Thanks to Dave Wright for giving me the opportunity to review his Grampa’s clarinet. Dave wrote:
The clarinet you are working on, as I mentioned, was my grandfathers...who is now in heaven. He was born in 1912. He was a Lutheran Evangelist who started the first Christian radio broadcast called The Psalm of Life, in Duluth, Minnesota.
Barrel: This came to me with a 46mm C clarinet barrel. I happened to have a different model Lafayette hard rubber barrel that works great with this. It is 64.2mm long.
Bore LH joint top: 14.9mm
Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.7mm ! A VERY early poly-cylindrical instrument, or an accident.
Because of the curved register key, I would date this as around 1920 or as early as 1910. The bell has “France” in typographic quotes, which I consider a sign of this being made by Thibouville. Because of the style of font and the logo, I wanted to date this as late as possible during the period when curved register key clarinets were still being made.
Intonation summary: This is intermediate intonation of the day. This clarinet can be played in tune by someone who knows what to do with it. For instance, the flat Bb throat tone is not flat at all if you add the Ab key. This is normally added automatically on modern clarinets. But on this one, the A key is not designed to raise the Ab key. It’s no problem to add it. The sharp Chalumeau C and clarion G can be a little improved by adding some poster tack to close that tone hole a bit.
Key work quality: Typical of this time. The keys don’t bend easily.
This clarinet is most appropriate for: The grandson of the previous owner. But anyone who likes playing an Albert system clarinet would like this one.
Condition issues noted: No cracks in the wood of this clarinet. However the short barrel that was previously with it had many cracks.