1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

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    Default 1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

    Someone is selling a 1936 Buffet Bass Clarinet - It's beat but cheap. Are these worth saving?

    Tenor - '61 Mark VI w/Tenny Slant Tone Edge 8
    Alto - '66 Mark VI/Meyer 6/Caravan
    Soprano - '93 Yani S-900 w/Tenney Tone Edge 7

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    Default Re: 1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

    While I prefer Selmers, from what I've heard these older can be some rather nice basses, although they still aren't without problems. Is it a low Eb one, I assume?
    It might not be from 1936, though-basses used a different serial chart than sopranos. I don't know if Buffet still does that-anyone with an 1193 want to confirm that?

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    Default Re: 1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

    I was looking at the wrong serial number list. This one is marked "Professional" from the late 1960's.

    Tenor - '61 Mark VI w/Tenny Slant Tone Edge 8
    Alto - '66 Mark VI/Meyer 6/Caravan
    Soprano - '93 Yani S-900 w/Tenney Tone Edge 7

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    Forum Contributor 2010 & Distinguished SOTW Member qwerty's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

    I had one of these, albeit a bit older. It was a pretty darn good bass clarinet. It should have the double automatic register key, which in my mind makes it far superior to the Buffet 1180 available today with the single. The 3rd line B was VERY sharp. It had a warm tone and other than the third line B issue, had pretty decent intonation. Stephen Freeman played one of these for 38 years in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. I got mine for a song and then had it rehabbed for about 400 bucks. It served me well until I decided I couldn't live without a low C.
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. -- F.Z.

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    Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician & columnist clarnibass's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1936 Buffet Low Eb Bass Clarinets Worth the Effort?

    Old Buffets and Selmers (let's say before about 1970) were pretty much as good as current ones as far as the basic tone. Some players can even like a particular one better than a new one (and vise versa). Along the years huge improvements were made especially in the design of the keys but also to intonation and evenness of the range. So although the tone might be as good, some notes could vary more to create the feel of a worse tone overall.

    So in the end it all comes down to whether the differences are worth compromising compared with the cost and that's an individual choice. I know a couple of of excellent players who play older basses because they prefer them. They would replace them with new ones if they liked them better. I've tried their basses and didn't like them as much as new ones. Obviously the best players were using these at the time. With used current models selling for what they are, these older ones are becoming an even better value, but whether you'd like one or not or whether the compromises would be significant for you, no one can know but you.

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