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Buffet History - Music Archives


Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
Several years ago I was sent a link to an online article from a new blog site. Some people in France working on building historical information of the instrumental industry.

Back then the translator really didn't work but today it works fairly well.
Thus below are some excerpts from that page which you can visit for it's entirety on

Brief History
The founder Denis BUFFET-AUGER comes from a family of factors of wind instruments who gathered for a century in Couture-Boussey.

His son Jean Louis BUFFET by marrying Zoe Crampon , will append both surnames to distinguish himself from his uncle, the factor innovative and Louis Auguste BUFFET . One with clarinetist KLOSE will adapt the mobile rings on the Boehm flute (hence the name Boehm system) and invent the modern clarinet 1840
Evette & Schaeffer, used to be a different company...
After the end of the patents of Adolphe SAX, in 1866, the factory will also make excellent saxophones. EVETTE and SCHAEFFER in 1885 and many others will buy from that company but still keep the brand "Buffet Crampon" real seal of quality
Effects of WW II
BC factory was no more than the shadow of itself ... Some elders, including Robert Carrée (RC), will re-start the Buffet Crampon (BC) plant and look for apprentices ... In 1946: the factory had only 30 companions (workers) and 20 arpets (apprentices). We worked at least 50 hours a week because the workers were paid by the piece

The sound / design
"It is still the case for the sound so specific and inimitable BC because if one can copy and reproduce a clarinet identical, and some do not deprived it, it is complex to reproduce the sound BC Because of the tools, the secret know-how born at that time and jealously guarded. "

manually drilling holes, using the keys are templates
for example you saw the drilling of the holes of the clarinets with the numerical control machines but in my time the work was different, for example we made the holes that at the end opposite). so we went up the keys before on virtual holes and if everything well agençait, we dismantled the keys, they dug holes, traveling back and all finishers made playable instruments. thenPierre LEFEBVRE ( Solo clarinet of the Republican Guard and Lamoureux concerts) tried them at BC (from 1934 to 1953), and they could go on sale.

a change in storage and processing the dried wood
MV: in the 60s, with the modernization of production (work in series) and the new economy of the (Reduction in the cost of production), productivity was increased, for example the storage of timber which immobilized a large amount of cash and where BC had to pay taxes on stocks at the time changed the natural drying process too much expensive. natural drying was replaced by retorts that carry pressurized wood drying and oiling (linseed oil) and then later came the ovens. After that are the known steps of turning and drilling ".

About Robert Carrée
he was not clarinettist!
I think that this weakness a priori was a force in the end (against Leblanc or the professional clarinettist Selmer brothers ...) because he did not make a clarinet according to his personal characteristics or his game but it opened on the field of possible and On the specificities of each other. Thus he was constantly "the blow of the plateau" where he mixed some fifteen clarinets including some prototypes ".

and he would use the input from clarinetists
DG: "As the greatest clarinetists of the world passed continually plant , they did try a plate of various copies very different in blind This allowed RC to refine, improve, noting requests for innovations. , Problems encountered, criticisms and strong points to keep on his small notebook and in addition there were the testers "home" taken from among the best clarinettists of the place

The BC20
"The BC20 is a very different clarinet R13 by its piercing which is cylindrical and non poly-cylindrical like the R13. The barrel had an inverted conical bore (which was added) and the pavilion was also worked more tapered. In Fact, the basic elements of the modification of a clarinet to another (apart from the beak and the reed) are always the same: drill, barrel, holes and chimneys, pavilion. Timbre, correctness, power have been modified. A secret feature that I can reveal now was to round the edges of the bottom body studs, which is imperceptible, but which also resulted in a small impact.

The SuperDynaction

The clarinet Jazz ! We were pretty skeptical boss asked us to create with the help of Mr. Saury clarinet. Superdynaction. It should sound good (there were no microphones attached to the instrument ) So that in a Jazz orchestra one can hear the clarinet with trumpet, trombone, saxos etc ... or in a big band. As the jazzmen tighten less lips, it was necessary to go up the tuning fork by a shorter barrel but this brought about a problem Of relative accuracy between the registers, which was less serious since the jazzman did not seek accuracy but rather lip effects (at the time New Orleans and the influence of Sidney Bechet was preponderant). A commercial flop because on the one hand the clarinettists sulked it being inferior qualitatively to the other models and especially by the fact that the jazzmen replaced the clarinet by saxophones (bad knowledge of the evolution of jazz then dance music Modern as the Rock, Rhythm and blues .

The RC
"Robert Square will be the designer of the RC in 1975 for the 150th anniversary of the birth of Buffet Crampon (1825), which will boost the business and still make a qualitative leap for the professional clarinet. The objectives were to develop a new clarinet remote from the R13 and its variants with a new piercing. Given the market demand, and Lancelot Square will look projecting a more rounded, hence a wider bore poly-cylindrical and shorter than the R13 but keeping the qualities of intonation of the R13 and the achievements of previous clarinets.



Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member