Author Archives: Martin Freres

How to Select a Mouthpiece for a Vintage Clarinet

Selecting a clarinet mouthpiece for a vintage clarinet with a non-standard tenon receiver bore can be a bit challenging, but it’s important to find a mouthpiece that fits properly to ensure good playability and sound quality. Here are steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Measure the Tenon Receiver Bore: Begin by measuring the internal diameter of the tenon receiver bore on your vintage clarinet. Use a caliper or a measuring tool designed for this purpose. Record the diameter in millimeters, as this measurement will be crucial when choosing a mouthpiece.
  2. Consult a Clarinet Specialist: Contact a clarinet specialist, repair technician, or a reputable music shop that specializes in woodwind instruments. They may have experience with vintage clarinets and can provide guidance on mouthpiece selection.
  3. Explore Custom Mouthpieces: Due to the non-standard bore size, you might need a custom mouthpiece made specifically for your clarinet. Custom mouthpiece makers can create mouthpieces to fit your instrument’s unique requirements. They will take the measurements you obtained in step 1 and design a mouthpiece accordingly. Keep in mind that custom mouthpieces can be more expensive but are tailored to your clarinet’s needs.
  4. Try Different Mouthpieces: If a custom mouthpiece isn’t an option, you can try different standard mouthpieces with various bore sizes. Look for mouthpieces that are slightly smaller than your clarinet’s tenon receiver bore but not too small to avoid air leaks. You can experiment with different mouthpieces to find one that fits snugly and provides a good seal.
  5. Use Mouthpiece Adapters: In some cases, you may be able to use a mouthpiece adapter to fit a standard mouthpiece onto your vintage clarinet. These adapters are designed to bridge the gap between the mouthpiece and the tenon receiver bore. However, they may affect the instrument’s playability and tone, so consider this option cautiously.
  6. Seek Expert Advice: If you’re uncertain about which mouthpiece to choose or whether an adapter would work, consult with a clarinet expert or technician. They can provide specific recommendations based on the unique characteristics of your vintage clarinet.
  7. Test and Adjust: Once you’ve obtained a mouthpiece that seems to fit well, test it on your clarinet. Pay attention to intonation, tone quality, and ease of play. If necessary, you may need to make small adjustments or seek further guidance from a professional to optimize the setup.

Remember that finding the right mouthpiece for a vintage clarinet with a non-standard tenon receiver bore may require some patience and experimentation. Prioritize playability and tone quality to ensure that your instrument sounds and feels its best.

Exploring Career Possibilities and Probabilities of Success in Studying the Clarinet

When it comes to pursuing a career in music, the possibilities are as diverse as the instruments themselves. One such instrument that has captivated audiences for centuries is the clarinet. A young person considering studying the clarinet may wonder about the career possibilities and the probabilities of success that lie ahead. Let’s delve into this fascinating world to shed some light on the subject.

Performance Opportunities:
For those passionate about playing the clarinet, a career as a professional performer is a compelling choice. Clarinetists have a wide range of options, including joining orchestras, chamber music ensembles, or even pursuing a solo career. Opportunities to perform can arise in symphony halls, concert venues, opera houses, or as part of touring ensembles. Successful clarinetists often secure positions in renowned orchestras or pursue teaching positions in prestigious institutions.

Session and Studio Work:
Clarinetists can also explore session and studio work, contributing their skills to a variety of musical genres. This includes participating in recording sessions for albums, film scores, television shows, or even video game soundtracks. Versatile clarinet players can adapt to different musical styles, enhancing their chances of securing such opportunities.

Teaching and Education:
A career in teaching can be a rewarding path for those who not only excel at playing the clarinet but also have a passion for imparting knowledge. Teaching positions can be found in schools, conservatories, universities, or through private instruction. Some clarinetists also choose to offer masterclasses or workshops, sharing their expertise with aspiring musicians.

Orchestral Opportunities:
Orchestras provide a platform for clarinetists to showcase their skills and passion. While securing a permanent position in a major orchestra can be highly competitive, there are other avenues to explore. Freelance opportunities, substitute positions, or participating in regional orchestras can help young clarinetists gain valuable experience, build their network, and increase their chances of success.

Chamber Music:
Chamber music, an intimate form of ensemble playing, offers clarinetists the chance to collaborate closely with other musicians. Joining a chamber music group can lead to performances in various settings, such as concert series, festivals, and even international tours. This path allows for artistic expression and the opportunity to establish oneself as a versatile and sought-after musician.

Composing and Arranging:
Some clarinetists choose to explore their creativity by composing or arranging music. This can involve writing original pieces for the clarinet or adapting existing compositions for the instrument. With dedication and skill, a clarinetist-composer can find opportunities to have their works performed, recorded, or published.

While the possibilities for a career in clarinet playing are vast, it’s important to acknowledge the probabilities of success and the challenges one may encounter along the way. The music industry is highly competitive, demanding continuous dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to ongoing improvement. Success often requires not only exceptional talent but also networking skills, entrepreneurial mindset, and a willingness to embrace new opportunities.

Building a successful career as a clarinetist often requires years of study, practice, and performance experience. A solid foundation through formal education, such as a degree in music performance or clarinet, can provide crucial training and guidance. Additionally, seeking mentorship from established clarinetists and participating in competitions, masterclasses, and workshops can help young clarinetists develop their skills and gain exposure.

Success in the music industry is not solely measured by fame and fortune. It is a deeply personal journey, where fulfillment and artistic growth play vital roles. Remember that success can take various forms, and finding joy and fulfillment in playing the clarinet can be a rewarding achievement in itself.

In conclusion, pursuing a career as a clarinetist offers a wide range of possibilities for young musicians. Whether it’s performing on grand stages, recording in studios, teaching future generations, or exploring other creative avenues, a career in clarinet playing can be rich and fulfilling. While the path may be challenging, with dedication, talent, and a passion for music, young clarinetists can increase their probabilities of success and embark on a remarkable musical journey.

Martin Freres Supra Clarinet

From Ron, Njurunda, Sweden:

I have a Martin Freres Supra, Paris France. There’s no more text on this instrument, but there is a number: 56xxx.
The Clarinet is in rather good condition and fully playable. I have used it in a concert when my Selmer was being repaired. The instrument played well. I realize that it is difficult to determine much by the serial number, but I hope you can tell me something about this instrument. I received it as a gift and it has been stowed away for many years.


Response from The Martin Freres Company:

Thank you for your message. The Martin Freres Supra model was manufactured by

Martin Freres Paris during the 1940s – 1950s for distribution throughout Europe. The Clarinet is made of Grenadilla wood, was offered with standard nickel-silver or silver-plated keys, uses metal tenon rings to add to its durability, and boasts a professional tone, as you know.

Details on estimated value depending on condition can be found here:

We wish you many more years of enjoyment!

Thank you.

Jean Montour A Paris Clarinet

From Karmin:

I am a graduate clarinet student and have recently come across a vintage clarinet and I would like to find out more about it. I have been researching every possible place, but this one in particular doesn’t have much readily available information. I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me! Here’s what I know:
The clarinet is in wonderful shape and plays well. The parts, including bell and barrel, are all original and there are no cracks. The A key has been soldered, but everything else is original (except for pads, obviously!). It is a B High pitch clarinet with the “Jean Montour A Paris” brand with the little fly and a symbol underneath, with a “B”. I have not been able to find any serial numbers, but may have overlooked something. I believe that it is grenadilla wood, and the wood looks fabulous! The clarinet could stand to be cleaned a good bit, but that is all superficial and should clean up well. 

Reply by Martin Freres Company:

The Jean Montour A Paris is definitely a model manufactured by Martin Freres Paris. We have not ascertained the historical significance or provenance of the Jean Montour name but our research continues. 
What we do know is that this model was manufactured in Paris c1900 – 1905, prior to the Gran Prix model. These were not manufactured for export from France, however, Jean Montour instruments are extant across Europe today attesting to how well they were made. JFB Martin also made Oboes and Low clarinets with the Jean Montour name and the Martin Family’s iconic bumblebee stamp is clearly affixed. No serial numbers are know to have been engraved on these models.
Your clarinet was featured in the 1905 Martin Freres Catalog (advertised with the Martin Freres name) which you can see here:

As far as we are concerned, this clarinet is a priceless piece of history.

Because the piece is over 100 years old, we cannot provide a value for resale or for insurance replacement. 
Take care of it and enjoy it!

Best Regards,

The Martin Freres Company

Jean Montour A Paris by Martin Freres c1905

Grand Prix Low B Clarinet c1906-1914

Good Afternoon,

I wonder if you are able, please, to give me advice regarding my son’s Clarinet which was willed to him some 15 years ago. We are not especially interested in it’s value, although if it is valuable it would be useful to know as more care should be taken of it!

I have had it identified by a company who specialize in instrument repairs here in Brisbane. The instrument in question is a Grand Prix B low pitch serial number 1010. It was difficult to identify as the stamping is very faint but it is definitely Martin Freres with the little fly.

At some time it has had a pinned repair on the section next to the mouthpiece. The repair is still in good order.

What we would really like to know is when it was manufactured, so if you could offer a guidance as whom I may contact who could help me establish this I would indeed be very grateful.

Best wishes and thank you in hopeful anticipation,

John R.



Thank you for your email.

The Grand Prix was a limited edition clarinet produced c1906-1914 by Martin Freres to coincide with the first Grand Prix races in France.

Unfortunately, we no longer have serial number to date-stamp data for such models so we cannot be certain of the exact date of manufacture. However, we can find no Grand Prix model advertisements after 1914.

The original advertisement can be found here:

Value estimations can be found here:

Identifying photo can be found here:

Thank you,
The Martin Freres Company Team

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-plating loss, fair pads, fair cork, fair springs.
  • Used Very Good Playable Condition – Playable with no issues, may have repaired cracks, may have minor metal-plating loss, good pads, good cork, good springs.
  • Used Excellent Playable Condition – No visible scratches, No cracks or pins, No metal-plating loss; must have 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 1890s, the Thibouville Family of Paris partnered with the Jean-Baptiste Martin Family to continue the Martin Freres tradition through ~1927.

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

Martin Freres 20th Century Logo

In the 1930s, a team of French & American businessmen revived the company and licensed the Martin Freres name to various woodwind manufacturers worldwide to produce student and intermediate woodwinds until the 1960s.

Martin Freres Company Today

Martin Freres Company

For the 21st century, a new generation of clarinet makers has risen to the challenge to keep the Martin brother’s dream alive. With 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 released in the 1940s and 50s) in La Couture Boussey (Eure) FR. The use of the company and brand name ‘Martin Freres’ (for woodwind manufacturing) does not first appear anywhere in the world 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

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

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*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.

Martin Freres Catalog of Clarinets 1905

Select pages from the Martin Freres 1905 Catalog of Clarinets.

In 1905, Martin Freres instruments were manufactured in La Couture Boussey, Eure, France.
The catalog features Boehm, Demi-Boehm, Albert, Simple and J-B Martin System Clarinets.

What does J-B Martin stand for?

  • J-B, Jean Baptiste Martin, one of the company founders; son of Francois Martin, founder of Martin Clarinets of La Coutoure Boussey, FR c1740;
  • J-B Martin is the name given to the patented System of clarinets designed and manufactured by Jean Baptiste Martin and his brothers;
  • J.B.M. stamped on many clarinets dating c1888 – c1927 stands for Francois Jean Baptiste Martin (the son of Jean Baptiste Martin, the company founder);
  • J-B Martin is also a d/b/a and brand name used by Martin Freres for worldwide sales and distribution;

Martin Freres Clarinet Catalog 1905

Martin Freres Clarinet Catalog 1905


Martin Freres E34 Sopranino Eb Clarinet

Martin Freres Model E-34A Eb Soprano (Sopranino) Clarinet

The Model E-34A, with the 35mm Grenadilla Wood barrel, was reviewed by independent clarinet reviewer, Phil Pedlar, of Although our customers have been telling us how much they enjoy playing their new Efer, this was our first independent and unbiased professional review of the mini clarinet.

>>Click to See and Hear the Martin Freres E34 Eb Sopranino Clarinet

Here is a partial copy of the review:

Martin Freres Eb 

Serial  #E34-1242  MFG. 04-2014 This is called Sopranino Model E-34

Barrel:   34.9mm wooden [with Bb Reed Acceptor], 36.5mm hard rubber.

Bore LH joint top:  13.1mm

This is made of Ebonite (hard rubber). Everything came in plastic bags that were sealed on both ends, even the bell. It looks like no one has touched this since it was wrapped at the factory.

Martin Freres Eb

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping.

For this test, I used the longer barrel (hard rubber) and I did not pull at the barrel.

High register

Android Pitch-Lab






I couldn’t get higher than this with this reed and mouthpiece.






















Throat tones


-21 / 14 using the right trill key













12 but easily lip-pable down to 0




17 Even this can be lip-ped into tune!







Intonation summary: The A above the staff on this is only slightly flat, and above that is not flat. I noticed also that I was able, with this mouthpiece to easily lower the sharp notes in the low register. One can do this way more than the corresponding notes on the Bb.

Mouthpiece: This mouthpiece seems rather open, and that works well with the somewhat soft reed that came with this. The clarinet came with an excellent retro-look ligature.

Key work quality: Excellent!

This clarinet is most appropriate for: Anyone needing an Eb. This is a GREAT DEAL!

For the entire review of this and many other clarinets, visit: