I had the opportunity to measure several bores of vintage barrels a few weeks ago, including ones that were reamed by Mr. Moennig himself. It occurred to me that somewhere on the Internet someone might be curious to find out the differences between the ones he made and the contemporary ones now found online.
Disclaimer: I know that every person plays differently and that every instrument has its idiosyncrasies, so not every barrel will be exactly “such-and-such” measurement because a good craftsman would have helped shape it to fit its owner. Also, bore sizes have changed since the 60s. However, there are some pretty solid ranges. All examples are Buffet barrels unless noted.
Barrel 1: 60s Moennig Bb, top = 589, bottom = 578
Barrel 2: 60s Moennig Bb, top = 588, bottom = 579.5
Barrel 3: Modern Moennig-stamped from Buffet Bb, top = 591, bottom = 582
For fun: Barrel 4 reamed for Donald Montanaro, Bb, top = 585.5, bottom – 575 (pretty small!)
Barrel 5: 60s Moennig A, top = 584.5, bottom = 577
Barrel 6: 80s/90s Moennig A , top = 584, bottom = 578
Barrel 7: Taplin Moennig-cut A from 2016, top = 584.5, bottom = 582 (I currently use this)
Barrel 8: 2016 Moennig A, top = 586.5, bottom = 582 (much larger than previous models)
Stock…I don’t have one. I’d be curious to know the measurements of a 60s stock Buffet A barrel.
As you can see, the trend over the years has been “bigger is better” as far as bores go. As we get more volume, we then look for Mp/barrel setups to focus everything up, and around and around we go.
Fun note: barrel number five is my former teacher’s barrel that is absolutely phenomenal. Since he’ll never part with it, I am ordering an A barrel with those exact measurements and the same length for my 1963 A. I’m in love with Taplin and Weir’s European cut, (as well as their excellent customer service), so we will see how close I can get to the focused, dolce sound I’m looking for while updating the style to something unique.
Till next time,