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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I really like the sound of early jazz clarinetists and find my own style leaning this way (although I dig Buddy Defranco too).

Anyway, I played a large bore Boehm one piece clarinet but forgot the name. I want to say LS? Out of South America and that seemed to get closer to the sound I want but was recently made aware of Selmer and Buffet Albert Systems clarinet provided they have been tuned at A 440.

I would really like the opportunity to try one of these and buy one. My current mouthpiece is a Morgan J5 but have been advised to get a different shape inside (conical?).

I love the sound of Evan Christopher and that big woody tone...

Can you help me with any considerations please?

thank you
 

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I can't help you but I'd like to comment . . . I own Alberts and Boehms They sound like . . . clarinets.

It isn't the fingering system (although conventional wisdom and many others want you to believe that), it is the player, his set-up, and his tonal concepts.

Before I go further, I am a HUGE fan of the old-style clarinetists (Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Jimmie Noone, etc.), all of whom played Alberts. I play exclusively trad jazz in a VERY trad band.

But I think many confuse playing style with tone. I've heard some Boehm players that had similar tone and playing style and if you didn't see what they were playing, you would not be able to identify the fingering system. Oh, some (even here on SOTW) will dispute that, but I've never seen proof of it.

I know of Evan Christopher. He is a fine player. He used to play with a trad band out of Orange County, CA called MISBEHAVIN' JAZZ BAND, when he was a youngster. He played Boehm. Years later, he switched to Albert - and to my ears, he sounds the same. I've heard his radio broadcasts with Jim Cullum's band in San Antonio (with Cullum's superb clarinetist, Ron Hockett, who plays Boehm) and their tone is similar.

An acquaintance of mine is maybe the finest Albert player I know of (outside of Bechet and Jimmy Dorsey) and he plays a Buffet Albert dated from 1887.

I recently bought a new Yamaha YCL-457 20-ring German System (kind of a simple Oehler/Albert) clarinet. I've had other Alberts over the years and still have a couple of vintage models (one Bb, one C). I learned the Yamaha good enough to play publicly, but then put it away in favor of my Buffet Boehm which had a bigger, more traditional sound. There are plenty of Albert clarinets around (new German-made horns, Yamahas, vintage Conns, Bueschers, Buffets, etc.) so if you really want to go that way, they are easily enough found. If you don't have a REAL need to explore one, you'll be better off with a Boehm - just play it like an Albert. DAVE
 

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I agree completely with the above and you might want to also think in terms of choice and economics. Albert and Oehler system clarinets are fairly rare in the US and for every one available there seem to be a least ten Boehms of various makers, ages, and conditions. A used ,quality pro line Boehm clarinet can be a real bargain, IMO, and the choices are really vast, from plastic Bundy's to Centered Tones, Balanced Tones and R-13's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow Dave, thanks for the thorough experience-sharing. I agree wholeheartedley about it being so much more than the clarinet but I write this on the back-end of a playing expereince last night where a new friend (Michael Marcus) brought in two one-piece Boehm clarinets. He brought me a Rossi 15.2 mm bore Boehm System, English Model and that thing "barked"! So he tells me "You have that New Orleans sound man and concept..you should seriously look at an Albert system clarinet"....and just make sure it's in pitch etc...look for Selmers and Buffets he said. Certain models of Selmers too he mentioned

My main question is as I believe it's the bore largeness that suits my style, so 1) did Albert clarinets have large bores? 2) what are modern equivalents?

I love the easy upper register and that rich lower register (again, I think Evan Christopher which is nice because of full fidelity recordings).
 

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Albert system clarinets were used because the were cheap and available. The player and the mouthpiece shape the sound.
That big woody sound Evan Christopher gets is not the clarinet. He would sound the same on a Boehm. Listen to Woody Allen.
That's a good reason not to get an Albert.
 

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Wow Dave, thanks for the thorough experience-sharing. I agree wholeheartedley about it being so much more than the clarinet but I write this on the back-end of a playing expereince last night where a new friend (Michael Marcus) brought in two one-piece Boehm clarinets. He brought me a Rossi 15.2 mm bore Boehm System, English Model and that thing "barked"! So he tells me "You have that New Orleans sound man and concept..you should seriously look at an Albert system clarinet"....and just make sure it's in pitch etc...look for Selmers and Buffets he said. Certain models of Selmers too he mentioned

My main question is as I believe it's the bore largeness that suits my style, so 1) did Albert clarinets have large bores? 2) what are modern equivalents?

I love the easy upper register and that rich lower register (again, I think Evan Christopher which is nice because of full fidelity recordings).
The Leblanc Pete Fountain Model is a big bore. The older big bore clarinets I've had all had intonation problems. Low A, Bb and C were very sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK Cool maybe it's just the big bore I like then. It was a Boehm I played after all (the Rossi). I can check out the Leblanc model...What did Buddy DeFranco use on the 50's album "Mr. Clarinet"? I really dig that sound too.

btw I play a Buffet Evette Bb with a Morgan 5J mouthpiece and I find when I play our (in gypsy jazz and swing bands) it's a bit flat and doesn't project enough like this large bore one did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK I needed to re-think this then...Scratch the Albert clarinet...What say you all about the Selmer BT model and how available is that?
 

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What is a Model 55? And, what process did you use to arrive at these decisions? Did you play them? Just curious . . . DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry the model 17 (1945) Large bore with some resistance..haven't played it but can return it if I don't like it.
 

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Another large bore clarinet, one which is generally inexpensive and available but of excellent quality, is the Boosey & Hawkes line from the 1950s-early 80s. Except for the 'huge-bore' Symphony 1010 model (.603" bore, fairly rare and pricey to buy), the B&H clarinets have a big .593" bore with very sturdy keywork (just avoid the 1940s-vintage Regent models which had cast "Mazak" (pot metal) keys). Models to look for include: The Edgware, Series 1-10 (plastic), Series 2-20, Stratford, Series 8-10, Imperial 926, and maybe a few others I can't recall at the moment.
 

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Please forgive me, I cannot resist . . . is 27 hundredths of an inch the difference between a "large bore" and a "small bore"? Especially in light of the fact that the manufacturers themselves don't pretend to maintain their own specs? Just asking . . .

Next, what is a Model 17? Please post the brand name you are talking about. DAVE
 

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Instead of buying into the large bore/small bore hype, why don't you just play a LOT of different makes/models and go with the one that gives you the sound you are looking for. Use both ears and don't look at the horn, its internal measurments, key plating....
The same goes for mouthpieces, reeds, ligatures and the associated hype.
YOU are mostly responsible for the sound that comes out the end of the horn. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
hi bandmommy...oh I have played several so far! thus the search...it's very exciting too to hear such a breadth of tonal difference in two different bore sizes...yessir large bore is the one...now to find the best for for *me*...considering Selmer BT's and the "55" and thanks to David S., some Boosey & Hawkes. Life is good :) you guys are awesome. What a vital forum this is.
 

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Don't limit yourself to 'vintage' or 'large bore', and 'several' is only a drop in the bucket.
There are clarinets out there that will surprise you. Keep an open mind. :)
 

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If you want that johnny dodds and other creoles punchy tone don't go big bore, they all played with horns that averaged 13.9 or less bore diameter. Alberts and Ohelers have smaller bores than bohems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
the 2 large bores I tried is what caught my ear against my Buffet Master Model so feel pretty good (along with the Morgan RM28) I will attract that sound. The rest is "magic" :)
 

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there's a Conn eagle Bb LP clari on ebay right now, the imroved albert. That's like "Add Water Dodds" thing.
 
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