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Vintage Couesnon

Good day to all. :)

I received a gift yesterday from a dear friend. It's a Couesnon & Cie "C" clarinet. I do not know much about the company, though. I was told that it is likely from the late 20's/early 30's. Is it true there are no records for serial numbers?

The only marking on this instrument is the company stamp, "France" at the joints, "L.P." at the joints, "14" under the metalwork on the lower half of the instrument and what looks like a cursive L under that. It's in really good condition considering its age and it is playable. I want to take really good care of this instrument to honor my friend's memory and I want to know more about it. Anything you can tell me would be great. I currently have a Buffet R13 that I play regularly and this "c" clarinet is a wonderful treat. I've attached a few photos as well



Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
If you mean a Couesnon-provided serial number chart, I think you're correct on that. Couesnon saxophones and other brasswinds, at least, had a little "grenade fruit" stamp with a number in it and the number's the date, so it's easily possible that 14=1914 and that's when your horn was made. You can contact Couesnon through their website at http://pgm-couesnon.fr to make sure. Of course, it might help if you can read and write in French ....

Based solely on the manufacturer's stamp on your horn, I'd say the horn was made prior to Couesnon's reformation/realignment in 1931. I also did a bit of Googling and found that Couesnon definitely had the more modern-looking register key, like what your horn has, as early as 1912, so 1914 sounds plausible to me, at least.

A couple things you might want to check out:
http://www.clarinetpages.net/vintage-odd-brands/couesnon (where I found the 1912 catalog)
Thank you so much for the info! Fascinating read, to say the least!!! I felt blessed to receive this instrument in her memory, and now I feel extra blessed to know it's such a unique and fascinating instrument. The "c" stamped on the front is, I'm assuming, telling me that it's a C horn, correct?


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
The "c" stamped on the front is, I'm assuming, telling me that it's a C horn, correct?
Probably. If you hold it next to your R13, there should be a significant difference in size. Because it's stamped "LP," I'm not worried that you have a high pitch horn. It's possible that Couesnon had a "Model C" clarinet or some such -- they had quite a few sax models all available at the same time -- that's why the size comparison is the best way to tell.
A couple of years back I bought a Couesnon clarinet via EBay for only about 50 bucks. It arrived in a pretty cruddy condition, with rotted pads and corks and verdigris on the keywork. After a strip and clean I was surprised to find that I had a Monopole, and it restored beautifully. The wood was some of the best I've seen. I set it up with roo pads, and after a bit of tweaking pad heights it tuned amazingly well and was an absolute delight to play with an M30 mouthpiece. I'd rate it as good as most R13's that I've come across. I sold it on for a good price, but I sometimes wish that I'd kept it for my own use.