Buffet Crampon

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Buffet Crampon
GenreMusical instrument manufacturers
Key people
Jerôme Perrod, François Billecard, Jean-Baptiste Bouvier

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.[1]

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.[2]


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 1887 Buffet obtained a patent for a mechanism to control an extra key on an extended saxophone bell, extending the lower range from B to B. 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.[3]

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 Super Dynaction (1957) and the highly regarded S series (1973) models.[3] Buffet also became the leading distributor of student-grade instruments in Europe, marketing French and Italian made saxophones under their Evette & Schaeffer brand. During the 1970s, the company's position in the student saxophone market collapsed in the face of competition from Yamaha, who offered higher quality and more up-to-date instruments, and lower cost East German, Czech, and Asian manufacturers. Their collapse in the student market accompanied a deteriorating position in the market for professional saxophones that led to their being discontinued in the mid-1980s. In 2008 Buffet re-entered the saxophone market with their 400 model, sourced from China.[4]

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.[5]

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.

Evette and Evette & Schaeffer clarinets[edit]

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.

Clarinet models[edit]

Clarinet in D by Buffet Crampon, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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.

B♭ clarinet RC Prestige, nikel-plated

B♭ soprano clarinets[edit]


Model Currently in production? Body Notes
Evette No ABS resin Succeeded by B12 model
B10 No ABS resin
B12 No ABS resin Succeeded by Prodige 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 France
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 Yes Most popular professional model, named after its designer, Robert Carrée
RC Yes 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[6]
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 No Introduced in March 2012 as Buffet's top of the line model
Legende Yes No Introduced in July 2017 as Buffet's top of the line model

Harmony clarinets[edit]

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
Alto clarinet Yes No
Contra-alto Yes No

Bass clarinets[edit]

Model Level Greenline option? Notes
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

Double Reeds[edit]

Instrument Model Level Greenline option? Notes
Oboe Conservatoire Student No
Oboe Prestige Professional Yes
Oboe Orfeo Professional Yes Introduced March 2012
English horn Prestige Professional No
Bassoon Prestige Professional No

Flute models[edit]

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.

200 Series[edit]

  • 225 – Silver-plated, inline G, closed keys
  • 227 – Silver-plated body, offset G closed keys, solid silver headjoint
  • 228 – Silver-plated, offset G closed keys and in line open hole (French style)

Redesigned 6000 series[edit]

  • 6010 – Silver-plated, inline G, closed keys
  • 6020 – Silver-plated, offset G, split E, closed keys
  • 6040 – Silver-plated, offset G, open hole (French style)
  • 6050 – Silver-plated, inline G, split E, open hole

7000 series[edit]

Intermediate models with silver heads and plated bodies. Model sub-numbers are similar to the 6000 series as above.

Saxophone models[edit]

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.


  • Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • Super Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 PRESTIGE (Copper, discontinued)


  • 18–20
  • Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • Super Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • Super Dynaction/S1 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 (Lacquer/Silver, Silver/Copper, discontinued)
  • S2 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S3 PRESTIGE (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S3
  • 400 Series (Lacquer/Antique matte)
  • 100 Series (Student Model)
  • Senzo copper (Lacquer/Silver)


  • Masterpiece (Lacquer, discontinued)


  • 18–20
  • Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • Super Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 PRESTIGE (Lacquer/Silver/Copper, discontinued)
  • S2 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • 400 Series (Lacquer/Antique matte)
  • 100 Series (Student Model)


  • 18–20
  • Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued )
  • Super Dynaction (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)
  • S1 (Lacquer/Silver, discontinued)

100 Series[edit]

These are beginner instruments made in China

  • Series 100 alto saxophone, lacquer
  • Series 100 tenor saxophone, lacquer

400 Series[edit]

These are intermediate models made in China

  • Series 400 alto saxophone, lacquer and matte
  • Series 400 tenor saxophone, lacquer and matte
  • Series 400 baritone saxophone, lacquer and matte


This is their top model

  • Senzo alto saxophone


  1. ^ "Comparing the Buffet Crampon R13 and E11 Clarinets: What Are the Differences?". April 8, 2017.
  2. ^ "Jérôme Perrod appointed CEO of Buffet Group" (PDF) (Press release). Fondations Capitali. July 28, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Hales, Pete. "Buffet Instrument Models". Saxpics.com. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Howard, Stephen. "Review, Buffet 400 Alto Saxophone". shwoodwinds.co.uk. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Overton, Mark. "The New Buffet Senzo..." saxophone.org/reviews/. saxophone.org. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "Our Story - Buffet Crampon". www.buffet-crampon.com. Retrieved April 12, 2018.

External links[edit]