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 Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clari-hack 
Date:   2007-03-20 15:44

Hi! I have a 19,xxx serial number Buffet Bass Clarinet. It has the automatic register key with a register key on the neck and one on the body. It plays really great, but somewhat sharp, especially in the lower clarion.

It does not have a tuning neck, and I am rather limited with the amount i can pull the neck out of the upper joint. I can pull the center joint out a little and that helps as does pulling the bell out a bit for lower clarion b. But I am still sharp. I can also pull the mouthpiece out a shade too, but still sharp!

Is there a tuning neck available for this bass clarinet, and one that is reasonable. Any suggestions?

Steve

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: William 
Date:   2007-03-20 15:56

Maybe it's your mouthpiece. I would recomment you give Walter Grabner a call. His website: http://www.clarinetxpress.com/ He can tell you all you need to know about the bass clarinet.

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clari-hack 
Date:   2007-03-20 16:35

IMHO, The mouthpiece is not the issue on my Buffet.

I play a Morgan D which plays just fine on my friend's Selmer Priviledge.

And conversely, I have played a B45, Selmer C** and D, AND the Grabner mouthpiece that is a re-worked Selmer C*, which is a nice 'piece, I just prefer something a bit more open, all were sharp on the Buffet.

Any neck suggstions?

Steve

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2007-03-20 16:51

I think that David Spiegelthal has a service by which he will bend bass clarinet necks into a more clarinet like angle.

I know that doesn't solve your problem...but on top of the fact that he frequently has a surplus of instruments lying around I think that he would be a great person to answer your question.

He posts here frequently, so if he doesn't chime in shortly you could search his name and find his email.

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: DougR 
Date:   2007-03-20 21:00

You might try Charles Bay.

They make replacement necks for basses; the current website is a little skimpy on detail, but the necks correct the angle of the mouthpiece vs. the body of the instrument and I THINK are 2-part necks.

anyhow, here's the url

http://www.baywoodwind.net/

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2007-03-21 01:43

Thanks for the referral, James! I can re-angle Steve's Buffet neck (adding some length in the process) but while elongating the neck may bring the throat tones down to pitch, it will provide progressively less correction the farther down the instrument one goes -- he'd probably still have to pull out the bell, and probably the center joint as well.

Steve, I'd suggest an experiment first: Pull out everywhere you can (to the point of severe wobble if necessary) and note at each location how far you have to pull out, to play comfortably at A-440 in every register. This will give us a better idea of whether the pitch level can be corrected at all, and if so, the best way to proceed.

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: D 
Date:   2007-03-21 17:51

Can you make an extension shoe to go over the tenons and increase the length at all the joints? Or would this mean the key work wouldn't meet!

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-03-21 18:55

I was thinking along similar lines - if you have access to a lathe, make yourself (or have someone make) some spacer rings in black plastic that fit at the tenon shoulder (with the same outer diameter as the body joint, and the inside diameter the same as the tenon with a split in it so it goes over the cork without tearing the cork off on the way, and stays on the upper tenon ring) and in the bottom of the sockets (fitting snugly in the sockets with the inside diameter the same as the bore) so you always have the tenons assembled at the same depth in the sockets each time.

Chris.

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: Ken Shaw 2017
Date:   2007-03-21 19:31

Another possibility is a wood bell. Rossi makes them (for $1,500), and so does Backun, probably for about the same price.

A less extravagant solution could be adding a wood or metal extension to fit between the lower joint and the bell. Fobes makes them for the Eb clarinet. Maybe they would work at the other end of the size scale. Steve Fox offered to do this on my Selmer Rosewood Eb contra (which is an early model with no low Eb).

Ken Shaw

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-03-22 06:20

A new tunable Buffet neck might fit your bass clarinet. Even if the bore/tenon fits then the key might need some modification. Also the register hole might not be in the best place of size for your model, but that's also changable.

The thing is, as David Spiegelthal says, a longer neck will not make the most problematic area (lower clarion) that much better. It will make your open notes (especially throat notes) much lower.

I don't think a wood bell will help much. I don't even think they will make the pitch lower (unless you get a special size one - maybe even higher price?). If you just open at the bell, does it help all the notes you need? If not, no matter what special size wood (or any material bell) bell you get it won't help.

First do what David suggested - open everything to have the best overall intonation for the clarinet, no matter how wobbly or uncomfortable it is to play. If there is no position that has decent intonation, one possibility is that it's just one of the old bass clarients with very bad intonation.

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: Alexis 
Date:   2007-03-22 10:00

Maybe you have to temper those notes with the register key and possibly with your oral cavity?

I have played a lot of basses where the upper clarion notes are sharp without making the above adjustments.

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clari-hack 
Date:   2007-03-25 18:01

Ok... Here is what I have done:

Warmed up thoroughly. I am playing a Morgan D with Vandoren Java tenor Sax 2.5 reed and Optimum Ligature.

The room I was playing/testing/tuning was 68 degrees.

Using my trusty dial calipers, I made the following measurements.

I pulled the mouthpiece out as far as it could go: 5 mm

I pulled the center joint as far apart as it could go: 5 mm. The linkages that make 1/1 fingerings and enabled the secondary register key were now disabled.

I pulled the bell out 9 mm. The low e flat was now disabled.


Tuning was pretty good with the following exceptions:

High clarion b and c (above the staff) were around +15 to +20 sharp.
clarion e was about 15 flat (maybe a key height issue?)
low clarion c about +20 low clarion b +22

Throats were still a tiny bit sharp, but quite manageable. Low a was -15 flat (again related to the clarion e) key height?? Low f and e were slightly flat but manageable.

Someon'e earlier suggestion that I perhaps voice things lower was a good one. Being primarily a saxophonist, I have practiced voicing exercises for years and was able to voice every sharp note, except for low clarion b to 0 on my tuner. I can only getthis note to +7 or so....


So the next question is... What do I do? I think a tuning neck would help, but seeing that the throat and upper chalameau are pretty close to in-tune, I won't be able to get the adjustability in the lower joint I need to get the lower chalameau an lower clarion in tune.

I guess I could get my tech to lengthen rods across the center joint so I can play it that far pulled out? Would a differnet mouthpiece make a difference here?



Any suggestions?

Steve

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2007-03-26 02:33

Well, that is one SHARP bass clarinet......I'm scratching my head over here in Virginia.........

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-03-26 05:45

Is it an option to sell it and get a different (used or new) bass clarinet?

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2007-03-26 06:39

Nobody i think has mentioned about filing tone holes to lower the pitch. this is a very difficult thing to do right and well so please take precaution if you do consider doing so. so basically what filing the tone holes do is to expand the tone hole, thus lowering the pitch. however the consequence of filing one tone hole might affect lower tone holes just below. The great news is that if it's the clarion B and clarion C notes; they are located at the bottom of the instrument, and thus will only affect that register and the lower register. if you do file the tone hole, make sure you file from the top of the tone hole and not the bottom as the sound travevls first through the top. and if this doesn't work, you can always put electrical tape to add back to the tone hole.

sounds like this would do the trick. might render your lowest note a little different too.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. they are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which was already but too easy to arrive as railroads lead to Boston to New York
-Walden; Henry Thoreau

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-03-26 18:41

Sorry, Steve, I've never seen such an assortment of lamebrain suggestions! Why don't you just try running over your Buffet bass clarinet with your car!

Seriously, I've never heard of lowering the pitch of a note by enlarging tone holes. Before you make any alterations to your instrument, why don't you take a lesson or two with a professional bass clarinetist -- names on request if you email me off-site. Of course your lower clarion plays sharp when you have the neck pulled all the way out, perhaps to compensate for a too-tight embouchure and too little air support. Even with perfect support and embouchure your long "b" is going to be sharp -- it's the nature of the beast with older Buffets. You can compensate some by tuning the low E a bit flat -- split the difference. Then at least you have two notes withing hailing distance of being in tune, instead of one hopelessly sharp note!

The best investment you can make to "improve your instrument" is to consult with an expert. At least you won't end up ruining what ought to be a fine instrument.

Larry Bocaner
National Symphony Orchestra (retired)

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2007-03-27 03:34

Larry's correct that enlarging the toneholes is totally wrong -- it will in fact further raise the pitch of notes in the vicinity. One can lower the pitch of a note by enlarging the FAR side (towards the bell) of the next open tonehole while FILLING the near side of that tonehole (e.g. with a strip of cork) --- essentially moving the 'centroid' of the tonehole downward. But this requires rebuilding the tonehole seat to make it level again, etc. and it's a lot of work -- and that's to do just ONE tonehole. There's got to be a better approach, and maybe Larry's suggestions are the ticket (he does know a few things about playing the bass clarinet!).

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: clari-hack 
Date:   2007-05-03 10:33

Update:

I located a Buffet tuning neck from an ailing school horn that may or may not be repairable and have it on temporary loan.

It makes a huge difference! I have to pull the bell out, the center joint about 1-2 mm, still keeping the register key and 1/1 b flat e flat enabled. The pitch IS completely manageable. Well, the low clarion b is still quite high, but I can now bring it into in-tune.


I also changed my embouchere a bit, going more for a saxophone embouchere. I don't know quite how to explain this, but I also have envisioned directing the airstream downward as I put it through oral cavity and out into the mouthpiece.

Thanks for the advice.

Steve

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: Wes 
Date:   2007-05-04 04:15

Sometimes the key heights can be too high which can cause sharpness. I would also experiment with inserts in the bore, perhaps a small dowel or some Playdoh, etc, not necessarily for permanent. Someone mentioned a fine BC player who had beeswax melted into the bottom of the bell but I don't know anything about that problem. Perhaps an expert clarinet tuner is the best idea! Good luck!

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 Re: Buffet Bass Clarinet Question
Author: C2thew 
Date:   2007-05-04 06:22

Get a professional clarinet adjuster to fix the issue. Beeswax.... will probably fall off and glob somewhere on the bottom of your bell because of the vibrations (assuming)

Sounds like your in a great situation for a potential bass clarinet. right on dude.

Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. they are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which was already but too easy to arrive as railroads lead to Boston to New York
-Walden; Henry Thoreau

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