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Buffet R13 vs Buffet RC – What is the Difference?

11th July 2021

For many years the Buffet range of clarinets has been quite dominant in the upgrade and professional clarinet market. Whilst the competition has certainly come on strong in the last few years (Yamaha and Backun primarily) it’s fair to say that for many players and teachers the Buffet is still first on the list to start the comparisons.

In the pro upgrade range Buffet start with the R13 and RC. These two clarinets are the same price, made of the same quality materials, made by the same team etc so what differentiates them? We take a look at the differences below and also feature a video demonstrating both models…

Technical Differences

Before we get onto personal opinions let’s deal with the facts: The bore design is different; the shaping of the internal design of the two models vary. Manufacturers like Buffet use tooling to create cylindrical and conical shapes within the internal bore of the clarinet. Depending on the positioning, shape, speed of taper and size of these adjustments it will have an affect on the overall tone, response and intonation of the instrument.

The Buffet R13 has a poly-cylindrical bore which consists of mainly cylindrical shapes that reduce in size towards the middle joint and then back out again. The RC has cylindrical sections similar to the R13 but the bore is mainly conical, especially in the lower sections and this gives the RC a different playing feel.

The Buffet RC recently had some minor spec upgrades including white leather pads (vs double bladder on R13), a newly designed bell for more clarity in the bell notes, and the RC also now comes with 2 barrels (vs one with the R13). These small differences explain the slight price difference between the two models which are otherwise of comparable quality throughout.

Buffet R13 and RC Clarinets

Player Comments

Comments we hear back from players suggest they feel the R13 is a little brighter and more ‘punchy’ whereas the RC is a little rounder, and sweeter perhaps. Of course all these adjectives describing ‘tone’ are quite subjective and we would of course encourage all players to come and make their own mind up, it helps if you have a good idea in your head of how you sound now and what sort of sound you wish the clarinet to help you express.

The differences in the bore don’t just affect the outward tone, the response and resistance the player feels can modify slightly which can lead to the player being more comfortable and ultimately in using either instrument to articulate their musical ideas accordingly.

Try Them Yourself

Our 14 day home approval system lets you try models back-to-back from the comfort of your own home. Or, if you’re able to visit our Berkshire store you can book a testing room and test them vs your own Clarinet. Each player will have their own preferences based on the tone, response and sound they seek.