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Worth refurbishing?

Discussion in 'Bb (Soprano) Clarinet' started by stumpy, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. I have an old, Buffet-Crampon wooden clarinet that has sadly been in storage without climate control for years. When I rescued it, i knew the pads and corks would need replacing, but when I opened the case I saw that the finish on the keys has deteriorated to a steel gray color instead of shiny silver. It almost looks corroded. So I am wondering if it is worth salvaging or if the cost would justify buying a new clarinet altogether. Any advice?

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    If it's of the magic R-13 model, then it is most probably worth the effort indeed. (This assumes no tone hold damage or cracking, of course.) The key touches and other metal work should clean up well, and it would most likely have shot pads and corks anyway.

    Drop down to one of the lower priced models, and you may have an argument for letting it lie and moving on to another horn.
  3. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    I really have a hard time on these kind of decisions. If I want to play/own the horn, I have in the past had them restored. But I never make money on those kind of deals. If you do your own work, it would be easier to at least break even. Good luck!
  4. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    More details about the model/serial number and photos would help to make an informed judgement. As was previously mentioned, cracks in the body or barrel would add considerably to the cost of restoration. Keys can always be buffed and replated.
  5. This one is just a C12, but the wood is beautiful and I can't see any cracks. What would you consider a reasonable price for refurbishing this model? If I can get it fixed, it will be just for me. If I cannot get it fixed, I can buy a cheaper plastic horn, but I love the wood on this one.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
  6. Serial no. is: 258516.
  7. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    A ball park figure for a repad without a lot of key fitting or tonehole work would be around $200 in my area. To buff and replate the keys, add at least another $100. You can't buy that quality of clarinet with new pads for $300 in ordinary circumstances.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    But, the big question is, is the horn cracked in any way. A careful examination by the tech should notice what's what with the woodwork, and then an informed decision can be made on the rest of the expense.
  9. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    A Buffet C12 is a fine instrument indeed, their Conservatory model. As mentioned my first question would be, do you plan on playing it or selling it.
    If you plan on playing it then I certainly would get it refurbished, even if it has a crack.

    It's a good low cost entry into a nice Buffet clarinet. Have you seen the prices of Buffet clarinets lately ?

    If you plan on selling it then I seriously would sell it as-is. Yes it's not the best visual representation but the more money you sink into it, well, the less profit you are going to get out of it.
  10. Starting a collection of antique horns myself and I call them closet horns. Parents pay out a small fortune on high quality clarinets and kids loose interest in six months; off to the closet for 100 years they go. To make any money you need collectability of items. Just like guitars the woodwinds are special when there is historical meaning to a maker and quality or condition being prominent. If your buying for resale and drag a car out of a farmers field, very doubtful you will make any money, even if you do all the labor. Same with woodwinds, the $15.00 clarinet on eBat is not a collectors prize.
  11. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Collecting (modern) clarinets or saxophones is a losing game. In both of those worlds there is about one instrument each that have appreciated in value: for clarinets, that's a Haynes Thermocouple. For saxophones, that's a Selmer Mark VI. (Of course, I'm not talking about prototypes or horns owned by famous players.) There are more that retain their value ... but it's still only a few. It's also becoming a lot more difficult to find something on eBay that's listed incorrectly that you can "flip" and make a profit -- primarily because you can get info about the horn you're looking at on websites like this.

    Now, if you're talking about buying a good playing horn for cheap on eBay, that's very possible. This is because people seem to think that a $1500 SML Gold Medal sax in perfect shape is inherently not as good as an $8000 Yanagisawa because the SML was made 40+ years ago. However, the problem is that you really need to have someone to guide you and tell you which old horns are junk and should be avoided. That's sometimes difficult, especially when the expert says something like, "Yup. That Selmanbuffet is good, but only between serial numbers 1 and 3.14. Or if it has silver keywork. Or if it was made by Sam Jones," etc.
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