Wurlitzer, Fritz (Ulrich )
- Nicholas Shackleton
(b Erlbach, Dec 21, 1888; d Erlbach, April 9, 1984). German clarinet maker . He was born into a family of woodwind instrument makers and worked initially in the shop of his father, Paul Oskar Wurlitzer. He set up an independent workshop about 1930. During the 1930s he collaborated with the clarinettist Ernst Schmidt, adding refinements to both the Oehler system clarinet of the German-speaking world and the Boehm system instrument. Wurlitzer's Schmidt-Kolbe system (initially involving Louis Kolbe, a maker in Altenburg) is a modification of the Oehler system with a more even venting that results in an exceptionally full and even tone in the low register. The majority of these instruments were built with a very wide bore (15·2 mm), perhaps the widest ever used on German-style instruments. They were widely used, and were especially favoured in the Netherlands. The Schmidt Reform Boehm system utilizes standard Boehm system fingering, but carries several additional vents, resulting in a very even tone closer to the German sound than to the French. Wurlitzer also made fine basset-horns, bass clarinets and even a contrabass clarinet; his lower clarinets were still highly prized at the end of the 20th century....