1960's no-name clarinet, probably Conn

Many thanks to John Willey for giving me the opportunity to review this clarinet!

Serial 128

Barrel: 63mm

Bore LH joint top: 15.0mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.9mm

This plastic clarinet was quite a mystery. I looked through my pictures, and didn't find anything like it! This has chrome plated pot metal keys. Pot metal keys need a wider tube and rod, for the keys having that. The rod screws are the widest I have ever seen at 2.4mm. The Boosey & Hawkes hard rubber clarinet I have has 2.23mm rods. The pivot screws are pointed whereas the B&H are not pointed, but the B&H pivot screws fit in this clarinet. The RH low E/B key has the serial number stamped on it. I think this indicates a limited run. The serial number is in a very small font and stamped in the same location as the B&H serial number, which is only about a point larger. The mouthpiece with this is a plastic Perfectone made in Elkart, Indiana. But was that mouthpiece original?

Unusual things about the keys, other than the serial number mentioned above: The key cups have a weird pointy hump on the back of them. The A throat tone key is oddly flat feeling. All the pad cups are wider than normal in diameter by about a millimeter. And the cups seem designed for thick pads. That is quite different from B&H. The bridge key is rather thin and oddly shaped. The springs are of inferior quality and I don’t remember seeing this dull gray color in springs before.

I suspect this clarinet may have been issued with a sticker on the front instead of a logo. My beginning Bundy had two stickers, and I remember peeling them off. Although this shows traits of the B&H clarinets, it seems too different from their key work. Designing a whole new line would be expensive. So, in spite of similarities, I think some other company made this. And not many were made. If anyone finds out what this is, please write to me.

Aha! I think I have it! Because of the similarity in the bridge key with a Conn 424 and the Conns in the under the Vintage Composite category, my theory is that this was a Conn and made in Germany. The shape of the throat tone A and G# keys was also found on other Conns in this category. And the date of 1960 is based on the kind of plastic and because of the brushed finish, giving it the look of wood.

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For this test, I pulled 0.1 mm at the barrel and 1 mm at the center tenon. I had to use my Portnoy BP02 mouthpiece because my Chedeville would not fit all the way into the barrel.

Intonation summary: This is odd intonation. Having a flat clarion C tuning note is bad, and the corresponding low F is horrendous. This could be improved by undercutting, since both are flat. The pad is not at all close, so it is not the cause of the flatness. The the sharpness of the lowest left hand notes, starting with C/G, is very bad, and cannot be fixed. This might still work for a beginner.

Key work quality: It is rather sturdy for pot metal. They made the keys seriously thick, and I didn’t need to do any bending. The bridge key is a potential problem.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: A beginning player.

Condition issues noted: Poor spring quality.