Based on the prototype instruments developed by the noted acoustician Arthur Benade, this design uses a unique bore shape (with basic diameter 14.6mm) and bell design to blend the focus and cleanness of the German sound with the brilliance and projection of the French clarinet, with superior intonation.
An automatic register/throat Bb mechanism, with separate holes for each function, is an integral part of the design. Following the principle of eliminating redundant tone holes where practical, the left hand Eb/Bb "sliver" key uses the same hole as the right hand key.
In other respects, while the keywork is basically Boehm system, two models are distinguished-
- The "simple" model is plain Boehm system apart from the register/throat Bb and Eb/Bb sliver key as described above.
- The "AHB Replica" model incorporates all the keywork innovations of Benade's own clarinets, featuring (1) a left hand third finger ring and a single hole taking the place of the second finger ring and E/B hole, which allows a left hand fork fingering for high Bb; and (2) a third trill key (giving throat register fingerings for Bb, B and C), integrated with the register/throat Bb mechanism.
A dedicated mouthpiece, with a distinct bore size and shape, must be used with this clarinet in order to achieve correct intonation (this is the same mouthpiece bore as used for English bore clarinets). Any existing mouthpiece can be modified to the correct specifications.