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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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 Topics Author  Date
 Backun Alpha players!!  new
Natasha.Hallam 2016-04-13 22:33 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
gwie 2016-04-13 23:13 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
KenJarczyk 2016-04-13 23:38 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
Natasha.Hallam 2016-04-14 01:09 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
KenJarczyk 2016-04-14 01:20 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
Gordon Giedt 2016-04-15 06:53 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
sfalexi 2016-04-15 16:39 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
bill28099 2016-04-15 17:46 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
shmuelyosef 2018-01-21 08:14 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
Arnoldstang 2018-01-21 18:57 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
shmuelyosef 2018-01-22 03:47 
 Re: Backun Alpha players!!  new
Gordon Giedt 2018-02-01 02:30 


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