Category Archives: Service

How We Appraise a Clarinet

When appraising a clarinet, the Martin Freres Company experts consider the following:

  1. Current condition; Is the clarinet playable? Does it need to be reconditioned? Are there any scratches, cracks, leaks, missing components?
  2. Popularity and market acceptance of the model at its initial release;
  3. Where the piece was made; The French pieces tend to have a higher value, for example, than do the clarinets manufactured elsewhere;
  4. Current demand versus supply affects the clarinet value;
  5. How well has the clarinet been preserved, stored and/or maintained over the years of its existence?
  6. Even if the clarinet is currently in good, playable condition, did the piece require significant repairs such as cracks, misaligned posts, replacement keys, at any time in its history?
  7. Is the clarinet all original? Meaning: Is the bell original? Is the barrel original? Are the keys the original keys installed by its clarinet-maker? Do the serial numbers on the upper and lower joints match? Is the mouthpiece a Martin Freres? Is the ligature a Martin Freres? Originality of the clarinet certainly affect its value;
  8. Which of the various Martin Freres maker’s stamps (logos) was used on the clarinet?
  9. Actual recent sales;

Description for the Condition of a Clarinet

  • Used Parts Only to Poor Condition – Not playable; Needs Major Work
  • Used Fair to Good Playable Condition – Playable with minor issues, may have repaired cracks, may have metal loss, fair pads, fair cork, fair springs.
  • Used Very Good Playable Condition – Playable with no issues, may have repaired cracks, may have minor metal loss, good pads, good cork, good springs.
  • Used Excellent Playable Condition – No visible scratches, No cracks or pins, No Metal Loss, new pads, new cork, good springs

Martin Freres Company

The Honored Journey of the Martin Freres Company Namesake

Martin Freres A Paris 19th Century Logo

Early Logo


The Martin Freres Societe (fr., Martin Brothers Company) , was established in the year 1840 in the city of La Couture Boussey, Eure France by (Francois) Jean-Baptiste
(Born 1817, Dec 1877), Claude Eugene (Born 1819, Dec 1874) & Felix (Born 1821, Dec 1896) MARTIN (surname). 

These fine craftsmen hand-manufactured flutes and clarinets from 1840 until their deaths*.

Martin Freres Logo

Martin Freres A PARIS

 

In the late 1890’s, the Thibouville family of Paris took the baton and continued the Martin Freres tradition until ~1927.

 

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

In the 1930’s, a team of French & American businessmen (unrelated to any previous owners) revived the company and licensed the Martin Freres name to various woodwind manufacturers worldwide to produce student and intermediate woodwinds until the 1960’s. In 1992, Martin Freres was dissolved worldwide and the last remnant of its iconic brand name with it. Yet, the instruments live on!

 

Martin Freres Company Today

Martin Freres Company

 

Today, a new generation of clarinet makers have risen to the challenge to keep the Martin brother’s dream alive. Affiliated by the great honor and deep respect for the groundbreaking work of its namesake’s founding fathers, the Martin Freres Company woodwind makers carry on that same fine family journey of excellence.

 

That is why clarinetists of today and beyond will say with pride, I Play a Martin Freres!  sm

– The Martin Freres Company Team

 

* The Martin Family actually began manufacturing woodwind instruments in the year 1740 (inspiring the collection of models with the 1740 stamp) in La Couture Boussey (Eure) FR. The use of the company and brand name ‘Martin Freres’ (for woodwind manufacturing) does not first appear until 1840.

The Martin Freres Company is a family business.

The Martin Freres Company has never been associated with the Martin Band Equipment Co., USA; the C.F. Martin Company or the Martin Guitar Company.

 

Take me to:

The Clarinet Catalog   —   The Repair & Service Center  —   About Martin Freres Company

 

Martin Freres Clarinet Value

Clarinetists, music shop owners, school band directors and vintage woodwind collectors are always amazed that so many Vintage Martin Freres Clarinets are still being played today even though manufacturing began almost two centuries ago! Many examples of the French, Canadian and American made woodwinds under the Martin Freres brand, regardless of age or value, are still in decent playing condition to this day.

We receive numerous inquires daily concerning the value of various Martin Freres instruments. We are not providing private evaluation or repairs services at this time. 

Needless to say, as with any hand-crafted piece, the value depends upon several key factors. First we need to consider the obvious:

  • Current condition; Is the horn playable? Does it need an overhaul? Are there any scratches, cracks, leaks, missing components?
  • Popularity and market acceptance of the model both at it’s initial release and with clarinet enthusiasts today;
  • Where the piece was made; The French pieces tend to have a higher value, for example, than do the clarinets manufactured elsewhere;
  • Current demand versus available supply for the piece by collectors also affects the clarinet value.

Next, we need to dig a bit deeper to determine the Martin Freres clarinet’s value. We answer the questions:

  • How well has the clarinet been preserved, stored and/or maintained over the years of its existence?
  • Even if the clarinet is currently in good, playable condition, did the piece require significant repairs such as cracks, misaligned posts, replacement keys, at any time in its history?
  • Is the clarinet all original? Meaning: Is the bell original? Is the barrel original? Are the keys the original keys installed by its clarinet-maker? Do the serial numbers on the upper and lower joints match? Is the mouthpiece a Martin Freres? Is the ligature a Martin Freres? Originality of the clarinet certainly affect its value;
  • Which of the various Martin Freres maker’s stamps (logos) was used on the clarinet?

Because of the trickling supply of Martin Freres Vintage clarinets online, Vintage Martin Freres Clarinets have become appreciable assets. French-made Martin Freres woodwinds that are described online as “FOR PARTS ONLY” are selling between $50 and $120 US. In addition, the demand that we receive for original replacements parts is increasing. Even though brand new components to fit the Martin Freres brand of clarinets are readily available from Asia, original Martin Freres components remain far more valuable. This remains true despite the fact that the quality of the Asian components is improving year by year.

Further, retail prices of re-fabricated or overhauled vintage Martin Freres Clarinets are stable, and actual sales reveal that trend as well. Recent retail prices online for a re-fabricated example of the last model release of the LaMonte series MARTIN FRERES clarinet, Lamonte Model 2, has seen rising sales trends with an average selling price of $450 US.

The value of all original Grenadilla Wood and Rosewood Martin Freres Clarinets with manufacture dates before WWII which are highly sought by woodwind collectors can bring as much as $2000.

The value of all original English Boxwood Martin Freres Clarinets with manufacture dates before WWI are nearly extinct in playable condition. Reconditioning of Boxwood Clarinets is ill advised, aside from restringing the tenons, as museums and collectors value the originality above play-ability. Regardless of condition, these clarinets can be worth thousands of dollars.

The Martin Freres Company is keeping an eye on the market of vintage woodwinds in order to be certain of the value of its vintage clarinets and other instruments.

– Martin Freres

If you wish to comment on this article, please email us at: editor@MartinFreres.net

-Editor

 

 

*The LaMonte Model 2 was manufactured in FRANCE by the SOCIETE ANONYME DES ANCIENS ESTABLISSMENTS, MARTIN FRERES CORPORATION for worldwide distribution and includes numerous additional brand names including 1740 (not to be confused with the Martin Freres 1740 Deluxe), Classic, Victoire, Verdome and more; formerly a French company, it has since been re-established in the United States.