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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001537.txt from 1999/01

From: Richard Bush <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Info on Bundy bass clarinets?
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 07:24:51 -0500

Kenneth Wolman wrote:
> I'm afraid the question is THAT vague: "tell me everything you know
> about these horns."
> I alluded to this earlier in the week: Perry Ritter in New York has a
> Bundy bass for sale, $600. I don't know the key and don't much care.
> It looks like the current Selmer 1430P bass. Not exactly plastic: some
> sort of compound. No mouthpiece. All he would swear to is that he's
> check the instrument over and it's playable. The pads look acceptable,
> the action feels nice, the key finish is good. He said the instrument
> belonged to some Broadway show musician, and that these guys use Bundys
> and other "student" horns for that kind of work, but save the good bass
> clarinets--which I know are WAY more expensive--for studio jobs.
> No, I don't have a serial number, but the instrument doesn't look old or
> beaten half to hell. It's either relatively recent or it's been well
> taken care of.
> Opinions on Bundy bass horns, anyone? Is $600 a decent price or should
> I save my money? I'm not a pro, I play for my own entertainment and
> frustration.
> Ken
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Bundy bass clarinets were ergonomically designed by a committee of
orangutans. They are, without question, the most uncomfortable
instrument imaginable under the fingers.

Having said that, I consider the instruments to be GREAT playing student
model bass clarinets. Even better than their basses is the Eb
contra-alto, a fantastic clarinet for the money.

Bundy bass clarinets do need things done to them to make them play well.
Most all student model woodwinds are carelessly and exceedingly heavily
sprung. Regulating spring tensions to a lighter and more even tension is
almost always needed.

Because the bores of these plastic bodied instruments are reamed with a
boring bar AFTER the tone holes are drilled, burrs most often occur at
the bases of the tone holes. Deburring can do a lot of good, depending
upon how bad the particular instrument is in this department.

Bundys do have some weaknesses. Mechanically, the top end of the upper
stack can get out of whack with just a little bump. There should be, but
isn't, a post between the top pad (under the A key) and the first finger
key (the one with the little hole for the altissimo register. Both keys
are suspended on a rod screw or arbor. If this gets bent, keys can bind
and pad cups can tip.

Another mechanical problem is the possibility of the thumb key, the Bb
pad and the G pad (the same one I talked about before that is under the
A key) not closing together in perfect synchronization. If this area and
these keys get out of whack, the whole clarinet is severely weakened in
its response, tone quality and its ability to play in the second
register, which is at best on the weak side.

For $600 you can't go wrong unless it is totally beat up. If it looks
good, if the plating is intact, go for it.

Get a good mouthpiece. Ralph Morgan makes a killer mouthpiece, his D
facing. That will, however, cost about one-fourth of what you might be
spending on the bass itself.

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