Buffet Crampon Clarinet Guide

Buffet Crampon Guide

Buffet Crampon clarinets are known world-wide for having a lovely warm tone. They offer superb response accompanied by a smooth and even intonation. The Buffet Crampon clarinet is played all over the world by many gifted and talented musicians. Whatever the level of musical ability, there is a Buffet Crampon clarinet that will help developing musicians progress their musical talent. 

Is the Buffet Crampon a Good Clarinet?

The vast majority of clarinets used by professional and students musicians alike are the historic Buffet Crampon instruments. The most smoothing tones are said to be produced by Woodwind Instruments and Buffet Crampon are the leading producers of instruments which fall under this category and a good example is the Buffet e11 clarinet.

The Buffet Crampon have earned their name among the Clarinetists to have provided them with the best quality clarinets. The provide versatile models of clarinets which include Harmony Clarinets, Bass Clarinet and Soprano clarinets which is divided into Student, Intermediate and Professional variants. 

Buffet Crampon produces Flutes, Reeds, Double Reed, Clarinet and Saxophones. But the specialization is in Clarinets as they produce various models of Clarinets and have been chosen by many famous artists including Benny Goodman. This American jazz legend and clarinetist purchased his Buffet Crampon clarinet in Philadelphia in 1968. It was a Boehm System clarinet in A, ebony construction with German silver plated keys and rings.

Buffet Crampon clarinet tradition

The Buffet Crampon clarinet history is long and many ways is the history of the clarinet itself.  This Buffet Crampon clarinet tradition began with the production of various woodwind instruments 1825, based from France but later developed branches all over the world.

All Buffet Crampon professional clarinets, as well as some of the top student models, are made in Buffet Crampon’s French factory. The remainder of the Buffet student clarinets are manufactured in German, India and China. Read on to find out about the major series of clarinets in this great range.

In 1825 skilled  artisans crafted clarinets completely by hand. In a workshop in the center of Paris, Denis Buffet-Auger created a top notch 13-key clarinet. His son, Jean-Louis Buffet, continued his father’s legacy as a musical instrument craftsman. In 1836, to celebrate His marriage to Zoe Crampon the business was renamed “Buffet Crampon.”

Many ideas that are implemented in the Buffet Crampon clarinet designs came from professional musicians who requesting improvements and adjustments to their instruments. For example, Hyacinthe Klosé,  a Paris Conservatory of Music instructor, suggestion that the moveable rings found on flutes be added to the clarinet. This completely new system, unveiled in 1839, became so popular that a larger factor had to be built in Mantes-la-Ville (Yvelines, France) to meet demand. This allowed Buffet Crampon to branch into other arenas like saxophone production. 

In 1918, Buffet Crampon began to export instruments to the United states, and in so doing became the world leader in clarinets. When Robert Carrée became and apprentice at Buffet Crampon in 1921, his talents as an  acoustics technician led to the eventual creation of the R13 model.

Never behind in innovation, in 1994 Buffet Crampon launched a Green Line of instruments created from reconstituted ebony from Mozambique. Green Line clarinet instruments are made of a upvc composite of granadilla solid wood powder along with carbon fibers. These Instruments are not only a great use of what was considered waste byproduct, but also keeps all the acoustic properties while increasing the longevity and reliability of the instrument. The Green Line clarinets are less troubled by humidity along with temperature changes as opposed to wooden equipment. Though musical instrument construction has changed notably since the earlier days, Buffet Crampon clarinet’s traditional craftsmanship begun by Denis Buffet Auger and Jean-Louis remains the Buffet Crampon distinguishing hallmark.

What are Buffet Clarinets Made From?

The Buffet Clarinet have always been very popular among professional Clarinetist, and it is the most chosen brand by them. Buffet clarinet bodies in the professional and high-end student series are made from a range of high-quality materials. These  include African Blackwood (M’Pingo), Grenadilla wood and Buffet’s unique Green Line material. This is a composite consisting of 95% Ebony powder and 5% carbon fiber. The material is very strong, ensuring woodwind instruments that will last for years and years. The Ebony powder element produces the genuine acoustic tone of wood clarinets with an unerring consistency. This has found favor with many famous professional musicians. 

The student models of clarinets produced by Buffet Crampon are most made from resin where as the intermediate and professional clarinets are made using Granadilla Wood which is famous for being the primary material in many woodwind instruments for a very long time. Entry-level Buffet Crampon student clarinets (B10 and B12) have bodies made from ABS resin. This makes them light, durable and very affordable. 

How Much is a Buffet Crampon Clarinet Worth?

If you have found an old Buffet Crampon Clarinet and want to know its worth, the bottom line is you will be disappointed. The basic truth of the matter is that anything other than a professional model will be worth less than was paid for it. Even a professional model will be up to 25% less than the new purchase price, unless you can prove it was owned by Benny Goodman.

So On Ebay you will find used Buffet Crampon Clarinets as cheap as $120 or in the thousands. 

If you are wondering how much a new Buffet Crampon Clarinet costs, it all depends on which model you want to buy. The student models are a bit over 600 dollars. Professional Models can easily be $5,000 – $8,000.

Buffet Crampon Clarinet Types and Models

The Buffet Clarinets are very precise and can produce the sound quality of a versatile range. The pitch these instruments are capable of producing varies on the model of clarinet. Buffet  Crampon clarinets are one of the most used clarinets across the world due to its excellent and clear sound quality, versatile pitch range. Buffet Crampon have produced many different clarinet models since 1825, however many of them are no longer in production due to the changes and upgrades in the modern clarinets. Many of the old and classic Buffet Clarinets are still in production due to their unique sound output, which continue to make them popular. 

The primary difference between a “Pro” and a “Student” level clarinet is found in the craftsmanship and quality of materials used in its construction. Important also to note that the bore is commonly different in a Professional instrument. These professional grade instruments are typically more difficult to control and play. However you do have greater control of the “colors,”  tone  and projection with a pro-level clarinet. Typically a pro-level clarinet will be built sturdier and have a faster more sensitive response with the keys. 

Buffet Crampon Student Clarinets

Student B10 and B12

Buffet student clarinets are designed to help the beginner develop musical ability and acoustic capability. The B10 and B12 student models are Bb clarinets that are made from ABS resin. This gives the appearance of genuine Grenadilla wood, making these woodwind instruments strong, lightweight and easy to clean. The main difference between these are that the B10 has sponge-like Valentino pads and black tenon rings, and the B12 (and pretty much every other clarinet) has traditional skin pads and the rings are silver. A beginner will not notice any sound difference between these two clarinets.

These models are perfect for the beginner. All of the clarinets in the student range have an adjustable thumb rest. This aids correct and comfortable positioning. These models have been discontinued, though they are still being used widely, and have been replaced by their current student model clarinets, the Premium and Prodige.

Buffet Crampon Prodige and Premium Clarinets

The Buffet Prodige and Premium are pretty much the same clarinet. The body joints are molded from plastic by Buffet’s factory in France. The clarinet’s bore (which is to helps student clarinets optimize projection) is derived from the redesigned E13. 

Neither Buffet Crampon Prodige or Premium Clarinet is “better” than the other. The only point of real deep consideration is Buffet Prodige’s leather pads. Most think that a leather pad will aid in producing a warmer tone. But the down side of leather pads are prone to get sticky with student use. What I mean by that is that few students are really good and consistent about maintaining and cleaning their clarinet. This is a major sticking point (did you see what i did there?) with parents who are the ones to drive it to a repair shop when all is said and done. But if the student is diligent in swabbing out their clarinet every time they play then the leather pads will last longer!

Another key difference (yep) is the plating on the keys. The Buffet Prodige is nickel plated in order to keep cost down. The negative of this is of course that nickle plating wears off faster than silver. Choose your poison: while you have better pads on the Prodige you have “worse” nickle plating. So the the Buffet Premium has silver plated keys which cost more and will last longer, but also are irritating because they tarnish and have to be polished up from time to time.

Buffet Prodige

  • Nickel Plated Keys
  • Nickel Plated Tenon Rings
  • Leather Pads
  • Plastic Case
  • Adjustable Thumb Rest

Buffet Premium

  • Silver Plated Keys
  • Black Nickel Tenon Rings
  • Traditional Skin Pads
  • Backpack Case

Buffet Crampon Intermediate clarinets

Buffet Crampon Conservatoire C12 Bb (B flat) Clarinet

The Conservatoire (aka. C12) is similar to the legendary E13 and made for the student who has out-grown their first Buffet clarinet. Available since 2014, these models have been specifically designed and re-developed for the musician who has improved their technique and may well be considering a professional musical career. They have an easy response and remarkable accuracy. These clarinets, with their Boehm Fingerings, are highly recommended by music teachers. Conservatory models are made from high quality Grenadilla wood; a wood known for its beauty, stability and resonance. The impressive valve mechanism is beautifully silver-plated making this clarinet a dependable partner for many years in your musical progress and pleasure.

Buffet Crampon E11 Performance Series Clarinet

For those that desire the standard of a Buffet Crampon but are on a tight budget, the Buffet Crampon E11 clarinet solves the matter.Quality alternate-key student clarinets made African blackwood. They are recommended by teachers because they encourage technically correct embouchure technique. Available in A, Eb and C. The Buffet E11 is great for the student looking to upgrade. Click here for the full review! 

Buffet Crampon E12 France Intermediate Bb Clarinet

The new E12 (also known as the E12F) student clarinet, is an Intermediate clarinet was introduced to the world in 2012 by the Buffet Crampon masters. With a body gleaned from the Buffet Crampon professional models and made in their French workshops with the silver plated key assembly from and German teams in Markneukirchen.

The E12 is a tough and durable clarinet made of carefully selected grenadilla wood with a colorless varnish that protects against scratches and cracks. With the preferred leather pads to guarantee air tightness it plays with accurate intonation and is homogeneous throughout its range. There are two models on with 17 and one with 18 keys (BC2512F-2 and BC2512FL-2). Easy of play, very reliable, and precision tuning are the hallmark of this intermediate Buffet Crampon clarinet. It has an adjustable thumb rest that enables you to use a neck strap and comes with a convenient and very cool lightweight ergonomic backpack.

Buffet Crampon E13 Clarinet

The legendary E13 clarinet has not changed in over 40 years. When you hit perfection why change? The E13 is made of African blackwood and designed as a genuine soloist clarinet for advancing students. With beautiful silver plated keys, the E13 features a high-bore position almost the same as a Buffet professional clarinet. With its design origins based in the clarinet played by Jacques Lancelot, the BC20, the E13 has partnered advanced and amateur musicians to music schools, wind orchestras and conservatories all over the world.

Buffet Crampon Professional Clarinets

Buffet Crampon R13 Clarinets: Prestige / Festival / Vintage / Limitè

The legendary R13 Clarinet is the most well-known of the Buffet Crampon clarinets. It is often an automatic choice of many serious musicians. These clarinets are suitable for all types of musicians including students, professionals, teachers and soloists. Whether played in an orchestra, chamber group or marching band, this range has taken the composers’, conductors’ and musicians needs into consideration. The power in all registers combined with flexibility and rich sound make this Buffet clarinet a very popular choice.

Click here for the full review! 

Buffet Crampon Prestige RC Clarinet

The Buffet Prestige RC clarinet, made of M’Pingo wood, utilize a unique smaller hand-burnished bore design. This features a poly-cyndrical upper joint and a bell conical lower joint. First developed in 1975 by famous clarinet designer Robert Carree, whose initials are the name of these professional clarinets, known for their consistent performance and a compact and vibrant sound. With 18 silver plated keys to compliment the undercut tone holes this clarinet is a work of art. 

Though the RC is made at the same factory as the R13 models, they have a different bore design. After a decade of research and development the RC clarinet was redesigned in 2014. Because of the conical shape of its bore the RC will produce a sweeter and rounder sound. Another feature found in the RC Prestige Buffet clarinet is the unique egg shape within the bell. This shape allows the enchanting chalumeau notes to really sing.

Buffet Crampon Tosca Series Clarinets

These are top of the range, fully professional clarinets available in Bb, A and Eb. They are made of premium Grenadilla wood or Greenline material. Many well-known artists consider the Tosca range of the Buffet Crampon clarinets a musical must-have. Musicians from all continents around the world agree that the Tosca range is undoubtedly the answer to their ultimate musical quest. They are unrivalled in their consistency of intonation and stability,. They are musical instruments that provide a generous rich, round, warm velvet sound. These clarinets offer an incomparable level of elegance and style.


Buffet Crampon makes you fall in love all over again. With the history and the classy designs it is hard to want any other clarinet on the market. If I see a “buffet crampon clarinet for sale” sign, I am stopping. Buffet Crampon continues to innovate making some of today’s most popular clarinet models. Throughout its long history, Buffet Crampon has given musicians at all levels the most complete scope of clarinets. Buffet Crampon clarinets are famous for innovations and features inspired by the demanding requirements of those who know their instrument the best: the musicians, music instructors, band directors, conductors, and composers.

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