Untitled Document
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!

Artley 18S Prelude Bb Soprano


Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Hi folks. Sorry I'm posting this here, since I don't know where to post this--which is part of the reason I'm asking some questions. Pete, Steve--whoever--please move to the appropriate sub-forum. Thanks ;)

Back when I was in jr. high, I got minty Artley 18S Prelude clarinet when I started my clarinet studies. I played it for about a year, and then switched to the school bass. I kept playing bass all throughout school and beyond into university. Then I gave up clarinet until about a month ago, when I picked it up again for a musical. I'm playing the Reed 3 book for Guys and Dolls.

I am quite amazed by this Artley 18S Prelude. I remember ATT these instruments had a very good rep. The serial # puts it at 1974. (At lest if the serial # chart on the Selmer USA website is correct.) Looking at it, you would think it is new. I had it into my tech, who only had to replace 2 pads before I started playing it again.

I was wondering Steve, if you could give me any info on this little beast. Stuff like: Who made it originally. Since it's a simulated wood grain, composite body of some kind, I know it's a student horn of some kind, so I'm wondering how they compare to what's out there in general. I'm just surprised at the warmth in sound that it has. It doesn't sound any different to the wooden Buffet I sit next to--mind you that guy too is a sax player, and not the world's strongest clarinet player.

My MP is a late 1970s Herb Couf Artist 4*. Maybe you could tell me something about that too. I have a couple of those for alto and tenor from back in the day, as they were quite popular, but I don't know if the one I have for the clarinet is a jazz piece or not.

I also have a Selmer HS*, but I haven't tried it. I don't know what it plays like, since I've just been concentrating on relearning all my fingerings again--more or less done, just trying to keep the L&R pinkie notes straight in my head is a challenge--and developing my clarinet embouchure. For that I figure 1 MP will be challenge enough, why mess around with 2.

So insights that you could provide Steve, into my horn or MPs would be greatly appreciated. I'm not planning on upgrading, since playing clarinet is not going to become a regular thing for me. That said, I did get a really interesting--read antique--Albert system clarinet for the Big Band I play in, and I am planning on learning its key layout, but I just need to get this musical out of the way before I clutter up my head with yet another fingering system. ;)


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
Artley had several modern models. 17S, 18S, something else then the Prelude. But there were essentially at least 4 generations of Artleys. Pre-UMI and post-UMI (approx year 2000 when UMI bought Artley).

They were produced, I think when UMI owned them, from the same factory as the Armstrong clarinets. I think at that time UMI already bought WT Armstrong which would have been in 1981 ?

Before that I think Conn owned Artley which was about 1960?
I'm sure there's hundred of Wiki pages going over who bought who when in the last 30 years .. it's a mess.
Thus yours would have been a Conn/Artley.

They were all student. Of the few modern ones I've had in my hands and worked on they were all really sturdy clarinets with thick keywork - though I haven't seen one in years.

This thick keywork (thick rings, etc) makes them ideal for students. They also had smaller toneholes, also ideal for small student hands.
The more modern ones also may have been tuned slightly sharp to take into consideration most newbie students who play flat due to softer reeds.

But your's being a 1974 model (the same year I bought my Couf Royalist II alto sax) I would think it may be totally different than a modern Artley. But they were all about sturdy student clarinets.

The H Couf mouthpieces .. a couple generations of those too.
Usually his clarinet mouthpieces were strictly plastic for student clarinets and came with the Artley and Armstrong clarinets, which were conveniently from the same factory. I don't know when they were first being produced.

I do know Artley is in my 1982 catalogs.


Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Thanks for the info Steve. The Couf MP was bought afterwards by me--actually my parents would have paid for it ;) --the original that came with the horn I still have as well and is marked Artley.

The Couf MP seems to be HR, since it is discoloring much like HR pieces do (going brownish) where the cap doesn't cover it. It is engraved Artist, like the Couf saxophone MPs I got around the same time--which were quite popular [in certain niches?]. They were popular with some jazz players for a while IIRC. I bought my first one on the advice of my sax teacher, who was also using one. I have a tenor 9* that has a crazy baffle, and also a couple of alto pieces that are much more closed. (A 3* and a 5*. Neither of those have the baffle.)


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
I need to revise something that I didn't know about until I was looking at my 1982/1983 catalogs .. in this thread http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/showthread.php?6430-1982-amp-1983-Catalogs-WWBW-NEMC

But Artley apparently had flutes all the way to the top professional models back then.
From a 17-0-60 model for $325 retail
all the way up to the
Artley 82-0-B for $2,550 US

in 1982
17-0-60 $325
18-0-60 $335 (nickle)
18-0-30 $348 (silver plate)
77-0 $540 (silver head)
7-0 $785 (silver head and body)
7-0-B $885 (silver head body lowB)
15-0-IN $339 silver plate
going all the way up to the solid silver with silver body, keys, gold springs etc.
Top Bottom