One of the clarinet makers I've watched for for years 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, Selmer-like 'vintage' tone and good intonation, ideal for Jazz or Classical, depending on choice of mouthpiece. The 'Concert' and 'Supreme' models are also excellent.
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. They also made instruments in the 60's (as best I can determine) with the M. Masson name as well as Thibouville on the sections. I think they were more of a student level horn, based on the couple I've overhauled, but still decent players if well set up...
I do notice, BTW, that mouthpiece choice seems to be a 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 ?
Does anyone else have experience to report with this company's instruments and any idea why they aren't a whole lot more famous?
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.