Metal Clarinets‎ > ‎


This page is grabbed from this French site: And the translation is courtesy of Google, so it may need tweaking. If you are an expert in French, please send corrections to me. Thanks to Barrie Marshall for alerting me to this great set of pictures.

                                                 ~ PHOTO GALLERY ~



Ronald Van Spaendonck and Jean Marc Fessard playing in concert in Brussels on metal clarinets.

 World premiere of a work by Michel Lysight February 21, 2007.

RVSpaendonck plays a clarinet restored by him and JM Fessard a Bettoney silva-bet from my collection.

You can see a video clip of the concert in the chapter '' some musical examples. ''











BUESCHER : Elkhart, Indiana.

Buescher is marketed as high-end models, small series. They are currently quite difficult to find, their construction is very neat.


 Buescher 710 Albert system and Buescher 740 Boehm system. On the 740, the roof is fixed. 3 models (710, 730 and 740) have an adjustable barrel high quality bolts remaining fixed to the body of the instrument. The 710 was restored by Eberhard Kraut , clarinetist German Jazz New Orleans who plays Albert system. It has one of the most interesting metal clarinet collections and remarkable articles written about them.







Buescher 730 'Poly' 'beautiful and rare metal professional clarinet, flag unscrews ...




  H. Bettoney:   Boston, MA

Silva-bet is the first metal clarinet presenting sound qualities comparable to good clarinet ebony, it is the revival of metal clarinets in the 1920s. It was the top model of the firm founded by WH Cundy and Harry Bettoney a reference in terms of build quality, Stamp richness and accuracy. She was played in symphony orchestras.

                 Silva-bets were offered in one piece barrel + or dismantled in 2 pieces + barrel as the model above. They are heavier instruments than most other metal clarinets and even slightly more than a wooden clarinet.

 2 Bettoney US, the small Eb, the middle Bb and silva-bet A.

Rare set of 2 metal Boston Wonder clarinets. One is in Bb and the other in A, Boston Wonder was manufactured by Bettoney.

Below: exceptional play 2-bet silva Bb and A in their good original dual case.

Bettoney The most common is certainly the '' 3 star '' and countless copies sold under other brand names (Penn, Boston Beacon mass, Dekay, Romain Braude, luxury Getzen, Symphony, Pioneer, etc ....) . This is an entry level clarinet, one of the lightest ... literally (600 grams) and figuratively ....... A silva-bet weighs 750 grams.






HN WHITE ° C : Cleveland, Ohio:

HN White ° C began producing metal clarinets in the mid-1920s this manufacturer is known for the quality of its production, including the bottom of its range represented by the Gladiator and American-standard and its environment range (Cleveland). But especially with its high-end where there is the wonderful Silver King '' silver lined 'dismantled into 4 parts that take the name' Microsonic 'Silversonic and after the Second World War.

In its period advertisements, HN White ° C tries to convince the clarinet ebony is on its last ....

The 1940 catalog shows a split wooden clarinet everywhere .... it is compared to a stagecoach pulled by a horse to highlight the archaism of this material, the metal clarinet is compared to a modern automobile, powerful and comfortable ..... '' The new way '' ....

 Mass seemed to be said and yet those are the metal clarinets that have lost this battle. The clarinet has not followed the path traced by the flute and tradition prevailed over modernism.


Below: American Standard '' made by King '', not to be confused with the Silver King ..... The american standard is a study model (of good quality), the silver king are professional models.





The bodies of some metal clarinets were copper or lacquered brass and not silver or nickel metal, several manufacturers offered the same model in two finishes, such as Cleveland 2 '' made by King identical besides metal used for the body.












Silver-king : high-end of the Hn-White ° C ........



Sterling silver hand carved pavilions for these 2 Silver King 1930 (left) and 1920 (2 photos at right).



Large double walled barrel and locking hook for perfect alignment of the body 2 for removable models. The Silver King '' silver lined 'benefited more from a particularly neat finish from inside the bore.



The Silver King are wonderful instruments, there are many models that have a different personality, some suited to classical music, others more comfortable in jazz and traditional music. Newer models have a double-walled pavilion in silver plated inside.The silver king is the most common model '' US '' (below) was designed for bands and orchestras in the US military, it is a robust and powerful tool ..... The box was reinforced in anticipation this use of 'military', the pavilion is doubled, but it is not sterling silver and not gold plated .....

Advertisements 1936. 2 finishes were proposed for the Silver King model not removable: silver plated (115 usd) or gold (160 usd). For comparison, a gladiator (entry level of this manufacturer) cost $ 35 and silver king SL dismantled into 4 parts (most expensive): $ 150 (195 usd in gold-plated finish).

The origin of the silver king Cases are stylish, high quality and covered in real leather on the models 'civilians' (4 right). For models '' US '' for the military, elegance gives way to the robustness and the imitation leather replaces .... (lh)



CONN : Elkhart, Indiana                   

   'Choice of the artists'' Conn logo is ambitious .....

Conn filed a patent for a double-walled metal clarinet in 1889, it was one of the first metal clarinets manufacturers. The double-wall design possible to obtain an outside diameter similar to a clarinet wood and stabilize the tuning fork inner tube insulation. The end of the 19th century is the first period that will be produced metal clarinets, mainly used in military bands.

Prejudice against metal clarinets will result from this first generation that will shut down at the end of the 19th century to be reborn in the 1920s with the Bettoney Silva-bet and then experience a great success.

Conn Mib 1895


The Conn 524 is a separate model, its low profile fireplaces give it a grip a bit confusing: it is narrower. Its tone is also surprising, very open and 'metal', to book Jazz and traditional music. Building careful with its screw barrel and its flag which screws onto the body of the instrument and whose interior is plated, it disassembles into 4 parts. It was with the 514, the high-end home Conn.


Conn 514, much more versatile than the 524, it can cover all styles of music. Adjustable barrel compact screw inside the gold-plated roof.

The Cavalier was made by Conn. It does not bear the mark but includes some manufacturing details specific to Conn that not wrong ..... It is an instrument quite easy to find as it was mass-produced. Well designed, it has the advantage of just playing .... The sound quality silver plating is sometimes inadequate and it is more difficult to find a copy with silvering in very good condition .....

When speaking of metal clarinets, it is often difficult to navigate based solely on the name of a model: these three pavilions displaying '' pan-american 'actually belong to models very different from each other ..... conversely, absolutely identical models could be marketed under different names! This is the case of all copies of the 3 star Bettoney which were marketed under the brands Penn, Romain Braude, Beacon Boston Mass, De kay, etc .... The Americans call them 'stencils'.



  Pedler   Elkhart, Indiana.

 Harry Pedler, English immigrants in the United States, first worked at Conn and then founded his own company in 1916. He directed until 1930, when it was bought by Martin. In 1936, the company was renamed '' The Pedler C ° '' and develops the first bass clarinets in US metal. The Pedler ° C produced a large number of metal clarinets Bb very average, for students. The few professional models are to be found at the time of the '' Harry Pedler ° C. ''

George Lewis playing his Pedler metal Albert system, he recorded with her ​​son '' Burgundy St. Blues '' and gave in 1944 to a wooden clarinet.

Rare Pedler Professional clarinet Boehm system, this model (system but Albert) as George Lewis played until 1944 ,. the screw barrel is attached to the body of the instrument and the roof is removable.

In addition to these professional models, Pedler has marketed many study designs: '' American '', '' Hoosier '' and mid-range '' Premiere '' '' Custombuilt '' and '' 400 ''.








Typical thumb rest of Pedler




HOLTON : Elkhorn, Wisconsin. 

The most common model is the Holton 'Collegiate' 'entry for clarinetists students. Several models have succeeded over time.

'' The extreme strength of the metal clarinet made ​​it ideal for the beginner who is generally less thorough than a professional dependent on his instrument to live '' .... '' The clarinet metal is being replaced quickly clarinet wood as the metal flute replaced the wooden flute and like the metal will replace the wooden oboe '.......' 'Do not be influenced by the propaganda of foreign manufacturers whose interest is obviously to sell wooden clarinets' ....... '' Many tests have shown that it is virtually impossible to distinguish the tone of a clarinet collegiate that of a clarinet wood much more expensive '' ......... These are some of the many messages contained in this well-argued publicity 1930s.




 SELMER, Paris: 

Selmer clarinets markets its first metal in 1927, the model undergoes few changes during his career and only a few thousand copies will be produced. In his classic commercials, claimed to have taken Selmer clarinets for its metal manufacturing the same dimensions as its models ebony. These are high quality instruments suited to classical music and could be equipped (optional) of the excellent barrel adjustable Selmer screws.Selmer clarinet proposed that metal model in Bb and in A, in Boehm system, full Boehm and Albert. Along with these high-end models, Selmer clarinets of metal produced in France 'mid-range' 'under the Geo.M.Bundy and François Barber makes and models' low-end '' under the Raymond brand.

above and below: Rare set of 2 Selmer Bb Boehm and the full Boehm. (Photo collection and Chris James).


above: Selmer Bb in its original case, one against (left to right): a Selmer Bb, 2 Géo.m.Bundy and François Barbier, all these models can be dismantled into 4 parts.




below: elegant and refined, the small Selmer case is very compact. It either contained Selmer, François Barbier or Geo.M.Bundy.





 '' The pictures can not do justice to the beauty of metal Buffet clarinets, words can not describe the purity of their timbre, their perfect accuracy, ease of issuance and mechanical perfection '....... well Buffet crampon spoke of his clarinets metal in an advertisement period! .... It is true that one is never better served than by yourself ..... Despite the enthusiastic presentation, it seems that few copies have been sold since the metal Buffet are very hard to find today. This model was proposed in Bb and La.





 LEBLANC-Noblet, Paris:

The Leblanc Noblet companies merged in 1900. Numerous metal clarinets Bb will be produced under the brand Noblet until 1972. These are good instruments to study, just playing with a rich timbre. Well suited to classical music and lighter than wooden clarinets ..... For all these reasons it will be widely used by young clarinet students.


Most Noblet clarinets are nickel (left) sometimes silver (right) and exceptionally lacquered brass (middle). Virtually all are in one room + barrel, removable 2-part model + barrel represented quite right is the exception to the rule ....

Below: 2 Noblet in their original box, the lower one is the oldest.




Pedler was the first to make bass clarinets metal in the US, Bettoney, Kohlert, Moenning and Leblanc also produced.

from bottom to top: Rare bass clarinet Leblanc (collection François Camboulive), Lower Pedler and Kohlert Alto.

Below left: Lower Moennig, note the very large size of the pavilion, compared that of Leblanc seems nonexistent .... right: Low Kohlert.




F-Bb Bb-Re-Mi-Fa Fa-Fa-Bb-D-Eb ...... ...... The Cat in '' Peter and the Wolf '' ...... .. .... Composed in 1936 by Serge Prokofiev.