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ATE Bonneville

Serial #2404

Paris, France

Stamp: On upper body: (monogram) AB / (in oval cartouche) ATE / BONNEVILLE / � PARIS / (below cartouche) 2404. On headjoint the same, less the monogram.

Marks: No marks visible under keys.

Manufacture Date: Once again, we date Bonneville flutes at approximately 75- 100 flutes per year, placing this instrument around 1901-1909.

Hallmarks: No hallmarks.

Comments: In my opinion, which, on piccolos, shouldn't count for much, this is one of the friendliest Boehm system piccolos around. I love a good English simple-system piccolo, with a full, clear tone and little harshness, but I have never gotten close with a Boehm piccolo; in fact, I hid them all when I was at the Library of Congress, where the marble floors and ceilings made the experience even less pleasant. This piccolo is different. Rumors are afoot the Bonneville was especially revered for his piccolos; this instrument shows why. My judgment on Boehm piccolos always carries a caveat: I don't play them. Were I to, this would be the one to try.

Material: This very nice piccolo is made with palisander wood(?), with silver keys. The springs are steel. The corkscrew is turned wood with a silver tip. The middle of the headjoint is completely surrounded with silver. Headjoint also with silver socket inset and short tuning slide.

System: This beautiful piccolo is an open G# system, with standard thumb Bb, and Bb trill. The foot is to D. The bore is conical. The keys are all covered. The strap is one piece, the back clutch three pieces. there is a "hanging T" clutch for the right hand. The Bb mechanism is Lot's clever vertical clutch with overlapping spades of different arcs.

Condition: The body and mechanism appear to be in perfect, original condition. There are no signs of abuse or accident. There is slight wear from use. The headjoint suffered an old barrel crack, which extended under the silver band. The crack was pinned, but the band split at the seam, and had to be repaired with two little silver overlays (very nicely done). A later crack opened on the other side of the barrel, and was repaired with glue. This all avoids the embouchure and the playing experience. It is remotely conceivable that the head was shortened just a tad when the crack repairs were made, since the silver ring appears just a smidgen smaller than the wood (I am sure that these numerical terms will be fully defined in one of the upcoming dictionaries of flute terminology).

Pitch: The piccolo seems to play at A=440, if not a tad higher.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 265 mm.


Weight: 157

Case: In original (?) case with key, all in perfect condition

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