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1930s Vintage Buffet Academy Eb Alto Clarinet w/ Plateau Keys #20295 - AS-IS

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Our Price: $ 1,199.00

Product ID: 20295BuffetAcademyAltoClarPlatKeyTC

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Fixer-upper that will SING
Here we have a Buffet Academy Eb alto clarinet with plateaued nickel-silver keys, a grenadilla wood body, and a solid nickel bell, serial #20295. These were intermediate and student models made by Buffet in the 1930s, this one plays with a lot of leaks in the lower register so it could use an overhaul to replace all the old materials.
Essentially these clarinets were imperfect pro models, stamped with the academy label, and marketed to students as a budget model. Sometimes this means intonation problems, sometimes it means theres a scratch on the exterior, in this case it's just the scratches. Although be aware the tuning standards of 1937 were not as accurate as today. The clarinets of the 1930s and 40s can play quite nicely if they're given a proper restoration, generally a brighter lighter tone compared to now.
The alto clarinet is less common, and best for those already used to bass clarinets plateaued key system, but is a great tool for bringing warmth to lines too low for clarinet.
Physically, this clarinet is in great condition for its age, the woods grain looks a bit dry, but there are no cracks on either the top or bottom joints. Some of the original paint on the logo remains on the bottom joint, all the stamps still look crisp. There are a few horizontal scrapes across the body but that is all.
All the pads are past their prime, which is an understatement, and already are failing to hold a reliable seal down to the lowest note, low-Eb. The lower joint is experiencing a bind on the Bb/F key. This will be a straight forward cleaning, oiling, key fitting, and replacement of materials. The blued-steel needle-springs are all in great condition.
Sonically, it plays much more spread than you'd expect something with such a thick body. The chalameau is very dark and subdued while the clarion and altissimo registers really belt a powerful, rich tone. Jazz players and woodwind fanatics will benefit from adding this one to their collection as its such a niche item but finding good wooden ones is less common.
We will ship this instrument in as-is condition, with its original neck and bell in a hardwood case.