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 Double register neck on a single register instrument?
Author: danceforlife731 
Date:   2018-08-25 06:48

I've been in the market for a bass clarinet for a while and I'm just wondering about the logistics of this. Just out of curiosity, would one be able to buy a separate neck with a register key on it and put it on an instrument that uses a single register key?

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 Re: Double register neck on a single register instrument?
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2018-08-25 10:48

In short, no, but it might... Here are some of the many possible problems...

If the tenon is too large it won't fit at all or it could be too small by enough to cause a problem. In those cases it would need to be changed most likely. It could also be too long.

Length wise it might be too long so play low. If it's adjustable, maybe too long at its shortest length.

A different bore could cause some unpredictable results.

There is no lever on the clarinet to operate the neck key. Also the entire mechanism on almost all single reg key models is controlled by the A key and not the G/D key like most double reg models. so possibly a whole new mechanism will have to be custom made for it.

Also the acoustics of the vents themselves are different. The vent on single reg models is a larger compromise (since it's for the entire range). Even if changing the entire mechanism, keeping this vent for the lower clarion is worse than the vent on a real double reg model.

Plus other possible issues.

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 Re: Double register neck on a single register instrument?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-08-25 21:57

The speaker mechanism is either linked to the left thumb (most student level plastic basses) or to the throat A key (pro Leblanc basses and others) on instruments with the single register mechanism.

On these basses the lower (larger) vent opens when the thumb is holding down the speaker key and either the thumb is off the thumbplate or the throat A key is opened to give throat Bb.

On instruments with the double register mechanism which is most pro level basses (Buffet, Selmer and Yamaha and some Leblancs), it's linked to both the throat A and also to the RH3 fingerplate to determine which vent will open at any point - the lower vent is open from throat Bb to upper register Eb, then releasing RH3 will switch the vents so the lower one closes and the crook key opens for notes from upper register E upwards.

Older basses often had two separate (simple action) speaker keys for the left thumb - the lower one at 12 O'clock is for throat Bb to upper register Eb, then the upper one at 2-3 O'clock used from upper register E upwards and is done by releasing the other speaker key touchpiece to make the changeover. You don't hold both thumb keys down together as that will mean both vents are open at the same time.


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 Re: Double register neck on a single register instrument?
Author: danceforlife731 
Date:   2018-08-26 00:11

Thank you both for your help! In any case, would it be worth it to invest in an instrument with a double register mechanism?

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 Re: Double register neck on a single register instrument?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2018-08-26 01:36

If you're on the market for a pro level bass, look for an older Selmer Paris (Q to A serial number) if it's to low C as the RH pinky layout is better on them. If it's to low Eb, then any age is fine (including C and D prefix serial numbers) as the keywork is kept simple and standard on them.

If it's a Buffet Prestige, then look for a newer one built after the year 2000. The ones before that had all manner of extra linkages and whatnot where simplicity would've been better (they revised the entire design for the new model in 1999) and the pre-'99 low C ones have a longer lower joint with all the keywork on it, so no good if you're playing somewhere with those crappy folding plastic chairs where you end up sitting with your knees up to your chin.

Leblanc basses are a bit backward in some areas, but some do have a RH forked Ab/Eb mechanism as you'll find on vintage saxes where you can play Ab/Eb as xxx|xox, thus not needing the LH Ab/Eb lever when you need to slur low Eb-Ab. The low C models don't have fully linked keywork as Buffet, Selmer and Yamaha have, so to get the lowest notes you'll have to hold several keys down instead of just one to get low C, C#/Db and I think low D as well.


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