Buffet RC vs R-13 – What’s the difference?

Are you a professional clarinet player looking to change or upgrade your instrument? This article will help you choose the best instrument and show you the differences between the Buffet RC and the Buffet R-13.

The Buffet RC and Buffet R13 are made by the company Buffet Crampon which is the world’s leader in clarinet making. The French company has 6 production houses each dealing with different instruments with Buffet RC and Buffet R13 being made in France as they are both professional clarinets. The company was founded in 1825 and has headquarters in Paris.

The company with help of clarinetist Hyacinthe Klosé developed the renowned Boehm key system for clarinets and this key system is found on both Buffet RC and Buffet R13. This company has some of the best methods of wood selection and aging and has perfected the art of making this musical instruments over the years.

Buffet Crampon makes Buffet RC and Buffet R13 in two that’s the other type being the Buffet R13 prestige and Buffet RC prestige. The prestige line has an additional dedicated Eb/Ab lever placed where the left hand can easily manipulate it. They also are made with the highest quality of grenadilla wood and it is also notable that prestige R13 has a smaller bore than Buffet R13.

What are the differences

Item Buffet R13 Buffet RC
Size 14.25 x 11.18 x 4.75 inches 14.25 x 11.18 x 4.75 inches
Key system Full Boehm silver coated Full Boehm silver coated
Type of bore Poly-cylindrical Conical
Body material Grenadilla wood Grenadilla
Number of keys 17 17
Instrument key B flat B flat
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How they compare

The body

The Buffet R13 and the Buffet RC are both made of high-quality grenadilla wood that has been naturally aged in their production house. The wood is subjected to several quality checks for quality assurance. These two pieces will last a lifetime without any cracks. The bell is also made of grenadilla wood that has been perfectly aged and polished to a mirror finish. Both pieces don’t come with mouthpieces. Notably, the bodies are handmade preserving the quality craftsmanship that Buffet Crampon is known for. The Buffet RC comes with a double barrel made from grenadilla while Buffet R13 has a single barrel. RC used to have a single barrel too but improvements were made recently giving it a double barrel.

When it comes to body, the Buffet R13 and RC both have similar qualities but the RC wins by having two barrels which improve the notes.


The Buffet R13 and Buffet RC both come with a full French Boehm key system. The Boehm key system was developed by Buffet Crampon company so we trust the quality of these keys. The Boehm system gives the player ease of mastering the keys making it easier to play the instrument as well as manipulate the notes. Keys of both instruments are handcrafted and also subjected to several quality tests then they are silver coated and polished to give them a long life. The silver coating helps protect the instrument from natural factors like rust and also plays a major role in preventing dirt from sticking to the keys. The mirror finish makes it easy for cleaning too. There is well-placed thumb rests also that are silver coated.

Again the two pieces use similar keys and key systems of equal quality. On this, the instruments are at par

The bore and the note holes

The Buffet R13 has a poly-cylindrical bore which narrows down as you head to the middle piece and expands as it goes down to the bell. This gives the Buffet R13 a brighter and punchy tone that is loved by many. The note holes are undercut making the notes more articulate.

The Buffet RC has a cylindrical bore but takes the conical shape as it goes down towards the bell. This bore gives the RC a rounder sweet note. The note holes are also undercut making the notes very articulate.

Both clarinets have very good notes but the Buffet R13 has been chosen by many professionals due to the bore and therefore wins in this category.

Comparison overview

Buffet R13 clarinet

This clarinet was designed by Robert Carrée in 1955 and was majorly for the American market. It is a B flat tone instrument that was perfectly designed to give deep tones. With the Boehm keys, it is very easy to master this clarinet and also improve playing skills. For B flat clarinets, the player has to play a note higher than the written music piece but with Buffet R13’s adjustable keys, the player can adjust the notes to meet the required tune. It is also fitted with a premium-grade reed and ligature that is well designed and not sticky to the body. It is made with quality grenadilla wood that has been stained red giving it a classic look. Buffet R13 has six rings made of silver completing its look. The Buffet R13 gained so much fame in the orchestra and has remained to be one of the most sought-after clarinets.

What we liked

  • Full Boehm keys.
  • Good quality grenadilla wood is used for the body.
  • Silver coated keys for easy cleaning.
  • High-quality reed and ligature.

What we didn’t like

  • Doesn’t come with a mouthpiece as a package


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Buffet RC clarinet

After the Buffet R13 gained popularity, Robert Carrée went back to the drawing board in 1974, and this time with the European market in mind. He came up with Buffet RC with RC denoting his name. on this piece he changed the bore to a conical shape to fit the needs of the European market. He adjusted the Buffet R13 to fit the European market needs. The clarinet is made of the same high-quality grenadilla wood sourced from Africa and naturally aged to perfection. It is handmade using the same techniques they used in the beginning.

It comes with a full Boehm style 17 keys with adjustable thumb rest to help in your comfort. The keys are silver plated that are handy when it comes to cleaning. These levers are adjustable so that the player can set the tone as it fits them best.

In 2014, Buffet RC was revised and that’s when the barrel was changed into a grenadilla double barrel making it have a more well-defined tone that fits the needs of today’s clarinetists. In the body, they added white leather pads to help in comfort during play after removing the old rubber rings.

What we liked

  • Grenadilla double barrel
  • Good quality grenadilla body
  • Full Boehm set of keys
  • Silver finish on the keys
  • Leather padding for better grip

What we didn’t like

  • Doesn’t come with a mouthpiece


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We find that both clarinets are well built with quality in mind. They have a different feel when playing and a clarinetist can test both to see what suits their play needs. All in all, both Buffet R13 and Buffet RC are masterpieces that have held their position in time and will continue to be the best for a long time since they fit what most professionals need. They are both a worthy buy for students who want to upgrade to the pro level and professionals too.


Q. Do the clarinets come with a carry case?

Yes, with every purchase of Buffet R13 and RC, a quality carry on case is provided with several maintenance materials.

Charlotte Moore is a Clarinetist by profession and has over time offered lessons on how to play the clarinet among other musical instruments. And while a majority of clarinet players are well versed with the process of settling with a good clarinet among other accompanying features. There is little information about clarinets. The reason why Charlotte prepared comprehensive experts touching on the various facets of the clarinet. The consolidated information will offer more insight on everything clarinets including the best stand to use, and the best plastic clarinet that you can invest in, among other information. Charlotte Moore is a devoted mother of two and a professional clarinet player.

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