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Clarinets Boosey and Hawkes Imperial Bb Clarinet - right ball park

MBGT

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Bit of a hasty inquiry this people - and not the main subject of why I'm here (see my recent doorbell post).

**************

I have a Boosey and Hawkes Bb Clarinet of my dad's - a 'Pro' quality wooden instrument (serial number 80621). I believe this makes it a 1952 - he had it as long as I can remember (ie 45 years). Probably bought new.... ie one owner (but I can't verify that).

I don't play myself (clarinet or sax I'm afraid!), but I suspect it is in need of a little TLC to bring it back up to it's true potential..... ie a full service.

I have had it advertised on a local 'general' website for £300 (based on the £100 offered by a local repairer - involving them making 100% mark up! (with a margin for negotiation)) - I have just been offered £230...

I just wanted to check that we're in the right ball park here......?? (I don't want to be giving it away).

Any thoughts most welcome - thanks in advance....

PS. I can post a few more pics if that would help....
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Ads

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The Imperials are very nice but more "intermediate" from what I can tell - it`s the Symphony model which is the Pro model ......... I`d have thought £230 wouldn`t be too far off the mark , it`s very similar to (if not the same as) the Besson-55 but with a wooden bell instead of Bakelite .
 

MBGT

New Member
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21
The Imperials are very nice but more "intermediate" from what I can tell - it`s the Symphony model which is the Pro model ......... I`d have thought £230 wouldn`t be too far off the mark , it`s very similar to (if not the same as) the Besson-55 but with a wooden bell instead of Bakelite .

Thanks Ads - appreciate that.....
 

baritonesax

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Sorry to contradict, but the Imperial 926s are pro, not intermediate. Slightly smaller bore than the 1010s... but still big bore. They were designed for military band use, across the Empire indeed. They are built to the same standard as the Symphony 1010s, but with slightly different keywork.

Assuming no cracks and no other issues... think £400 to maybe as much as £500 for a private sale.

Bill
 

MBGT

New Member
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Thanks (again) Baritone Sax.... encouraging (I have had a PM from another forum member suggesting similar, though their idea of value was perhaps somewhere between the two). I suggest true value is really just the perception of the buyer you manage to find.....
 

baritonesax

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Quite so. B & H had fairly uneven build quality with their clarinets, so intonation could be wobbly, for instance. The good ones were as good as any clarinets made, the bad ones were not!

In any event, have a look here http://www.clarinetsdirect.biz/clarinets.html. Alex Allen has two 926s for sale right now... he charges 20% commission, so you can get a good idea of valuations there.

Bill
 

jonf

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I''ve done business with Alex Allen before (no connection other than that) and I have found him to be very knowledgeable and helpful. I'd regard his valuations as accuracte and indicative of the market.
 

Ads

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All I can say is the very best of luck and I hope I`m wrong but, I feel that thesedays you`d struggle to get £400 for an imperial , especially if its not been serviced, running on original pads etc - this is why I mentioned that £230 as is wouldn`t be far from the mark - it`d cost about the difference to get all that done .

I know they`re very nice, I really liked my Besson version and kept over a Buffet E13 , if it wasn`t for getting a Hanson T6 I`d still have it .
 
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baritonesax

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I know they`re very nice, I really liked my Besson version and kept over a Buffet E13 , if it wasn`t for getting a Hanson T6 I`d still have it .

They sure are nice - the bigger bore English clarinets have a broader more relaxed sound about them, all other things being equal. Your Besson 55 was a rebadged Boosey Emperor / Marlborough / 2-20 - same 15mm bore as a 926 Imperial, just of a lesser build quality.

Did you choose a big bore T6?

Bill
 

Ads

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Hi Bill, Ahghh, I`ve got the Emperor and Imperial mixed up haven't I !! ... Sorry

Yes I got the big bore T6, there`s no way I could go back to a smaller bore after the Besson .. it sounds fantastic , plays beautifully
 

baritonesax

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Ciao Aldevis... .593" bore is 15.06mm dear boy...a hair bigger than your French impostor Dynamique H.

Ads... no worries. B&H's brand strategy has struck once again! Incidentally, two years ago I bought a 2-20 (US export version of your Besson / Emperor) attic-find on eBay for about £100 quid and recorked and repadded it myself, really just to teach myself how to do it. Although a couple of the pads are a touch messier than a repairman would be happy with, it otherwise seems to seal where it should and open where it should. Great instrument! B&H is so unfashionable in this Buffet-obsessed market that babies are being thrown out with the bath water.
 

Ads

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Yeah - what didn`t help was the "pot metal" era for keys, it cast an uncertainty over which B&Hs were to avoid because of it - as far as I know from the research I did, most if not all the wooden Regents have pot metal keys (apparently they moved to plastic about the same time as proper key metal) - I don`t know about the Emperor and Imperial but it`s possible that some pre-60s ones, especially made during or just after WW2 could have pot metal keys too, I`ve never heard of a 1010 with pot metal and wouldn`t expect too either ..

Pot metal or "Mazak" (the same zinc based rubbish which 60s/70s dinky toys and some car door handles are made of) is garbage, can deem the horn unrepairable if a key breaks or needs work, it doesn`t bend well for adjustment too as its fragile and it also crumbles with age . thankfully pot metal is easily spotted especially now the things are old .. I`d always keep well clear of wooden regents, anything else - check for a raised serial number under some keys or dark grey underlying metal poking through the plating . this along with the sample variation you mentioned gave Buffet an open market - the Ubiquitous B12/E11/13 and their predecessors (Evettes etc) are consistent and reliable (if a but soulless and boring next to a good B&H/Besson)

For the record , I very much doubt MGB`s has pot metal keys, too new and too expensive when new.
 

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