Thibouville JTL ‘The Specialty’

Many thanks to Gary Kern for giving me the opportunity to review this very cool antique clarinet!

The bell has

A sunburst lyre shape









Serial #none

Barrel: 60.4mm

Bore LH joint top: 14.5mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.5mm

This is a high pitch Bb clarinet.

The ‘Specialty’ designation may be because of the brilliant lacquer finish this clarinet has. It shines like a polished bowling ball. The finish has no flaws. And it looks like the clarinet was very little used. No cracks, no wear in the tenons. This could be because the clarinet came in one of those cases where the barrel was stored attached to the LH joint and the bell stayed attached to the RH joint. In fact, it may have been stored as one piece, as the disintegrating corks had stuck to the inside of all the tenon joints. The pads were falling apart due to age, not use. The mouthpiece was, sadly, broken at the tip. I think I am the only one who has ever taken it apart since the time it left the factory. I think this would have been made with steam driven machines way back around 1890.

I think this is the simplest Simple System (Albert System) clarinet I have ever worked on. No key is linked to any other key. There is only one way to play notes that need pinkie keys. No rollers. But this is beautiful in its simplicity!