The Pruefer clarinet is metal lined and made of hard rubber. Also see the wooden Pruefer.
[9Feb2012: I have found the Festival by Pruefer to be much better than this model.]
This is stamped “Providence, Rhode Island, USA.” It is clear that the same company also made the Dupont Student Model, Sherwood, Belmont, and Schmoller & Mueller.
I thought previously that this would be the same as the Martin Freres Grenetex, but the maker and quality prove to be completely different, although both have the “silver throat.” I think that the metal sleeve for the LH keyed joint was done to keep the instrument from breaking at the most common place, the center tenon. If it had been for tone, then the barrel should also be metal lined.
Thanks to Ted/Theo G in Detroit, who provided one of these for me to test and review.
Ted has two Pruefers. The newer Deluxe (from about 1959) is longer for each piece:
«This older one measures (bbl/top jt/bottom jt/bell) (mm, w/o tenons): 65.9/183.5/232/103
The newer one is 66.4/188/234/109.»
Ted also sent this link: http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/lookup.php/Klarinet/1999/06/000180.txt
Below I review Ted's older Pruefer, which has good nickel silver keys.
Ted Deluxe model seems to be plastic instead of hard rubber, and has keys with chrome plating flaking off of the base metal. (This is a very bad sign and usually means that the base metal is very soft.)
Serial #35057, for Theo/Ted G in Detroit
Bore LH joint top: 14.8mm
Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.8mm
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 1.4mm at the barrel and 1mm in the center for this horn. I also used the original mouthpiece for this test. With my B45, I was significantly flatter in the throat tones. The original mouthpiece is very crudely finished, and is fairly open.
Intonation summary: I probably should have pulled out a bit more for this test. I have improved the Chalemeau C and clarion G a bit by lowering the first pad on the RH joint. The low F being so flat is not unusual. The corresponding clarion C is near in tune. (Remember I am testing playing loudly!) This is workable intonation, but one must remember to pull out a lot! Bore rings would help the situation, since the big problem with this clarinet will be flat throat tones when playing loudly.
[Dec2012: For testing #22176, I pulled out a whopping 1.8 at the barrel and 2.2 in the center. This gives much better results. There is certainly room to add glue or tape to close the D/A tone hole to bring down those notes.]
When I tested the identical Sherwood clarinet, I considered it to be so sharp that I thought it was made to play at high pitch. (A=449) But the 1955 ad shown above proves that this is too new to be made as a high pitched instrument. I really wonder if the instrument was originally designed to have a 15mm bore, but then as an afterthought they decided to add the metal sleeve without planning on resultant loss of .2mm in bore diameter. This would account why the Silver Throat has such poor intonation and might partially explain the existence of another Pruefer which has longer measurements for each piece. I ended up giving the Sherwood away to a clarinetist in the Netherlands who occasionally needs to play together with brass instruments in near freezing conditions.
Key work quality: Ugly, but sturdy. [Dec2012 My first reaction was to call it "ugly." But some have described the key work as "Art Deco," and the clarinet does fit into that period.] In the pictures, note the very prominent ribs on the back of the key cups. The keys seem to be good enough quality, as far as the nickel silver is concerned. The underside of the keys is very rough.
This clarinet is most appropriate for: I really don’t think it would be a good idea to give this weird horn to a child beginning in a class situation. An adult wanting to learn to play could use this. OR Jazz players:
Evidently the Silver Throat is reputed to have superb projection, and is therefore of interst to jazz players. I did not find that this clarinet was particularly loud. Maybe just a little.
Information from Tim:
I've read that the later ones (like my ST Deluxe from about 1959) with standard length played better in tune.
The characteristic of these Silver Throats/ST deluxes that has at least a few players fired up is a wailing loud sound that may or may not be truly a good tone (no accounting for taste).
One thing I noticed is that Conn appear to have made good clarinets for guys like Woody Herman. And of course LeBlanc (Pete Fountain, etc.). Those brands sound like more of a sure established thing agreed on by pros. But Silver Throats do have at least a sizable cult following. And it seems their wood clarinets (pre-war?) were assuredly pretty fine players.
Phil's Pruefer reconditioning:
23Dec2012 #22176, mentioned above.