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 Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: AnnM 
Date:   2022-04-22 02:15

I have a beautiful newly purchased used Buffet Prestige bass clarinet with an alternate key for G sharp/ E flat. As much as I love this option, I can't reach the key. I'm an (old) adult so my handspan will not increase. Is there an extension I can add to the key so my finger can touch it? If yes, what is it called? I've looked in online music stores and can't find anything.

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 Re: Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2022-04-22 02:50

There's nothing you can buy "off the shelf" so to speak, but a tech can extend the key and have it re-plated to match the original finish. Depending on the tech it will likely be several hundred dollars, but it's definitely worth the expense as it makes that key much easier to use. The previous owner of my Prestige had it done by Andrew Roberts:


Interestingly enough I think that's actually my bass clarinet in the picture.


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 Re: Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: AnnM 
Date:   2022-04-22 03:12

Thanks for the link to ARCS. That was fascinating. And the result was magnificent! How fun to see your own bass!

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 Re: Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2022-04-22 03:47

A far less costly and reversible/semi permanent option is to have a hollow sheet brass or nickel silver or even solid silver (as sterling silver sheet isn't as expensive as you'd think) extension piece made to fit onto the existing LH Ab/Eb touchpiece and have it glued on with epoxy. The silver plated finish won't be harmed and it can be removed with heat, then any residual epoxy can be cleaned off with solvent to revert it back to how it was originally. No surgery required.


Post Edited (2022-04-22 03:56)

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 Re: Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2022-04-22 16:58

I use Sugru or 2-part epoxy putty sold in a round stick form for key extensions. Sugru is a little flexible. The epoxy sets up stiff.

Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC

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 Re: Bass clarinet alternate key
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2022-04-22 20:46

Do you find the LH pinky touches all a bit on the high side?

I let a Selmer player try my bass and she didn't like the height of the LH levers compared to her Selmer. Even though I have fairly large hands, I also found the Selmer's LH pinky touches sit much lower to the joint surface and more like those on a soprano clarinet.

It was a relatively simple case of removing the LH levers and bending the touchpiece ends downwards (along the area between the touchpieces and the key barrels) so the touchpieces are brought in closer to the joint surface, although not too close so they don't clatter against the LH F/C lever. That also meant the LH Ab/Eb touch could be brought in much lower and that too made it more comfortable under the fingers.

I also noticed the same on a Buffet RC Prestige Bb where the LH Ab/Eb touch was set relatively high and the player found it a stretch, so I brought it down as close to the other LH levers and he found it much easier to reach as a result.

I'd definitely recommend having a competent woodwind specialist do this to your bass as again that doesn't require any surgery to make the ergonomics much better than they currently are.


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