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Clarinets Buescher Aristocrat Clarinets

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I`m sure like the Saxes, the clarinets vary on where they`re made and how well depending on age / Selmer takeover / whether they`re the same as the bundy models etc but are the Clarinets any good ? .

I`ve got one from the ubiquitous Pawn shop coming for the kind of money which would barely get you a half decent plastic descant recorder , judging by the pics of the case, it looks 70s and the horn is probably hard rubber or plastic rather than wood like the early ones. I`ve Googled and not found a lot of info or opinion, ought to be interesting as a fixer-upper anyway .
 

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Well for anyone interested , the Aristo arrived - a 70s (selmer era) plastic one, probably the same as a Bundy "Resonite" ..... very much in line with the Buffet B12 , the body is better made than the buffet (heavier duty , B12s can crack from the bell pillar to the tenon) and I think it sounds more open than a similar aged B12 but the keywork although tough as boots and very playable isn`t as refined as the buffet`s legendary action . the stock Mouthpiece is a Brilhart Special made from plastic like the horn, it isn`t in the least bit special by Brilhart standards but better than the B12`s stock piece..

The case is is typical American plastic of the era, looks like it came from the same factory which made the shells for the Polymoog, Micromoog and Multimoog , even the styling is similar ! . better than the buffet case by a mile .

Aristocrats (even at proper prices) go for a fraction a B12 of the same age does, is tougher and IMO sounds better - it doesn`t have the famous slick action of the B12 but it doesn`t get in the way of fast playing .... they tend to go for around £50 to £80 at pawn shops, this was £15 as they couldn`t sell it - needs a couple of lower pads and I had to bend part of the action back straight (someone must have driven a truck over it) , the end tenon which meets the Bell is missing its cork and has insulating tape instead (not important there) but it plays and I`ll have fun renovating it further .

Click pic to upsize and again for full size

Buescher-Clarinet-3.jpg
 

kevgermany

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Hope you enjoy it.
Special was Brilhart's budget range, despite the name. Beware of ebay hype... Some guys are punting these as top of the line Brilharts...
 

kevgermany

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was fixing it as you typed... guess I would be if we left the g out.
 

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Hope you enjoy it.
Special was Brilhart's budget range, despite the name. Beware of ebay hype... Some guys are punting these as top of the line Brilharts...

I laughed when I saw the title "Special" . it`s about as special as a Rico Graftonite (Another Brilhart designed plastic piece) . it may have helped if they`d called it something less pretentious ..
 
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The Buescher is similar to the Bundy but has in-line trill keys which means the top joint tends to seal a bit better.
The Artisocrat is a reliable instrument; I'm still using mine and it was my first clarinet.
The tone is decent. I've compared to a great many clarinets. You'll get a bit more texture from the better wooden instruments, but it fairs well against many clarinets.
It has a wdier bore like the Bundy and I used to use a B&H 593 mouthpiece with it to good effect. I'm using a Vandoren mouthpiece now though don't play clarinet as much as I used to.

To me the best value clarinet is a second hand Vito. They are very well made and have a very good tone.
 

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Yeah, I like the wider bore of the aristocrats compared to the B12 and numerous chinese plastic horns... ,

to me the absolute best value are the wooden Boosey and Hawkes / Bessons from the 60s and later (the 55, 77, Edgeware etc - avoid ones much earlier as they had pot metal keywork) , I prefer the sound of my besson "55" to the modern Buffet E13 , it`s more complex in that its both brighter and deeper, it`s very much like the much lauded 1010 symphony but with cheaper keywork and a bakelite (not resin) bell & resin barrel, the quality of the unstained wood beats modern Buffets and Yamahas mid range horns and it has metal ferrules on the tenons etc, I`d like a wooden bell for it but the important parts (the two body parts) are wood..
 
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The wooden Regents had pot metal keys. There was little difference between it and the 926 Imperial. You can look on the back of the cast keys of the Regent and they usually have 926 marked on them.
The Besson's I've seen were B&H Regent 'stencils'. If it's got an artificial bell and barrel (probably ebonite), it could be a Czech built horn. (It'll have 'Made in England' on it if it's B&H.)

Edgware's are supposed to be better than Regents and Emperor's are supposed ot be better than Edgware's, but I've seen virtually identical Emperors and Edgware's. Some of the Edgware's with the point screws were better IMHO than a lot of the Emperors.

Some of the E13 are very nice but I've found E11 can sound better (to my ears at least. ) If you like that kind of sound look out for a Leblanc Concerto (not the Concerto II).
 

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Wood regents had pot metal keys but later Edgewares and Besson 55s did not , I think regents went plastic bodied before the nickel keys came in (which explains that), this of course being the fore-runner of the Buffet B12 . My Besson 55 has Nickel keys, a plastic barrel and the bell looks feels and scratches like bakelite , made in England stamped into the wood parts , the bodies look identical to the edgewares and emperors I`ve seen... Interesting . one upshot of the pot metal fiasco and the swappability of parts is that if you get a cracked body, there`s no shortage of spares ;-) in fact Worldwind have a few with the keys stripped in stock listed on E-Bay for a tenner ! . funny thing is that from repors, these horns seem to be more resistant to cracks than others .. Typical
 
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The spare parts can vary in size a little so they don't always fit properly, but it is usually not too difficult to adapt them to fit.

It's a funny stuff the 'plastic' Regents were made of - a bit different to other plastic clarinets. But later models were made of the same type of plastic. They later got Bundy to make B&H78 clarinets for them which are almost identical to Buescher Aristocrats - so we're back where we started!
 

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Yeah, the barrel of the besson (which is definately resin) is different to the stuff the Aristo and old B12s are made of, it`s not bakelite though, it scratches like resin and the surface hasn`t got that 1920s radio shell feel / look like the bell has, I never bothered searching out a plastic regent due to there being loads of good plastic horns about and was careful when I got the Besson to avoid Mazak keys (it has nothing stamped or cast under them and the S/N denotes 1960s, way after the Pot metal era) ..

as for parts, I can see why there are bodies floating about unsold, the wood of these B&H made seems very high quality, it`s very black despite the seemed lack of stain (which would have come off by now anyway) , this one has probably been oiled so many times over the years that it`ll be pretty waterproof by now ;-) .... though deliberately pickling clarinet bodies in oil is a no no anyway isn`t it, doesn`t it weaken them and cause more issues than it prevents ? ..

My Aristo could do with a service and a few pads (someone has used a piece of chamois leather to makeshift a pad ! and it works !!) but it`s not worth it cash wise , it`ll never be worth the price of the overhaul but it plays as is
 

TokaiTele

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Hi everyone. This is my first post here.

Great to see this thread on the Buescher Aristocrat, as there doesn't seem to be a great deal of information about them out there. I've just bought one as my son's first Clarinet. Unfortunately the ebay seller didn't tell me, or didn't know , that the barrel was missing. I've already received some good suggestions from the Woodwind Forum, but I'd appreciate any advice from the members here regarding making the clarinet complete. The likelihood of finding an original matching Buescher barrel seems pretty low here in Melbourne AU (I've tried the local repairers), so what are my options? Would a generic 'one-size-fits-all' Chinese barrel do the job? Or is there a better solution? What length should the barrel be for correct intonation? The generic barrels for Bb clarinets seem to be 65mm judging by the ads I've seen online.

Any help appreciated.
 

kevgermany

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Hopefully one of the repairers will be able to help. You'll probably find that the barrel is pretty standard and that others will fit and play in tune.
 
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Chinese barrels vary a bit.
The Buescher should be like a Bundy so some may have a one of those in stock. Next nearest thing is a Selmer USA plastic one. The bore on Bueschers and Bundys is a little wider than some.
Places like Windblowers in Nottingham used to have a few spare bits and pieces.
 

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Actually you should be able to get a whole Aristocrat clarinet in barely / unplayable form from fleabay or a pawn shop for far less than the cost of a decent new barrel .. where abouts are you ?
 

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