This clarinet was sent to me by Bill, who bought it at a rummage sale and now plans to learn how to play it. This brand name was also given to a vintage composite clarinet.
What a wonderful surprise! There are some fine French Stencil clarinets out there after all! I think this was made by SML, and the quality and playability is like that brand. The intonation is good intermediate-level, and it may a little better than some SMLs. [2018 update: I would certainly no longer call this good intermediate-level intonation!]
[Update: 8Aug2014] David Peebler wrote me to ask some questions about his Maitre and gave useful information. He was 15 in 1952 when he bought his Maitre. “Yes, I was 15 in 1952 and have been playing
through High School and 3 years at University of Oregon, Marching Band and Concert Band. I had a 8 or 9 year pause but then took it up again for the Church Orchestra. It has been a fun and rewarding experience!”
Way to go, David!
Bore at top of LH joint: 14.8mm.
Bore at bottom of same: 14.6mm.
Serial stamped on lower left joint and upper right hand joint: 19090.
Does anyone know what the logo shape is supposed to be above the name stamp? It sort of looks like a combination, like JAL.
This test was made playing very loud, B45 mouthpiece, #4 Oliveri Reed, barrel pushed in all the way.
See the Wooden Clarinets root page for why I play loud and it's effect on intonation results.
The Maitre clarinet has very special metal sleeves/sockets for the tenon joints, even on both ends of the barrel. The bell is the only tenon without one. Note that the two top left pinkie keys have a distinct hook downward.
The Maitre clarinet has Buffet style pin in hole left pinkie keys. The key metal is easy to shine up and looks nice. The left pinkie keys were a bit easier to bend than I would like. Note the upward curve also for the pad cup above the first finger hole. And this clarinet is typical of SML for having nice wide and comfortable rings.
Both keyed sections have what I call a batch number: N 4. SML clarinets seem to have low batch numbers like this.
The case dates the clarinet to somewhere in the later 1940s or early 50s.