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Distinguished SOTW Member and Old King Log
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Discussion Starter #1
For those in the saxophone community who have longed for the articulated G# on their clarinets, there's a rare opportunity currently available on eBay. The other day, I counted no less than seven so-called "full Boehm" horns up at auction, including a pair of full Boehm horns in Bb and A (very rare indeed).

Prices for the most part were reasonable considering the dynamics of the auction format. The pair were offered for $1,000 as a starting bid (if my memory serves me well), and the others were reasonable. All were listed as "crackless". One was a metal clarinet (chancy in my opinion). Most were Series 9 Selmers, with a few of earlier vintage as well plus one Buffet A clarinet from around the turn of the previous century.

I have always found it odd that the Leblanc instruments of this model (and they offered them for a longer period of time than did Selmer or Buffet) never show up on eBay.
 

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i had a pair of early selmers with articulated g#. one full bohm and one not. i sold the full bohm to bootman and still have the other. its not worth much $ but a fun horn to play. these were brevette models
 

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Wow. I'd love a pair of those. If only I had the cash.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician
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There was a Leblanc LL full Boehm (in Bb) on eBay.co.uk - but only the once, advertised as an A clarinet as the seller thought it was an A clarinet due to the length in comparison to a standard 17/6 Bb (though the proportions were definitely that of a Bb full Boehm).

Had it been an A, then I'd have snapped it up pronto to go with my LL full Boehm Bb.

And a pair of Centered Tone full Boehms went a while back for a good price. I've got too many full Boehms now, so I'm not in the market for any more.

Even more remarkable was a full Boehm Eb clarinet (yes indeed, an Eb to low Eb!) - there was an Amati which I was watching (and a lot of others too!) and also an old Selmer Eb with forked Bb, articulated G# and LH Ab/Eb which would have been nice.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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I had a customer with full Boehm down to an extra semitone, in both Bb and A clarinets. She eventually got rid of them. She never used those extra notes, and the clarinets were really uncomfortably heavy.
 

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I don't care for the low Eb on the full Boehm model but I like the other extra mechanisms--articulated G#/C#, forked Bb/Eb, and alternate (left hand) Eb/Ab key. I have a Leblanc Double L with these extra mechanisms and I would never sell it. Too bad Leblanc no longer makes a horn with this configuration.
 

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I've got a set of Selmer Brevette full boehms'. Hubby got them off from ebay for me for Christmas. No cracks, just needed a repad. I love having all those extra fingering options. They aren't much heavier than my Signature.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Old King Log
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Discussion Starter #8
Chris Peryagh said:
...Even more remarkable was a full Boehm Eb clarinet (yes indeed, an Eb to low Eb!)....
I tried pretty hard to land that one, but got beat out at the last minute by someone with a real internet connection. I would have gone a couple of hundred higher, but when your system is operating on a very sloooow dialup connection (common speeds for me at that time were in the neighborhood of 32,000 baud, on a good day with no rain clouds in the air), you just can't compete.

The horn was in Italy (ALARM BELLS!), as I recall, and it looked truly gorgeous in the listing. Silver plate and all, and with little to no wear (as one might expect on a part-time ride like an Eb soprano).
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Old King Log
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Discussion Starter #9
The "extra semi-tone" on the "full Boehms" is there solely for transposition purposes, much as is the low Eb on the bass clarinet (a 1900's addition to enable bass clarinet players to transpose the infrequent (but still present) A bass clarinet parts).

Most players will not use it at all. I will occasionally use it on the Bb horn for a middle line Bb to C trill, but other than that, never.

In turn, having a low Eb on a A clarinet is of even more limited utility for transposition purposes (unless there is a Ab "mezzo soprano" ancestor hiding out there somewhere).

In both cases, this extra tone hole and key does have the wonderful effect of evening out the B natural in the middle of the staff. Even on the best of R13s, this is a note that sounds "different" than the others to the player (if not to the audience).

For the other fingerings, I find that I use the left hand Eb all of the time, followed next by the articulated G# (which is a godsend if you spend a lot of time in extreme sharp or flat keys, as I do on many of the vocal numbers that I have to play) and then by the forked Eb/Bb. (Over the last five years or so, I have started to use it a bit more - again, mostly when playing parts in musicals.)

As for extra weight - well, to someone who plays the bass clarinet off of the thumb rest alone at times (much easier than wearing one of those two hook abominations of a neck strap, if you ask me), soprano clarinets of any style are feather weights. Your experience may differ of course.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I would do everything short of killing to maintain my access to the full Boehm clarinet. It duplicates what I have on the bass clarinet, as well as one of the more reasonable workarounds (the articulated G#) on the saxophone, it puts the problem G3# tonehole on top of the horn where it never collects any condensation, and you never have to "slide" or fake it with F#/C# to anything else fingerings again. A lot of problems, all gone with very little effort.

Had I not obtained a Series 10 with all of the bells and whistles save the low Eb last year, I'd have been in the hunt for the current matched pair. (For the record, I still prefer the Series 9 bore to that of the "R13 imitator" Series 10.)

I only run into Eb clarinet once in a blue moon (usually during Bernstein shows these days), so I couldn't make much of a case going beyond a thousand or so on the Eb. But, I will be interested in what the pair goes for, particularly due to the reasonable price.

Regarding Leblanc horns, I think that they still list the Pete Fountain horn as an available instrument for regular purchase. It comes with the articulated G# and the fork Eb (but not with the LH Eb lever, to my knowledge). 'Twas a time when you could special order any combination of the various "extras" from Kenosha, but not any more.

(And, I'd advise against Amati. I bought an Amati Oehler horn (top one that they offer) three years or so ago, but the fit and finish was not up to your typical student horn, much less a "professional" instrument. It took quite a bit of tweaking (and the construction of some custom "thinner" cork tone hole pads to cover the vent holes operated by the brille) to get it all set up right. I'd not wish that ordeal on anyone.)

(Note to self: make plans to sabotage Oboe Boy's internet connection during future auctions...)
 

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But as far as simplicity of design of keywork doing the work of the extra gadgets found on full Boehms, the reform Boehms can do pretty much everything a full Boehm can (and possibly more), but in a much simpler fashion.

Gone is the articulated C#/G#, replaced by playing B (or F#) xxx|oxo and trilling LH finger 3.

Ab-Bb trill is done by fingering xxo|xoo and trilling LH finger 2. I think it can also be done by playing Ab and trilling LH finger 2 as well (as on full Boehms).

Current ones have a LH Ab/Eb lever, and a throat Bb vent that opens only when the speaker and A keys are opened together, and there's a vent hole in the bell to bring the low E and B up to pitch.

But if you have the money (or don't mind being on a waiting list), then the Herbert Wurlitzer Reform Boehms are the ones to go for (especially if you love the German sound) - if you find a used F. Wurlitzer one for a good price, then don't hang around.
 
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