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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've read a bit on other threads about how the Noblet is such a steal. I constantly see them for less than 100 dollars in working condition. I'm looking into purchasing one soon because a student yamaha is more than that and I am on a tight budget.

Is the noblet going to be too old to work for a long time (as in the rest of my career until I can purchase a nice new clarinet - aiming for a R13 maybe a decade or 2 in the future)? I notice it is quite old, not in comparison to a Mark VI alto, but still a sort of "vintage" instrument. My biggest concern is whether the noblet will ever inhibit my learning experience on the clarinet.

*EDIT* What would be a modern clarinet of comparison? (obviously used and about the same 100-200 price range)
 

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The good ones are very good. Suitable to play anywhere.
 

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Vintage?

I recently talked to someone who is primarily playing on a Buffet from 1870, so I don't think a Noblet will be "too old." One thing to consider though, is that to keep a clarinet in top playing condition, you may need to invest a fair amount of money in the instrument's upkeep. This is especially true of some cheaper instruments in "working condition," that in fact need quite a bit of initial repair. Be cautious, especially if you are going to pull one off of ebay...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick reply. I am not willing to spend more than 200 on the actual clarinet, since I see so many good deals out there. Since flute is my main instrument, I'm putting more money into savings and for a pro or semi-pro piccolo.
 

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augustgarage said:
One thing to consider though, is that to keep a clarinet in top playing condition, you may need to invest a fair amount of money in the instrument's upkeep. This is especially true of some cheaper instruments in "working condition," that in fact need quite a bit of initial repair. Be cautious, especially if you are going to pull one off of ebay...
That may be true, or that may be wrong. That Auction Site Whose Name I Constantly Manage To Forget has a lot of stuff on offer, some gems, and a lot of rubbish. If you have the time, navigate to clarinuts.com and check out their prices. I heard a lot of praise about them, and I compare their prices to what is on sale on These Auction Sites, just to get a rough idea of a "market price".
If you're into *repairing*, go to That Bay Dot Com; if you're more into playing, find out if your round the corner shoppe doesn't have something better on sale.
- - - -
Is a clarinet more expensive to keep in working order than a sax? Heck, it doesn't even have a body that bends and dents at will...
 

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The Noblet clarinet if in good order will be very adequate for your needs. They play much better than most people realise. As for the R13, they are an ok clarinet, the bass entry level model of Buffet clarinets. If you want a decent Buffet then it is the Festival, the RC and Tosca models you need to be aiming for. The downside is that they have a big price tag too.

Another dark horse is the BC20 model, which is the pre cursor to the RC. These can still be got at a reasonable price and will absolutely amaze you when you play one. It is identical in bore to the RC model. They are very rare but look hard and you may find one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I work part time at a music shop, so I don't mind repair as long as it is nothing major, (I am looking into learning repair myself, and a low priced clarinet might be a great way to start).

I am looking forward to playing it though, a 3 times a week alternating with alto saxophone on the other days. Should I even consider a noblet under $100? I read a lot of auctions and sales of such that say they may require repadding in the near future, but they currently play well. Repadding a clarinet seems to on average cost between 90 and 150 USD.
 

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amhso said:
Thanks for the quick reply. I am not willing to spend more than 200 on the actual clarinet, since I see so many good deals out there. Since flute is my main instrument, I'm putting more money into savings and for a pro or semi-pro piccolo.
If you can find a Noblet that doesn't need much if any work initially for <$200, go for it. The ones I tend to see are a little bit more than that:

Noblet, decent - great shape, with a case, already set-up:

$355 - http://www.clarinuts.com/clarinuts/pages/C432.asp
$288 - http://www.clarinuts.com/clarinuts/pages/C433.asp

Perhaps I don't know where to look, but the only clarinets I tend to see in good shape for <$200 are plastic - but then, some of the older plastic Yamaha horns have pretty good intonation, keywork, mechanisms, and when paired with a good mouthpiece sound wonderful...
 

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amhso said:
I work part time at a music shop (...) I read a lot of auctions and sales of such that say they may require repadding in the near future, but they currently play well.
So far I have repadded every clarinet I bought off That Site. Just because. And I'm very generous re recorking too, so the "plays" argument is moot for me. As you work in a music shop, try to lure one of the techs into showing you how a repad is done (it isn't all that complicated).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't get to see the techs at all, they're at another location about a one hour drive from where I am. My boss knows all there is about clarinets and saxophones so I would ask him if a repad was necessary.

I do want a wood clarinet though, I think besides having a (debatable) rich tone, I like how it feels and looks.

Where is the noblet in comparison to lets say a Buffet E11 (not in price, but in quality)?
 

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Buffet BC20

Another dark horse is the BC20 model, which is the pre cursor to the RC. These can still be got at a reasonable price and will absolutely amaze you when you play one. It is identical in bore to the RC model. They are very rare but look hard and you may find one.
I'm only a very part-time musician and no expert, but I just have to jump in because I have one of the aforementioned BC20s, which a friend purchased for me in France in the early 1970's. (It was a bargain back then).

I'm just tickled to see someone on this forum actually mention that model, and I've always wondered just where the BC20 fit in to the Buffet company's offerings. I always assumed it was a European version only. I'm fascinated that it may be a precursor to the R13. I have to say, even though I'm not much of a clarinet player, it has always made me sound half-way decent, even when I didn't really deserve to sound that well.

Cool. Thanks for mentioning it.
 

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SuperTourist,
The BC20 is a pre cursor to the RC, not the R13. You will find that the BC20 usually has the F in front of the serial number denoting the French market models. The bore is larger than an R13, a very different type of bore which gets rid of most of the typical R13 intonation foibles. The downside is that you have to use more air.

My personal BC20 is from the mid 80's and plays 95% as nicely as my RC Prestige. There is very little difference between them and nothing that a set-up wont fix. All in all, an exceptional clarinet with a huge tone and that killer real nutty sound. Try an LC#3 on your BC20, you will be very pleasantly surprised.
 

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An old Noblet is great, but still only as good as the quality of the servicing it has seen. They are especially unforgiving of mediocre servicing. If it (or some notes) sound really stuffy, that is the only reason why.
 

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Buffet BC20

Thanks, Bootman

The BC20 is a pre cursor to the RC, not the R13. You will find that the BC20 usually has the F in front of the serial number denoting the French market models. The bore is larger than an R13, a very different type of bore which gets rid of most of the typical R13 intonation foibles.
I have to say, I've learned more about saxophones in the year since joining this forum than in all the gazillion years that went before. And the same goes for other woodwinds as well. Fascinating, and thanks! I'm not in my home city right now, but when I get home I'll look at the serial number. I think it does in fact have an F. Thanks again.
 

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Older Noblet clarinets can be very good and I agree with many comments already made. I had good results for several years with a restored 1964 Noblet when I got back into clarinet playing. That said, there are other older clarinets to be had for cheap that can be of higher quality than Noblet. A couple of years ago I read some glowing reports from a Forum buddy about Couesnon Monopole clarinets. He said he liked them better than an R-13. Happily, I've been able to find 2 in good condition. One I got for around $300 and the other for $450. Then, my repair tech worked his magic on them (another $200 or so) and I had truly pro-level clarinets that will last me the rest of my life. I'm deeply impressed with their quality of wood, craftsmanship, and performance.

I'm just passing this along as a way to say there are many options when it comes to finding a good quality clarinet, overlooked by the Buffet crowd, that can be a great player for a relatively inexpensive price.

I highly recommend that David Speigelthal be contacted on the forum, or search through older threads where he talks about various non-"Big Four" brands of clarinets that are very good instruments. It was David who turned me on to Couesnon Monopole.

PS, I've done business with Clarinuts and have gotten some good deals. He's a good guy. One thing to be aware of is part of his remastering is to use a treatment of bowling alley wax in the clarinet's bore. I'm still not sure what I think about that. Gordon, what's your opinion? I got my 1960 Couesnon from Clarinuts. It has a BEAUTIFUL dark sound. But, it doesn't have as much ring as a later model (70's) Couesnon I got from a seller on ebay. I'm not sure if the tonal differences are simply due to model changes or if the wax treatment had an affect on the clarinet's sound.

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am actually still debating whether I want to add clarinet to my instruments because I am not really sure if I want to be a doubling musician. A cheap clarinet would allow me a smaller investment to lose if I chose to back out. I have played clarinet before, a YCL-200AD with a Gennusa Excellente Mouthpiece. I found it okay, and I jumped right in to pieces because I knew a lot of the fingerings already (flute/saxophone). What I want to do now is actually run exercises for maybe 20-30 minutes a day run an equivalent of Taffanel and Gaubert studies to really refine the playing, if I am to double.

I don't even understand the outlook on jobs for doublers. Currently the focus is classical flute, and a little bit of jazz on my alto.

I am going to wait around on ebay looking for a good n reliable bid, and if I don't feel safe I may look for one from clarinut. Have people who bought from clarinut found them in already good playable condition?
 

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If you're just looking for a wood clarinet to 'doodle' around with you may want to look into the Selmer Signet line. They are always on ebay usually at a reasonable price. Noblet are good instruments, as well as many others. Count on almost everything you get off the internet to need adjusting/repair. The ablolute best way to choose a clarinet is to play as many as you can get your hands on. Find one that suits your needs and go from there.
If your REALLY not sure about the clarinet thing, go with a resonite Bundy, Vito, Buffet, or Yamaha. Cheap and easy to unload on a fifth grader just starting in band.
 

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If you buy from that auction site, then at least you know that you could sell it for +/- that same price back on that auction site. Sans fees/shipping, you could come close to break even down the road if you decide not to use it and you don't invest any time/money into it.

Selmer Signets (Soloist, etc), Noblets (45, 40, 27s) and the Buffet E11 and so all fit into the intermediate category. As do some of the older Normandys. All are fine instruments.

Roger .... bowling alley wax in the bore ?? ... that would help when you roll large marbles in you clarinet =-)
 

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This is the write up from the clarinuts site. There is a link partway down the page to a second page that refers to the hardward floor wax.

http://www.clarinuts.com/clarinuts/pages/Vision.asp#ReMaster

Marbles....good one! ha ha ha

My repair tech, Eric Beach, did not think the quality of clarinuts repair work was all that good. Anyway, whenever I get a new horn I always take it to Eric or Jessi for a check over and do whatever the horn needs.

Roger
 
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