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Champion clarinets.

Has anyone heard of Champion?
When I was just thinking of learning clarinet I grabbed an old instrument off the internet. It's apparently ebonite, with the "Champion" logo stamped into the surface of the bell. I haven't found any info on the net, so they were a very small operation at best. I've only seen mine and a metal clarinet on EBay.
The case is solid wood covered in paint-filled canvas. How long has it been since they built them like that? The kit looks like this.
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The mouthpiece is probably not original. It's a Selmer Clarion. The gray stain is JB Weld, sealing a long crack. It works, but I'm going to buy a new mouthpiece.
Here's the logo on the bell.
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Since the only marking is on the bell, I'm guessing they weren't the original manufacturer. Manufacturers are never shy about marking their logo on things.
So far I've replaced the last remaining shreds of cork holding the bell on (sanding cork is a restful and contemplative hobby) and I'm planning to learn how to replace pads next.
I don't care what the actual value is. It's just a beater while I decide whether I want to continue learning or go on to the next instrument. And fixing it up will be a good learning experience in itself.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Czech. The recommendation listed is to get a longer barrel if you want to play almost in tune, but you'll still probably play sharp.

Edit: Sorry. Forgot to mention. Probably made by FX Huller. They had a sax model with the same name.
 
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Czech. The recommendation listed is to get a longer barrel if you want to play almost in tune, but you'll still probably play sharp.

Edit: Sorry. Forgot to mention. Probably made by FX Huller. They had a sax model with the same name.
Wow! That was impressive.
Since I play alone being in precise tune is less important, but I guess when I replace the cracked mouthpiece I should get a longer barrel at the same time.
Thanks for the info. It's nice to know where my learner pipe came from.
If I botch the pads and ruin the sound I guess I don't have to feel too bad. It looks like a good one for experimenting with.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Thx. I have a black belt in Google skillz.

I'd think it's possible that the horn reviewed at Clarinet Pages could be a high pitch horn (intonation standard where A=457hz, rather than the modern A=440hz or A=442hz). If so, you'd still have some out-of-tune notes, but the notes should be different ones :D.

As an opinion and suggestion, if you do like the job you do with corks, felts, pads, and/or springs, you might want to try to find a used Buffet or Yamaha student model to continue practicing repair on, as those horns should be closer to decent intonation when repaired. Or ask in the repair sections of this forum which clarinets are cheap and not insanely difficult to work on.

Don't trust me too much. I'm not a woodwind tech. :p
 
At least I have a little experience with working with my hands. I've been making crude but playable string things.
(This was 60 pounds ago. I'm down a bit from those days.)
The sickness has started. I've already spent $40+$30 shipping on a Selmer Bundy that looked really nice in the pictures; good looking cork, anyway. We'll see how bad the surprises are in person.
And this morning my long term dream of an oboe was fulfilled with a $150 Buescher Aristocrat, complete with case, one reed and the receipts from the professional tech who inspected it and fixed it up to playable condition. So when it sounds like a strangled goose, it's all on me.
I am so broke now.:)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I've learned to step very far away from oboes. They have at least two common fingering systems -- which isn't as bad as the clarinet, because that has at least three -- and automatic and semiautomatic octave keys. I, at least, have a very difficult time telling them apart and I don't know which are in common use for beginners. Then you have to deal with the reeds, which can easily be a big pain. I think I once mentioned that at least on sax or clarinet you're not needing to replace your mouthpiece and ligature every couple weeks. That's essentially what you're doing on double-reed instruments.

At one point, I was extremely interested in learning how to repair instruments. At THIS point, I know my wife would kill me if I brought home another horn that needs to have a pro refurb done.
 
The Bundy arrived today. Better than I had hoped. The fitting between the upper and lower joints wobbles a bit, and it probably needs pads, but it sounds as good as I do so far; better than the Champion, in any case.
It comes complete with bore swab, cork grease, three Rico V-2 reeds (one in the mouthpiece and 2 loose and chipped. Now in the trash.).
Also an advertising flyer describing the wonderful things Selmer offers to enhance my playing experience and instructions to care for grenadilla. I'll be talking to the experts at the music store this weekend. They have a good band instrument program.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
The Bundy arrived today ... instructions to care for grenadilla
Unless you have 1930s (maybe 1940s) or earlier clarinet stamped "Geo. Bundy," the horn should be plastic ("Resonite"), like this one. Also, FWIW, if it's a Bundy mouthpiece that looks like this or has a lined rectangle around the word "Bundy," it's ... not exactly the world's greatest mouthpiece. It is possible that you do have a mouthpiece in the case that exceeds the value of the horn.

Always trash used reeds, unless they're for some odd, rare, double-reed horn so you can take the reed to a seller and ask, "Can you make a new one of these?" Unless, of course, you like experiencing new and unusual diseases :D.
 
The mouthpiece is a Selmer Goldentone 3, somewhat worn.
Another forum advised the person asking the question to replace his with a Fobes Debut or Hite Premier. About $25 on Amazon, which is within my budget.
Logos seem to be clear plastic stick-ons. I'm guessing this wasn't the top of the Bundy line.
I'll know more when I take it in to the store.
 
I'm back from the store. Alan's Music Center in La Mesa, CA. The Bundy will stay there until about Thanksgiving.
It's getting new cork between the upper and lower joints pl;us a few pads and some cork bumpers and some adjusting. It should be in good playable condition for about $60-70. Total price after repairs, about $150 for a nice late'60s/early '70s vintage Bundy.
The border around the logo is caused by the die that stamps the image into the wood, which is then filled with gold (or maybe goldish) leaf. The wood is grenadilla.
Over all, I think I did okay on the deal.
 
I may have found the manufacturer. I bought an old Elkhart, Built by Buescher (it says so on the case). It has all the markings in the exact same places; serial number on the bottom back of the lower joint in the same size and font, logo on the bell, no other markings. 57901 instead of 63684, but it could be the same sequence a few years apart.
And while I don't really know what to look for, to me the keys look identical. The only difference I can tell between the two instruments is the color. The ebonite on the Elkhart has faded to dark olive.
The lower joint is even a perfect fit with the Champion's bell and upper joint. Although I'm not sure how standardized clarinets were back then.
I do like the Elkhart case, I must say.
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I also found this.
http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/HasAnyoneHeard.html
They have three clarinets that used the name "Champion". Lyon and Healey was a major manufacturer, as was Pan American in their day, so they would have their logo prominently displayed on the horn. That leaves Grossman Music Corp. who imported stencil instruments, at least in their later years. Currently they're best known for the Grover Champion friction pegs.
Early metal chapoin clarinets are American made, so apparently they bought locally at the beginning, unless theres a fourth American Champion I haven't heard about. Also the early Selmer Bundy was made by Buescher, according to the Wikipedia article on Buescher. This means that all my clarinets are Bueschers. The only purchase I have that isn't a Buescher is the Buescher Aristocrat. Selmer made the oboes in a different subsidiary.
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
If a stencil was made for a company, it typically didn't have a marking of the manufacturer, like Pan-Am. I have an old Couesnon Albert system I'm looking at, which I only IDed as a Couesnon via the keywork-no markings at all other than Bb and LP! Most stencils will be like that, either having some random shop's chosen name, or no name on it.
Also, I can't guarantee your clarinets are Bueschers-the Selmer Bundys you're talking about are saxophones, and a lot of shops could buy clarinets from Thibouville, Saxes from Conn/Pan-Am, Trumpets from Couesnon, and so on to stencil; so one being marked as a certain stencil isn't always an indicator of the manufacturer being the same for all of them. (Plus there's the fact that the last wooden clarinet Buescher made was before ww2.)
Also, Lyon and Healy didn't make woodwinds, other than for a few years in which they owned Couturier and made saxophones, just strings and brass.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Also, I can't guarantee your clarinets are Bueschers-the Selmer Bundys you're talking about are saxophones
As an offhand note, I have pics of an early 20's bari with "Geo. Bundy" on the bell. It's a Conn.

* Pan American was Conn's second line. It's not exactly a stencil. I can say that some Pan American saxophones were stamped with the Haynes tonehole patent that was on Conn's pro saxes, but had a Pan American serial number on them. So, Conn stenciling itself.
* AFAIK, TrueTone is correct about Lyon and Healy woodwinds. L&H did buy stencils from more than one source. An obvious example is that Couturier made the Perfect Curved soprano sax for a while, then production shifted to Holton.
* Cases are pretty easy to replace. That's never a good indicator of who made your horn.

FWIW, the stuff on the Buescher Wikipedia page regarding saxophones was taken from my old website, saxpics.com. Here's the directory. Those pages have much better formatting :D.
 
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