Rudolf Gottsman Full Boehm A
Maker: Rudolf Gottsman(?)
Brand Name: Rudolf Gottsman
Place of Manufacture: GDR (East Germany)
Approximate Date: Circa 1960s
Keys: Silver plated
Keywork: Full Boehm
Serial Number: 201/79
This clarinet is made of wood and is pitched in A and features the FULL BOEHM keywork, decently plated in silver. This is characterized by the extra key on the lower stack which actuates the low Eb (which is absent on most clarinets), the articulated C#/G#, and the left-hand Ab lever. Note the interesting shape of the left hand pinky keys.
This is a wonderful example of solid GDR (German Democratic Republic - East Germany) handiwork. Usually, instruments - or really anything - from Communist countries of this time period (I estimate this to the 1960s) are not of the highest quality. Some, like older USSR clarinets, are absolute trash made from recycled tires and slag iron (probably).
This, however, is a welcome surprise. This Rudolf Gottsman clarinet is actually quite well made. It is fairly sturdy, with high quality wood and decent keys. Unfortunately, the upper joint has a large crack and the bridge key is broken off. The missing bridge key is somewhat odd due to the otherwise high quality of the instrument, but leads me to believe that the metal wasn't that nice after all.
The rollers on the Ab and F keys on the lower stack are unique to certain clarinets produced in Europe and meant for the native market; I have never seen an American-made or America-destined clarinet with them. I find that unless you really need to trill between Ab and F, the rollers make it somewhat more difficult to play, as your finger slips off the F key quite easily.