This video clip from the very wild "Taxijazz Show" features playing some
very rare double-walled silver clarinets: A Couesnon (1900) while in the car,
and a Penzel-Mueller (1910) in the library.
In the transition is a 1927 gold plated Buescher Alto Sax.
Resting with Hi-De-Ho (The Driving Dog) at the end is a Conn F Mezzo-Soprano Sax.
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Conn began making a double-walled variety of metal clarinets in the 1890s In the beginning they were High Pitched Alberts. One without damage is rare, and even though the double-walled variety might have a wonderful tone they were complicated to make, and are very difficult to repair. Generally they are museum pieces rather than players, but some of the later Boehms are outstanding. Later many single walled cheap student models were made, as well as a small number of top-of-the-line instruments. Jazz players like silver clarinets because they tend to vary, and sometimes have a harsher tone, or interesting flexibility in tone. Few metal clarinets were made after 1940.
Most of the silver clarinets you see are single walled, and made in the 1920s to meet the huge demand. They are generally lousy. People ended up with a very bad attitude about metal clarinets, and as a result the few very high quality models also got forgotten. These high quality models include, for the most part: Silver King, Conn, Buescher, Selmer, and Silva-Bet.
The Silva-Bet was made by Bettoney and has a silver colored metal under the plating--They also have a fat barrel (designed to stabilize tone), and the barrel is tunable. A tunable barrel is another indication that you are looking at a pro quality horn. The Siva-Bet I call the "Buffet" of metal clarinets--They are more consistent and seem like they would be more suitable for ensemble than for example a Silver King which is a loud thing good for a Big Band or marching. Many believe Selmer is about the best, (unless you show them a Silver King that comes apart and has gold in the bell), but determining the best is a matter of taste. And the Selmer might be more classical in appeal, but a little jazzy--Selmerish of course. Jazz players, and saxophonists who double, seem to prefer the Buescher which is also very high quality, and has a tunable barrel that is reliable--(The Selmer tuner sometimes leaks, and the Silva-Bet, or Conn tunable barrels somtimes wiggle)--And if you find the right Buescher it might be the best, but they vary from one to the next more than other brands.
The Conn is perhaps the most unique silver clarinet. In 1929 Conn came out with "The clarinet of the future" after much research and development. Bad timing--It was relegated instead as an "Oddity from the past". The 524N Conn has a smaller grip on the fingering which made it easier for me with my arthritis, and it plays differently. Strictly for jazz, and the thing is haunted--Notes came out that I thought of but didn't finger. As clarinets are demanding--the 524 goes a step futher, and a really dedicated player will practice all day and find that they can produce sounds like no other clarinet--Wild and weird, but very interesting, and a most attractive deco styled clarinet. The 524 has a tunable barrel and gold wash inside the bell. Later Conns are rare but not as crazy, and are sort of like a cross between a Silver King and a Selmer in tone--While still being a Conn. Of the pro model silver clarinets Buescher or the late Conns are probably the rarest.