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Continental Clarion Clarinet - 29591

#1
Hello, I am looking for some help with my metal body clarinet that I just picked up. It was used by the band at Fort Meade SD. It's black. I mean, it's not patina. I haven't tried very hard to remove this blackness. I think that the horn body is probably brass as there are a couple chip like spots around the base of the bell that are gold colored. I am wondering if anyone has ever heard of the military treating their metal body clarinets with some sort of paint or something? I can post some pictures if that would be helpful. I was thinking at first it was just oxidation but now I really think it was painted with something and I don't want to get to soaking and find out it's coated and then have some sort of crazy mess on my hands. Thanks so much to anyone who can help me with this mystery.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3
badenia @ SOTW said:
Cavalier launched in 1931 with the 98N clarinet. By serial serial 03114, it was discontinued and replaced by the 92N. I have traced the 94 N to 1933. In 1935 Continental started getting Pan American and cavalier product on the Continental, Colonial and Clarion names. The earliest clarinet under that stencil is 013786.
In other words, it was a product of CG Conn LTD. It's also a very low-tier model. Can't say "student model," because they weren't exactly marketed that way, but the lineup was CG Conn pro > Pan American > Cavalier.

That does look like paint. Conn did have an enamel finish available, but I don't think it was used on anything but saxophones. I'd be delighted to be proven wrong, though. Based on "gold chips," it's possible that the horn is brass.

In the late 60s, Bundy did have a line of instruments that featured a ugly tan/brown matte "paint" finish for marching band instruments.
 
#4
Thank you very much for the excellent information. Would you have any thoughts on how I would be able to test to see if it is enamel vs paint? Think just hitting a small spot on the inside of the bell with some acetone would remove enamel or would that be a good way to determine what I'm dealing with? Enamel is glass fused to another material right?

Thank you again. I've been scouring the internet to figure out when this clarinet was made so I could get an idea of it's value. I'm really happy with my purchase. If it is paint it is exactly what I was looking for. A low end clarinet that I can take apart and rehab without the pressure of "messing it up".
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#5
Well, there are a couple different enameled horns on Helen's and my gallery. These horns were from QuinnTheEskimo, noted forum sponsor. I still think it's unlikely that your horn has an enamel finish from Conn, but we do love speculating!

The enamel used on the old Conn horns is supposed to be extremely similar to automobile paint. Of course, someone could use modern auto paint, like with these custom straight baris. There are also colored lacquers.

I used to own a Pan American metal clarinet. I rather liked the tone.
 
#6
Oh my goodness. Those horns are stunning!

I think that answers my question as to whether this was a factory job or a military job. The paint on this clarinet wasn't applied with any sort of care. The interior or the bell is partially painted. There is over-spray on the inside of some of the tone holes. The paint is matte and there wasn't any attempt to make the makers mark pop.

I haven't been able to truly try out this clarinet as it's missing several pads but I was able to get a couple notes outta it and it sounds lovely. I found a video of someone playing a very similar clarinet to the one I have and it sounded pretty nice. The struggle I think is in the tuning? One note can run flat and the next sharp. Gotta pull these keys off and repad it asap so I can get to know her. :)

When I was in grade school first learning the clarinet my chorus instructor had a silver clarinet sitting on display at her desk. I bugged her until she finally let me play it. I've wanted one from that day to this.

Pretty excited about this project. I'll post pictures of it when I'm done, if you're interested?
 
#10
Oh my goodness. Those horns are stunning!

I think that answers my question as to whether this was a factory job or a military job. The paint on this clarinet wasn't applied with any sort of care. The interior or the bell is partially painted. There is over-spray on the inside of some of the tone holes. The paint is matte and there wasn't any attempt to make the makers mark pop.

I haven't been able to truly try out this clarinet as it's missing several pads but I was able to get a couple notes outta it and it sounds lovely. I found a video of someone playing a very similar clarinet to the one I have and it sounded pretty nice. The struggle I think is in the tuning? One note can run flat and the next sharp. Gotta pull these keys off and repad it asap so I can get to know her. :)

When I was in grade school first learning the clarinet my chorus instructor had a silver clarinet sitting on display at her desk. I bugged her until she finally let me play it. I've wanted one from that day to this.

Pretty excited about this project. I'll post pictures of it when I'm done, if you're interested?
Its a real possibility that your clarinet has extremely oxidized silver plating. As gold shows in area/s, it could be one of two things as well if this is the case. The flute is likely structurally made of brass under the finish of silver plating. Nicked and/or worn spots will show 'brassing' .
Unlikely but also possible is that a portion of your instrument has a gold wash, this is generally , ALWAYS applied over silver plating. When the silver oxidizes it does so thru the gold wash.
Removal of tarnish without loss of silver is done with aluminum foil and..well, here's a link to that. Best of luck, whatever the surface...beauty is after all...not skin deep.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#11
Full disclosure: I took a 15 minute tour to find out what metal clarinets that aren't silver-plated brass or sterling silver were made out of. I didn't get a straight answer. I found that odd. The best place I found was http://www.clarinetpages.net/metal-clarinets/good-metal-clarinets, which has a bunch of vintage ads attached. When the horns were silver plated, sterling silver, or nickel silver, the ads mention that, otherwise, it's just "metal clarinet." @Steve might be able to clear that up.

Joe1joey, I understand what you're trying to get at, because I've seen horns that have had bad purplish oxidation over most of their body, but I tend to doubt that the Continentals were plated in silver. They were the lowest grade Conn products, after all.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#12
if they are just a metal clarinet then they are made of nickel silver stuff. No silver involved that's just the color.
Others will be made of brass but will be plated nickel silver.
Jim's Selmer Paris metal clarinet is silver plated awesomeness, or silver plated brass I think.

As to the OPs. I cannot tell from the far away picture. Maybe it was black nickel plated ??
It's odd that the keys are all silver still whereas the entire body is a consistent color which leaves me to think black nickel - the same as a lot of saxes black nickel. This was fairly uncommon but was used in the 1960s a bit from what I recall.

Student flutes are commonly nickel body, which provides a brighter though faster reaction .. good for students. I won't say anything about the nickel kitchen sinks, I mean saxes I've played though. Of course, over time the materials used changed for price levels, etc.
And we don't know the model or anything of the OPs clarinet either - at least I can't see it.
 
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