinking about the wrong century!

Musical instrument Wind instrument Sleeve Reed instrument Woodwind instrument


What I now have on my hands is a classical oboe made by Gaetano Soverini in Bologna. Soverini's only known traces came from some international expositions between 1873 and 1888 in which he also gained some prizes for the quality of his instruments.

Just to take this into perspective, when the instrument was made:
Selmer was already to be founded, as well as Buescher, Nippon Gakki (that will become Yamaha instruments), Keilwerth and Yanagisawa.
Buffet was only producing instrument for a decade or so.
Jazz didn't even exist.
Electric guitar wasn't ever imagined.
My grandma's grandma was a child.

That's all for the fascinating part, now move on to the technical aspects...
I plan to have the instrument cleaned up and made it pretty looking. I don't want to spend a lot of time on a repad because it would never be played anyway.

The lower ivory ring (yes: it's all real century-and-a-half-old ivory!) is sadly missing and there's a crack on the bell. I'd like to replace it, also to stop the crack from moving on. Obviously ivory is not feasible as it's luckily illegal in most of our planet. I was thinking about bone or a metal ring. Internal diameter would be 45mm sharp. Any suggestions on where to find something?

One key is broken and missing (I'm really sorry about that part). It would be feasible to find an old clarinet key and solder it to the existing half-key?

More on keywork: it's clearly not plated, as I can see some soldering lines here and there. It's also extremely soft and bendable and it can be polished with a silver polish. Any chance that it could be sterling silver? No marks are present on the keys, anyway...
 

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Nice!

Which key is broken?

I studied baroque oboe last semester, and intend to pick it back up once my dissertation is done. It's a fun but beastly instrument to play. This being a period instrument really interests me, even though I wouldn't have anywhere to play it!
 

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If you are a member of " Strumenti Musicali Italiani a fiato" this information can be found on that site.

SOVERINI Gaetano Bologna (a1873-p1888) WWI

[ESP22-1881MI] G.Pelitti 'Relazione sugli istrumenti musicali in legno, in ottone ed a percussione presentati dalle diverse fabbriche alla Esposizione Nazionale di Milano 1881'
«SOVERINI Gaetano di Bologna
FABBRICANTE D' ISTRUMENTI IN LEGNO
Presenta Clarini in sib., in mib. in sib. acuto, ed un Clarone alto in mi b. di bosso con chiavi d'ottone. La qualità della lavorazione e le giuste proporzioni nel piazzamento delle chiavi, sono abbastanza diligentemente eseguite.»

[ESPI35-Vienna 1873] Esposizione Universale diVienna 1873 Espositori Italiani: Gruppo decimoquinto A.-Istrumenti Musicali Soverini Gaetano, Bologna (48) [3089]

Clarone -Clarino del sistema Bohem- Clarini a 13 chiavi -Clarini Bohem - Clarino comune di bosso - Terzino comune di ebano a 13 chiavi . Clarino ottavino di ebano - Bocchino di metallo bianco per clarino - Bocchino da clarino di pietra litografica - Bocchino da clarino di metallo ricoperto di ebano

[ESP23-1888Bologna] Esposizione Internazionale di Bologna, 1888
In Zietschrift für Instrumentenbau, N.6, 9 Band, Leipzig 21 November 1888, è riportato l'elenco dei premiati: Medaglia di bronzo per strumenti a fiato
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Italianwind is the source of my knowledge about Soverino... I'm a member since I researched my C curved soprano some times ago.

As for which key is broken... I don't know! The fingering is foreign to me. It Is a right pinky key located, I think, where the Eb lever sits on a clarinet but it opens a hole that is between the D and the E hole that are closed by the third and fourth finger (it looks like the description of an Eb key, actually).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i love stories like this!
Confusing an oboe for a clarinet is not common for the simple reason that oboes are not that common (at least who has an oboe usually knows that).

Soprano saxophones are usually seen as clarinets, while metal clarinets are often sold as saxophones (ah, the irony). Bass clarinets are thought as saxophones in many, many cases.

I will be very glad the day someone will sell a Mark VI as a soprano recorder :)
 

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There are artificial ivory substitutes which look a lot like genuine ivory, one kind is Vigoplas which I think is probably acrylic and also the older (but highly flammable) grained cellulose. You can buy Vigoplas in various diameter rods and also in sheet form of various thicknesses and sizes, so either form will work depending on what you prefer to do.

There's this company in the UK that supplies artificial ivory: http://www.ivoryalternative.com/pages/contact.html and I'm sure there has to be a supplier in Italy or elsewhere in Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the oboe has been sold to an oboist that will appreciate it more than me.
I have cleared it, oiled it, repaired the missing key and made the keywork to shine. After all the work it was a beauty. Not being a single reed instrument I never bound into it and I needed some money, so it went...
 

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Yes, a mysterious curved C soprano!
The research didn't led too far, but it seems like Rampone produced it and Rancilio put his name on the bell.
I only found evidence of three of such beasts on the Internet...
There's a 1930 Dante Rancilio C-mel for sale on ePay now, Hadamard:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-OLD-I...352015?hash=item4684a8974f:g:X8cAAOSwB8tbkX4l

Looking into it, I found a 2005 article, "Saxophone Manufacture in Italy: A Short Survey," by Emanuele Raganato, who suggests that D. Rancilio produced their own horns from 1914 until WWII. So maybe your curved C soprano isn't a Rampone stencil after all, but a true Rancilio?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There's a 1930 Dante Rancilio C-mel for sale on ePay now, Hadamard:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-OLD-I...352015?hash=item4684a8974f:g:X8cAAOSwB8tbkX4l

Looking into it, I found a 2005 article, "Saxophone Manufacture in Italy: A Short Survey," by Emanuele Raganato, who suggests that D. Rancilio produced their own horns from 1914 until WWII. So maybe your curved C soprano isn't a Rampone stencil after all, but a true Rancilio?
I've seen it and there are many cosmetic similarities between the two. And I suppose you're right: it doesn't look like a Rampone..
 
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