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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this has been discussed before, I tried a search but could not get specific enough to whittle down the threads beyond many pages.

Looking to possibly upgrading Amanda's clarinet to a Buffet R-13.
What I am seeing is a lot of clarinets for sale built in the "Golden Age".
Thing is, these "Golden Age" clarinets span decades!

Is this because ALL were "Golden Age" until (fairly) recent changes in wood/production methods??
Or is it a term used loosely?

Is there a definitive Golden Age for the R-13??
 

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I think - roughly - it is mid 60s to mid 70s for the classic "Golden age" R13. There are plenty of good ones from every vintage, and plenty of average ones too. Find someone you trust to evaluate the individual instrument you are considering and don't get hung up on numbers - vintage or price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Carl.
Not really hung up on numbers, like the "5-digit" syndrome, just wanted clarification.
Now I know.
 

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Golden Era... Made during the time Benny and Artie were big. Doesn't mean squat unless you are trying to hype the horn you have for sale.
The R13 isn't the Holy Grail of the clarinet world.
If Amanda wants to 'upgrade' she should try a few different brands/models. She may not like the Buffet sound or feel.
I started at 10 on a Bundy. Played it for 2 years and my parents got me a Buffet Evette Master Model. I played that for over 30 years until I tried a Selmer Signature. That Selmer is MY Holy Grail.
Amanda is the one who has to play the instrument. Don't buy her a Buffet clarinet just because that's 'what the pro's play'. Buy one because it's the one she prefers out of the many she's test played. ;)
 

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I agree with bandmommy that Amanda should try a variety of brands and ages. When I bought my new Buffet RC Prestige, I tried a bunch of different brands (in Europe while on vacation 1985). I played Selmers, Leblancs, Yamahas, and Buffets. The one I bought was noticeably superior to the others I tried. And it still is, but I must say that an older R-13 I already owned was a close second, and a much newer E-11 I bought recently from Kessler is a fine player, too. I like Buffets but still think a broader look is the best way to do it. DAVE
 

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I had a conversation with Greg Smith, assoc prin clarinet in Chicago symph, about this.
He said that although the start of the 'golden era' for buffet is debated (some say the start of the R13, others slightly later around 1960) the end is generally agreed to be (whenever it was) in the 70's that buffet stopped naturally aging their timber and switched artificially kiln drying the wood.
I've had 4 buffets- a '90's R13, a r13 prestige made in '04, a '51 pre-r13' full boehm and a 1961 r13 which was the best of the lot- great resonance, very colourful ringing tone. I've played others from the '60's that were dogs and I prefer my Selmer 9* over all of them.
You really have to take it on a clarinet-by-clarinet, not brand by brand, basis.
 

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A seller claiming to offer a "Golden Age" Buffet should be taken no more seriously than someone advertising an "Owned by Elvis" Cadillac. Labels have scarcely little to do with the playing quality of a clarinet. Buffet has always produced some superb clarinets and some terrible clarinets. I don't know Amanda's age or the kinds of groups she plays in, but an old clarinet is usually a poor choice for a young musician. Many "Golden Age" horns won't have the great sound you've heard of, and the mechanism will have already endured 40-50 years of use/abuse. You can buy one of the excellent new intermediate-level clarinets for the price of an old Buffet. Does Amanda have a private teacher, and what does he/she say? If she and you are buying on your own, Yamaha is the best bet. They're easy-blowing, and typically well in-tune. I find the tone to be rather colorless, but they're as consistent in quality as pro horns get.
 

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As I will usually say, I wouldn't recommend buying any instrument new unless you plan to play it for at least several years, as then you probably wouldn't care about it depreciating that much.
And as for mechanism having 40-50 years of abuse, you can overhaul it. (as is my clarinet that is estimated to be from the 20s was, works very well now.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Folks, I totally understand the recommendation about playing as many horns as possible before buying.
Which is great if that is possible.
Dave, do you have any recommendation for such a store around So.Cal??
Most music stores have a very limited supply of clarinets.
Would that store have all of the ones we want to test, or do we need to make multiple road trips??
But I would say that a Buffet R13 is an upgrade to what she has now.

Finding 'her' sax took the better part of 8 years, so not expecting to find 'the' clarinet right away, and since it would be for doubling (tripling!), all we are looking for is right now is an 'upgrade' that will hold her for a few years.
 

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Is she still working at Nick Rail? The Valencia store had a few decent clarinets. Maybe there are some in the system she could try. Maybe Baxter-Northup in Sherman Oaks, but it has been a while since I've been there.

If it is just to upgrade her for "a few years" I think you can broaden the field. I think Yamaha makes decent clarinets - the few I've played over the years have been acceptable. For sure, nothing I've played has even come close to my Buffets (even the E11 I keep out to practice on), but that's just me. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
She is still at Nick's, probably until next year when she hopes to get into CSUN.
I've been in there a few times & did not see much in the way of clarinets, much less used ones.
But I'll ask her to check out the back and other stores, maybe something there.
Maybe the Sam Ashe in Hollywood? Lots of saxes, but not sure about clarinets as we were not looking for them.
 

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There are plenty of good Buffets from any range of years. I have played recent ones that I would put up against any. I have played old ones that were mediocre at best. Every instrument is unique. I have colleagues who play all sorts of Buffets, including Grenadine and sound great. Here is some info that might be useful http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/Intonation.html

For good sources of used instruments try

http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/Intonation.html

http://www.clarinetxpress.com/forsale.html

I would say that it is far more important to get a decent horn and study with a good teacher, listen a lot and practice like crazy, learning to play it.
 

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If you're in L.A., RDG Woodwinds in Hollywood, near Paramount Studios. They occasionally get consignments from LA Phil players, and top players from all over. Not the cheapest, but they have NICE stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks lomaserena, I'll see if they are open on Sundays (Amanda works all day Saturdays).
If not we'll have to plan a 'vacation day' trip! :)
 

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Carl, i believe it is an older Selmer Prelude.
Yeah, an upgrade is probably in order.

Check out Yamaha - wood ones from 34 and up would last her many years without too much expense or hassle. I have some nice stuff, but take my Yam out because it is consistent across the range of the instrument and no notes need any special attention. It just plays well.

Pick up a nice mouthpiece too. It's almost more important than the actual instrument itself.
 

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Nice of you to consider that good of an upgrade.
I've considered a DOWNGRADE for myself :)
My dad always bought/sold/traded instruments and I had pro level gear as an intermediate player.
Fun for me!

I have a 1980 R13 that I played when I was a kid.
I went on to play trumpet but my dad never sold the Clarinet.
I got it back from him and had the pads replaced in 2001 but I rarely play it.
It probably deserves a new owner :(
 
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