Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Woodwind.OrgThe Clarinet BBoardThe C4 standard

  BBoard Equipment Study Resources Music General    
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Help/Rules  |  Smileys/Notes  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 Student model bass clarinet
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-07 09:46


My cousin's parents want to buy him a bass clarinet. They are looking for a student model. I don't have experience with the available student models so I would like some help please. They are going to be in USA soon and it might be a good idea to buy it there.

The models I see on WWBW (from low to high price) are Woodwind, Jupiter 673N, Vito 7166, Vito 7168, Selmer 1430P (identical to Bundy?), Yamaha 221. I think these are all the possibilties for their price range.

One option is eBay. This is epsecially risky since they can't return it. I see Vitos and Bundys there for even less than $200. They assume it will need a lot of repair, but if it happened to have (like it usually from eBay) some unpredictable problem, it might end up costing close to a new one.

Another possibilty is a used clarinet from someone reliable, but that is just luck.

The last option, and what I think is best, is a new bass clarinet. One of the models I mentioned above. I would like to know if someone has experience with those models - how do they compare with each other, and with the professional models like the Buffet and Selmer which I'm familiar with.

The sound itself doesn't matter much, since I assume they all sound fine with a good player. I'm interested mostly in response, especially in the second register (from middle B to thumb C, and the throat Bb) because they all have only one register tube. Also if there are any particular problems like especailly stuffy or out of tune notes, or some mechanical problems.

Thank you!


Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-09-07 15:07


Doing high school clinics I encounter the Vito/Yamaha plastic bass clarinets all too often, and I'm not impressed! They seem to be to be very touchy, adjustment-wise; even in good adjustment the sound is, to me, not at all what I like to hear from a bass clarinet.

The Selmer/Bundy is another piece of cake. I used one some years ago as a backup to my Leblanc LL-500, mainly for outdoor concerts, and found it to be a pretty decent sounding instrument. I was told that the late George Weber resorted to one, playing "Sacre" (Chicago SO) when he couldn't make his Wurlitzer loud enough for Seiji Ozawa. I used mine for an entire two-week orchestra tour with Arthur Fiedler, no complaints, including a surprise encore of "On the Trail" in Avery Fisher Hall!

One big problem with the Bundy was that when the ambient temperature got above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27C) the pitch would go up and up. For outdoor concerts where it was in the high 80's or above the horn got so sharp that I was unable to play at A440 even with everything pulled out to the max. I never have had this kind of problem with my wood instruments. I replaced the Bundy with a Leblanc 400 series and sold it to a local doubler who found it just fine for the shows he was playing at the National Theatre.

My advice then: See if you can find a wood instrument for your cousin -- perhaps a used Noblet.

L'shanah tovah!


Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: David Spiegelthal 2017
Date:   2007-09-07 15:34

I'm nowhere near being in Larry's league as a performer and I've never taught, but I'd like to offer my experiences as both a bass clarinet player and repair tech as they differ somewhat from his:

I got through high school on a plastic Vito bass and college on a wood Noblet; both served me well. When I graduated college to go into the Navy (knowing there would be little opportunity to play bass clarinet on a nuclear submarine) I sold my Noblet bass to the then-professor of clarinet at my university.

Since then I've played and worked on many Bundy (Selmer-USA 1430) and Vito plastic basses, recently a Yamaha plastic bass, and many of my personal-favorite Kohlerts (in all three of the materials they were made in, hard rubber, wood, and metal). My observations, for what they're worth:

Bundys are very rugged and stay in regulation pretty well, but have sort of a "honky" sound to my ear. Unlike Larry I would never attempt to play one with an orchestra!

Vitos are not too different, may sound slightly better but are not as sturdy.
The Yamaha plastic bass I recently worked on (a new one which is a Yamaha design, not a Vito clone like the older ones) played surprisingly well, better than any other plastic instrument I've tried. It would probably be on par with the Vito with respect to regulation and ruggedness.

Wood Noblets (and the nearly identical Leblanc-branded 'mid-pro' basses) generally seem to have a nice lower register, but not so good in the clarion. They are rugged and well-made and comfortable to play, though.

I have no experience with the WW&BW or Jupiter student basses.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: ohsuzan 
Date:   2007-09-07 16:22

My husband began his bass clarinet playing on a Vito, then "graduated" to a Woodwind (brand) -- both plastic, band-owned instruments. He now plays his own older Buffet Professional.

Of course, the Buffet is far and away the best. The Vito was far and away the worst -- honky sound, unstable mechanism, just short of unplayable, even after competent repair and adjustment. The Woodwind was better than the Vito -- nicer sound, better playability, more stable mechanism. But it still had clarion "issues", and altissimo -- fuggedaboutit!


Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: swkeess 
Date:   2007-09-07 17:39

I owned a Yamaha YCL221 for a while and found it to be a very nice instrument except that it played sharp in the clarion register, especially the B and C. Also, the bell had a tendency to slip slideways while playing, but this was easily fixed by installing cork on the lowest tenon. Haven't played a Bundy bass clarinet, but I liked the Bundy alto clarinet I played during high school - easy to play and had a nice sound.

Susan Keess

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: Brenda Siewert 
Date:   2007-09-07 18:05

Several years ago I bought a Vito bass clarinet and ended up returning it because the mechanics on it were very poor. My friend, who owned the store, told me they were not very good instruments and were always requiring repairs--especially as used by students. He recommended finding a good used Selmer or Leblanc. That might be harder to find, but if they are able to go to a fairly large retailer in the US such as WWBW, perhaps someone there could help them. They also have some used instruments, so there might be one there.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-07 19:59

Thanks very much (and shana tova to you too Larry).

They just sat here with me with the online stores and eBay and I showed them everything. It seems the Yamaha 221 is the best student model according to several people I asked. It seems to have a bit easier clarion than other single register bass clarinets. It's about $1,500 and is about the highest they might be willing to spend, but really prefer to spend less than that. There are some Noblets on eBay and some are less expensive than the new Yamaha. It is a bit of luck how much repair it would need. They preferred this option mainly because of price.

So what they are going to do is go to some stores and see if they have used instruments and student instruments and he will try them. I think if he tries an instrument and he likes it that is best.

David, how do you compare the Noblet/Leblanc with the student Yamaha? These are most likely their top options. I have an old pro Leblanc alto with the single register tube (actually two - a seperate one just for Bb). It is the model with the curvier neck, and I don't think it is great. Main problem being the clarion register doesn't respond very fast comapred with Buffets and Selmers, and even my main alto which is a Pedler which has as good reponse as any alto (the Leblanc sure has more comfortable keys though). If the Noblet bass is the same it would be hard for me to recommend it, but it depends how it compared with the rest of the same price range (i.e. the student Yamaha).

Thank you!

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: glin 
Date:   2007-09-08 11:43

Word of mouth from some of the local techs is that the recent 2-piece Yamaha student bass clarinet is quite a good value.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: Michael P 
Date:   2007-09-08 16:37

Check out Tom Ridenour's bass clarinet.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-09-08 17:11

Caveat: Check with Dave Spiegelthal before you commit to a
Ridenour bass clarinet; as I remember, he was not a happy camper!

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: pewd 
Date:   2007-09-08 19:21

search the archives. 2 friends of mine had all sorts of issues with the ridenour basses.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: S. Friedland 
Date:   2007-09-08 20:02

My experiences have been mostly with a Bundy plastic one-piece bass clarinet.
I played it for the two years I was a Creative Associate At SUNYAB. We played all concerts at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffao and repeated them at Carnegie Recital Hall.
We were rehearsing and performing"Pierrot Lunaire" that particular night in Carnigie Recital Hall. The pianist, who shall remain nameles, decided that he would prefer the lid up, which he facilitatd himself. Unfortunately for me, my Bass was no the piano and ended up on the floor. Mortified to say the least, I went and picked it up and tried it.....and, wait for played perfectly.
That is all I have to say about"Pierrot Lunaire". and the Bundy Bass clarinet.

(Except that I have always had a superb bass mouthpiece, an absolute essential).


Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2007-09-08 22:33

The only "student model" bass clarinet that I can recommend is the Yamaha YCL221. I have a friend who bought one so he could play shows, etc, not real serious symphony work.

Well, once we equipped it with a first class mouthpiece it had an excellent tone. I was hard pressed to to hear a big difference between it and most wood bass clarinets.

The response was very good and the intonation reasonable. The instrument set up well and was easy to maintain.

Though by no means close to a top of the line Buffet or Selmer, for what he wanted it for, it was an excellent choice.

Walter Grabner
New and Used Buffet Clarinets

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: rsholmes 
Date:   2007-09-09 04:34


search the archives. 2 friends of mine had all sorts of issues with the ridenour basses.

As I recall the issues were with the TR147 bass. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall seeing similar criticism of Ridenour's Lyrique bass. Then again I don't recall seeing much of anything at all about it on this board.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: pewd 
Date:   2007-09-09 05:26

rsholmes, yes, i think thats correct.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2007-09-09 15:33

Thanks. I keep getting more recommendations on the Yamaha 221. Actually I don't think I saw a bad review of it yet. It's that or eBay. The Ridenour is too expensive anyway so irelevant.

Does anyone have any experience comparing the Yamaha 221 (not the 220!) with something like a Noblet?


Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: LarryBocaner 2017
Date:   2007-09-11 01:48

I just had my very first exposure to the (2-piece) Yamaha YCL-221. A brand new student came to her first lesson this evening with a brand new Yammy.
First impression: I'm impressed-- it's a quantum leap superior to the older Vito clone. Nice tone, good keywork, pretty good intonation.

One question: This student had the neck pulled out at least 3/4 inch to play at A=440. Thinking this might be the result of a too-tight embouchure I put my own mouthpiece on the horn, and had almost the same result. Are these all tuned so high by the manufacturer as to require such an extreme pull-out?
Fortunately the throat tones were manageable even with the neck pulled out so far. Also it appears that Yamaha has not succumbed to the extreme neck bend that Selmer and Buffet have adopted. Too bad!

All things considered this is the best non-wood instrument I've played.

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: pewd 
Date:   2007-09-11 05:22

I've had 3 students show up this week with ycl221's. They play well.
One student had a broken key screw, one of the lower joint left side levers.
Plus the case latch broke. She denies dropping or abusing it, but she's only 12, so no telling. I couldn't find any scratches, bent keys, etc., so no evidence I could find that it was dropped, which makes the broken screw somewhat unusual.

The stock case doesn't have a lot of room for accessories. I'd prefer a bigger case, or one with a side pocket.

I will hopefully know by the end of the semester how well they hold up, maintenance wise, under middle school student use (abuse?).

Thats the only thing thats kept me from buying one - I don't have enough experience with them to know how well they hold up.

They are a bit on the sharp side; but I haven't tried them with a decent mouthpiece yet.

edit: I'm also curious if the Yamaha's would work for marching band use. The local marching bands have plastic Selmers, which seem to require an hour of maintanance time for every 2-3 hours of playing time; they're total junk, constantly going out of adjustment. Sorry, I can't remember the model number. I know some of you hate marching bands - so be it, but they are a fact of life around here.... I really need to find a moderatly priced instrument for marching use, one that won't fall apart every time its played.

- Paul
private teacher - Dallas, Texas

Post Edited (2007-09-11 05:31)

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: buedsma 
Date:   2007-09-11 08:34

I did play jupiter , bundy ( both plastic or whatever ) and older leblanc wood models. I did prefer the jupiter as the most responsive , the wood ones for the sound quality.

As long as you have a single register key setup , certain jumps from low to high ( region clarion F,G,A , B ) are difficult or nearly imposible , even with a lot of training. Probably an excellent mouthpiece could make the difference you need. I'm not very impressed with older basses ( concerning playability )

One exception : the older conn basses with double register key play very well. Had one , unfortunately to low E only, so i sold it.

The ridenour double register bass is very tempting , but i live in europe and don't know anyone who tried it.

Best Regards

Reply To Message
 Re: Student model bass clarinet
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2007-09-11 09:14

"I will hopefully know by the end of the semester how well they hold up, maintenance wise, under middle school student use (abuse?).

Thats the only thing thats kept me from buying one - I don't have enough experience with them to know how well they hold up. "

Is there ANY other student Yamaha woodwind that does not hold up well?
All amazing in my experience.

Reply To Message
 Avail. Forums  |  Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 

 Avail. Forums  |  Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Remember my login:
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.
Search Woodwind.Org

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

The Clarinet Pages
is sponsored by:

For Sale
Put your ads for items you'd like to sell here. Free! Please, no more than two at a time - ads removed after two weeks.

Services and products too varied to categorize! Repair, recording, news

Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Major events especially for clarinetists

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Great reeds available from around the world

Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact