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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I've been looking for a new Alto Clarinet, something that isn't a student model. I don't have a price limit and I just want to know what's out there and deiced form there. I mainly am a clarinet play, I usually play alto but I have played bass, B-flat, E-flat, contralto, and contrabass. As well as Alto and Bari Sax.
 

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Most of them are student models. Buffet and Yamaha would be good pro models. Some people like the old Leblanc.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ok, I probably won't get a buffet because of the price and same with the newer selmer. I might try a Yamaha or a noblet though
 

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I had a Noblet and a Loveri. Both grenadilla, quite old. Surprisingly, the Loveri was a much better instrument with wonderful sound while the Noblet was just average. So if you have a chance to try an obscure brand, do it.
 

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Hi, I've been looking for a new Alto Clarinet, something that isn't a student model. I don't have a price limit and I just want to know what's out there and deiced form there. I mainly am a clarinet play, I usually play alto but I have played bass, B-flat, E-flat, contralto, and contrabass. As well as Alto and Bari Sax.
My Alto Clarinet is a LeBlanc L7165, which is nothing more than a student model, but it works well enough for Community Band. If you do go with a Yamaha, I'd be curious to know how it works out. I have a Yamaha Soprano Clarinet, and of course, my Baritone Saxophone is a Yamaha as well. If I used my Alto Clarinet more, I probably would've bought a Yamaha.

(I'm happy to see I'm not the only one who doubles on Alto Clarinet.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My Alto Clarinet is a LeBlanc L7165, which is nothing more than a student model, but it works well enough for Community Band. If you do go with a Yamaha, I'd be curious to know how it works out. I have a Yamaha Soprano Clarinet, and of course, my Baritone Saxophone is a Yamaha as well. If I used my Alto Clarinet more, I probably would've bought a Yamaha.

(I'm happy to see I'm not the only one who doubles on Alto Clarinet.)
I don't do so much as double on Alto it's actually my main instrument. I only play my clarinet for Marching season and my Bari Sax for jazz band. My other instruments are for fun. I might try a Yahamma, the current Alto I have is actually a Leblanc (it's crazy we play a lot of the same things), But thanks for the help.
 

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Time has been a little more forgiving to the alto clarinet but it is still saddled with being of secondary importance when compared to the basset horn. If I ever decide to bridge the gap between the soprano and bass clarinet, it might be with the basset horn over the alto clarinet. Having said that both are uncommon presently but the extensive classical literature for basset horn is still played. I personally feel that the basset horn has the more beautiful tone and it shares some characteristics to the ultra rare Conn O Sax also pitched in F.

Hi, I've been looking for a new Alto Clarinet, something that isn't a student model. I don't have a price limit and I just want to know what's out there and deiced form there. I mainly am a clarinet play, I usually play alto but I have played bass, B-flat, E-flat, contralto, and contrabass. As well as Alto and Bari Sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But the Basset Horn is a lot less common then alto clarinet, especially for the music my band plays, there is never a basset horn part, that's why my school doesn't have one. We have an Alto Clarinet (it's ****), one of the reasons I got my own, but now that is getting worn out. Also to note the Basset horn is in F, it is a good sounding instrument, but that key isn't helping it, the key of E-flat is good for the alto, if they don't have a part it's much easier to play with a similar sounding instrument the alto saxophone, that's one of the key reason I play it. Also, it's just the main instrument I play, but i'm usually the one tasked with playing the bass, contra's, and E-flat clarinet.
 

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All excellent points made and speaking from a practical point of view from a band and not orchestral vantage point, the Eb key instruments would make the most sense. Unusual yes, to be keyed in a whole step up to F from Eb, but that’s the reason why the basset horn sounds better to most people. From a sound point of view, you can even say that the alto clarinet is more in the tenor range as well.
 

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I've heard some people really like the vintage Selmer alto clarinets. I had a chance to play one recently and it was amazing in terms of the tone. Most of the time, they're reasonably priced for all grenadilla instruments, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
All excellent points made and speaking from a practical point of view from a band and not orchestral vantage point, the Eb key instruments would make the most sense. Unusual yes, to be keyed in a whole step up to F from Eb, but that’s the reason why the basset horn sounds better to most people. From a sound point of view, you can even say that the alto clarinet is more in the tenor range as well.
While many people think the basset horn sounds better, they really are very similar sounding instruments. The problem is usually the musician who is playing the Alto Clarinet. I've gotten many compliments from many people even people with a doctorate in clarinet about the sounds I'm able to produce on the instrument. A lot of people who usually play Alto Clarinet play something else and don't know how to produce such great sound. That's in my opinion of course.
 

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TheM8Y87, I can’t argue against any points that you’ve made above this post; I agree with you and perhaps an illustration like trying to explain to a doubler why a dedicated clarinetist has an A pitched instrument along with the standard Bb might elude him or her. I think that was the point I was trying to make about the relatively similar nature between the basset horn and the alto clarinet. They are different as well and having said that, the basset horn has the extended lower range below written Eb. If I’m not mistaken, alto clarinet doesn’t extend below written Eb.
 

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Tone quality depends somewhat on bore size. There are small, medium and large-bore basset horns. I recall reading a discussion of this on the Stephen Fox website. The large bore BH's, like Leblanc, are acoustically the same as alto clarinets. A small-bore BH, like Selmer used to be (still is?), with a slightly larger bore than a B-flat clarinet, is a completely different playing experience. As TheM8Y87 suggests, the difference is in the player. If you want to play Mozart, Mendelssohn, Strauss, etc., get a basset horn (or, in a pinch, buy an alto and put a toilet paper roller in the bell for concert low F); otherwise, save some serious money and buy an alto.
 

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Lomaserena, there is vintage Leblanc alto on eBay right now. It pretty much has a similar look to the 400 series bass clarinets that I know about from having owned and played one.
 

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I'd say old Leblancs are about average but could be a good option. Good tone, more or less ok intonation.

The thing is, I've tried all the best alto clarinets like new Buffet, Selmer Yamaha and older Selmers and Buffets. None of these were that great compared with soprano and bass clarinets from the same companies. It was surprising how none of these felt that great as far as key layout, considering how much better their current basses are compared with older ones. I'd expect the smaller clarinet to feel even better... but no. Some were just really awkward (Yamaha), some weren't comfortable (all of them really), some were less even than equivalent basses (pretty much all of them except maybe Selmer which was good).
Intonation was definitely better than older ones I've tried which include Leblanc, Pedler, Selmer and Buffet.
Considering they cost almost as much as bass clarinets I expected more.

Consider that I evaluate any clarinet as a solo instrument, or as one instrument part of a small group (i.e. really sticking out).
 

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I'd say old Leblancs are about average but could be a good option. Good tone, more or less ok intonation.

The thing is, I've tried all the best alto clarinets like new Buffet, Selmer Yamaha and older Selmers and Buffets. None of these were that great compared with soprano and bass clarinets from the same companies. It was surprising how none of these felt that great as far as key layout, considering how much better their current basses are compared with older ones. I'd expect the smaller clarinet to feel even better... but no. Some were just really awkward (Yamaha), some weren't comfortable (all of them really), some were less even than equivalent basses (pretty much all of them except maybe Selmer which was good).
Intonation was definitely better than older ones I've tried which include Leblanc, Pedler, Selmer and Buffet.
Considering they cost almost as much as bass clarinets I expected more.

Consider that I evaluate any clarinet as a solo instrument, or as one instrument part of a small group (i.e. really sticking out).
Yes it is a bit ridiculous, considering that altos are smaller than bass clarinets, the keywork isn't updated, and they can cost more than equivalent bass clarinets. You are certainly paying a huge premium for owning a rare instrument. I just love playing the alto clarinet, because of the tenor range of the instrument. It just feels very natural.
 
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