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 Question about paperclips
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-05-17 16:23

I'm still messing around with what instrument I find a combo of easiest / most fun to play in a band. I've spent many years on horn and tuba and like both. I am small and don't really have the air for the very low end of the tuba range and generally will play the upper octave in parts that have it. But I love love love the low notes! Since I'm a horn player, transposing is not a problem, and being a tuba player I know four sets of fingerings for the same clef. So....I'm wondering about contra-alto clarinet, knowing that the transposition of the music in front of me isn't a problem. I've tried one friend's bass and due to my small size could not reach the right hand pinky keys well enough. Being "of age" I don't want to twist my body for reaching because so far it's doing pretty well.
The question being, is there anyone here of my general size (5'2") who can reach a contra-alto? I don't have particularly small hands or short fingers but they are of relative size to the rest of me. I can reach an octave on the piano keyboard, but not a ninth. I'm attracted to the paperclip altos in particular.
The other question would be about a low C bass, but I don't have access to places to try them and am not terribly interested in paying a lot of shipping back and forth. The one paperclip I tried, years ago, I seem to remember being able to reach it. But it was an ebay purchase not in the condition described and it got sent back and the seller put on the "never again" list.

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 Re: Question about paperclips
Author: Ursa 
Date:   2019-05-17 17:26

In the collegiate ensemble I play in, we have a very petite lady, barely 5 feet tall, who plays a non-paperclip Leblanc USA (Vito) contrabass--not contra-alto--and does very wall. So don't worry; you'll surely find a contra that fits; it may be a straight contra instead of a paperclip, though.

The Selmer USA/Bundy non-paperclip contra-alto does have a wide spread with the keytouch placement and may be one model you'd want to avoid. I have average sized hands and find the layout on these to be awkward. That said, the touchpieces on the throat and pinky keys could be adjusted by a tech for better ergonomics.

There are Leblanc low C paperclip contra-altos out there. As a fellow tuba player, I think these are particularly interesting; you'd be able to play nearly all tuba parts in band literature with a low C contra-alto--something the low C bass clarinet and the bass saxophone cannot do.

Post Edited (2019-05-17 17:28)

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 Re: Question about paperclips
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-05-17 17:48

Thank you!

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 Re: Question about paperclips
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2021-03-11 19:49

I see it was not even two years ago that I queried about this....and I have found myself musing around the internet looking for a paperclip yet again! Current concerns are mostly about getting one that does NOT need work to play well, and the lack of anyone competent locally to work on such a thing. I'm in a fairly large city but we don't seem to attract good repair people; I've seen and experienced some real nightmares. Best guy works for the schools and they told him he could not use their facility any more to work on outside instruments. (Maybe with covid that has changed....I'll have to ask again, hmm.)

Where would you look if you really wanted to give a CAC paperclip a try?

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