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 Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: grand-rapidian 
Date:   2012-12-18 14:38

Hello All!

I am currently looking for a bass clarinet for my wife. We are currently living in the Grand Rapids area in Michigan and there are two local stores that have bass clarinets in stock. My wife played in high school, and this instrument will be used specifically for hobby purposes. On that note, I believe that a student-model clarinet will suffice.

I know very little about bass clarinets, so any insight would be fantastic! One of the local stores has a few models in stock:

Barely Used - Jupiter 673BN - $1170 + tax
New - Jupiter 673BN - $1280 + tax

The other local store does not have any in stock in their local branch, but they have one approximately an hour from me. It is as follows:

Access - $1200

I have been warned about this brand already, so I very much doubt that I'll do any further research.

Right now, I'm very much leaning toward the Used Jupiter. It seems like a fair price and comes with a year warranty. What other questions should I be asking before making this purchase?

Are there any other sources for used bass clarinets that I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance!


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 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: dperreno 
Date:   2012-12-18 18:14

Have you tried Meridian Winds in Okemos? I know that they buy used instruments and they have an excellent reputation. And there's always the auction site. Even if you buy a fixer-upper, you should be able to get a bass repadded and adjusted for around $300-$400, less if you only need a few pads replaced.

I would strongly suggest a Yamaha 221, or Selmer USA 1430P (Bundy) over the Jupiter, with Yamaha being my first choice. I've played a Yamaha and it was every bit as good as my Buffet 1180, maybe better.

Don't skimp on the mouthpiece either. The Yamaha mouthpiece is pretty good, or you can get a Hite or a Fobes Debut for under $100 (I got my Fobes Nova for <$100 by shopping around). I also have a Gigliotti that works well with softer reeds (2.5 - 3).


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 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2012-12-18 18:51
Attachment:  Leblanc7168.jpg (82k)
Attachment:  Bundy1430LP.jpg (58k)
Attachment:  Jupiter675N.jpg (65k)

I have both a Bundy and a Jupiter (675S). To be fair, the Bundy is quite a bit older than the Jupiter, so they're different generations. Sound-wise both are equal, however the Jupiter feels crisper under the fingers (which may again be simply because it's newer).

Actually, I have a hunch that the latest Bundy 1430LP, the Jupiter 675 and the Leblanc L7168 all come from the same factory, only details (such as adjustable thumbrest, bell shape) are different.

Do get a decent mouthpiece indeed. I have a vintage Bundy Signature, a Fobes Nova and a Behn Ouverture, and they're all very good. Didn't like the Yamaha so much and have not yet tried the stock Jupiter piece.


Reply To Message
 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: Eric V 
Date:   2012-12-19 01:17

Hi grandrapidian,

The Yamaha model you want is the 221-II, it is a different and better made and behaved design than the 221. They are a bargain, well made and easy to play. I have a used one in good shape if you are interested, shoot me an email for details of condition, photos, price.

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 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: William 
Date:   2012-12-20 17:22

Here is a link to Tom Ridenours bass clarinet. It is quite affordable, has a range to low C and, most important, has a double octave key mechanizm which makes the upper register--especially A & A#5's--much easier to play.

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 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2012-12-20 18:11

The ridenoutr bass listed above was an earlier model and they had a few issues. It might be better to get this NEW one direct from Tom. It's a low Eb model, instead of a Low C, but for non-orchestral use, it won't really matter much.

I would contact Tom directly and discuss your options. He's a great guy and really knows his stuff.


“Everyone discovers their own way of destroying themselves, and some people choose the clarinet.” Kalman Opperman, 1919-2010

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."

Post Edited (2012-12-20 18:12)

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 Re: Purchasing a Bass Clarinet
Author: Bobby McClellan 
Date:   2012-12-20 22:22

Toms new bass is actually very nice. I have had a chance to play on the Low C and really liked it. I would purchase one but I currently have and play on an older LeBlanc to low c.

Prior to the LeBlanc I hav the Yamaha 221II and loved it. I sold it because I was being called to play more parts to Low C

Bobby M. McClellan
Flowood, MS

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