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c kruspe erfurt clarinets

Discussion in 'Other Makes and Models' started by Carl H., Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Someone brought a satchel containing 3 Kruspe clarinets to the store I work in.

    The owner is a relation of the original owner who played the clarinets in Sousa's band. There are 3 instruments: A, Bb, C . All in need of work, but all are in quite decent shape and would be quite playable with servicing by a competent tech. The key system is very German, but not standard either. There is no serial number chart that I am aware of, but one of the items in the bag was a shipping tube for one of the mouthpieces with a postage stamp on it that was only in use about 100 years ago. The mouthpieces are all ribbed, but there are metal ligs involved as well. One of the coolest things in the bag was a wooden mouthpiece cover in beautiful shape.

    They are high quality instruments, but there seems to be nothing much about them on the web - at least in english. I did run across this mention : http://books.google.com/books?id=Hn...#v=onepage&q=c kruspe erfurt clarinet&f=false

    Anybody know of the maker or these instruments?

    I don't have them in front of me, and neglected to take any pictures, but this google image is quite close, as far as I can remember.

  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I've seen some older ones in museums. Boxwood, IIRC, so we're talking a name that went back into at least the 19th century.

    EDIT: confirmed with Google. Here's a pretty one. There's a reference on this one, as well, to Gunter Dallat. He's written a few books on saxophone.
  3. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Kruspes pop up in German eBay in rather regular intervals, mostly accompanied by a sentence like "attic find" or "grampa died and left this". From what little I can remember, these were mostly pre-WWII instruments.

    Here's a big page in German, pre-translated for you.
  4. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Thanks Ben. That seems to confirm my estimation of the age of these instruments, as well as origins.

    These instruments obvious have value both as family treasures and historical trivia with the Sousa connection. Question now would be insurance value and retail/wholesale value. I don't think they have any intent to sell these instruments, but they should probably have insurance on them, however valuation of them is an issue. Nobody in the states plays this system so there really isn't a market for them at this time. I'd take them if they were given to me, but I can't say as I'd be willing to pay much for them as non useful instruments.

    I'm inclined to say $50 per instrument as is, but that seems both generous as well as undervalued for the quality and completeness of the instruments - they still have alternate barrels for each and engraving/stamping is clear and still has gold in the A & C. I wish the original cases were present, just to have the complete package, even though it probably stank to high heaven.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I would, of course, take issue with that statement. Although all but one are now packed away, I have a number of "Albert" instruments that I would regularly take for a spin, just to keep my hand in.

    I started out on old Buffet "Albert" instruments, specifically a bass clarinet in A, and played that horn for about four years back in the 1950s until my mother, in her ignorance, traded a wonderful horn for a mediocre intermediate Bb soprano instrument. Since that time, I've come close to scoring another Buffet bass, but only that. (My current "Albert" bass, a Bb horn, is a horror of an Italian instrument, with a neck that makes it extremely difficult to play). If you ever are walking down a dark alley carrying an Albert Buffet bass, watch out behind you - I may succumb to temptation...

    While they do have "funky" finger spacing (compared to the Klose/Boehm, and there is the occasional intonation issue, Albert instruments are not that hard to play. And, the "patent C#" gear is nice to have under your little fingers.

    Iffen I'm in sharp keys, I prefer the "Albert" horns (or the Oehler instrument); if in flats, the Klose/Boehm works better. Of course, strict adherence to this protocol would require carriage of a substantial cartload of wood everywhere, in addition to the baritone.
  6. The New Langwill Index has a fair bit to say about the Kruspe family. Through several generations they produced high quality instruments in Mulhausenn, Thuringia from 1829 to 1836, at which time they relocated to Erfurt. They continued to produce instruments until some time after 1936. The founder, Franz Carl Kruspe, was an innovator of some note. He redesigned and developed keywork systems for the clarinet, oboe, flute and bassoon, and also worked extensively on improving the flute. His Kruspe System clarinet became the most widely used clarinet in Germany. I suspect that your instruments may be of this configuration. It would be worth checking on the pitch of the instruments if it is intended to play them, as they may not conform to current standards.
  7. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Any recollection on what they sell/sold for?

    I don't think these will be for sale, but they would like to know.

    With the Sousa band disbanding in 1931, these were from before that. These are not boxwood, but black with modern style bands - as in the above picture.

    If I think of it, I'll snap a pic of the trio.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    It is my impression that there are more players who still use the Albert horns in Great Britain, so it may be the case in Down Under as well. Ask around a bit and see who you can find.
  9. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member


    Attached Files:

  10. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Here they are.

    Attached Files:

  11. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    C.G. Warmelin mouthpiece from Minneapolis around 1915 to Peter Shermeister in Wahpeton ND.
  12. It's interesting that they're not an identical set. The Bb is a different keywork configuration to the A and C. I'd love a C like that one.
  13. The three Kruspes are, with some reservations, typical for older German systems with e.g. 18/5 or 16/4 configuration. The Bb's keywork looks more delicate than the others', but what I can't find on the Photos is a register key (??). The two others have an uncommon and long obsolete extra f/c key for L4, which I have seen at several early Kruspes. None has the Albert- typical wrap around register key or the three in a row cups on the lower joint of some Alberts.

    It may help dating these instruments that according to New Langwill (see above) the typical butterfly marking with C resp.K in the wings was used from about 1875. 1921 the Kruspe firm was taken over by Hüller. From then on the instruments were, like before ca.1875, marked C.Kruspe Erfurt only, without the butterfly.

    Of my C.Kruspes three are from the butterfly era, and I payed 145 Euros for all three, unrestored. I restored them myself and see them as collector's pieces. A professional restoration would probably cost 400...500 Euros for one. My younger Kruspe C (16/4), from the 1920ties, cost 120 Euros, came in a playable condition and indeed is a fine instrument.
  14. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

  15. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    While unusual to the modern eye, that type of register key was quite common even on Boehm clarinets back in the day. I imagine that it was a simpler installation, one that could function without a register key tube.

    They still use it on some German clarinets, of twhich the one in the ad is certainly. The system in use there is a version of the Oehler clarinet, common in Germany but almost unknown anywhere else. Playing one is not a treat for the regular Boehm clarinet player - the key work is completely different in the hands, and the lack of a thumb ring makes the horn a bit "slippery" in the hands.
  16. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

    (I had meant the throat A key, sorry that I wasn't really clear on that Terry.)
    so looking at this again I believe the extra A padcup in the third picture is so that it doesn't have to lift the Ab key.
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