I have just acquired a pair of clarinets I never heard of, could someone point me for

Discussion in 'General Information' started by TMMasterWannabe, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    I have just acquired a pair of wood clarinets (Bb & A is my first guess) that say O Bauer, Chicago 1906. Can anyone help with info, I haven't found anything yet.

    Thanks,

    Ray Z

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  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    http://test.woodwind.org/oboe/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=396062&t=396062 says ...

    And, of course, http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/index.php?threads/help-us-to-help-you.21021/
     
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  3. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    Pete,

    Thanks so much for this info, an instrument tech friend of mine must have found the same info as he just sent me this. I have learned more on how to ask pertinent questions so I want to expand this.

    Since Oscar was not the original mfg'r and there are no mfg'r markings on these horns it is a guess who made them. As I think we know, it was common during this time period for instrument makers to stencil horns and put the music store's name on them. Since it has been suggested to me that these are probably 'German System' the mfg'r was probably european, Who besides Selmer, leBlanc and B & H would have been around and maybe a likely candidate for these?

    Thanks,

    Ray Z

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    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    There are literally thousands of folks that made clarinets. (And, FWIW, if we're talking 1900s-teens, it'd be Boosey & Company and Hawkes & Son. IIRC, they merged in the 1930s. Selmer started making clarinets in 1906, IIRC.) Also, while I'm not the biggest researcher of stencils, your statement about "common" is not necessarily so. A lot of 19th century stencils are more "copies" of or "homages" to other manufacturers' designs. Some don't even have stamps or engravings of any kind.

    Side project for someone: find out what the first stencil was and when it was produced.

    One thing I can say is that you should look to see if you have a stamp that says "Low Pitch" or "LP." "Low Pitch" is a modern intonation standard. High Pitch woodwinds, which were widely available in the time frame we're talking about, cannot be played in tune with modern woodwinds and cannot be made to play in tune. My general rule of thumb is that if the instrument was made before WWII ended and you don't see a stamp, you should assume HP.

    As mentioned in that second link I posted, pictures would be most helpful.
     
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  5. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    I guess maybe I put the horse before the cart with my original post, not knowing anything about clarinet history (I am a trumpet guy, please don't hold that against me) I just assumed that O Bauer was the maker of the clarinets, wrong. I should have really started from the beginning and given all the facts, such as they are, from the start.

    I have acquired this beautiful matched pair of clarinets in one case made for them, stamped as I described above. When I first saw them I had the feeling they might be something special because the keying was not as I recognize from the modern clarinets I have re-padded. My first assumption was that they were the Albert system but a friend says they are probably German System. I have a couple of pictures but I do not know how to post them here. (help with that would be appreciated)

    Each section of each horn has either 'LB" or 'LA' stamped into it, hence my assumption that one horn is a Bb and the other an 'A' horn. The is no indication of high or low pitch. I have not yet tried to put an electronic tuner to them as I need to replace pads and tenon corks (I have started the 'A' horn.

    Having hopefully included more info, any info on what I have and where my posting might be better suited would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Ray Z

    ________________________________________________________________________________
    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
     
  6. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    The "L" in the stamps probably indicates that they are low pitch, as it fits with the identification scheme of "LA" = "low pitch horn in A" and "LB" = "low pitch horn in B(b)". I'm not 100% certain on this, but I do know that my grandfather had to have both types during his career in music back in the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, and that there was immediate concern about which instrument to take in a given instance.

    It fits what would have been needed to identify horns back in the era when both low and high pitch instruments were still commonly in use, particularly in Great Britain/United Kingdom.
     
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  7. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Instructions In Pictures! Click the picture to see it full size.

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    If you're uploading a picture from the internet, it's easier if you just type [noparse][​IMG] (substituting the correct website and filename, of course) [/noparse]

    There is a limit to how many pictures you can have in a post and how big -- both the file size and the size of the picture -- but those limits should be set high enough that you won't surpass them.
     
  8. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    Thanks for the posting pix help, here they are.




    Bauer Clarinets 1.jpg Bauer Clarinets 2.jpg Bauer Clarinets 3.jpg

    Could one assume that a matched pair such as this is rare and probably more in line with a professional quality horn(s)?

    Thanks,

    Ray Z
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
     
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  9. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Well, not really rare so much as obsolete. True, the A clarinet is mostly used for art music purposes, and by folks professional enough to be playing such music. But the horns that we have here are obsolete (they're not "German" in that they are not Oehler system horns - they are still simple system/Albert system derivatives, a system that is as dead these days as Bill Cosby's career.

    Have you determined if they are high pitch or low pitch yet? That alone will go a long way towards establishing the potential value. I never have heard of a modern high pitch group still plugging along. One may be out there somewhere, but the market for high pitched horns is slim to none. Add the missing key, and your possibilities of finding a buyer are slim to none.
     
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  10. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    To be quite frank, my first thought is, I'd have to put more money into repairs than these instruments are worth. And I can get much better horns for that kind of money. YMMV.
     
  11. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    SOTSDO,

    I do appreciate you insight and frankness, could you give me something more definitive as to how to tell which system something is. I pretty much recognize the Boehm system but the others I am in the dark about. My tech who has seen the same pictures you have asked me the following question with my reply:
    "Look inside the lower joint and tell me where it starts to flair into the bell. Just before the lowest tone hole or farther up the joint?"

    "In my uneducated opinion I would say it starts just before the lower tone hole, it could be about half way between that one and the next higher hole."

    He then replied they were German system.

    As far as the missing key goes, it is not missing, just broken. I will be silver soldering it back together next week. I have just removed all the keys and measured the cups for pad sizes and should be ordering them on Mon. I can then tell if they are indeed low pitch as you speculated in an earlier post.

    Thanks,



    Ray Z

    ________________________________________________________________________________

    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  12. TMMasterWannabe

    TMMasterWannabe

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    I hope I am addressing your money question in my reply to SOTSDO and I guess I was really hoping there was probably more collector value than playing value as I have never seen a matched set like this in Boehm or anything else for that matter. I had a friend that had a set of Mark IV saxes (soprano, alto, tenor & baritone) all from the 50's but they could not be called a matched set.

    I do appreciate frankness much more than sugar coating.

    Thanks,

    Ray Z
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    If you don't know where you are going it doesn't matter how you get there.
     
  13. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Well, "German system" is really a bit of a misnomer. There were a number of 'systems' that stemmed from the original "six key" clarinet of the virtuoso who started the "modern" clarinet.

    Once the six key horn came about, things started to diverge. The six key horn was progressively developed by both French/Belgian and German makers. The F/B group put together something that ended up being called the "Albert" system.

    Roughly at the same time, a Frenchman named Klose developed the "Boehm" system horn, the one that is the standard in about 90% of the world today. It got the Boehm name because it used the Boehm feature of "ring" keywork (called 'Brille' in German) to operate 'keys' (these are the actual cups and pads covering the holes, not the touchpieces that operate them) situated to eliminate several of the cross fingerings that were still needed on the six key horn. (Boehm originally used these on the flute, where he made his name in music.)

    "Ah, but I notice that there are some rings on these horns, yet they are not Boehm system," I hear you say. Well, that's because the Albert system also incorporated them as time when on. However, they still used the odd first finger system (odd, that is, to what the folks accustomed to the Boehm fingerings).

    Meanwhile, ve Chermans were not idle. Makers in Germany took the same, based on the six key horn, clarinet and continued the development of instrument towards what is now the standard on that side of the Rhine. The final polishing of the design was completed by one Oskar Oehler (who died during the Second World War as a Luftwaffe musician), which is now known as the Oehler system instrument.

    Oehler instruments are easily picked out of the crowd of "near German" Albert horns by one feature, a plate for the right hand middle finger. Iffen it doesn't have that plate in the place of a tone hole, then you don't have the modern definition of a professional clarinet. It may be a subspecies of some deviation from the German norm of today, but it ain't a "German" clarinet under current standards.

    Which is better, Albert, Oehler or Boehm. Well, I own (and used to play) all three, so I view myself as someone with more experience than most other players. And, I always say up front that most tend to discount the Albert horns, as there are some tendencies to play a bit sharp on them. (There is also the finger spread on the lower joints, which some find hard to deal with - on an A Albert horn, it would be much more of a bother.)

    As for the preference between Oehler and Boehm -- well, that's something you developed when you learned to play one or the other. The Oehler improvements were made to deal with the intonation issues only partially addressed by the Albert system, and the design does a good job of accomplishing that daunting task. It did so with more touchpieces, more tone holes, and some peculiar adjustment techniques to make it all work right.

    (My Oehler, a Czech built instrument with silver plating (and a horrid silver logo placed just about everywhere) had rings that were set too high for my slim, fat-free fingers to seal against the chimney below them. Setting ring height on a Boehm horn is a pretty simple matter. Doing so on a full blown Oehler is something else entirely, as there are a couple of vent keys attached to the rings themselves. In order to adjust the rings, you had to fit custom cork pads to the vent keys, carefully filing down the cork until it was thin enough to allow for the ring height adjustment, and yet still seal the tone holes. It took my technician (the now deceased Fred, a find of a lifetime and he was sorely missed when he left the building) about a week of spare time puttering around to do this, first by moving the ring height, then carefully designing a set of spacers that did the sealing, and then using the spacers as templates to make the final pads. It was worth the effort, and I hope that my final Christmas gift to Fred made his remaining time that much more enjoyable.)

    As the Oehler operates along the lines of the Albert (with the same odd (to the Boehm player) first finger treatment on each hand, and no thumb ring or thumb ring seat to stabilize your grip on the back of the horns), it takes some getting used to, but once you have it under your fingers, it works well enough.

    The one great negative about the Oehler horns is that the little finger work is a bit more complex than one the Boehm. You don't have the same degree of duplication of the little finger keys that you have on a standard Boehm instrument. The so-called "patent C#" mechanism makes up for this to some extent, but you still don't have the same facility on the Oehler (or the Albert) that you do on the Boehm. This, and the funky first finger arrangement are enough to put most players not raised on them off of the Oehlers and Alberts.

    That said, there are plenty of spectacular Oehler players out there in the motherland. And, there used to be as many on the Albert system. The famed Lazarus methods were put together by the English player of that name, who played the Albert system to the day of his death. This accounts for a few of the exercises in the method, which seem like a doddle on the Boehm for those who play them, yet they serve very real purposes on the Albert, with its less enabled lower joint. And, as I said, jazz players seem to like them.

    Finally, I learned to play on an Albert bass clarinet pitched in A, a relic of my grandfather's post-World War I experience, when he and his lovely wife made it over here from Bavaria, running from the Red revolutionaries, with only their portable valuables. Grandma pawned her jewelry, and Grandpa pawned three of his four Albert system clarinets. The fourth, a wonderful Buffet bass pitched in A, the pawn shop would not take as there was no established price for such a rara avis. It went in a series of closets until it was time for little Terry to abandon the string world (what the hell were they thinking?) and start playing the clarinet.

    My mother, as cheap as the day was long (she was of Prussian blood, not at all like my Bavarian father's family), decided that we already had a clarinet, and there you go. I had three or four lessons from a teacher who ultimately gave up on the Albert system. But, the Rubank method had an Albert fingering chart (it's the one that looks like a real clarinet - the metal one was the Boehm), and so I plugged away and here I am. So, it can be done.

    So, who's your potential market? Some jazz players swear by the Albert. (Woody Allen, a halfway decent jazz clarinetist, actually had Selmer make him a new one when his beloved Albert horn suffered a terminal crack.) But, Woody's not in the market any longer, so you'll have one less potential customer. Alberts do not "move well" on eBay, and I'd not be investing much money in any of them unless they are in pristine condition.

    If, by some chance of fate, my memory failed me and these are, indeed, German horns, then your market is only a smidgen less limited. I have a bonafide German clarinet of the Oehler system, and I used to play it regularly when I did Broadway shows, as it has more facility in the sharp keys that seem to populate that style of music. (For "normal" work, it was Boehm all the way.) Dealing with the system differences is daunting at first, but once you get into the groove, you can get along about as well as you can on the other horns. (We do, after all, switch from clarinet to oboe to saxophone to bassoon and get by there, right?)

    That said, if you are up in years, you won't be as flexible with the change. We don't learn as well once we age. So, many older players will decide not to try something different. Another market wedge set aside.

    For German horns, the place to advertise would be ebay.de (or whatever the German abbreviation is on the internet these days). That's where you'll find the biggest concentration of buyers for German clarinets.

    And, there are instrument collectors out there. Recall the famous saxophone collection that is up on eBay for some fantastic amount. Most don't want a saxophone pitched in F, but those folks are out there - connect with one who's into getting every variety of clarinet horn that's out there and you may make a sale.
     
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  14. MichaelW

    MichaelW

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    Here in Germany we still distinguish between German and Oehler systems: We denote a clarinet without the Oehler mechanism as "Deutsches System" opposed to "Oehler System" as you can see at the Oscar Adler clarinets from the Thomann online catalog:

    http://www.thomann.de/de/search.html?filter=true&gk=blhkdb&manufacturer[]=Oscar Adler & Co.
    Modern Clarinets with "Deutsches System" today normally have six rings and up to 22 keys, e.g. Oscar Adler 322. There are even top workshops like Schwenk & Seggelke or Leitner & Kraus who don't use the Oehler system at all.
    I am especially fond of my Arthur Uebel clarinets from the 1960ties. One is Oehler, another "Deutsches System" with five rings only (see foto), and most time I prefer the lightweight and, in view of the simpler mechanism, very well tuned "Deutsche" for daily practicing.

    M.W.
    SAM_0418.jpg
     
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  15. MichaelW

    MichaelW

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    Addendum: Oskar Oehler was born on February 2nd, 1885. He died October 1st, 1936 (Reil, Weller: "Der Klarinettenbauer Oskar Oehler"), aged 51. Deutsche Luftwaffe was founded March 1st, 1935 (Wikipedia). So I can hardly imagine that Oehler should have been of any use for the new Nazi Luftwaffe, and he was dead three years before WW2.
     
  16. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Michael, the plateau key for the right hand B-key surprised me. Nice pics.
     
  17. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    My mistake. I confused Oehler with the man who wrote the book on the German clarinets that is the most available source in English today (if and when you can find an English translation copy), one Oskar Kroll. He's the one who was in the Luftwaffe.
     
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  18. MichaelW

    MichaelW

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    Thank you. Just that "Griffplatte" that actuates the two small keys on the right side- and no hole beneath it- is typical for Oehler vs. "Deutsch" (the upper instrument). Fingering is identical: RH2... Bb/F; RH1... B/Fsharp.

    But... where has that first posting from yesterday (earlier than the second one from 10:02 PM wiith the short "addendum") with this foto been left? I can't find it in the thread.
     
  19. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

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    Also an addition, to revive this thread 2 years later:
    I was talking with Dave Tuttle at Clarinetfest about Bauer for a bit.
    He apparently taught the Kaspar cousins and Goldbeck.
    That might make it more interesting to some collectors if they wanted one like it. However, these are rarher rare, considering they apparently were handmade, which is why Oscar/Oskar Bauer stopped making them. (You can read a much longer explanation of stuff about Bauer and Goldbeck in part 1 of a series of articles by Mr. Tuttle in a 2014 issue of The Clarinet, if you're an ICA member.)
     

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