Albert Clarinet Restoration

In August 2021 I purchased two Albert system clarinets from a friend in Voghera, Italy, who had found them at local flea markets. Both of them were in quite bad shape and absolutely unplayable, but I decided to have the better of the two restored by the artisan who runs a workshop selling and repairing (modern) wind instruments in Antwerp, Belgium. The details of the restoration and the instrument itself are given below.

The following actions were taken during the restoration of the instrument:

- all keys and pillars were removed
- the body and tone holes were cleaned
- one blocked tone hole was unblocked
- three new cork tenons were added, two on the LH joint and one on the RH joint
- the body was given an oil bath
- all keys were polished
- all pillars, axles and hinges were cleaned and oiled
- three broken needle springs were replaced
- the register key was properly positioned and the pad cup was rounded and flattened
- 14 new leather key pads were added and made to close properly
- all bridges were adjusted
- the opening distances of the keys were adjusted
- the metal ring at the lower end of the bell was polished
- the thumb rest was fastened

The metal rings at the upper ends of both the RH joint and the bell were not polished in order not to damage the wood.


The instrument is a twelve-key two-ring Albert-system clarinet, most likely in rosewood. Both the LH and RH joints display the serial number "11112". The rings are for R2 and R3. The total length without barrel is 55.7 cm. The following keys are present:

LT - speaker
L1 - throat A
L2 - throat A♭
L3 - cross E♭/B♭
L4 - C♯/G♯, E/B, F♯/C♯
R1 - side F/C, trill key for throat A/B and B♭/C
R3 - B♭/F
R4 - A♭/E♭, F/C

Keymount type: pillars. Keyhead type: modern.

The LH joint has internal diameters of 12.70 mm (top) and 13.95 mm (bottom) [a calliper accurate to 0.05 mm was used for these measurements] and bears the following stamp, which is also found on the bell:

[open six-point star]
[open six-point star]
[open six-point star]


The RH joint has a diameter of 21.45 mm (bottom) and bears the following stamp:

[open six-point star]
[open six-point star]

The barrel that came with the instrument is not the original one, since the wood is somewhat darker than that of the other parts of the instrument, and it does not properly fit on the LH joint. Furthermore, it is unusually short, 52.20 mm. It bears no further markings.

Information on a similar instrument can be found here.

Frank Blockhuys (2023)