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Saxophone/Clarinet Dorn & Kirschner


Dear Mr Frazier,

I know you are a saxophone specialist, but I would appreciate if you can help me to find out some information regarding to the clarinet Dorn & Kirschner I have bought. Its serial number is 1836.
Can you please send further information about the manufacturing year, model, history, etc??

thank you in advance

Andre Santos - from Brazil

Dorn and Kirschner was a music store and repair school located in Newark, New Jersey. The store closed in 1992. The instrument rental business developed during the 1920s and 1930s and revolved around a rent-to-own concept akin to the installment plan made popular by the automobile industry and subsequently applied to furniture, home appliances, and other consumer goods. Dorn and Kirschner boasted one of the area's largest instrument rental programs, serving a sizeable section of central and northern New Jersey.

You vou have a stencil clarinet. What is a stencil?

A "stencil" refers to a clarinet built by a major manufacturer for another company or storefront. On receipt of the clarinet, the storefront would literally take a stencil and engrave their own name or design on the horn.
American stencil manufactures were generally:
* Conn
* Buescher
* Martin
* Occasionally Holton
* Occasionally HN White (King)
American stencils generally have the following characteristics:
* A different serial number chart than the pro horns form the manufacturer
* Stencil manufacture didn't begin in the US until about 1920
* A reduced feature set than the pro horns (for example, Conn stencils don't have rolled tone holes)
* Generally lower quality control than pro horns, but still great horns compared with today...
* Designs were generally based on earlier tooling (i.e. body and key work).
* Generally limited engraving
* All American stencils I have seen have been low pitch, A=440hz (modern intonation) horns (I still recommend checking with a tuner, in case some are high pitch and aren't marked)
* Occasionally new designs were released only on stencil models (new key work, different octave vent designs, etc.). If the design was good, it occasionally found its way onto the pro models
* American stencils were generally made by the lowest bidder for the contract. For instance, if the Vega company requested a bunch of saxophones, they would buy them from whoever was the cheapest supplier: Conn, Buescher, etc. This means that most stencils were not always made by one specific company over the life of the stencil.
Your clarinet was made in the mid to late 1920's.  


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Jeff Frazier


Any questions related to the repair, refinishing and restoration of band instruments (woodwinds and brass).


I am co-owner J and J Woodwinds LLC, a full service repair and restoration facility locatd in Shreveport, Louisiana. We have been in business since 1985 providing customers worldwide with the repairs and restorations that many will not do!

Apprenticed under one of the finest repairmen in the business at Williams music in the late 1970's/early 1980's. His brother is listed as one of the top band instrument repair techs in the nation!

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