Silva-Bet Silver-Plated Clarinet, made by H. Bettoney.

Silva-Bet Silver Clarinet by H. Bettoney

The Silva-Bet is a silver-plated metal clarinet that was probably made in the early 1930s, although I can’t be sure -- I have not been able to find any specific, reliable info on them. It was Bettoney’s top of the line instrument made to compete with wood clarinets. This particular horn separates into three parts: the barrel, top joint, and bottom joint. The bell is permanently attached to the bottom joint. The barrel has an adjustable tuning ring, shown below.

Silva-Bet Tunable Barrel

The clarinet also has an articulated C#/G# key, which allows you to trill much more easily from B to C# in the lower register, and F# to G# in the upper register. In trilling from B to C#, you simply hold down your left pinky on the C# key while trilling with the second finger of you right hand. This is accomplished in part by the extra ring key for the third finger of the left hand, shown below.
It has an extra key on the bottom joint which serves as a right hand trill key for C#/G#. It allows you to trill from C# to D with the second finger of your right hand, instead of using your left pinky.

Silva-Bet Extra Keys

There is a pin that helps you lock the upper and lower joint in place so that the keys line up properly and the pads close when you push them down. When I received this instrument, the pin was missing, but my repairman created one.

Silva-Bet Locking Pin

It takes a little while to get used to the instrument because of the extra left hand ring key, but the action of the instrument is very smooth and even, especially for a clarinet that is about 80 years old. The silver plating on this clarinet is in excellent condition and there is no wear to speak of at all.

Silva-Bet Bell

The engraving on the bell is simple, but very elegant. Personally, I think it’s a beautiful horn.

Silva-Bet Engraving

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