No-name late 19th century France

This is clarinet was probably made before 1900.

1890 French Albert System


Serial  #none

Barrel:  63.4mm

Bore LH joint top:  14.3mm

Bore LH joint at bottom:  14.4mm


This clarinet is marked only LP (low pitch) and B (for Bb). The mouthpiece has “France” in quotes. This mark is found on quite a lot of French clarinets, always with only the F capitalized, in a serif font, and in quotes. I wish I knew which company did that. [10Jun2014] I have now connected that mark with the Martine Freres/Thibouville line.



Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.


For this test, I pulled 1.9mm  at the barrel and 1.0mm  at the center tenon, and I used a 3.5 Foresone reed and the original wood mouthpiece. The original mouthpiece plays very nicely.


High register


Android CarlTune


F



E

0


D

0


C

0


B

7


B-flat

0


A

17

Mid




G

14


F

3


E

8


D

-2


C

-1


B

-4

Throat tones




Bb

0


A

23 / 13 AF


G

16 /6 Adding Fingers


F

0


E

13

Chalemeau




D

19 / 3 AF


C

16 /0 RH 3+Ab


B-flat

2


A

11


G

-12


F

-14


E

-4


Intonation summary: By modern standards, this is awful. However this probably was typical intonation for the era, and it is manageable to play this mostly in tune with smart playing. To do so, one will have to use added Fingers (AF above). The chalemeau D and C and their corresponding notes in the the high register could be lowered by adding some material to reduce the diameter of the tone hole. The sharp A and Bb throat tones can also be lowered by physical changes or by adding fingers. I have recently had the privilege of working on early 20th century Penzel-Mueller Albert system clarinets. They play wonderfully in tune, and seem to have been using poly-cylindrical bore technology even that early. This clarinet was made way before such improvements.


Key work quality: Very good for this time. The back of many keys have a scoop/spoon shape visible in the one of the pictures.


This clarinet is most appropriate for: People wanting to play 19th century music on an authentic instrument.


Condition issues noted: I fixed two long cracks inside the barrel. Both were visible as a hairline crack on the outside. There was a previously fixed long crack from the top of the left hand joint to a little past the first trill key. I improved the appearance. This crack was not visible on the inside.






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