I had an email conversation with someone with this vintage clarinet (though not a 1 piece) just this week. He said that Buffet could not figure out what model it was .. due to the "donut" key thus they contacted me. (go figure ... I know Conn-Selmer sends people to my website for information on older clarinets and i guess Buffet does too)
The infamous "donut Buffet", which in the past week I updated on my website. I rank the Donut Buffets as my one particular buffet model that i would not ever want.
which is odd that I have a Buffet on my do not touch list, along with CSOs and the like. Even Buffet Alberts etc aren't on that list !!
2) The propensity of long joints for cracking. Old Selmer basset horns have a huge lower joint, and (without exception) every single one that I have ever handled has had cracking in the lower joint.
3) The mechanism - I've puzzled over this before (well, once before) and I still don't see the reason for the double rings.
4) Unlike the rest of youse, I have not drunk the Buffet Kool Aid. Buffets, as a general rule, do not appeal to me. Other than the regularity of tone over the break, there is little about them that I like, or even appreciate. Their bass clarinet, on the other hand, is my choice for replacement for my Selmer Model 33, should I be unable to obtain a new one.
Keep in mind if I buy a clarinet it is either for my collection or for reselling.
The Donut clarinet is not a "normal" setup, thus has a harder problem selling it.
It has an odd feeling to that finger. off course being a sax player AND flute (though a rarity) it's not that odd. But when you get clarinet only players, especially students where the standard boehm teacher is the decision maker then it's odd enough where it is completely avoided.
It's easy to prove that they haven't disappeared: a lot of alto, bass and lower clarinets are "long," as are Eb sopranino and higher. You just put on the neck and bell. No problem.
I will bow to Terry's wisdom and experience for wooden Bb clarinet and lower, as all the one-piece horns I've played that were lower than Eb alto (hey, I had to try one) were plastic or metal. So, that means that if I wanted a one-piece horn, I'd take a look at it and play test before buying .
Plastic (and, to a lesser extent, ebonite/hard rubber) does not "move" like wood. Even a high-oil content wood like grenadilla is subject to this curse, and you always face it as an issue.
"One piece" clarinets are not any more susceptible to cracking than others. However, with a severe crack (and such things do exist - you get some doozies with oboes that can run over half the length of the touchy upper joint), the one piece clarinet is toast. The same horn in two or more pieces only loses a single joint.
And, I know that small cracks can be fixed, often to the extent that it is as if the crack isn't even there. But, I'm talking about awe-inspiring cracks - rare but catastrophic.
And, as almost all of the unibody Bb clarinets are older horns, the age factor (and future potential for such damage) has to be considered as well.
If the horn cost $50.00, it would be one thing. However, I doubt that the vendor is offering it up for a single General Grant.
I like weird clarinets, but I'm with this guy ^ as far as Buffet. I too have not consumed the kool-aid nor do I plan to in the future, they're not my cup of tea, I'm more of a selmer person. I don't feel uncomfortable with the extra length, I have an LP selmer A with the low Eb and have no issues with the length.
The thing is, with the one piece body, you face the longer box and awkward transportation factor. With my "normal" clarinets, I just have the small brick-shaped case that fits in any vehicle, and if not in the back/on the floor, it fits in my lap. That hulking case doesn't, nor does the bass clarinet case though.