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 bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Joanne 
Date:   1999-07-21 01:16

I played bass clarinet for the first time yesterday, and loved it (I've played Bb for several years)! I have an opportunity to start playing in a local amateur orchestra starting in September, but I don't have a bass of my own. The only rental instruments available in my area are student model Yamahas (220) and Selmers. I will keep my eyes open for used instuments, but can't afford a pro horn anytime soon. I know there's an ongoing Yamaha/ Selmer debate over the pro instruments, but how do the student models compare? I can't tell from the manufacturer websites which have the double register key - any ideas? I also noticed all the Buffet basses have undercut tone holes, but none of the Yamahas do. Any tips or suggestions?

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Kurt 
Date:   1999-07-21 04:47

Speaking of double register keys, what exactly is meant and what is the advantage, if any. I noticed a Vito instrument, beginner type ($<900), proclaimed itself to have a single register key.

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Don Poulsen 
Date:   1999-07-21 13:43

A double register key is actually a single key, but, depending on the note being fingered, one of two register vents or holes is opened. It does not affect the way that you finger any of the notes, but improves the sound and intonation of notes in the upper registers. The mechanism to control which hole is opened is much more complex than that needed to open a single hole and thus adds to the cost of the instrument.

I believe that the main reason that smaller clarinets (soprano, etc.) are not offered with double register keys is that there is insufficient room on the instrument for the additional keywork.

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Don Poulsen 
Date:   1999-07-21 13:50


I meant to add that there may be, as you say, a debate as to whether Selmer of Yamaha manufactures the better pro bass clarinet, but there is little debate that Buffet manufactures the best. Unfortunately, I do not know enough about student or intermediate instruments to offer an opinion.

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: David Spiegelthal 
Date:   1999-07-21 17:50

I play a Vito bass clarinet I bought new a year ago for $900, and I'm a semi-pro player who's been specializing in bass clarinet for 20 years---I picked the Vito because it plays nearly as well as the expensive wooden instruments for 1/4 the price (or less!). I got the 7166 model (low E-flat hole on bell, with leather pads). Highly recommended for non-professionals on a budget.
Dave Spiegelthal

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   1999-07-21 18:11

A "double register key" mechanism [DRK] is usually found on only the pro models of the bass cl's, and actually serves 3 purposes, that of a high and a low register vent hole to "clean up" principally the mid-staff B,C,C# and D notes, and to provide a properly located and sized hole for the "pinch" Bb [the latter of necessity being provided on all basses]. It is usually actuated by closing the rt hand 3rd [ring] finger pad. Yamaha has 2 fairly recent patents US 4,848,206 and 4,809,580 on their mechanisms , a 3rd pat may be of interest, US 4,793,235. The references cited in the examination of these inventions will show the prior art of Sel, Buff and LeB. For similarities look at a saxophone and/or an oboe. You can view the text of these and other patents via http://www.uspto.gov/patft OR http://www.patents.ibm.com/patquery . The figures [drawings] are a bit harder to come by. Most of the texts on clar's will have some description also. Hope this may help, Don

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Robert Small 
Date:   1999-07-21 19:22

Don Poulsen wrote "...there is little debate that Buffet manufactures the best." Actually, from reading the messages on this bulletin board and others it would seem that there is quite a bit of debate over who makes the best bass clarinet. I asked just this question a few weeks ago and Selmer was rated the "best" by a small margin. My guess is that it all comes down to individual preference when considering a top of the line horn from Buffet or Selmer.

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Don Poulsen 
Date:   1999-07-21 20:31

I thought I might get things stirred up. True, it is a matter of personal preference. However, if I may pass on an opinion recently expressed on the bass clarinet mailing list,

"After trying every brand of bass clarinet at the Clarinet Symposium in Oklahoma, I can assure the list that the newest model Buffet Prestige with the Low C is light years beyond any other bass clarinet being manufactured. The Yamah (sp) is a distant second (a very distant) - and is on a par with the Selmer model 33 manufactured 15 years ago."

--Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director - Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Titan Band
Advisor - Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University

Of course, Joanne's question was in regard to less expensive bass clarinets, not the top-of-the-line pro models.

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 RE: bass clarinet comparisons
Author: Mark Charette 
Date:   1999-07-21 20:37

Don Poulsen wrote:
Roger is a _highly_ opinionated person. YMMV!

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