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Clarinet/New Vito 7212 for free or a LeBlanc Pete Fountain for $600?

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I need some advice on a clarinet purchase issue. My son was playing clarinet for the past 6 years and is now 14 years old and in high school. He has some skill and is under a good teacher. However, he was still using his old “rental clarinet” a now well-used Vito 7212. My teacher advised that if we were going to get serious we’d be better to move up to either an intermediate new or a professional grade restored. Long story short, we found a professionally restored excellent Buffet R13 gone over from a low use environment and bought it. Our teacher, our son and we are thrilled; it has wonderful tone and is a great instrument.
However, this isn’t a clarinet for marching band so we need something less sensitive that will take the rigor of eastern US cold nights at football games and also competitions.  I also have accumulated $880 in “credit” with the rental program. When I went to redeem my credit, here are my only 2 options…
1.   Turn in the well-used Vito 7212 and get new one free and clear. Vito’s of this nature sell in the good used market for, as far as I can tell, $100 and up and new at maybe $650 or so.  In my opinion, not that great a clarinet, even for outdoor use.
2.   Pay $600 more and get a brand-new, still-sealed LeBlanc Pete Fountain model free and clear. This clarinet hasn’t been made for maybe 10 years or so but this dealer has new stock from the past he wants to move. Now these I see on eBay (as the Pete Fountain or the successor, the Big Easy) at $2,000 used with some wear and $3,000+ new. The seem desirable and don't come up often.
OK, so I see my options as:
1.   Take the Vito for “free” and live with it as an outside horn and when he graduates sell it for $100. Life goes on but I don’t think I’d have received $880 in value.
2.   Pay up the $600 and let the kid use it in marching band as a heck of an instrument and sell it in what should be excellent used (3 months a year for the next 3 years) for what I figure would be at least $1000, maybe better.
3.   Pay the $600 for the still sealed new-in-box LeBlanc Pete Fountain and then sell it right away for $1800-2000, use $300 for a decent used Vito for marching band and keep the rest. If I can do this I spend $600 + $300 and if I can sell the perfect new Pete Fountain for $1800 (which seems reasonable) then I am still ahead $900 and that pay for a lot of lessons and reeds.
In all 3 cases we have the Buffet R13 for concert band and orchestra as well as, maybe, college days…
Do my ideas make sense and what do you suggest?

Answer
Hi David,

This one is easy - go with the plastic Vito for marcing band. Option 3 might be worth the effort and risk if immediate cash is not an issue.  As far as your rental fees over the years, you can comfort your invesment minded self with the fact that you were provided not only convenience, but likely incentive for your son to practice.  I used to be anti-rental because of the differences in money, but as a teacher I see that parents and students are more likely to take music and practice seriously if they are paying money every month to use an instrument.

Have fun listening to your son play!

Rebecca

Clarinet

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Rebecca

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I am a former college music professor. I`ll be happy to discuss repertoire, set-up, music schools, technique, recordings, etc. If you have a question about the value of an instrument, please read this: Clarinets do not improve with age. The inside shape changes with use, making it more difficult to play in tune. A quality new clarinet can be purchased for $2000. I would generally not pay more than $300 for an older clarinet, and that is after an overhaul ($400) has already been done. That's just my opinion and I'm sure you can find someone who would pay more. If you want to know the year of your instrument, go to http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/HowOld/

Experience

I am a former college music professor. I`ll be happy to discuss repertoire, set-up, music schools, technique, recordings, etc. If you have a question about the value of an instrument, please read this: Clarinets do not improve with age. The inside shape changes with use, making it more difficult to play in tune. A quality new clarinet can be purchased for $2000. I would generally not pay more than $300 for an older clarinet, and that is after an overhaul ($400) has already been done. That's just my opinion and I'm sure you can find someone who would pay more. If you want to know the year of your instrument, go to http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/HowOld/

Education/Credentials
I am a former college music professor. I`ll be happy to discuss repertoire, set-up, music schools, technique, recordings, etc. If you have a question about the value of an instrument, please read this: Clarinets do not improve with age. The inside shape changes with use, making it more difficult to play in tune. A quality new clarinet can be purchased for $2000. I would generally not pay more than $300 for an older clarinet, and that is after an overhaul ($400) has already been done. That's just my opinion and I'm sure you can find someone who would pay more. If you want to know the year of your instrument, go to http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/HowOld/

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