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 Silver contrabass
Author: jimk 
Date:   2020-03-06 04:38
Attachment:  LeBlanc on bell.jpg (1201k)

Does anyone have experience with silver LeBlanc contrabass clarinets? I recently bought one that had not been played in years, possibly decades. Does this instrument have potential to make music or do I have the start of a large lamp?

It has no dents or obviously bent rods. It is almost playable, but it needs at least a few new pads and adjustment by a knowledgeable tech. Some buffing would result in a beautiful looking instrument. I would like some idea of how it might sound and its inherent limitations before spending more than the purchase price for an overhaul.

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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2020-03-06 07:44

These are great instruments, but they need to be set up well. The tricky part is that the pads need to be leveled with paper shims, not with glue like a standard clarinet pads. This means an overhaul will be time consuming and therefore expensive. Depending on the condition you could be spending over a thousand on repairs, but if it just needs a few pads like you say it will hopefully be much less. Generally the intonation is very good so you can expect it to be a good player after the overhaul.

The biggest downside to the instrument is that you do need a stool to play which is annoying. That being said they are great horns and I love mine. It's a blast to play and I always have a crowd of people around me at concerts asking what it is...


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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: jimk 
Date:   2020-03-06 17:34

Thanks for the photo of your instrument. Is it resting in a Hercules bassoon stand? I've tried using a Hercules bass clarinet stand and have to put cases on the front leg of the stand to keep it from tippling over.

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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2020-03-06 18:11

I have a couple of Leblanc Paperclips. One is set up with the paper shim pads. The other has been overhauled with floated Roo pads. Both ways work.
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC

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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2020-03-06 20:42

It’s a Hercules bass clarinet stand. With the upper support extended all the way up it’s quite stable. The only downside is I do have to push the floor peg in every time I use it.


You have a couple? Lucky you! I’ve been searching for one, but the only ones for sale recently are from a particular eBay seller I no longer trust after seeing some of his work.

In order to install traditional pads it seems you would need to remove all the studs from the key cups which still seems like quite a lot of extra work. Is that what was done to your instrument?


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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2020-03-07 09:18

>> The tricky part is that the pads need to be leveled with paper shims, not with glue like a standard clarinet pads. <<

They can also be adjusted the same way most factories do it, by using correct thickness pads and aligning the key cups with the tone holes. Done well, it is usually at least as accurate as using shims.

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 Re: Silver contrabass
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2020-03-07 19:53

You buy pads with a clearance hole and float them. Then put on the disk and nut for a neat looking job.
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC

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