If you are looking to learn more about the playing characteristics of Buffet-Crampon clarinets, you have come to the right blog post. As I mentioned in Part 1, it is helpful to think of Buffet Crampon clarinets fitting into one of two tracks: Models that are more open (Track 1) and Models that are more compact (Track 2). The more open models, in Track 1, are bigger in overall shape of sound and feel overall more free blowing than those in Track 2. The instruments in Track 2 tend to be smaller in overall shape and have more density in their core.
Below find the models in both tracks listed from least expensive (top of each list) to most expensive at the bottom.
Track 1 Track 2
More Open More Compact
Buffet-Crampon Models Buffet-Crampon Models
Buffet R13 Festival
Prestige R13 Prestige RC
Tosca Legende & Divine
The Festival Model
Bb clarinet 1139-2 (silver) and 1139GL-2 (silver and Greenline)
A clarinet 1239-2 (silver) and 1239GL-2 (silver and Greenline)
If you want to improve the beauty of your sound or need to have a more compact shape of sound because the way you produce your sound on your instrument is too wide or unfocused, the Festival Model will help you create a smaller more compact sweeter sound. Clearly an instrument
with plenty of highs in it, while some choose the Festival because mechanically it has more features than the R13- which include the auxiliary Eb key on the left and metal tenon caps- the real reason you select it is for the sweet focused sound it will help you create.
One of the challenges with this model, because of its more compact shape, you will find when you play loudly, it will feel a bit like it backs up on you and can’t project. The Festival Model works best for ensemble playing or in the role of second clarinet. It can work in a soloist capacity if everyone around you can play very softly so you can be heard.
The Greenline versions of The Festival darkens up the shape of sound slightly but also help it make a clearer shape of sound because of the material. Remember, Greenline will add 20% more weight to the instrument, which if you suffer from joint pain or working to improve your mechanical efficiency may make it not the best choice.
The RC Model:
Bb Clarinet 1114-2 (silver)
A Clarinet 1214-2 (silver)
Eb clarinet 1512-2 (silver)
The RC Bb and A is like a brighter version of the Festival. Small in shape with highs in the sound like the Festival, it won’t ever feel like it backs up on you. However, because it is so bright and two-dimensional, like the R13 Model, it isn’t very popular in the USA. Most skip it and try either the R13 or the RC Prestige model.
When it comes to the E flat clarinet, it too has similar characteristics to the Bb and A. While more economically priced than the RC Prestige, the advantage to the RC long ago was that it tuned better than the R13. The reason this was true was because the placement of the register key (high c) was moved up higher on the body of the instrument which fixed some of the tuning issues. However, in recent times the R13 register key placement was also improved affording it both a bigger shape of sound and now equal pitch to the RC. Ever since these changes were made, the R13 with its bigger shape of sound is the most frequently sold E flat clarinet in the Buffet line both for its color-balance, pitch, and affordability.
The RC Prestige Model:
Bb Clarinet 1106-2 (silver)
A Clarinet 1206-2 (silver)
Eb Clarinet 1507-2 (silver) or 1507GL-2 (silver and Greenline)
D Clarinet 1407-2 (silver)
C Clarinet 1607-2 (silver)
The RC Prestige Model boasts a bigger shape of sound than either the Festival or RC Model, but smaller overall shape of sound than the R13 Prestige. While Buffet only offers their C and D clarinet in this model, overall the instrument has more highs in sound than the Prestige R13 but a three dimensional quality to the sound like the Prestige R13. If you are seeking to play Principal clarinet, and prefer a bigger overall shape of sound, if you have an excellent focus to your sound, the R13 Prestige will serve you well. If you wish to have a more compact denser core, the RC Prestige will serve you better.
The Légende Model
Bb Clarinet 1156-2 (silver) or 1156GL-2 (silver and Greenline) or 1156BL-2 (silver and boxwood material)
A Clarinet 1256-2 (silver) or 1256GL-2 (silver or Greenline)
The Légende Model has more lows in the sound, like the Tosca, but offers a smooth smaller shape of sound. If you have a fair amount of lows in your sound already, this instrument will not seem colorful enough. This instrument works best for those with very bright sounds.
As for the boxwood instrument, it was a material used a long time ago in clarinet making. Boxwood has a very sweet smaller shape of sound that isn’t made to project beyond a small chamber ensemble. It has both the small sweetness that you can find in a Festival Bb and the darkness of the Tosca with an overall smaller shape of sound that the Légende Model offers.
The Divine Model
Bb clarinet 1160-2 (silver)
A clarinet 1260-2 (silver)
The Divine Model offers a small, sweeter shape of sound with overall more high’s in the sound. While offering more dimension in the sound over the RC Model, it’s similar in terms of offering a brighter color and shape of sound. Equally similar to the RC, it is often overlooked in the line as other models are more universally favored and more affordable.
However, if you are looking for an instrument that has a beautiful small sweet shape of sound, this model may well be for you.
I hope this two-part blog post on selecting the right Buffet-Crampon model of clarinet has been instructive and insightful. Don’t hesitate to reach out if we can answer any more questions for you about any of the various models.