Buffet Crampon SAS is a French manufacturer of wind instruments based in Mantes-la-Ville, Yvelines department. The company is the world market leader in the production of clarinets of the Boehm system. Its subsidiary, Buffet Crampon Deutschland GmbH, founded in 2010 and based in Markneukirchen, Vogtland, Sachsen, is the world market leader in the manufacture of brass instruments. To manufacture and sell its products, the BC Group employed around 1000 people worldwide at the beginning of 2021, 470 of them as employees of BC Germany alone. The management of the group has been in the hands of Jérôme Perrod since 2014.
|Genre||Wind Musical instrument manufacturers|
|Jerôme Perrod, François Billecard, Jean-Baptiste Bouvier|
Number of employees
The following brands / labels, with the exception of the Buffet Crampon brand, are formerly independent companies whose essential assets, including the name and trademark rights, are owned by other companies and ultimately were acquired partly by Buffet Crampon SAS partly by BC Deutschland GmbH, and which were then dissolved as companies.
The Buffet Crampon SAS has six brands under which it manufactures the following instruments.
BC Deutschland also has six brands under which the following instruments are manufactured.
The BC group of companies has six production sites in which they manufacture the following instruments.
BC has sales companies in the United States, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands. It also has six showrooms: in Paris, Geretsried near Munich, Amsterdam, New York, Tokyo and Beijing.
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 & Cie a Paris (BC). (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 BC.)
In 1850, BC 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 BC acquired the Evette & Schaeffer Company and began to use that name as their instrument brand. In 1887 BC 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 BC began exporting instruments to the US. In 1910 BC introduced the Apogee premium model saxophone, which had innovative keywork features that were later adapted by other manufacturers. In 1918 BC 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 BC began outsourcing Evette & Schaeffer instruments to other manufacturers.
In 1950, BC 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. 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 late 1970s and 1980s, 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. Buffet left the saxophone market in the mid-1980s. In 2008 Buffet re-entered the saxophone market with their 400 model, sourced from China.
In 1981, BC joined Boosey & Hawkes, which sold the French company to The Music Group in 2003. Two years later BC was bought by a French group and was given the company name BUFFET Group Wind Instruments SAS, but continues to sell its products under the Buffet Crampon brand.
In 2006 Buffet Group acquired two brass instrument manufacturers, Antoine Courtois Paris and Besson. In 2008 Buffet Group acquired the Leblanc clarinet factory in La Couture-Boussey, Département of Eure, Haute-Normandie in France.
Until the 1980s, only professional level clarinets carried the BC 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 BC'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.
In 2010 the newly founded Buffet Crampon Deutschland GmbH, Markneukirchen, acquired the production facility in Markneukirchen and the brands W. Schreiber and Julius Keilwerth from the insolvency of Schreiber & Keilwerth GmbH, after the insolvency administrator had reduced the workforce in Markneukirchen from 252 in the previous months Employees had reduced to 134. The company manufactured clarinets of German systems and bassoons under the brand name W. Schreiber and saxophones under the brand name J. Keilwerth. In 2012, BC Germany also takes over B&S GmbH, which also produces in Markneukirchen, the leading European manufacturer of brass instruments with 250 employees and the brands B&S, Hans Hoyer, Melton, Meinl, Weston and J. Scherzer and integrates them into the company, whose workforce will grow to more than 400 employees (470 at the beginning of 2021). With these two most important acquisitions in the company's history, the Buffet Group can almost double its sales and has since taken a leading position not only in the field of woodwind instruments, but also brass instruments.
In 2012, Fondations Capital France SAS becomes shareholder in Buffet Group SAS. Fondation Capital is a subsidiary of Trail, a European private-equity company with registered office in Paris.
In 2014, Jérôme Perrod was appointed as the new CEO of the Buffet Group.
2015 Buffet Group founds a subsidiary in China, the Buffet Crampon Manufacturing Musical Instruments Co. LTD, which is building a production facility for 160 employees in Beijing, where 4,000 brass instruments for students will be (are to be) manufactured annually from 2016 onwards.
With the beginning of 2016 the Buffet Group Wind Instruments SAS was renamed Buffet Crampon SAS (BC).
In January 2019, BC acquired the French oboe manufacturer Rigoutat, Paris.
After the takeover of Powell Flutes in 2016, Parmenon was acquired in June 2019, whose know-how and reputation strengthen the group's competence in the flute market.
2020 BC opens a showroom in Beijing and builds a new factory (BCMMI) for 130 employees near Shanghai, with an annual capacity of 50,000 instruments.
BC is a partner of Woodstock's brass band.
The company is most famous for their clarinets, as Buffet is the brand of choice for many professionals.
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.
BC makes more than 400 models of its instruments. Because of the special importance as a manufacturer of clarinets with French system, the current models are listed below.
The following models are currently available (beginning of 2021)
|C / D||B♭||A||G||Basset clar.
|Alto in E♭||Bass to deep E♭ / D
|Bass to deep C
|Contra alto in E♭ |
double bass in B♭
|Legende from boxwood||x||x|
|Mod. 1193 (prof.)||Contra alto|
|E12F||ABS resin||Succeeded by B12 model|
|Prodige||ABS resin||Newest student model|
|1180||Grenadil||Student model bass cl.|
|E11||Made in China / Germany; more commonly sold in the United States|
|E12F||Made in France / Germany; introduced September 2012|
|E13||Made in France|
|Conservatoire||No||Semi-professional model, also known as the C12 model|
|R13||Yes||Most popular professional model, named after its designer, Robert Carrée|
|RC||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|
|Vintage||No||Replaced the S1; closer to the original 1950's R13 bore design|
|Festival||Yes||Has R13 bore with denser wood; register key is 1 mm higher than on a standard R13; has additional alternate left-hand E♭/A♭ lever|
|R13 Prestige||Yes||Made from highest quality unstained grenadilla wood; has additional alternate left-hand E♭/A♭ lever|
|RC Prestige||Yes||Smaller bore than R13 model; more popular in Europe; has additional alternate left-hand E♭/A♭ lever|
|Tosca||Yes||Introduced in 2003; has unique bore design and reshaped keywork; has auxiliary E♭ key and low F correction key|
|Divine||No||Introduced in March 2012 as Buffet's top-of-the-line model|
|Legende||No||Introduced in July 2017 as Buffet's top-of-the-line model|
|Tradition||No||New cylindrical bore design, which goes back to the earlier BC20 model. New design and improved equipment from April 2019|
|Gala||No||Introduced 2020, cylindrical bore design as the Tradition|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buffet Crampon.|
|French||Buffet Crampon||Rigutat||Parmenon||Verne Q. Powell||Courtois||Label Besson|
|German||B&S||Hans Hoyer||J. Scherzer||Melton Meinl Weston||W. Schreiber||Julius Keilwerth|