Pair of Louis, London, Clarinets
These are an exceptionally rare and fine pair of Louis & Co. early English clarinets, which are a commission sale for Clarinets Direct. The firm was strongly associated with possibly the finest ever French makers: Martel Freres. Each Louis instrument was completely hand made and undercut in their London premises, 2 Burnsall Street, Chelsea W3. The finishing alone took 2-3 days. These instruments have been owned as a part of a large collection of pre-war English instruments, and they have been fastidiously well maintained and cared for. Charles Draper personally endorsed these makers, and both instruments are stamped such. The perfect uninhibited open response, and excellent tuning make for a true "players clarinet" which is a physical delight to blow, superior to much on the mass produced market today.
These instruments are in excellent condition, for clarinets made in the 1920's. The pads throughout are tan leather in excellent condition. There is a repaired crack to the shorter of the 2 original barrels. This apart, the Grenadilla wood is in very good condition, with only scuffs and marks associated with careful use. There is no joint wobble. The Silver plated key work shows absolutely no wear or play to the mechanism. The Bb has matching S/N 4550, but this does not appear to be an original Louis stamped serial number as the font, is irregular and the stamp does not have the depth of other Louis clarinets we have seen. Like the A the original thumb rests have been removed and replaced with more modern examples, the resulting holes have been filled. The A clarinet is without S/N but the makers stamps are clearly visible on all the main pieces. The case is also the original Louis and shows wear to the exterior and interior lining. The supplied m'pieces is a Lomax, Firebird Andrew Marriner model, Bb clarinet mouthpiece. It is similar in tip opening and length to a Vandoren B45. There is no damage to tip or rails. The S/N is HC064. It tunes the pair very well, in addition to the 2 original barrels, short and long, a modern medium length barrel is supplied.