We have received as a donation a pair of Bb clarinets made by Noblet. They are good quality items being made from Grenadillo wood with Nickel Silver keys (also referred to as German silver). They come complete but without mouthpieces. One of the clarinets has had some damage at some stage so one part of the body has been replaced by a composite piece, not wood. The rest of this clarinet is made from wood and the other clarinet is all wood. The wood on both is in very good condition with no cracks or repairs. All keys are functional with no sticking.
The serial numbers suggest that these were made in 1969. our understanding is that the Noblet artist (model 45) was their top of the range model.
We have taken them to a local specialist in Newcastle and he has confirmed them both as being in good playable condition using a supplied mouthpiece with a fantastic warm sound only achievable with wood bodies. He has implied that whilst they do not appear in need of a service, the new owner may choose to do so. He estimates that a full service for clarinets of this quality would cost around £100 per item, this would include full cleaning, replacement pads, lubrication and recalibration of all keys.
The clarinets come with a fitted case made by Jakob Winter of West Germany, a renowned leading maker of cases for musical instruments. The case has a handmade wooden dovetailed frame, complete with metal protectors at the corners.
The origins of the Noblet company go back to 1750 when they first started making woodwind instruments. In the 1800's, clarinets were historically made from boxwood, but this was replaced by ebony from Africa when boxwood became scarce. in 1904, Denis Noblet, having no heir, sells the Noblet company to his best workman, George LeBlanc. In 1946, family LeBlanc creates a subsidiary company in the USA with Vito Pascucci (violin maker). Thus is born the LeBlanc corporation which distributes Noblet and LeBlanc clarinets in the USA. they were promoted as the best clarinets on the market As of 2004, the LeBlanc corporation is part of the Steinway Group.
The clarinets are available to view at our shop in Morpeth, Northumberland. They will be supplied with a spare (separate) single case as well as the case for the pair.