CROSSING THE GREEN LINE

How Buffet Crampon's Green-Line instruments use a
revolutionary technology that respects both musical
performance and the environment.


"I was surprised that the quality of sound of the Buffet clarinets was not
sacrificed by using alternative Green-Line materials. If anything, I find the
instruments are more focussed than the traditional wooden models, whilst
retaining the resonance and bloom associated with the sound of Buffet
clarinets.

As a member of a touring orchestra, I no longer have to worry about my
instruments being affected by changes of temperature and humidity, and I
know that they won't crack!"


–Lynsey Marsh, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Traditionally Buffet Crampon's instruments are made of African blackwood: grenadilla
Dalbergia melanoxylon is the botanical name, in Kiawahill/Tanzania they call it mpingo. It is
a rare timber species found nowhere in the world except for Tanzania, Mozambique or
India (where it is known as ebony).

Mpingo is a small heavily branched tree which takes some 80 years from the time the
seedling is planted to the time profitable harvesting can be done. However, the most
advantageous exploitation is realised after the tree passes the 120 year age mark.

Apart from the music industry, Tanzania's & Mozambique's celebrated Makonde carvers
use important quantities of mpingo wood to make varied types of carvings for the tourist
industry. Their often savage exploitation of this species of timber has increased
tremendously. The situation has become so serious that the government has in fact had to
act to control the mad felling of mpingo for this industry.

The group Boosey & Hawkes and in particular the group companies Buffet Crampon S.A.
(France) and W. Schreiber (Germany) have an annual need of 40,000 mpingo wood sets
which are imported from Tanzania and Mozambique.

At a time when environmental concerns are present in everyone's mind, technicians and
planners at Buffet Crampon felt it necessary to take into account the diminishing supplies
of this precious wood to make make their clarinets and oboes. They developed an exclusive
high-tech process (patented) that marries 95% mpingo wood powder with carbon fibre in a
revolutionary new material called Green-Line. The powder is obtained by pulverisation of
blackwood pieces. The components are then pressure formed. The process conserves the
precious resources, yet permits the creation of top-of-the range instruments in the best
Buffet Crampon sound tradition. In fact, the Green-Line material has the same acoustic
properties as natural wood. Thus tradition, revolutionary technology (this new production
technology allows for a raw material saving ratio of 1 to 4) and respect for the environment
are united in a more efficient use of natural resources.

Green-Line instruments are manufactured according to the artistic principals that have
made Buffet Crampon famous. They are much more stable in varying temperatures and
changing atmospheric conditions than are instruments made of traditional say natural wood.
The average weight of a Green-Line instrument corresponds to the weight of a traditional
professional instrument.

As Green-Line material doesn't crack, now musicians need only be concerned for their
own performance. Many famous musicians worldwide already play on Green-Line
instruments.

• Stephane Hascoet, woodwind technician at Buffet Crampon