Gerard / Paul Gerard Eb

Thanks to Linda S for giving me the opportunity to recondition this wonderful Eb clarinet.

At the AllExperts forum someone says this about Paul Gerard:

Paul Gerard is not a stencil! He was a master craftsman in Paris and made all kinds of instruments from 1899 to 1956. He played an essential role in the standardization of pitch at A440 in the early 30’s. I have collected his instruments for years and have an oboe, clarinet, alto sax, trumpet and French horn from his shop. He only made instruments of the finest quality, and they are highly sought after by collectors who know of his tiny shop. Any instrument he made in exceptional.

I bet he was a master craftsman! We are talking making these in the early period on steam powered machinery. But I think I should add a note of skepticism here. It seems scarcely possible that a small shop would be able to make that variety of instruments. If it was a small shop, say two to six employees with a lot of supervision for Paul, then they might have actually been doing wood turning for 2-3 instruments that were their speciality (say a Bb clarinet and an oboe), but just doing expert tweaking on stencil instruments for the others. For the instruments that they made, they would order the keys from another manufacturer. A wood shop can’t make a French horn or an alto sax. Reasoning in this way, and with the presence of the batch mark, I think that Gerard ordered the Eb clarinet from Thibouville or Couesnon. Because of the nice wide ring-keys, perhaps Thibouville is the best guess. I would guess also that the date for this instrument is not from the earliest period. The logo looks rather modern. However the A throat tone key has no adjustment screw. So I am guessing the manufacture was in the 30s.

Serial #1206 The clarinet has a batch mark, 1T.

Barrel: 40.4mm

Bore LH joint top: 13.0mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: Not measured because this is a unibody clarinet.

Pad sizes: 3 x 15med, 13med, thin: 2 x 9, 3 x 8, 2 x 7mm. The 7mm needed to extend past the cup, so used 8mm and cut back to fit.

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 at the barrel and there is no center tenon as this is a unibody clarinet.

Intonation summary: For an Eb clarinet this is quite good. The upper register is so often flat on these. I did this test pushed all the way in, and using a Selmer C85 115 mouthpiece. I did not like the way this set up played and expect that better results could be obtained with a better reed and mouthpiece.

Key work quality: Just OK quality, French stencil quality keys. Since the clarinet is so small, this improves the sturdiness a bit.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: College clarinet majors playing in a top band.

Condition issues noted: I fixed a crack in the bell. I noted that several tone holes needed to be resurfaced. And the exterior of several tone holes showed roughness. I suspect the quality of the wood was not top rate. The roughness could be caused by soft areas in the wood, or using tools that have gotten dull.