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 Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Robert Small (---.rasserver.net)
Date:   2002-06-16 19:29

Have any of the bass clarinetists around here (and I know there's quite a few of us) played or even seen a bass clarinet with the manual double register key? Most pro model basses have the automatic double register key but I believe that Leblanc still offers a manual model. The automatic system is a complicated bit of keywork that is prone to go out of adjustment. It seems to me that the manual system would be simpler and less likely to go out of adjustment. But I've never seen or played a bass with this system or known anyone who has.

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Dan Borlawsky (---.s180.tnt1.strt.va.dialup.rcn.com)
Date:   2002-06-16 19:49

Robert, I played a Buffet bass clarinet like you described when I was in the military from 1961 - 63. It was serial number 117! I never did attempt to learn when it was manufactured, but it was a wonderful instrument, even though it had a range only to low E. I have since played a number of them with the automatic octave mechanism, but none were any better than the old Buffet.

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: David Spiegelthal (---.orbital.com)
Date:   2002-06-17 14:18

Reportedly Steve Freeman of (or perhaps formerly of?) the NY Philharmonic plays on an old manual-double-register key bass clarinet.
I added my own manual second register key to a Malerne bass clarinet which I had overhauled and sold a few months ago. It made a considerable improvement in the response and intonation of the lower clarion register, but I hadn't played on the horn enough to get used to the fingering change. It was mainly a problem going back and forth from the throat Bb to the clarion register (since the throat Bb didn't work at all if the manual 2nd register key was depressed). Granted the automatic double systems are fairly complex and can be cantakerous, but they have a good reason for existence, of this I'm convinced!

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2002-06-17 14:47

I dont recall seeing manual reg keys on a bass, but am sure there were/are some. I did have an old [1920's] Conn alto cl with the pair, gave it to the Shrine To Music a year ago, Debbi Reeves may have dated/restored it for display. My 1940? Conn Bass[low E] has an earlier Double Reg Key configuration, a bit difficult to make it work properly. My Selmer 32/33 [low Eb] has a well-worked-out D R Keying, which I need to adjust occasionly [usually by a bit of corking] which works very well, giving good tonality and ease of response to the lower clarion notes. It shares a ?5 mm? dia. vent hole [as the lower reg vent] with the "pinch Bb" tone hole satisfactorily [sp?]. There are a number of configurations [patented, have #'s] by the major makers, the latest I know of is to Yamarho [sp?] of Yamaha, which I have yet to see on Y's basses, has anyone seen it?, played it?. Interesting thread! Don

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Robert Small (---.rasserver.net)
Date:   2002-06-17 17:49

The automatic double register key works well on my Selmer 37 when proper adjusted but it gets gummed up periodically. When this happens the lower of the two keys/pads gets hung up and won't completely close. This of course renders the horn unplayable. The problem seems to be the opposing spring system. Get one spring too strong and it throws the other one off. If it's too weak the pad won't completely close or seal. I should learn how to do this adjustment myself. The rest of the mechanisms hold their adjustment pretty well. It seems to me that the manual register key system eliminates this problem of spring tension adjustment but the trade-off is a more difficult fingering system. Dave--I will e-mail you about doing some minor adjustments on my 37. Just some minor cork work and adjusting or possibly replacing the spring on the G#/C# key. I've got a rubber band on it now.

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Ken Shaw (63.94.240.---)
Date:   2002-06-17 18:16

Steven Freeman's old Selmer bass, which he got from his predecessor, had double register keys without any interlock. See http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=68957&t=68897. I have read that he had it converted to an automatic mechanism, but I'm not sure. As far as I know, the automatic mechanism had completely replaced the manual design by, say, the 1940s.

I recently tried a Conn from the 1930s that had the double key mechanism. It was a mental hazard, but I thought I could get used to it, and it's certainly more reliable.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: hans de nijs (195.240.163.---)
Date:   2002-06-18 11:23

Maybe interesting for some of you: (many) German makers of bass clarinets with full german system (e.g. H. Wurlitzer, W. Dietz, H. Hüyng, W.O. Nürnberger, L. Reidel) offer the theatermodels with an automatic duodecime system as option (extra costs: appr. 1100 euro).
Indeed a lot of professionals do prefer the manually double key system although the automatic system is made very very robust.

Hans

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Ken Shaw (63.94.240.---)
Date:   2002-06-18 14:06

A couple of years ago, I saw a video of a German orchestra (I forget which) that had a close-up of the bass clarinetist, who was playing a German-system instrument. The automatic register mechanism stuck out a good 6-8 inches from the upper joint. Presumably that was to get more leverage into the mechanism, to make it lighter and more reliable. It looked weird, but anything to make it work better would be welcome.

Have any of the repair techs on the list worked on one of these?

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: David Spiegelthal (---.orbital.com)
Date:   2002-06-18 17:16

Ken,
I haven't seen the mechanism of which you speak, but as a mechanical engineer I can say that there is no good reason for the mechanism to have to stick out 6-8 inches to work properly. Not all German designs are good, despite some popular misconceptions!

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2002-06-18 18:44

Well said, Dave [and Ken]. It reminds me of my McIntyre [Bb], a mech. overkill??, at least a repairer's nightmare! Don

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 RE: Double register key for bass clarinet
Author: DLE (---.lancs.ac.uk)
Date:   2002-06-25 23:14

Double register key? Do you mean one register key with a split end, like on a Selmer Bass Clarinet. Or, is this about a single or double key mechanism? I really am not entirely sure what you are all getting at. The single one exists on my old 70 year old Noblet anyhow.
DLE.

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