What Is a Stencil Clarinet?
I receive a lot of requests for valuations, and many of them are for 'stencil' instruments. I've explained it often enough, so I might as well explain it to you, too!
A stencil clarinet (or sax, trumpet, or other band instrument) is one that is manufactured by one maker for sale by another, or by a music store, catalog, or wholesaler. Some, like this old Albert system, have no logo at all. Others will have a made up brand name: Silvertone, Vocotone, American Professional, etc.
As the maker is not identified on the horn, serial number lists are often inconsistent or non-existent, and one brand name will be produced by different makers in different countries over a period of time, so attribution is uncertain! This can be bad news for the yard-saler who picks up a neat old wood clarinet for $30...only to find that, in its current, unplayable condition... it is worth about $30. Collectors rarely have interest in these horns, preferring famous makes and models, or oddities of construction, fingering, or decoration.
To be continued...
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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.