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Buffet-Crampon addresses the full range of the clarinet family. This includes Eb contra alto clarinet, bass clarinet and Eb alto clarinet, along with clarinets in Eb, A and Bb. They also produce some double-reed instruments.
Denis Buffet Auger, a French instrument builder, established a workshop in Paris in 1825. He soon became known for producing excellent 13-key clarinets. His son, Jean-Louis Buffet, began working at the shop in 1830, and took over in 1841 upon his father’s death. Buffet married Zoë Crampon and named the company “Buffet Crampon.” The logo they created in 1844 is still used today, and is known all over the world as a mark of quality. Under Jean-Louis Buffet’s leadership, a second manufacturing plant was built 50 miles outside of Paris.
Adolph Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. After waiting long enough to be sure this newcomer wasn’t just a fad, Buffet-Crampon began producing several models. Their presence in the double-reed market expanded at the turn of the century, and they soon offered oboes, musettes, bassoons and contrabassoons.
By 1920, Buffet-Crampon was dominant among clarinet manufacturers. They made the most popular professional clarinets in the world, and with momentum on their side, their leadership was only about to increase. In 1921, Buffet-Crampon hired Robert Carré, a talented acoustics technician, who would go on to create the R13, perhaps the most enduring clarinet design in history.
In 1975, the chief competitor to the R13 in Buffet-Crampon inventory became the RC, another of Robert Carré’s designs. They were in the same price range, but the R13 has a poly-cylindrical bore that reduces in size toward the middle joint, and then increases. The RC bore is mainly conical, notably in the lower sections, which lends the RC a different feel and tone.
Another development at Buffet-Crampon was the Greenline series in 1994. The Greenline is a range of instruments made of an ebony composite from Mozambique. It retains the acoustic properties of wood instruments, only with better durability. They quickly became popular with marching bands, military bands and touring musicians. Any musician who played in varying temperature and humidity environments was attracted to Greenline instruments. The most popular design in the line became the R13.
Also derived from the R13 is the Buffet-Crampon Tosca, a professional clarinet played by many of the world’s finest musicians. Designed by Michel Arrignon, the Tosca clarinet possesses a uniquely full and vibrant timbre. Ease of response, versatility and a high comfort level distinguish it from other instruments. The Tosca is available in Bb, A and Eb, with select grenadilla wood or Greenline composite.
In addition to professional models, Buffet-Crampon offers a student instrument, the Premium. They also offer intermediate models, the E11, E12 and E13. Compare features, materials and build quality against similarly priced instruments and you’ll find them to be comparable in all cases and preferable in many.
In addition to fine soprano clarinets, Buffet-Crampon produces quality clarinets across the entire clarinet family. The Tosca, Prestige and Greenline design concepts are available in other instruments, including contra alto, bass and alto.
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