April 16, 2024

Does anyone use an albert system clarinet for jazz?  I’ve already talked with a couple of players who swear by them.  (And, moreover, I was impressed by the projection without a mic over a crowded dance floor.)  It’s pretty easy to find a cheap fixer-upper on ebay, so I’ve been thinking about taking the plunge.  Any thoughts?

18 thoughts on “Albert System Clarinets

  1. Here is a little Albert system clarinet info

    I got to play one in college because one of the guys there was an Albert system clarinet geek and played Dixieland a lot. My impressions where that it felt different, as in the finger spacing was more “apart” than what one would find on a Boehm clarinet.

    I’d say go for it. You might be hard pressed to find someone to “fix it” for you. I had, once upon a time, a old Buffet clarinet (1920s?) that I simply could not find pads for, and anyone who could fix it wanted lots of $$$$ to work on it. It just wasn’t worth it for me at the time, and I ended up selling it for like $100 or so. Wish I had kept it. Oh well. But get the Albert System. If I had some extra $$$ I’d probably get one.

  2. Jim says,” Welcome to the world of real clarinets! You may not find a perfect clarinet but any albert system that I laid my pinkies on, has more power and tone and carrying power than any boehm. I started on top line selmer boehm from 1956 – switched to 1880 buffet albert and never looked back. I use a #6 brilhart mouthpiece and a 3&1/2 Rico reed. good luck – keep in touch!” cheers jim

    1. I have played albert clarinets and to my ear, they are awesome.

      I just joined the site, so excuse me if I shouldnt post this here, but I am looking to buy a Buffet albert — does anyone have one (or more!) for sale?

  3. I was wondering what kind of response you were getting on an Buffet model Albert clarinets. I have an old one and have the carrying case for it. The clarinet is marked BUFFET PARIS LP on all sections and has a C FISCHER NEW YORK MADE IN FRANCE LP. It is a very old clarinet that belonged to my Uncle when he played in Jazz groups in the 20s and early 30s. He put it away when the war started and it has not been played, tuned, etc since then. It has other markings on it but they are hard to read. I am curious as to the value of such an item these days, as I would consider selling it.

  4. Hi, I’m an Albert System player. Actually I have 4 albert system horns; a SELMER IMPROVED (the same kind of horn played by Johnny Dodds or George Lewis), BUFFET CRAMPON (from the Woody Allen’s collection), a CARL FISHER and a rubber made from CONN.
    My main horn is that SELMER, of course, but other people like Paul Cosentino prefer to play on BUFFET CRAMPON. My spare horn is the CARL FISHER. It means that I never play my BUFFET CRAMPON but I just keep it because it was from Woody Allen, but maybe I could accept an offer.
    All the best!

  5. McKinney/Oscar — I see you will consider selling your Buffet alberts. I am very interested – how do I get hold of you? …. Thanks, Mporlos

  6. I’d like to know what system clarinet I should buy to start learning clarinet. I’d like to play jazz in the future. need help.

  7. I play both Albert and Boehm system and switch between the two systems on occasion, my E.J Albert with Barrett action(I have a pair) is a wonderful clarinet, it sings, coincidentally about about five hours ago I bought another one by Albert, Jacques Albert probably made in the late thirties before he retired, it has 6 rings, articulated G#, a booster key for throat Bb, similar instruments where played by Johnny Dodds and Jimmy Noone, George Lewis played this fingering system late in life, it is reminiscent of the Selmer Improved, roll on delivery, I will not be leaving the house tomorrow or the day after if it does not arrive! just for the sake of interest my main Boehm is a Selmer Centeredtone.

  8. I’m a bandleader from UK. I always use Albert-System on professional gigs. The instruments tend to have a louder and purer tone than Boehm, especially the old wide-bore instruments. I tend to prefer the plain 13-key Albert to the various ‘improved’ models. If you play classical music you might want to check out the Alberts pitched in C….they have a marvellous tone!
    Fingering isn’t much a probelm if you’re switching from Boehm….the basic fingering is about the same except for F/F# and B/Bb. All it does is replace one fork-fingering with another. The Albert is easier to play in sharp keys than a Boehm (the Weber concerto no. 1 is easy on Albert fingering) and the notes Eb and Bb are more in tune on the Albert-system.
    It’s a matter of personal taste what system you play, but I would reccomend giving the Albert a whirl….it has a totally different feel and response than the Boehm – and is perfectly suited to traditional/mainstream jazz….if you like Johnny Dodds, Ed Hall, Sidney Bechet, George Lewis, Omer Simeon etc etc.

  9. I come from a classical background so my orientation is Boehm system. I own 3 Alberts and enjoy the challenge of switching over now and then, but I see no real advantage to playing on an Albert system clarinet because there are simply more fingering issues with the Albert. For instance, there’s only one option for playing low F#/C#, and that’s not very helpful if you have a series of quick passages that center around that group of notes. And just playing a quick Ab major scale is unnecessarily awkward, especially between Db, Eb, and F. Then in the upper range above D, things get a little dicey. Jazz clarinetists play by a different set of rules and can choose to stay clear of the problems areas I mentioned. Not so if you have to read exactly from a printed part.

    1. Ferd-Most Albert clarinets will play low F#/C# with LH pinky by holding down the low E/B key without the RH low F/C key. This is called the “patent C#” mechanism. Try it out, there is more going for Alberts than people think. Also, they are mostly small bore, hence more powerful and projecting.

  10. I am a trombonist who would like to learn clarinet–it’s the instrument I most enjoy hearing played solo–and could use some guidance about Albert vs. Boehm. My tastes run to the traditional in jazz, and I like to hear a round, mellow tone. I’m probably insulting someone here, but I especially enjoy hearing the low and middle range on the clarinet. The thoughts of this erudite assemblage would be most welcome.

    1. Just get a “regular” clarinet. Most everything is Boehm. If you are starting, get something cheap so you aren’t investing a lot of money in something. You can get a relatively good clarinet off Amazon for $100+/- dollars. That would be good enough to learn on.

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