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Pro Shop Overhaul by


Overhauling a clarinet is far more than simply putting in new pads, corks and felts. There are simply too many "technicians" out there who simply are not trained in top caliber work and simply do not know how to get the maximum performance out of a clarinet.

Our ProShop Overhaul service is our premium job. This service will get your clarinet playing better then it ever has, even better than when it was new. This page is here to give you a step by step guide about what we do with a clarinet in this service giving photos for each step. The clarinet used in this presentation is a Vintage 1963 Buffet R13 A clarinet. The only step not photographed in this process is polishing of the bore.

Many players have the mentality that a clarinet simply gets "blown out" from use. While there is some truth to what the effects of long term use can do to the wood of a clarinet, the simple truth is that their clarinet is at the point where it needs a caliber of work that their technician simply is not able to provide.

Here's what a recent professional had to say about his clarinet after it went through our Pro Shop Overhaul Service:
"Hi Dave, I just wanted to thank you, your dad and the entire Kessler repair team for the INCREDIBLE job you did overhauling my Buffet R13 Bb clarinet.  I thought this horn was pretty well blown out and would have to be replaced.  You convinced me to try your new pro shop overhaul, and man, am I ever glad I took your advice!  It's tight, consistent across all registers and the depth and focus in the sound are completely back!  It plays better now than it ever did. I've been comparing it to new Toscas, Rossis and Prestiges that friends and colleagues are playing.  Those are certainly terrific clarinets, but in every case, I'm very happy to get back to my old nickel key, plain vanilla R13, made in 1990.  My A clarinet is on its way to you right now.  I can't wait to play it!" - Mark Margolies, San Diego

So without further adieu, on to the presentation!

The Clarinet
This clarinet is a 1963 Buffet R13 A clarinet. Serial number 75,880. The instrument came to us in decent condition with no cracks, but in need of a complete rebuild.

Lower Joint - Before Overhaul Upper Joint - Before Overhaul Bell & Barrel - Before Overhaul

Body & Inspection & Tone Holes
After removing all the old pads, corks & felts, the instrument is completely cleaned. All joints are then inspected for small cracks or other hidden leak issues. This is accomplished by plugging up all holes and submersing the joint in water while air is blown in to the joint. Even the smallest leak becomes evident and is immediately addressed. If the clarinet has any cracks, it is then put through our Crack Repair Service (click here to see more on our crack repair service) before any further work is done. As this clarinet had no such issues, we then proceed to tone hole leveling & profiling (click here to read more on our tone hole service).

Joint Leak Test Tone Hole Leveling Tone Hole Profiling

Keywork Refit / Corks & Felts
All keywork is refit on the clarinet to ensure proper response and mechanical performance. All corks and felts are replaced and cut specific to your instrument. In some areas, we will utilize a combination of materials in order to give a specific feel with less noise.

Please note that on older clarinets, if excessive key refitting is required, there will be additional cost based on amount of time needed. On average, this will add $50-$75 but could be more or less depending on the severity of the key-fitting needed.

Trimming New Felts New Corks

Pad Fit, Selection, Installation & Ajdustment

"MasteRoo" is our premium pad selection used by default in our ProShop Overhaul service. Through our many years of testing, we have found that this combination gives your clarinet its ultimate response and maximum tonal performance with a rich, resonant lower register and a powerful & clean upper register.

The upper joint is outfitted with Valentino Master Series pads and the lower joint is outfitted with white kangaroo leather pads. Together, they give a solid feel, quiet physical performance & exceptional stability & life. However, since pads can affect the tonality and performance of the instrument, we can equip your clarinet with a myriad of other pad options including Cork, Double Skin, Triple Skin, GoreTex, White Leather, Valentino Black & Straubinger pads. Some of these options are more expensive for us to purchase as well as take longer to install, so some pad options will increase overall price. 

Custom Pad Selection Pad Installation & Floating Fine Tune Adjustment

Custom Fit of Professional Accessories (Bell and/or Barrel)
Your clarinet's performance is not limited to the overhaul itself. All clarinets can benefit from a better bell and/or barrel. We keep a good selection of top rate professional bells and barrels to fit to your clarinet and a significant discount when compared to purchasing at retail. For this clarinet, we put it through our "Backunization" process. If this term were to be entered into Webster's Dictionary, we believe it would read like this:
Backunization (bakoon-EYE-zaashun) - vb. : To make your clarinet better through the addition of Backun bells and/or barrels.

All kidding aside, you can take advantage of our experience with these items and we can custom pick and new Bell and/or Barrel that we feel is the perfect fit for your clarinet based on the feedback you give us.  We custom pick and fit these new items to the clarinet and send them to you on trial. What's even better is that after you receive it, if you dont love the new bell/barrel, no problem! You can return the bell/barrel for a refund.

In the case of this particular A clarinet, we fit a new Backun Ringless 66mm Grenadilla barrel and a new Backun Traditional Cocobolo Bell with Voicing Groove. The difference was outstanding! The clarinet became immensely more responsive, articulate and more powerful. Every facet of the instrument was vastly improved and turned it in to one of the best A clarinets that we have ever played!

Final Product
After everything is said and done, our ProShop Overhaul turns any clarinet into an instrument unlike it has ever been. Every iota of performance possible from the instrument, including that which you didnt know even existed, is revealed and brought to the forefront. The instrument is more stable, reliable and responsive then it ever has been. The premium pad selection we use combined with our key fit and tone hole service provides you with an instrument that is more stable and will need less work and adjustments through time, as well as not needing to be overhauled as often as with standard pads.

Our ProShop Overhaul service runs $450 and takes on average 7-10 days to complete. It carries a 1 year pads & adjustments warranty.

Other Optional Costs:
   Custom Hard Rubber Tenon Sleeve: $70.00
   Excessive Key Re-Fitting: Average of $50-$75
   Buffet Adjustable Thumb Rest: $45.00
   Key Plating - Pricing Upon Request

Other Overhaul Options for Student & Intermediate Clarinets Available - Click Here for our Overhaul Options Barrel & Bell Upgrade Packages
Just repairing your clarinet is only one facet of the specialization that we can do for your clarinet. While your clarinet is here, we offer the ability to add on bells, barrels & mouthpieces to your job and receive a discounted rate as well. We can hand select the barrel and bell that matches your clarinet the best based on what you tell us you are looking for.

Below is a list of discounted rates for various Bells, Barrels & Mouthpieces when you add them on with your repair. What's also great is that when you receive your clarinet back, if you are not thrilled with the added on accessory, you can actually send them back for a full refund! This way you can try it out and make sure that it is what is best for you and your playing style!

    Kessler Custom by Backun: $89.00 (normally $99) -view @
    Buffet Chadash: $170.00 (normally $185) -view @
    Buffet Moennig: $170.00 (normally $185) -view @
    Buffet ICON: $170.00 (normally $185) -view @
    Backun FatBoy: $170.00 (normally $180) -view @
    Backun MoBa: $200.00 (normally $225) -view @

    Buffet ICON: $279.00 (normally $319) -view @
    Backun Traditional: $460.00 (normally $500) -view @
    Backun MoBa: $500.00 (normally $540) -view @

Other great discounts on mouthpieces, cases, reeds, ligatures & other accessories also available. Give us a call to get your specialized quote today!