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 New Buffet 1183R-2-0
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2018-03-26 20:06

I have in my studio, the new Buffet BC1183R-2-0. It is a fairly new bass clarinet model from Buffet. They are on the pricelist and there is some availability already.

The 1183R is a bass clarinet to low D (yes low D), with an extension that allows it to play to low C. It can be played in either mode. My immediate thought was that this would be a good instrument to use in a pit, where space is always very limited, and swinging a full low C bass clarinet is hazardous.

The particular instrument I am testing is an excellent bass clarinet in itself, playing almost exactly like an 1193 (full low C instrument). This horn is a bit brighter in tone than most 1193’s. I cannot tell if that is inherent in the design of the instrument or just a characteristic of this individual instrument. It is, by any criteria, very fluid and agile and I would not hesitate to play it in concert.

The intonation is excellent.

An interesting thing happens when the extension is removed. The character of the instrument changes to a large degree. If anything, it is more nimble and agile. The tone changes markedly, to much more of a tenor, rather than a bass, instrument. I do not think I would prefer this tone in a full orchestra. However, it’s greater brilliance might be very attractive to a soloist/recitalist. Of note is the low D, since it vents through the bell, it booms quite a bit more. Maybe a nice feature when you are playing the Andante and Hungarian Rondo by Weber.

One minor flaw I found was when played in low D mode, both the Eb and the D are somewhat flat, whereas in low C mode, they are right in line with the surrounding notes.

Other than that issue, I find this a very attractive model, and one very worthy of consideration. Great work from Buffet!

Walter Grabner
new Buffet clarinets

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