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 Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: superson 
Date:   2013-01-26 03:13


I'm currently looking for a cheap but decent bass clarinet to Eb to play in an amateur orchestra. Recently I've been looking online, and I see a lot of Selmer Bundy Bass clarinets within my price range, also a lot of Vito clarinets. I've heard they're a fairly popular student instrument in the US and wondered what people on here thought of them.

Unfortunately I'm not in a try before you buy situation. None of my local music shops are particularly great in the woodwind area. I know a great shop further away and they do tend to sell secondhand basses within my price range ( the last time I asked they had the Yamaha YCL-221 for £800 though I couldn't afford it at the time) but it's unusual for them to have them in.

Would you wait until you could try one out? Wait and save up till you could afford the more expensive clarinets? Or get a Selmer Bundy/Vito and have it overhauled by a technician?


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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: john4256 
Date:   2013-01-26 11:10

The Yamaha is a sturdy Bass Clarinet. I have had one for about two years and never had a problem with it. They are about £1800 new so £800 second hand seems OK.

You could try Alex Allen, who runs it, is very reliable and I can recommend him. He always has good secondhand Bass Clarinets available at reasonable prices. Give him a try.

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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: Steven Ocone 2017
Date:   2013-01-26 12:23

An old Selmer USA/Bundy or Vito is probably a can of worms. Repair could be expensive and the final result not stellar. My wife plays our Yamaha student model for gigs. It was used but not a school instrument. Definitely limited, but we haven't wanted to shell out the cash for a pro model.

Steven Ocone
Ann & Steve's Music

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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2013-01-26 13:36

I've heard a lot of good reviews on the Yamaha plastic basses and they can be picked up for under £1000 used or ex demo.

How do the Jupiter basses compare?


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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2013-01-27 13:43

> How do the Jupiter basses compare?

I have both a new Jupiter (675S model) and an old Bundy. A direct comparison would be unfair - silver-plated crisp keywork on one and clattery, bent and unbent nickel keys on the other. Sound-wise I get very nice feedback on the Jupiter's tone and I'm happy with it's rather solid intonation, but I consider the Bundy close if not equal. Ergonomics are better on the Jupiter, since it's a new instrument with re-angled neck and all that.
Based on my 2y experience with it, I can recommend it.


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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2013-01-27 14:28

I meant how does the Jupiter bass compare to the Yamaha?


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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: tictactux 2017
Date:   2013-01-27 19:34

From what I know, the Jupiter is a descendant or close cousin of the Yamaha 220 (which in turn is based on a Leblanc design).

Just how much an improvement the 221 over the 220 is I cannot say.

I think it is safe to say that the Yamaha retains its resale value better than the Jupiter.

I've never been a huge fan of the plastic Yamahas, they're certainly high quality and all, but I never grew fond of them. So I'm certainly biased in some way or other.


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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: lhoffman 
Date:   2013-01-27 22:03

I'm a doubler with not too much bass experience, I've been able to get by with borrowed instruments. Now I'm in a spot where I really should have my own, so I recently got a Bundy and rebuilt it. It's a fine instrument for what it is. The intonation is not worse than anything else I've played. The action can be made very good with proper attention to spring tension and key heights. The few I've had the chance to look at seem succeptible to having their long stack rods bent. Other than that the keywork is not flimsy. The single octave vent can hiss on B and C, but I found this can be helped a lot by using a tapered cork pad, and a trick with stockings ("nylons") you can find here:

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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-04 05:42

I have had a Yamaha 221-ii for several years now; I got it used from school stock (cheap) so it was a little beat up. I'm not a great bass clarinet player but needed a better bass than my ancient Bundy (which had unremediable problems) for doubling in big band settings (Baritone sax seat).

I overhauled it with leather pads and have spent quite a bit of time and energy learning how to voice it to respond evenly and play in tune. It is now getting regular use, and while I can't say "I love it" it is serving the purpose competently. It has three weak spots that are a little problematic.

1. As is often discussed, it is tuned way sharp with the neck in all the way (like 443-444). The neck needs to be out about 1cm, but fortunately, there is a long tenon...I worry that the tenon will get stressed from the clamp and get wobbly, but so far, so good. There is a good market for someone to make an improved neck.

2. The bridge key is very short and just barely makes contact...again, with a very thin, hard piece of cork (I use the MusicMedic laminated cork) as a damper and adjusting only by bending the (formidably strong) arm, this works, but there is no room to tune the horn by pulling out the middle joint

3. The neck strap ring is far too low for any reasonable length strap...I should probably just relocate it, but that has never gotten to the top of the list. Also, the thumbrest is a bit low and very uncomfortable (I use Dr. Scholl's Moleskin plus). It would be a real pain to relocate this one, but I my try to fashion a metal one.

It is serving my purpose...if I ever get serious about the bass, I will probably trade it for a Kessler.

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 Re: Selmer Bundy and other cheap bass clarinets
Author: alanporter 
Date:   2019-03-04 06:16

I am an amateur bass clarinet player in a local concert band. I purchase a Vito 7166 bass, built in about 1971 (serial number 1467B). I have used it since 2007. It is built like a tank, having been knocked off it's stand (not by me !) and suffered no injury. Tuning is perfect on every note with the crook pushed fully down. I would not change it, even if I had the money burning a hole in my pocket.

Good luck. Alan

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