One of the clarinet makers I watch for these days is Thibouville Freres, a French company that seems to date from the 40's - 60's (based on case, design elements, etc). These restore to be some truly fine playing horns, with nice design features and a slightly larger than standard bore. I've sold them to Jazz players, Klezmer players and others of uncertain affiliation, always with happy results!
The nicest one I've ever seen was an 'Artist' model that I bought from Goodwill for about 75 dollars! It was a large bore pro horn with all tenons metal lined, a metal lined barrel, and 7 rings. After a full overhaul, it was a wonderful player with a fat, 'vintage' tone and good intonation, ideal for Jazz or Classical, depending on choice of mouthpiece.
I do notice, BTW, that mouthpiece seems to be a critical factor: a customer of mine who had purchased one last year (and reported being unimpressed) called me recently, raving about its tone and playability with a change of mouthpiece. Maybe that made all the difference, or maybe he's been practicing more, who knows ?
Thibouville Freres also made nice bass clarinets (under their own name and as stencils, I believe), and was responsible for building some or all of the McIntyre system instruments that I've seen.
Does anyone else have experience to report with this company's instruments and any idea why they aren't a whole lot more famous?
6/7/2013 09:10:43 am
Hello, I have an old Thibouville wooden bass clarinet that I bought in high school in the 70's. I have no idea how old it is. Is there a way to find out?
1/7/2017 08:20:09 am
my brother is the owner of the old thibouvlle clarinet fabrik and can perhaps help you
5/25/2017 04:38:17 pm
Inquiring re TF soprano clarinet SN MH1053 - any info available about it? Personally owned sice about 1957
6/7/2013 09:47:04 am
6/7/2013 10:05:45 am
There is a number on it - 983. I searched for Thibouville, which is how I found you. Not a lot of info out there.
6/7/2013 10:08:38 am
Its true! There are a number of makes (Malerne, Couesnon, etc) for which I have never found serial number lists and its frustrating. Many, like Thibouville, also made instruments for other companies under different names, which makes it even more confusing...
10/21/2013 02:50:00 am
I have a Thibouville in a teal and tan case which I cannot seem to identify . I have seen articles about the "Harmony" model, and one stamped "Concert", but mine is stamped "Symphonie". It has number S3949 stamped on all pieces, except for the branded mouthpiece (which I don't use - interesting that you commented on that). If you dig up any further information I'll be checking this page to find out! Thanks!
10/21/2013 04:49:56 am
Ok, apparantly I am not as observant as I thought. The serial is only stamped on the keyed sections, not the horn or barrel. Oops!
2/19/2014 08:05:29 am
I have a Thibouville Feres clarinet. Marked M.Masson Paris Concert. Serial #MC126. It was purchased in the 1950's. Does it have any value?
9/15/2014 12:59:47 pm
I have my M.Mason Thibouville Freres clarinet from 1960...my parents paid $169.50 for it. It's in the original case and I still have the brochure that came with it. It's been overhauled twice. Haven't played it in years (played it for about 10 years as a kid). It always had a nice sound and the other kids in the band had plastic clarinets, so I was pleased to have this one. A few years ago a guy in a Takoma Park, Md., music store told me it was worth about $1200.
3/24/2015 05:30:36 pm
I have a Thibouville Freres Ivry (Eure) that I like lot. I got it at a swap meet for $75 with an additional 300 put in for pads and adjustments.
Dana J Goulston
12/11/2015 02:17:58 pm
Hi all. I just received a stunning Thibouville Freres Ivry (Eure) form my mom who passed away a few months ago. I had no idea she had it. I assume it was my Dad's (he died in the 80's). I had been looking for it but was told it was long gone. It appears to have been recently restored. I'll play it later. My current horn is a lovely and richl sounding 70's Selmer Series 9. If anyone has a site to have the Thibouville dated or valued, I would appreciate it. Many thanks!
12/16/2015 06:19:38 pm
I just bought a M.Masson Thibouville Freres Ivry (Eure) France Symphonie serial number on each piece 3695A with a A Colandous/Paris mouth piece.
1/7/2017 08:40:39 am
thibouvilles clarinet was famouse in the time of jazz in new orléans but the compagnie closed my brother bought transformed it in a museum of clarinette and habitation he as a lot of information
Salvador Ayala Toledo
9/26/2019 07:41:46 am
Hello, excellent page, it is appreciated. a query; In your opinion, what would be a good mouthpiece for an "artist" clarinet. From already thank you very much for your time
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The Licorice Shtick Blog is the creation of the Vintage Clarinet Doctor, a Winston Salem, NC based woodwind instrument repair shop specializing in vintage and antique clarinets, saxophones, and the occasional flute.