Pedler unibody

Pedler unibody

I have never seen another unibody clarinet by Pedler. I suspect this was a one-of-a-kind special order.

Usually I totally repad any instrument I recondition, but the brown leather pads on this horn were in such like-new condition that replaced only the four large pads plus one other. I suspect this instrument never got a lot of use, and was not played at all for at least 60 years. But it still was passably playable when I got it! The keys have no play and don't show wear.

Note that the left hand chromatic E-flat/B-flat key will lower the ring that has a tiny little pad to close an extra hole, and that also closes the neighboring pad above the ring. The high C is a sharp note on almost any clarinet. Lowering that key brings it right into tune.

The third ring is for the left hand forked E-flat/B-flat fingering (using fingers 1 and 3).

Note the articulated C#/G# key, marked with a little piece of cork. Notice that this is quite different from the Buffet articulated key (See Buffet A page.) Virtually all saxophones have articulated G# keys, as do oboes, and I think expensive flutes. But 99.99% of clarinets do not have an articulated C#/G# key because the division between the upper and lower joints gets in the way. That's one reason unibody clarinets are so special. There are a few passages in the clarinet repertoire that change from almost impossible to very easy if you have the articulated key!

Nothing special on the lower half of the unibody. Alas, no low Eflat key!

Unfortunately, there is no record of when this horn was made. There is a number stamped on the back of the left hand F#/C# key: 91036. The other keys don't have numbers stamped on them, so this is probably the serial number. There are no numbers on the body. The clarinet is stamped on the body “The PEDLER Elkart IND PREMIERE.”

According to what I have found on the Internet,
Harry Walter Pedler was born in England in 1872 and died in Elkhart in 1950. John Henry Martin (Martin Musical Instruments) became president of Pedler when Harry retired in 1930. Harry Pedler and Sons was purchased by the Selmer Co. in 1958,
but that may have primarily been the brass instrument factory. From what I have seen, the quality of the instruments went down after Harry retired.

Before I thought that Harry Pedler had a personal hand in creating this instrument, somewhere between 1919 and 1930. Now I think that this was probably a special order from the Couesnon company.

The unibody has been banded twice, presumably to fix a crack. However I am unable to locate the crack. Someone knew what they were doing!

It is interesting to me that the original Pedler ligature is well designed.

The barrel is very short! 60.5 mm. The horn appears to be designed to play with such a short barrel. I pull out a around than 2 millimeters to be in tune.

The bore at the top of the unibody is 15mm (almost like the Selmer series 9).

At the very bottom of the long keyed joint, there is a hairline crack that can be felt with one's finger. It extends inward about 1/2 inch. It is not flexible, not budging at all when the bell, which now has a good tight Valentino cork, is twisted on. The wood of the joint is thicker than many clarinets. After all these years of climate changes— and assuming reasonable care, this little crack is not likely to change. Also the case is made so that the bell is stored assembled to this joint, adding extra protection to the joint.

The throat tones are spot on in tune and not thin or fuzzy-sounding, and they respond well to resonance fingerings when playing softly. The E at the bottom of the treble clef does not easily go flat, like on some instruments. The upper register B, C and D are sharp on most clarinets. On this instrument they are sharper than my Buffet R13. Your choice of mouthpiece and reed will effect this. But these notes are easily lipped down into tune. (The special key can be applied to high C, as I said above, and one can choose not use the right pinkie E flat key for high D.) Bottom line: The intonation really is professional class.

Again, being one long piece of wood, the tone on this instrument is very nice. The bell is NOT wood, but bakelite. Perhaps this could help date the clarinet. Would they have done this because of the scarcity of wider pieces of wood in the depression? I believe the bell is original. It is stamped to match the unibody.

I was not intending to sell this instrument when I drilled a hole in the bell. This is so that low E and middle B will not be flat when the bell is cradled between my legs. Rare instrument collectors will want to shoot me for doing this! Someone who plays the instrument will thank me.

I have purchased another Pedler wooden barrel, 62mm, which works nicely as an additional barrel for this horn.
In order to interpret the results below properly, please see notes on how I test intonation on the Model Comparison main page.

High register
Using 60.5 barrel pulled only 1.7mm62mm barrel pulled 2.2 mm

F0 with E-flat


D+10 w E-flat key, 0 without

C+10 or 0 with special key

B+14 to 20same! Notes above must be lipped down.

Middle of treble clef






Throat tones


A-4 variable



E-2 to 4