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 Backun Alpha players!!
Author: Natasha.Hallam 
Date:   2016-04-13 22:33

I love my Backun Alpha clarinet, however my clarinet professor and I have noticed a problem with the clarinet. Both my professor and I have noticed that there is tuning problems from the F# above the staff on up. The tuning is extremely flat and nothing helps fix it. (so flat that sometimes it speaks an F instead) I know that the issue is not me because my clarinet professor has played it with her mouthpiece and has the exact same issue as me. I was wondering if anyone else that has this same clarinet experiences the same problem. If so, is there any possible way to fix it?? My clarinet professor thinks that I should just buy a new clarinet, but I just got this one a little over a year ago. :\

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: gwie 2017
Date:   2016-04-13 23:13

Why is it that the moment anyone has an issue with a clarinet, the first solution is to replace it?

You probably have a pad leaking or similar mechanical issue somewhere. Go get it checked out!

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2016-04-13 23:38

Might be possible that the acoustician who designed this student clarinet never thought the altissimo would be needed. That's a bad joke from me.

Key pad height is critical in the top joint, make certain they are clear to vent properly. I have friends with this clarinet, and they have no issues playing in the stratosphere.

Checking for leaks would be critical, as well.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: Natasha.Hallam 
Date:   2016-04-14 01:09

I recently got the clarinet readjusted about two months ago. When it was readjusted, would leaks or pad height would have been looked at?

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: KenJarczyk 
Date:   2016-04-14 01:20

I would hope that a reputable shop would look at the entire instrument for adjustments. Sadly, a lot of "music store" type technicians lack the skill for key/pad height adjustments.

Ken Jarczyk
Woodwinds Specialist
Eb, C, Bb, A & Bass Clarinets
Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones
Flute, Alto Flute, Piccolo

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: Gordon Giedt 
Date:   2016-04-15 06:53

I bought an Alpha about a month ago to play while my Selmer Series 9 was in the shop with a serious crack. My experience with the Alpha's intonation is different from yours. To me it plays pretty evenly in-tune, with few notes needing special attention. I use a Morgan R-28 mouthpiece and either Rigotti 3.5 soft or D'Adderio Reserve Classic 3.0 reeds.

The spread of the 12ths is much less than on my Series 9. The F# at the top of the staff is a bit flat with my right middle finger, a bit sharp using the right ring finger, and pretty dead on with the sliver key. The G# above the staff is a a couple cents flat, perhaps needs to be vented a bit more. Notes above the G# are consistently in tune.

In the Altissimo using the right hand pinky on the Eb key is much more crucial to keeping the pitch up than on the Selmer, but I guess that's a good thing in that it reenforces correct fingerings.

To have an F# register as an F indicates there is something out on your instrument. You say you have had it a little over a year. Is this a new problem or has it always played flat above the staff?

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2016-04-15 16:39

F# above the staff? (As in altissimo)? If so, this note is usually flat worthy aboard fingering. Use a different fingering.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2016-04-15 17:46

I suggest you email Morrie Backun and pose this question to him. morrie@backunmusical.com He will likely know exactly what the problem is.

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-01-21 08:14

About three months ago I purchased a used Backun Alpha from eBay for a ridiculously low price (sometimes we get lucky). I got it...it looked nice, but didn't play all that great. I put it on the bench, it had no leaks, but the setup was bad; uneven/excessive spring tension, tenon corks oversized making assembly/disassembly really problematic even with slathered grease, etc. The worst of it was that the throat tones were impossibly hissy and weak...caveat, my primary playing clarinets are a Selmer Series 9 and a Centered Tone. I also hated the stupid little backpack case which didn't even fit the horn that well. I put it in the closet until I had time to investigate.

I got it out a couple days ago and started going through it. I raised the A,Ab, and register keys to work on the throat tones...helped a little. I increased the bevel on the register key and it helped a little more. While I realize that Backun has made their reputation on bells and barrels, I grabbed a couple of barrels out of the drawer (a Muncy delrin and a Ridenour Ivorolon) and discovered that the top tenon was oversized at the base (the end was 0.925" and the base was 0.945 diameter) so I couldn't get the barrels on all the way...the factory barrel had been "flared" to fit. I put the joint on the lathe and trimmed the bottom diameter to 0.925" and tried the Muncy. Voila! the horn played better in tune and the throat notes literally roared. The result was the same with the Ivoron. In fact, I tried several other barrels and all played better than the Alpha. Just for kicks I measured the bore profile of the Alpha barrel and it was very unusual (email me if you want my barrel profile data).

I spent some time in the shop today lightening the spring tension, fitting the tenon corks, replacing some of the really inferior cork that was shredding (even though the horn did not appear to have been played much)and adjusted the key heights here and there for intonation. At this point, I have about three hours of shop time into this horn...about twice what a typical PC would take.

Bottom line, it's a surprisingly nice horn to play and a keeper (I have now moved it to a real case as well). I have been looking for a plastic clarinet for outdoor gigs, and had already overhauled a nice B&H 1-10 (wonderful player with some intonation tweaks) and a couple of Vito 7214s (these are great horns and I will still probably keep one of these. The Alpha will be my GoTo, I suspect.



Post Edited (2018-01-21 08:15)

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2018-01-21 18:57

Contact Mr Backun.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-01-22 03:47

Quote:

Author: Arnoldstang
Date: 2018-01-21 18:57

Contact Mr Backun.

Freelance woodwind performer

I don't actually require anything from the Backun company...just sharing an experience. It is an excellent clarinet and, after some setup work, plays as described by many of the folks on this forum...excellent intonation, free-blowing, etc. I suspect that it came on sale because of the state of the setup and an issue with the barrel (although I don't know what the barrel bore target design is).



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 Re: Backun Alpha players!!
Author: Gordon Giedt 
Date:   2018-02-01 02:30

My LH C/F and B/E levers were making a lot of key noise. I took them off to find that the cork was worn so much that it was metal on metal. I replaced them using .3 mm MusicMedic tech cork and now it is silent. I also put a piece of .3 mm tech cork on the underside of the RH B/E key where the c/f frog contacts it. That also reduced the key noise.

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