Martin Freres Eb (new)
Many thanks to Dan Ciarcia for giving me the opportunity to review this clarinet. Dan is a member of the clarinetpages.info forum. He has not paid me anything to review this for him. I have reviewed the intonation as impartially as I can.
Serial #E34-1242 MFG. 04-2014 This is called Sopranino model E-34.
Barrel: 34.9mm wooden, 36.5mm hard rubber. The wooden barrel has an odd flat place.
Bore LH joint top: 13.1mm
This is made of Ebonite (hard rubber). Everything came in plastic bags that were sealed on both ends, even the bell. It looks like no one has touched this since it was wrapped at the factory.
The new Martin Freres web site is http://martinfreres.net/. Merimax, a Florida corporation acquired the Martin Freres trade make in August of 2013. This Eb lists for only $499 at the web site! This is a terrific deal. Check out the intonation results!
Intonation summary: I played a Wonderful Penzel-Mueller Eb in college. That has been a long time ago. I was complimented on my intonation way back then. I think I would have found this easier to play in tune! I remember having to do all sorts of gymnastics with extra keys to get it to play in tune above about A. I often played some notes a half step too high and lipped down. The A above the staff on this is only slightly flat, and above that is not flat. I am sure that many Ebs are way flat up there. Compare the Gerard! I noticed also that I was able, with this mouthpiece to easily lower the sharp notes in the low register. One can do this way more than the corresponding notes on the Bb.
Mouthpiece: This mouthpiece seems rather open, and that works well with the somewhat soft reed that came with this. The clarinet came with an excellent retro-look ligature. I don't find a mouthpiece cap.
Key work quality: Excellent!
This clarinet is most appropriate for: Anyone needing an Eb. This is a GREAT DEAL!
Condition issues noted: None. Played like a charm right out of the box. A ring on the hard rubber barrel came off.