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Review: Bass-Clarinet Forest LKCLN-6208N

Preface:
This is an low budget chinese bass-clarinet, I bought 3 weeks ago. It can be seen and bought here: http://en.lkjinming.com/products_de...comp_stats=comp-FrontProducts_list01-004.html. The factory „LK-Jinming" label it „Forest", but I'm shure it is sold under different names on the web. They say, it's a selmer copy, don't know which model.
I am mainly a flute and sax player and fiddled arround on clarinet a little bit for a year or so. This is the first bass clarinet I played in my live. So keep in mind that this review is based on very little clarinet experience.
I play a flute from this company and I am really enthousiastic about it (I rate it over my former flute a muramatsu st), so I thought I'd give also their bass-clarinet a try.

Features:
This bass clarinet clarinet is made from a matt synthetic material; ebonite, synthetic wood or the like. It's body is made of two parts and it's keyed to lo eb (on their website it is said, that it would be low e, but this isn't true, so you get a semitone for free!). The keys are nickle-plated. It has a register vent in the tenon, which opens for the notes above the break but none at the bow. Don't know if you call that a single or double register vent. The pads are made from white leather, the bigger ones have metalic resonators. The only cork pad is the one for the left index finger. The instrument came in a big wooden case covered with black synthetic leather (which likely will tear here and there soon). You have to leave the two parts sticked together to put it in the case, so the two-part design doesn't really make sense. A new case would be nice (but would nearly double the costs of this instrument). The clarinet came with the usual stuff (peg, mpc, cleaner, corkgrease) and has a lyra-holder. LK-Jinming has low-c-models and wood-clarinets, too.

First Impression:
I only had the original mpc, so I was glad it played at all. The pads seem to cover well. The mechanics work allright. Only problem so far:The connection key between the upper and lower part has a adjusting screw, which seems to be too loose and doesn't hold regulation, so eb/bb often had a leak. Can shurely be fixed, I think.
I lowered the (adjustable) thumb-rest, which helped b/f# to sound more open. First the overall sound was rather inconsistent (dull/airy or overbright and metallic), but I blamed that on the mouthpiece (the one, that came with my soprano clarinet from the same origin didn't play at all) and the fact, that I played bass-clarinet for the first time. So I ordered a new mouthpiece (clark forbes debut) and reed (fibracell medium) and started to practice.
With this new mpc/reed combination, the bass-clarinet plays with ease from bottom to lower altissimo (my playing range so far) with a nice sound. The uneveness of the scale with the original mpc is gone.

Intonation:
With bow and mpc all in, you get a rather even scale with a= 440 hz. This might be a little bit low for some orchestras, but with this setting, the instruments is very well with itself in tune! B and c over the break are a little high, some altissimo notes a little low, but nothing that can't be handled.

Sound:
Because I can't compare it to other bass-clarinets, it doesn't make sense to rate the sound. I recorded some short examples with my Zoom H2, so you can here the instrument for yourself. Please don't be too harsh in your verdict, because I'm rather new to clarinet.
Some random improvisation: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/20653298/Bassklarinette.mp3
Menuet 1 from the 1. cellosuite: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/20653298/Cellosuite_1_Menuett.mp3

Conclusion:
If you buy a decent mouthpiece (which is a must), this instrument is a cheap possibility to get into bass-clarinet. A smaller case would be great. It's about half the price compared to the cheapest models at „woodwind and brasswind" (+ shipping + taxes). I got this one dirctly from the musikmesse in Frankfurt. But shipping and money transfer with china worked without problems with my flute and soprano clarinet. So, if you take the risk to buy directly from the factory, you get a decent student clarinet for a price, that can't be beaten.
 

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"...You have to leave the two parts sticked together to put it in the case, so the two-part design doesn't really make sense...."

It makes a big difference to efficient repair/servicing work.
 

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You have to leave the two parts sticked together to put it in the case, so the two-part design doesn't really make sense.
It makes a big difference to efficient repair/servicing work.
Probably easier to manufacture too. It would also fit if you ever buy a more convinient smaller case. If you buy one from China you can probably just the same ask for a case where the instrument is disassembled.
 

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This bass sounds really nice!
I wonder how much you paid for it, and if it is shipped internationally from china somehow?
Also, some time have passed since you've posted this review. Are you still satisfied? Sometimes chinese instruments show rapid wear issues such as easily bent mechanisms, pads fall off, etc.

Itamar.
 

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With all due respect to the original poster, who was conscientious enough to state that this was the first bass clarinet he/she has ever played ---- I would prefer a review from an experienced BASS CLARINETIST. I don't play bassoon. How much value would my review of a bassoon be to someone contemplating the purchase of one?

Again, no disrespect intended, I'm sure the original poster is a very accomplished musician. I have not listened to the sound clip, I don't have a means to do that, nor do I trust sound clips anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just saw the new postings on this old thread, I started after buying this bass-clarinet. So I add my "long time experience" with this instrument:

This is one of those many ultra cheap chinese bassclarinets with single register vent. After playing it for nearly two years, it's in ok shape mechanically, no leaks or bent rods or so.
I found one major problem: The table, which prevents the side eb/bb key from opening too much is at the wrong place - pressing this key opens the next side key. I solved this with a pack of sugru - easy fix, but major construction fault.
Intonation is ok at 442 Hz or higher now with stiffer reeds.

With all due respect to the original poster, who was conscientious enough to state that this was the first bass clarinet he/she has ever played ---- I would prefer a review from an experienced BASS CLARINETIST.
Of course, David is right: This is a review from unexperienced player. Don't listen to the audio files, 'cause you hear a musician being new on an instrument (I sound much better now imho).

All I can say is: This bass (list price around 700 dollar) isn't total crap, if you buy a new mpc and a pack of sugru. This is, what I wanted.
 

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Probably easier to manufacture too. It would also fit if you ever buy a more convinient smaller case. If you buy one from China you can probably just the same ask for a case where the instrument is disassembled.
Also, it's very useful when tunning. For instance, if you pull out a bit on the neck to tune the low F you might get the second space A (index finger) too flat. This can be solved by not pulling out so much on the neck and pulling out a bit on the middle of the body connection.
 
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