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Discussion Starter #1
I've got an opportunity to pick up a Conn 444N clarinet for about $400 ($430 with shipping). I've inquired with the seller, (it's a shop, not a private seller) and they're reporting there's no sign of major repairs in the past, and they haven't done any since it was sold to them. They've done a full pro cleaning and servicing of the horn.

Right now I've got an old Vito student model horn that I was planning to work on while learning to double (it's currently in the shop for an overhaul). I've done a little research and most of what I've read is that the 444N is one of the more highly-prized jazz horns (which is what I'll be playing). I'm hesitating a little because of the price. $400 seems a little too good to be true, but I'm not as familiar with how pricing on clarinets work compared to the sax. I know my TH&C was a real steal (partly because the Bueschers are undervalued in general) so I wouldn't doubt the possibility of the same here.

I'm going to see if I can get some better pics of the horn (it appears to be in good shape, but the pics aren't the best), but I would appreciate any advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Still waiting on pics, but the S/N dates it to the late-30s/early-40s. Based on some of my research that puts it in the range of the best examples of the model.
 

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Have you checked the completed listings on eBay? There are six recently sold ones in the $108-$213 range. $400 is pretty much full retail price I'd guess - not really a steal.
 

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Have you checked the completed listings on eBay? There are six recently sold ones in the $108-$213 range. $400 is pretty much full retail price I'd guess - not really a steal.
Right, I'd imagine a shop would be more than eBay. I'm more thinking how it compares to other horns, both modern and vintage. IE I paid about half for my TH&C alto that I would for a Mark VI or Silversonic King in similar condition, ($2400, with the lacquer in beautiful if not pristine condition, all original snaps and resos, etc. Silversonics and VIs I'm seeing go for $4000 or MORE) because the Bueschers are undervalued by the marketplace. Looking at other vintage and modern pro clarinets, those are going for anywhere from 3-10 times that depending on the make and model.

So I'm mainly looking for opinions to see if it may be a similar situation.
 

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Antique saxes and antique clarinets are apples and oranges. No one cares what kind of pads are in old clarinets. They care if they work. There isn't the fetishism about that stuff you see with old saxes, or for brands (with the possibe exception of Selmer), and prices reflect that. Buy the clarinet because it's a good player at a good price, not because it's a particular model of a particular manufacturer of a certain vintage.
 
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