Official Buffet Crampon logo
|Genre||Musical instrument manufacturers|
Buffet Crampon is a French manufacturer of woodwind musical instruments, including oboes, flutes, saxophones, english horns and bassoons; however, the company is perhaps most famous for their clarinets, as Buffet is the brand of choice for many professionals.
Buffet Crampon began manufacturing musical instruments in 1825 exclusively in France, but has since expanded their business to include production facilities in Germany and China as well. Since the company's conception, Buffet Crampon has expanded to a worldwide market. Jérôme Perrod, Buffet Group's Chief Executive Officer, runs the Buffet Crampon, Besson, B&S, Antoine Courtois, Hans Hoyer, J. Keilwerth, Meinl Weston, Powell Flutes, Scherzer, and W. Schreiber brands.
Denis Buffet-Auger, of the Buffet family of French musical instrument makers, began making quality clarinets in Paris, France in 1825. The company expanded under Jean-Louis Buffet and his wife Zoé Crampon and became known as Buffet Crampon. (Another family member, Auguste Buffet jeune, who worked with famous clarinetist Hyacinthe Klosé to develop the Boehm system for clarinet, had his own business separate from Buffet Crampon.)
In 1850, Buffet Crampon established its headquarters at Mantes-la-Ville. The company continued to expand its range and quality in instrument production, beginning saxophone production in 1866, and winning numerous awards.
In 1877 Buffet acquired the Evette & Schaeffer Company and began to use that name as their instrument brand. In 1908 Buffet began exporting instruments to the US. In 1910 Buffet introduced the Apogee premium model saxophone, which had innovative keywork features that were later adapted by other manufacturers. In 1918 Buffet began marketing their premium line instruments under their own name, while marketing lower grade instruments variously under the Evette & Schaeffer and Evette brands. During the 1930s Buffet began outsourcing Evette & Schaeffer instruments to other manufacturers.
In 1950, Buffet developed its famous R13 clarinet, an extremely popular professional-level clarinet. The company also began production of the Dynaction model saxophones that year, which would evolve into the highly regarded Super Dynaction (1957) and S series (1973) models. Buffet also became the leading distributor of student-grade instruments in Europe, under their Evette & Schaeffer brand and various merchandisers' "stencil" brands. During the 1970s, the company's position in the student market collapsed in the face of competition from Yamaha and other Asian manufacturers who offered more up-to-date designs, and either higher quality or lower cost. Their collapse in the student market had ramifications in the professional market, as the company lost distribution for Buffet-built saxophones leading to their being discontinued in the mid-1980s. In 2008 Buffet re-entered the saxophone market with their the 400 model, sourced from China.
In 1981, Buffet joined Boosey & Hawkes, which sold the French company to The Music Group in 2003. Two years later Buffet was bought by a French group. In 2006 Buffet Crampon acquired two brass instrument manufacturers, Antoine Courtois Paris and Besson. In 2008 Buffet Crampon acquired the Leblanc clarinet factory in La Couture-Boussey, Département of Eure, Haute-Normandie in France. In 2010, Buffet acquired the Julius Keilwerth company of Germany, taking charge of distribution of their distinctive saxophones. In 2014, Buffet introduced the professional level Senzo alto saxophone. The Senzo, built in a co-operative arrangement between Buffet and Keilwerth facilities, marked the return of Buffet saxophone production to France for the first time since the mid-1980s.
Recently, Buffet has made some efforts to protect the African Blackwood trees which provide grenadilla wood for clarinets, from being eliminated by introducing some wood composite products to its line up. However, Buffet has decided not to adopt the Forest Stewardship Council's standard of sustainable forestry management. Buffet composite wood models do not have the grain structure of a true wood product and as such they do not have the issue of cracking due to environmental changes that are typically seen in clarinets and other wood instruments.
Until the 1980s, only professional level clarinets carried the Buffet name. Lower priced clarinets for the beginner and intermediate market were branded "Evette" and "Evette & Schaeffer", respectively. For a time, the Evette clarinets actually were built by other manufacturers under Buffet's sponsorship, and these instruments are marked "Evette sponsored by Buffet". By the early 1970s, Buffet was making the Evettes in their own factory in Paris, and around 1979, manufacture was moved to a Buffet-owned factory in Germany. Evette & Schaeffer clarinets were made in Paris. Use of the Evette and Evette & Schaeffer brands ended around 1985, when the company began using the Buffet name on all its clarinets.
Buffet Crampon has released several clarinet models from the mid-20th century onwards, with models ranging from student to professional in marketing. The development of new models has sometimes led to the discontinuation of older models. The student models tend to be made from ABS resin, whereas intermediate and professional models are usually made from grenadilla wood. The professional models are usually made from more select grenadilla wood, and are usually unstained. Various options have been made available for select professional models, including the Greenline option, additional keywork, and gold-plated keys.
|Model||Currently in production?||Body||Notes|
|Evette||No||Abs resin||Succeeded by B12 model|
|Model||Currently in production?||Notes|
|Evette||No||Succeeded by E11 model|
|Evette Master Model||No||Succeeded by E12 model|
|Evette & Schaeffer||No||Succeeded by E13 model|
|Evette & Schaeffer Master Model||No|
|E11||Yes||Made in China / Germany; more commonly sold in the United States|
|E11 France||No||Made in China / France; succeeded by E12F model|
|E12||No||Referred to as the E45 prior to 1992 fan|
|E12F||Yes||Made in France / Germany; introduced September 2012|
|E13||Yes||Made in China / France; also known as the "Limité"|
|Prodige||Yes||Newest Student Model|
|Model||Currently in production?||Greenline option?||Notes|
|International||No||No||Entry level semi-professional model, also known as the C13 model|
|Conservatoire||Yes||No||Semi-professional model, also known as the C12 model|
|R13||Yes (1955-?)||Yes||Most popular professional model, named after its designer, Robert Carrée|
|RC||Yes (1975-?)||Yes||Evolved from the R13 model with distinctive barrel and bell shape; developed in 1974 with the assistance of the luthier Robert Carrée, for whom the model is named|
|S1||No (1970-1985)||No||Equivalent to the R13; manufactured in the 1970s and early 80s; designed to have an inverse taper barrel and a bore similar to earlier R13 clarinets|
|Vintage||No (1996-2015)||No||Replaced the S1; closer to the original 1950's R13 bore design|
|Festival||Yes||Yes||Has R13 bore with denser wood; register key is 1 mm higher than on a standard R13; has additional alternate left-hand Eb/Ab lever|
|R13 Prestige||Yes||Yes||Made from highest quality unstained grenadilla wood; has additional alternate left-hand Eb/Ab lever|
|RC Prestige||Yes||Yes||Smaller bore than R13 model; more popular in Europe; has additional alternate left-hand Eb/Ab lever|
|Elite||No (1980-2002)||No||Currently being produced only for Lohff and Pfeiffer of Denmark; replaced on a larger scale by the Tosca; all reinforcing rings were of black polycarbonate fiber|
|Tosca||Yes||Yes||Introduced in 2003; has unique bore design and reshaped keywork; has auxiliary Eb key and low F correction key|
|Divine||Yes (2012-?)||No||Introduced in March 2012 as Buffet's top of the line model|
All of Buffet Crampon's harmony clarinets are professional models released under the "Prestige" label.
|Instrument||Currently available?||Greenline option?||Notes|
|Basset A||Yes||No||Pitched in A; descends to low C|
|Basset horn F||Yes||No||Pitched in F|
|1180||Student||No||Reintroduced in 2013|
|1183||Professional||Yes||Extends to low Eb|
|1193||Professional||Yes||Extends to low C|
|Tosca(1195)||Professional||No||Extends to low C|
|Oboe||Orfeo||Professional||Yes||Introduced March 2012|
Originally Buffet Crampon flutes were made in Paris, France. But in 1981 the company was bought out by Boosey & Hawkes and their flutes were manufactured in Boosey & Hawkes factories in England (and later in Germany) over the period 1981 to 2004. In 2005 the Buffet Crampon company returned to French hands. In 2016 Buffet Crampon purchased Powell Flutes, Maynard, Massachusetts, which continues as a separate brand.
Modern Buffet Crampon flutes utilize the Cooper scale (see Albert Cooper) and have a reputation for accurate tuning. The 200 series flutes were of average construction quality and needed regular maintenance to play well. In the 1980s Boosey & Hawkes redesigned the Buffet Crampon flute as the 6000 series with improved key cups and stiffer keys. The 6000 series is generally regarded as mechanically superior to the 200 instruments.
Intermediate models with silver heads and plated bodies. Model sub-numbers are similar to the 6000 series as above.
As early as 1866, Buffet Crampon was producing its first saxophones, 20 years after the invention of this instrument by the Belgian Adolphe Sax. They were the first to manufacture saxophones, besides those made by Adolphe Sax himself. Today, Buffet Crampon produces three series of saxophones: 100 Series, 400 Series and since 2013, the Senzo alto saxophone.
These are beginner instruments made in China
These are intermediate models made in China
This is their top model