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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've been playing saxophone - mainly tenor - for 7 years, and would like to learn bass clarinet too. I'll have a chance of trying out and possibly buying one sometime this week from my sax tech in Czech Republic.

I know I can trust him, but I'd like to know what are the things to watch out for when choosing, like E/B intonation (that's like low D / middle D on saxophone, right?), register key mechanism (double vent better that single vent), etc.

As my parents would be buying it for me as a birthday present, I can't spend over 700€ (perhaps a bit far on the cheap side for a bass clarinet...), 1000€ if it's good enough to justify selling my alto saxophone, which I do intend to replace with a nice vintage sax next year, and stick with tenor in the meantime.

I'd really like a metal bass clarinet, but they're rare. Hard rubber is nice, plastic is ok. I don't want a wooden one, because I intend to play outdoors a
lot. In Belgium. I guess it wouldn't survive very long.

When I spoke with my tech two or three months ago, he had a very nice, 70-year-old wooden bass which was way over my price range, but he told me he'd probably have a resin Selmer later on - not sure what type of resin, nor which Selmer, but at 16000 CZK (620€ / 890$), I guess it's just a Bundy - or could it be anything else?

Assuming it actually is a bog-standard Selmer Bundy (USA) bass clarinet (I've heard they haven't changed a lot over time, is that right?), and that it is in good condition, well adjusted:
* Is the aforementioned price good?
* Would it be a good enough instrument to play on, or should I wait till I find something better?
(Not sure what good enough is. If I were searching for a saxophone, I guess 'good enough' would be at some point between my Amati alto sax and my Selmer SA80II tenor. Not much help, is it?)

Of course, if the mouthpiece isn't satisfactory, I'll reface it / build a new one / buy a good one.

Thanks for reading this far, double thanks if you actually reply, and, um... dodecatuple thanks for any useful replies :D
 

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An old Selmer USA (Bundy) is ok. A good player can sound good and play most things. Some things are harder to play than better bass clarinets (response of some notes in specific situations). In my opinion the current student model from Yamaha (model 221II) is the best student model, much better than any other student model I've tried. Actually, I consider it better than many old intermediate models and even some that are considered professional models. So for someone with a budget they can't afford a new or even used good Buffet or Selmer I think I would recommend the Yamaha 221II.

About the price for that Bundy, if it's in good condition, that would be a good price here. But this can vary a lot depending on country, area, etc.
 

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I have a hard rubber Kohlert (Winnenden, Germany) bass clarinet which is fully restored, improved with some modifications, and plays beautifully. It would be perfect for your needs and fits your budget. I would include an excellent mouthpiece, floor peg, etc. Please contact me at [email protected] if interested.
 

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I used an old Beuscher bass clarinet for the last 10 years with community and church groups. now that I double on Contra I wanted one a little easier to carry. So on suggestions from several members I went with a Yamaha 221II. You can find nice used plastic basses at very reasonable prices.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@ David Spiegelthal:
I guess you can expect an e-mail from me quite soon...

@ clarnibass & bmcclellan:
Yes, I have seen quite a few positive comments about the 221 II. The prices I saw still were a bit high, though I must admit I haven't searched a lot.
 

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Unfortunately, the first criterion for choosing a bass clarinet (or bassoon, or baritone saxophone) for the majority of the world is always going to be price.

The best way to start talking about such instruments is to first specify how much you have to spend, and then indicate if you are willing to accept new, "As-good-as-new", gently used, hard used, or a rebuild case. Once all of these factors are addressed, then it's time to start tossing out manufacturers and models.

Having said all of that, Yamaha makes (in no particular order) very good pianos, electronic equipment, motorcycles, and (yes) clarinets and bass clarinets. You may do better at a given price point and instrument use status, but it's very unlikely that you will get something that won't wear well or sound decent, given reasonable care and maintenance and a decent mouthpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well...

I don't really care whether it's new, used, or totally rebuilt; but it must be playable with minor adjustments, and obviously not have major issues by design.

Best thing for me would be buying after testing the instrument myself, possibly from my usual tech; next best, buying from a well known repairman. No ebay risking at the moment, no old beaten-down instruments at antique shops & garage sales either...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Today's news:

The Bundy seems to have already been sold.

What they do have at the moment is an Evette & Schaeffer plastic bass clarinet, single-piece body.

Does anybody know something about those?
All I've found is that 'Evette & Schaeffer' was Buffet's intermediate line until 1985, and that some of their basses were Malerne stencils.

It's been completely taken apart for repair, so I couldn't try it out yet.
I've briefly seen the keys, which, along with the neck and bell, have been relacquered (or replated + relacquered?). The body itself seems to need a bit of work around certain toneholes before reassembling the keywork.


So now, here are the options I have at the moment: this Evette & Schaeffer, or David Spiegelthal's modified Kohlert.
Both are in perfect condition (or will be soon), and sold by people who know what they're doing.

Arguments in favor of each:

* Evette & Schaeffer
With warranty (i.e. if it happens to fall apart by itself, I won't have to pay for repair).
Sold by someone I know well.
I can try it out. (however, I don't have anything to compare it to)

* Kohlert
With good mouthpiece.
Seen mostly positive reviews of Kohlert bass clarinets (even if I don't include David Spiegelthal's comments :D)
Hard rubber rather than plastic.
Found only good to excellent reviews of David's work (on SOTW, woodwind.org, and eBay)
 

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I don't think that would be a bad horn at all. especially if the store is going through the process to overhaul it.

Bobby
 

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i have a conn! bass clarinet, a 482N model from 1941, its to low E,..i guess its a intermediate horn, but it has a great sound more of a shorter bass" due to the range, which makes it nice really easy to manage.
I gave 600£ back in novenber for mine, and i know the bundys can be asimilar price, all in all excellent though,you dont come across conns often, but they are worth a look..
 

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What they do have at the moment is an Evette & Schaeffer plastic bass clarinet, single-piece body.

Does anybody know something about those?
All I've found is that 'Evette & Schaeffer' was Buffet's intermediate line until 1985, and that some of their basses were Malerne stencils.
How old is it? I've got one that is probably late 60's/early 70's vintage, and it has only the single register key. This makes :treble::line6: high A to C slow to speak -- C so much so that I have to use an altissimo fingering for it (because altissimo speaks just fine). You might not consider this much of a problem, but I wanted to be the next Eric Dolphy. :) Well, not with this horn, due to that dead spot in the clarino left hand.

I got it off eBay really cheap, and I never intended it to leave the house, so it doesn't really bother me that it has this one design flaw. It's just not loud enough for a lot of real world settings, and I don't do concert bands any more. If I did, it would probably be good enough for my usual role as a "utility man", meaning I come in and play whatever the regular members aren't playing. I'll take on just about anything but low brass, and drums.

If the one you're considering is newer and has the dual speaker key assembly, you may not have this problem.

By the way, E/B is not as big an issue on harmony clarinets as it is on sopranos, because of the low Eb key on the bell.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for your replies!

@Mal 2:
I don't know about the year, nor about the register mechanism...

@Everyone:

It's a bit expensive, though. 25000 CZK, so 1000€ / 1400$ ... especially now that I don't intend to sell my alto saxophone anymore (it's been adjusted yesterday, and now plays beautifully).

So basically, it would be more expensive than David's offer (hard rubber Jubilee/Kohlert w/ good refaced mouthpiece), which, to my uninformed mind sounded like a better instrument...
 

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I think age brings character with it, but that's just me. As far as the Register Mechanism goes, the only mechanism I ever heard my old (and AMAZING) tech call stupid was the 1970's-present Buffets. Otherwise, I think you're ok. People get all bent out of shape by good systems that they think don't do "things". The only audible evidence of this is that Middle C and B are usually markedly different from horn to horn, but for the most part this is not a huge deal.

Happy hunting!
 
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