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Bb Buffet Festival Clarinet

11499 Views 19 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  qwerty
Update: Bb Buffet Festival Clarinet

It sold in a BIN auction for 1450 in about 30 minutes. I don't think I would have known how to go about this without you guys. Thanks again!

I have one of these that is about 15 years old. I played it for four concert seasons in high school and college but it has not been used since.

What is the best way to get this instrument ready to sell? It still looks/sounds great but I don't know what work will be needed.

Any ideas of its approximate worth?

Many thanks in advance!
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Speak to a respected clarinet tech. Steve Sklar or David Spiegelthal will be able to help you out here from the Forum. A quick search will be able to find them and you can PM them.

The Festival is a great clarinet, significantly sweeter and better intonation than an R13. It shouldn't be too difficult to sell as they are sought after in the classical clarinet world. You could try selling it two ways, as is or repair it and then sell it. I woould probably advise you to sell it as is because any potential buyer will want their own tech to go over the instrument once they receive it.

Feel free to contact me via Pm or email if you need any further help.
Bootman's recommendation makes a lot of sense. But I usually consider having my tech take a look see and make a recommendation so that when the buyer later sez, "The widget gidget was busted" I know she/he is full of noise. That way I don't feel guilty in any way that could result in a loss being taken on the instrument.

My tech gives me an estimate for free because I comp him concert tickets and occassionally by him good coffee during the year. Probably more important to him though is the business that I and my friends bring him. Seems he is always working on something for me. Right now it is an Albert system Buescher Silver clarinet. :cool:
Thank you for the advice! My general sense was that I need to have it looked at but perhaps not spend a lot of money having stuff done to it. I know when I was playing this horn I only wanted "my" tech guy touching it. A few years ago there was a shop near my house that offered to give a free estimate but they closed; I'll have to do some looking around locally. I live in Raleigh if anyone happens to know a good place.
A couple of years ago I was comparing side by side pretty much all the models from Buffet (except R13, which I tried a few months after that). The Festival was my favorite of them. It's a very good clarinet in my opinion and if it plays reasonably then most likely it doesn't need major repair (also because you played it a little and then left it alone for a long time). It's worth having a repairer look at it so you know the condition (what Gandalfe said basically).
My favourite is the RC but the Festival is the next on the list. For most players the Festival will be there favourite unless they are a large bore clarinet lover like myself.

I have just sold my festival Jazz model to a fellow SOTW member who is getting an exceptionally rare clarinet that will last him a life time. I wouold have loved to have kept it but having 3 top end Buffet clarinets is a little excessive and I decided that the RC Prestige suited my sound concept better than the smaller bore Festival.

Steve Sklar knows the Buffet festival and having had him work on my Festival I can vouch that his work is very, very good. Drop him a line from here.
Interesting Bootman, since my clarinet (not Buffet) actually has a bigger bore than any new model Buffet or Selmer, Yamaha, etc. (unless some of them have models that are big bore like English big bore) and I still preferred the Festival over the RC and RC Prestige (but they were also excellent). I actually liked the Festival the most because it is the one who reminded me the sound of my own clarinet (which I prefer).
Bootman said:
Steve Sklar knows the Buffet festival and having had him work on my Festival I can vouch that his work is very, very good. Drop him a line from here.
I pm'ed him. Thanks!
Everyone does it differently, but if I get an R13 in that needs an overhaul, that work gets done before the clarinet is sold. The pictures come out better with the keys all polished up and there is less guesswork about what the buyer is getting. I have typically gone with cork uppers in the overhaul - after all, it is a premium instrument. The Festival even more so . . .
What are you using? A selmer 10G or a Leblanc Opus?

There is an awful lot of snobbery within clarinet sections here, Orchestra, heavy weight Concert bands and the like as to what clarinet you use. The number of players who use LeBlanc or Selmer can be counted on one hand.....unless it is bass clarinet where the common belief is that ithas to be Selmer. Up until recently I would have agreed with them on the BC belief but the newer Buffet 1193 Prestige is an incredible instrument. I am still awaiting a Privelege model to arrive so that I can check it out, there is none in the country that I can find yet although rumour has it that there are a few about.

Back to the Festival, the Festival is a very, very nice instrument to play and works very nicely in a legit setting but doesn't have the flexibility of the RC. This is most noticeable in the 3rd and 4th registers. I chose the RC Prestige for the bigger sound, an easily maleable tone and greater dynamic range in all registers over the Festival. It might also have been because I have played the RC for the last 20 years (until it was stolen earlier this year) I felt instantly at home on it.

The other thing to note is that every French market Buffet (F in front of the serial number) always seems to have that little something extra to the response, sound and overall feel when playing the instrument. They are more free blowing which is a trait that I prefer in my clarinets.

Do you find that you have increased air noise and brightness when using Cork pads?

I have found that you can hear a hiss when ever you play a cork padded clarinet. I use a cork register key in all my clarinets which does alieve the dullness normally found on the throat Bb.

Ialso must admit to liking every R13 with cork upper pads I have played due to an increased brightness and ring in the throat notes (up until a certain point when the hiss starts). Overall it tends to make the R13 far more usable when played in ensemble and bring the typically diabolical intonation of the throat notes on the R13 closer to pitch. The R13 has better intonation than the Selmers in this area, the LeBlancs are very good in this area too although my main argument against the LeBalnc is a little too single sounding.

Has anyone tried the new St Louis Selmer's?
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I read on one of the clarinet forums that one may chamfer the edges of the offending cork pads to alleviate that hissing that you are hearing. Have you noticed whether the cork pads on the hissing horns had square edges or chamfered?

Regarding the French market Buffets: Are those pitched at 442?
Dr. G is correct - you can't just put in a flat cork pad and get a quality job. That's why techs charge extra for the cork installation.

And the F serial numbers I believe are listed as "442-444". Frankly, I never understood that . . . don't they know which it is? But that's all I've seen in print. My only F Buffet is a Super Dynaction Bb Clarinet from 1974.
The real difference is the size of the Barrel. Add a larger barrel and all works easily at A=440. When I tested these against a strobe tuner, A =440 was what I got and within 5 cents on all notes across the range.

I have played the ones with the chamfered edges and still noticed the hiss.
Bootman, I play an Eaton International clarinet. It's their smaller bore version but still bigger than any regular small bore instrument (Buffet, Selmer, Leblanc, etc.) according to Peter Eaton (but not as big as a real big bore clarinet).
I just thought it was interesting to know the RC is bigger bore than the Festival, and that you think it's one of the reasons why certain people like one or the other better, but I preferred the Festival in spite of my clarinet that I prefer has a bigger bore.

I've tried the St. Louis, two of them. I thought the sound was good but very different from a Buffet or my clarinet. What I didn't like is the keywork (mainly left pinky keys) and even that alone would make me not buy one. If you have smaller hands (though I think mine are about average) maybe you'd like the keys better, or maybe you won't think they are not comfortable.

Also if I understand you right and you are looking into buying a bass clarinet, let me know I have some details (mainly on the Buffet) that might help you.
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I suggest not having it worked on. I assume any used instrument I buy will need work, and there is no sense paying for it twice. I know and trust my tech, Ernie Sola, and prefer the known to the unknown. I like Festivals, but they do not command as much as R13s in the used market. Expect somewhere just north of $1000 as described. I play a LeBlanc Concerto II now on Bb soprano, and a 60's Symphonie on A. Wonderful scale. I'm the concert master of student/community concert band at Gordon College, and the R13 snobs shake their heads. But I don't have to fight that famous Buffet scale. My last R13 soprano has gone, and good riddance. My Buffet 1193 bass and R13 Eb are enough reminder of the horrors.
Interesting because the Festivals command far more than R13's here in Australia. They are a much better clarinet with a better scale than the R13. The RC doesn't have any of the famous scale problems associated with the R13.

I like the LeBlanc Keywork feel but not the sound. I am not a fan of the Selmer Clarinet keywork which always feels in the wrong spot, jsut wrong enough to slow you down.

I will drop you a line.
I had 2 r-13's and a Festival in my studio about two years ago, and I was comparing them for about a month with 4 other clarinet players, who stopped by and test played them as well.

All 5 of us liked my 1970's r-13 the best, and the Festival was dead last, from all 5 players. One of the guys who evaluated the Festival dead last PLAYS a Festival as his main horn too!

I have never played Leblanc, so I cannot compare, but the best B flat clarniets I have played are late 60's through late 70's Buffet R-13's.

BTW, after the comparo tests wew done, I sold the Festival for 1600 bucks on Ebay in a buy-it-now in about 12 hours.

Remember that there are Buffets and Buffets, not all of them play great. Mpc choice is very different for a Festival compared to an R13. I know most of the Symphonic players use the Festivals or the RC here.
Interesting. I had always been under the impression that it was virtually the same as an R-13 but with the silver keys, the auxiliary Eb key, and the more natural color wood.

I think I am going to Ebay it as is.

Thank you all so much for your help. What a privilege to gain insight from so many professionals!
Thank you all so much for your help. What a privilege to gain insight from so many professionals!
I am not a professional clarinet player. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. ;)

Actually, I believe the Festival has a slightly different placement of the register key from the r-13.

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