H. Bettoney Boehm system Bb-flat metal clarinet
William H. Cundy, an English clarinetist, music engraver and publisher started his business in Boston, 1855. In the 1890’s he was joined by another clarinet playing englishman, Harry Bettoney (1867-1953). Around 1900, Bettoney took over the company and started to import clarinets, for example Buffet Crampon. He began to manufacture clarinets in 1912.
In 1925 he brought out his first metal clarinet and soon became the leading trader on the market, supplying the US military with the slogan: “made more accurately and played more easily than the wood clarinet”.
From this point he didn’t produce wooden clarinets anymore.
Bettoney’s top model was the “Silva-Bet” metal clarinet. One of the best ever made. Just below in the line came the models marked “H. Bettoney” (this one), “Columbia” and “Boston Wonder”. Followed by the student models, “Cadet” and Cundy-Bettoney’s cheapest: “Three Star”.
This one has been refurbished and is ready to play.
The design of this H. Bettoney clarinet is very similar to that of the Silva-Bet. The tone holes are rounded, presumably to provide less wear on the pads and ensure better coverage.
The barrel is equipped with a double tube, and the 4 lower pads are attached with a screw and a washer. This is the first time I encounter this method on a clarinet. It is common on flutes and saxophones, where you then adjust the pad by placing small pieces of paper underneath. When I received the clarinet, the pads were secured with shellac. I do not know if that’s the original method, but I have used the same.
One option for future servicing is to remove the cones in the center of the cup. They are soldered on, easy to remove. Although it was quite cumbersome, I chose to keep the original design.
The H. Bettoney logo is present on all parts, and the serial number is A3375N. The only serial# list I have seen starts at A4697, 1945 (Don’t know if this is reliable), so the clarinet is probably made before. But manufactured after 1929 when the Cundy Bettoney Co. patented their first metal clarinet.
This instrument is 59 cm long from top of barrel to bottom of bell. The bore is 14,90 mm and the total weight is 742 grams. All new leather pads and new corks throughout the clarinet, including the tenon.
The clarinet pitches a little bit above A=440 with my Vandoren B45 mouthpiece.
I have polished all the keys. They looked really bad to begin with. The body has a beautiful layer of patina, perhaps up to 80 years old. It would be a shame to remove it. Initially, I thought the barrel belonged to another clarinet as it was spotless while the rest of the clarinet was really tarnished. It turned out, however, that the barrel bears the correct logo for the model. It may have been stored differently. To get a uniform expression, I chose to polish the bell section to make the logo stand sharp. Thus, only the body has retained its original patina.
The clarinet is characterized by being used thoroughly with the usual signs of wear after 80 years of service. It is slightly bent. Difficult to see with the naked eye, and has no significance on either sound or mechanics.
Unfortunately the original case is missing, but I can offer a new modern which works quite well for a small extra charge.
The clarinet comes without a mouthpiece.
H. Bettoney Metal Clarinet DKK 2.400,- (EUR 327,-)
Case for the clarinet DKK 256,- (EUR 35,-)
Shipping (ask for a quote)
Don’t hesitate to contact me if You are interested or have any questions.
– And please remember I´m not a professional repairman. If there are issues I can´t handle, I take it to a professional.
The clarinet is playing perfectly in m hands, but You might wish to take this H. Bettoney clarinet to a workshop for making additional adjustments after your own taste.
The clarinet is sold as it is, very old, no guarantee or money back.
Sometimes I have other clarinets for sale. Check it out here: