Buffet BC20 B Flat Clarinet
When the American investor Martin Tolchin bought Buffet Crampon company he felt that though the R13 sold well in the USA different models would be more successful in Europe. The S1, Continentale and BC20, which evolved into the RC, were all attempts to make darker, more focused sounding clarinets. These days Buffet Crampon is attempting to re-create the original 1960s BC20 design in their current Tradition model.
This is an early BC20 Bb clarinet with matching serial nos. F77236 dating to 1963, at this period Buffet Crampon were making only a limited number of extremely fine professional clarinets, and quality control at Buffet had not suffered the decline it was to undergo later. For this reason this period is commonly referred to as Buffet's "Golden Era". Buffet Crampon described this model as being designed for Recital and Orchestral playing. This particular model was supplied new to the UK market, which is why the bell carries a "Dallas" stamp. Dallas were the sole UK importers for Buffet clarinets from the 1950s through to the mid 1960s. The Nickel Silver plated key work shows wear throughout, it is approximately 80%. The principal wear is to the ring finger touch pieces, but there is also spot wear to the throat keys, register key and some of the "pinky" keys. The wood is in fine condition for a vintage clarinet, with no cracks or repairs, there is, however a slight ship to the lower tenon of the upper joint, see photo 4. this is cosmetic only, it has no effect on the response, and is completely hidden when the clarinet is assembled. The key regulation is tight and there is no joint wobble. Like a current top of the range Buffet this instrument was made with hand selected unstained Grenadilla wood. The m'piece is a used Vandoren 5RV Lyre in good condition. The case is a Buffet Prestige model, in black leather in very good condition.