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Help identifying a Buffett clarinet :)

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#2
Welcome to the forum. Others may be able to help you from the pictures, but the serial # will really help us track it down. Buffet serial numbers are typically stamped on the back side of the upper and lower joints (the two middle sections with keys) directly above the tenon. They may be heavily worn down. If you can see some stamping there, but can't decipher the numbers, take a piece of chalk and gently rub it there to fill in the stamping.
 
#3
OMG, after reading your post I picked up a piece of the clarinet and the first thing I seen was the serial number :D

It's 265862.

The Buffett website states this was made in 1984. I thought it was older than that.

I have a couple more questions if that's OK:

1) What would it be worth roughly?
2) Would it be expensive to get it cleaned/fixed up?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
> 1) What would it be worth roughly?
See http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=806.

It'd be more beneficial to determine what model Buffet you have, first. All I can say by looking at it is that it looks like it's wood, so it's not one of the plastic student models. However -- and I played clarinet for a long while -- most clarinets just look like clarinets to me.

> 2) Would it be expensive to get it cleaned/fixed up?
Depends on what's wrong with it and how enthusiastic of an overhaul you want. I can say that if you're interested in selling it, it's not necessarily a good idea to overhaul it.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#5
It looks like an R13 to me, though not being in my hand I can't be 100% sure.
It also looks silverplated, though a picture is a bad way to determine that - it also looks nickel plated in certain areas.

Why would you think it is earlier than 1984? Are you the original owner, or a family member?

prices vary dependent upon the market you are looking to sell it in, or are you looking for an insurable value - which are NOT the same?

As an example, on ebay this would fetch "as-is" say $900-1100 (add a couple bucks if it is silver plated)

to insure it, in other words in case it is stolen to then get a brand new R13 replacement, I would insure it for about $2800 - 3100 which is the price of a NEW R13 from wwbw.com

for more information about various valuations .... http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/ClarinetValue.htm
 
#6
Thanks for the responses guys, I really appreciate it.

My parents used to own an antique store and they bought this clarinet there in the 90's. I thought it was vintage then, but I don't very much about woodwinds.

From research I did online, I've gathered that this is most likely an R13.
A page I read said if there are no other markings and the serial is above 50,000 and "the A and A flat keys aren't fused to a single joint" which they are not, it is likely an R13.

The clarinet is actually in mint shape, not a crack or split anywhere, its all really smooth inside and out. It may need some TLC since it hasn't been played in a number of years.

I`m going to list it on eBay. Maybe I should bring it to a local music store to see if they are in fact silver plated keys first.

Thanks again !
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#7
Unless you talk to the repair guy, the likelihood of you getting a definitive answer as to key plating is pretty low. Silver has a deeper, more seductive look to it than does the much more common nickel plating. Side by side, two nickel plated horns look much the same. Ditto, two silver plated horns. But, when you have one of each, side by side, the difference is obvious - to the trained eye.

Seek out a repairman's advice before offering any language like "Silver Plated!!!!!" in your auction.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#8
Unless you talk to the repair guy, the likelihood of you getting a definitive answer as to key plating is pretty low. Silver has a deeper, more seductive look to it than does the much more common nickel plating. Side by side, two nickel plated horns look much the same. Ditto, two silver plated horns. But, when you have one of each, side by side, the difference is obvious - to the trained eye.

Seek out a repairman's advice before offering any language like "Silver Plated!!!!!" in your auction.
as he stated. Silver plating methods vary dependent upon manufacturer and vintages. Some silverplating is obvious, some is not so obvious even when it is side by side. And some will state "silverplated" as a generic term. So be careful who you have look at it and ask many questions.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#9
Digital photography and metallic surfaces

There is a problem with lower picture element density digital photography and metallic surfaces, particularly when the final image is "published" on the internet.

First off, the fine "detail" in a photograph of a metallic surface tends to get submerged through the pixelization process. Reflections (which are a large part of metallic surfaces) are (usually) point sources - pixels "smear out" a point into something larger.

Then, further artifacts are introduced into an image in the "dithering" process that is used to "fill in" the intermediate colors in any photographic image, but particularly in depictions of a metallic surface. Websites like this one have a default setting whereby images are reduced to some subset of the 256 "websafe colors", either in "pure form" (which is unusual in a photograph) or in mixtures of pixels that (like a color television image) use multiple colors to "fill in the gaps" betwixt the magic two hundred and fifty six web safe hues.

(This issue is very familiar to those who have done web site 'programming', but it is pretty transparent to most of the rest of the world. They only know that a photograph doesn't look quite right, but not exactly why.)

As one of the characteristics of a metallic surface is the reflection of other objects and light sources, the dithering (in effect) introduces a second layer of "non-web safe" color in the reflections. Push comes to shove, shiny metal just doesn't look all that much like metal after all of this.

(And, if you really want to push the envelop, try making your judgement off of an inkjet or laser print of a digital photograph.)

The difference between nickel and silver is usually pretty clear to the eye when seen in a straight up comparison, or it is at least to moi. I know that my silver key work clarinets stand head and shoulders above my nickel key work ones. Making the same judgement call from regular photographs is also pretty obvious, since the colors are not "washed out" by dithering (although it's still there, only on a molecular level in the dye particles, rather than relatively discrete pixel-sized units). Trying to do it from pure digital (or, even worse, digitized representations of physical photographic prints, or (horror of horrors) from an inkjet print) is a game I'd not want to play.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#10
My general rule of thumb regarding plating:

* Blackish purplish tarnish: silver
* Dull or white "tarnish": nickel

Nickel looks really bright in person, especially in comparison to silver. However, some horns that have had really heavy silver plate -- I'm referring to saxophones, now -- are also really bright. However, this is mainly with French-made instruments (say, for instance, my 19teens Evette & Schaeffer curved soprano).

If I was forced to guess on your clarinet, I'd say it's nickel, just because it does have the "dull" look on some of the keys. I've been wrong before.

I've also offhandedly mentioned that the main reason someone chooses different plating for clarinet keywork is if you have an allergy to a particular metal or if your sweat eats through a particular plating. Nickel vs. silver vs. copper vs. gold isn't an indication of the clarinet's quality.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#11
It's Nickel, 99% sure. Silver has a warmer tint, even with blueish camera flash. Plus, when Nickel tarnishes, it gets cloudy, while Silver will get through a similar colour spectrum (blackish, blueish, yellowish) as a contusion/bruise during healing.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#12
I'd go with nickel too, plus when you check the serial number it comes up a plain jane R13.


with silver plating / nickel I was unaware of how the instrument was stored or taken care of .. was it cleaned every so often for display, etc. no information provided.

My SP Selmer CT vs my non-SP Selmer CT wasn't much different in visual perception. Until one polished the silver with specific silver techniques, then it was more obvious. I thought they were both nickel until talking to anderson plating.

On my buffets. a modern buffet SP is very brilliant, and older one not that brilliant. But the SP vs nickel is much more obvious than it was with my CTs before I polished it up correctly. I only learned of the various plating techniques and what it looks like after speaking to Anderson plating.

Of the 2 recent clarinets I bought where the owners sweared they were silverplated, they were nickel. And one where the original owner thought it nickel, it was silver plated. After that SP one got a nice SP type polish it was such a brilliant color :)

So as mentioned pictures are not obvious answers, just someone with proper knowledge of identifying it. And even in hand it could not be so obvious.
 

kymarto

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#14
I am 99% sure it is nickel, based on the photographs. I have a silver-plate R-13, and silver has a much more "matte" finish than what I see here.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#16

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#19
And, instrument value (even accounting for the results of auctions and private sales) is a highly subjective matter. Unless you are one who is looking to make a killing by buying low and selling high, your value estimate based upon how a horn plays for you is much more accurate.

I've known naif but well off clarinet players who equate purchase price with instrument quality, who go out and spend big dollars on a top of the line Buffet horn, but who never have bothered to have the horn properly set up to suit their particular physiognomy, resulting in an expensive horn that they fight against constantly. Not fun for them, but it does give them the pride that comes from flaunting the latest R-whatever to come down the Buffet pipeline.

A real world approach would be for the prospective clarinet (or saxophone) purchaser to first learn the basics (on a beginner or (at most) intermediate level horn, then to test out all of the "move up" options thoroughly before pulling the string. And, even then I'd think twice before looking upon a musical instrument purchase as an "investment".

With a horn already in hand, the situation is a bit different. Most of us have blundered onto a quality instrument let go for a song, and are suddenly faced with the dilemma of what to do with it. That's the time to audit the auctions and other instrument sales information, just as you would do with the selling of a used car or a house.

That said, I am not one to "invest" in instruments unless they serve my specific needs. I've got three full Boehm Bb horns (and a Mazzeo, although not the one I would like to have), because I dread the day that my primary Bb horn gets lifted or cracked beyond recovery. When that happens, I want to be able to "step into" another horn that suits me then and there, and not to bother looking for a hard to find replacement that just may not be there.

I've got backups for my primary bass clarinet as well, again with the same issues in mind. But, I have never bothered to own more than one saxophone of a given size, since they are much more easily replaced (and durable - no wood issues there).

And, on those rare occasions when I have "blundered" onto a decent saxophone, I usually pass them on, particularly in the case of tenors (which, God help me, I just cannot abide). Better that someone who appreciates them gets the use of them, than for me to sit on them, waiting on an increase in value.

Now that we have "accurate" on line data on instrument pricing, has anybody bothered to tabulate the effect of the "Japanese collector's market" on the classic Mark VI instruments?
 
#20
Hi. I purchased a buffet clarinet at a estate sale. The label reads Paul Buffet. He also signed it on the bell. Stamped LP MADE IN FRANCE. Help please.
Van
 
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