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Discussion Starter #1
I live in California and we have a very wide range of climates in the state. As a person who plays gigs on Bass Clarinet my instrument may go from an outdoor gig in a dry and snowy alpine resort to a humid summer beach wedding in the same week. I need the Low C and the benefits of a pro horn, so naturally my Buffet Low C gets trashed pretty quickly. This leads my on to my question for you guys:


I recently stumbled upon an old Leblanc Paperclip Contra Alto with a double octave mechanism, and this thing plays circles around my near-new Low C. Even the exact same notes in the same octave sound better. It's such a small difference in range from a regular Bass Clarinet, so why don't they make Metal Paperclip Bass Clarinets like this?? A more compact Bass Clarinet that isn't made out of wood would be a blessing for more people than me, surely :mrgreen: .
 

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Pardon a sax player question, but don't they make Ebonite ones?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They do, but they are the worst built piles of junk you could ever get your hands on. The very LONG rods might as well be made out of pipe cleaners and they don't tend to play very well without $1500+ of work put into them (re-pad, tone hole undercut, fixing any chips, drilling out the octave pip, replacing some of the longer rods with harder metal, etc).

For that you can buy a used low C.

Edit: Depending on your luck you might also get a plastic low C with a neck made out of pot metal, and then you need to buy a new neck too. It's not like the Low Eb's made by Bundy back in the day or Yamaha now- these are designed as cheaper versions of the real thing rather than good student horns in their own right.
 

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I guess it is all a question of market size. Course a paperclip bass might be fun, but would there be enough demand to payback for the development ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No.
If you need something that can stand varying conditions I guess it's best to get a Greenline or a good plastic horn.
I disagree with the assertion that it wouldn't be profitable. Wood horns are expensive and generally poorly built. You need rubber gloves on to take proper care of them, and no one is filling the market for Pit/Jazz/Marching Band/High School/Klezmer/Outdoor/Etc. friendly instruments. Plus, I would venture a guess you could take a paperclip Leblanc, hack it up with a rotary saw and shift each individual key closer together + cut the neck and get a working prototype. (If only I had the money/time/technical skills eh?)

It's as if Selmer and Buffet don't realize that their biggest buyers are high schools and doublers, not orchestral pros. A paperclip bass would be small, and with todays bracing, sturdy.

It's not only the weather, it's also the delicacy and care that Bass Clarinets require to be at their best. I figure metal would address a large part of that.
 

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Regarding high-school and doublers, the reason why Selmer and Buffet don't consider them: they are US specific. We have neither here ! Almost no school bands, and almost no "Broadway" shows. And those who exist do without bass clarinet, or hire orchestra pros ad hoc. We can see the difference: the US market is flood with used basses, while there are almost none over here. Mine is a used Vito I bought from someone who bought it in the US and brought it back.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Do you think that the high school and doubler market is larges that the whole european orchestral market?

I would venture a guess it is.
 

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It's not a paperclip design but why don't you look out for a metal Kohlert bass, ala Scott Robinson?
 

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Well, Benedikt Eppelsheim makes contrabass clarinets in metal.

They are not cheap and they are not easy to find.

Obviously he could have applied his bravura to a bass clarinet too but he hasn’t , yet!
 

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Do you think that the high school and doubler market is larges that the whole european orchestral market?

I would venture a guess it is.
Definitely larger, but can it afford the cost of those french handmade horns ?
 
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