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Hello, which Bass Clarinet should I get?

Discussion in 'Bb Bass Clarinet' started by evinjaq, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    Hello, I'm completely new to the Clarinet and decided to give the Bass Clarinet a try. I'm mostly a trumpet player and would like to know which Bass Clarinet brand I should buy online. I've seen brands like Noblet, Selmer, Vito(although some people said to stay away from these) ect. What can I get within the 1000 dollar range or less that is decent or maybe an older vintage pro model might do?

    What are the things I should ask about/check for when buying used Bass Clarinets online?

    Which Bass Clarinet brand would you recommend to me?

    Also which should I pick? The ones that pitch to Eb or Bb? I don't really understand becuase some people say that some Bass Clarinets have an extra attachment area on the bottom to allow the player to hit a few lower notes.
     
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  2. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

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    I'd reccomend checking it out in person to see if it has any cracks or excessive key wear, but you might not be able to as you mention buying it on the internet.
    Those brands all can be fairly good, though I'll add that the Selmer being a Paris-built horn would be very much a plus in both build quality and generally how it plays.
    Probably the only things you can get within the 1000 dollar range wouldn't be a pro level bass unless you get rather lucky, so the cheaper basses I would reccomend out of those would be a Noblet followed by the Vito then the presumably USA-built Selmer. (again, unless that Selmer is a Selmer Paris, all of which typically are very nice horns, I'd reccomend them over the other two you mentioned.)
    Those brands are good, as are some others (IE Buffet, Yamaha, or Uebel.)
    Almost all Bass Clarinets are in Bb, the ones saying Eb are either meant to refer to being keyed to low Eb or are an Alto Clarinet (which is a lot less used in an ensemble.)
    And yes, some basses have an extension to low C instead of Eb, (or E, rarely.) though they're going to cost noticeably more.
    SOTSDO's first response in this topic is a very great summary: http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/index.php?threads/bass-clarinet.22912/
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't think Uebel ever made a "non-professional" model bass clarinet. If we're talking about F. Arthur Uebel, that is. They're absolutely beautiful basses, tho, especially the aluminum ones.

    TT speaks truth, thus he is quoted. It's always better to test in person, if you have the opportunity. Because you've mentioned that you're completely new to the clarinet, it'd be an extreeeeeeemly good idea to get your clarinet instructor to test the horn -- or a friend that plays bass clarinet.

    TT missed a word, above: bass clarinets are generally Bb transposing instruments. Non-pro models are generally keyed to low Eb. Professional models are generally keyed to low C. However, there have been bass clarinets produced in the keys of A, C and D and I've seen some bass clarinets only keyed to low E. The confusion over Bb/Eb generally comes from folks that say they play an Eb contrabass clarinet or Bb contrabass clarinet. I'm going to leave that argument alone :D.

    It's exceedingly rare to need to play anything lower than an Eb on a bass clarinet and extending the range down to low C tends to (at least) double the price of the clarinet.

    I've played two or three Vito bass clarinets, a Selmer USA, a couple Selmer Bundys, and an ancient Buffet. The Buffet was actually the worst: it needed a lot of work. The Vitos were very decent. I don't remember anything incredibly good or bad about the Bundys/Selmer USA horns.

    If I had unlimited funds, I'd definitely buy an aluminum Uebel, because that would be extremely cool. With limited funds, I'd have to look really hard. You're going to find some for around that and less on eBay, but you'd also need to make sure you keep some cash in reserve for repairs and a mouthpiece. Don't buy a new bass clarinet from China.


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2016
  4. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    Thanks for all the responses guys. It seems Chinese made woodwinds are generally worse than Chinese made trumpets.

    I can maybe increase my buying amount to 1500 but not planning to play it too much. I was thinking about doubling on the Bass Clarinet.
     
  5. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

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    +1 on the getting someone else to play it also. And I meant to type that it's in Bb, sorry. And I'll add that the low C part will be only on pro-level instruments, and that some pro instruments can still be low Eb. (or low E if you have an ancient low E Selmer like I do.) I've had a few pieces I've encountered which wanted a low D or C, though it's typically doubled on some other instrument.
    And as it's been said already: have it in working condition. Always, unless it's near impossible like the one Pete had.
    The Vitos are fairly good, my school has a few of them in addition to 3 Selmers à Paris and a Leblanc.
    And +1 again on repairs and a good mpc and not buying a chinese one.
    (Also, the aluminum one you linked is a G R Uebel. =P Same family, different person in it. But yes Uebels are good.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2016
  6. Mojo

    Mojo

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    Consider getting an inexpensive used one until you get your chops together. Then you can sell it for close to what you paid for it and upgrade later. If you keep it leak free, it should meet your doubling needs for years.
     
  7. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    I just won this auction today.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/272471844993?_trksid=p2057872.m2748.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    Has anyone ever tried these RS Berkley Bass Clarinets? The seller doesn't know a thing about this when I asked him yet I bidded. I think this is the Elite Series model, and is this a professional or student model?
    And this might be a Chinese made horn as I recall Berkley winds to be a asain maker but I'm not sure about "RS Berkley". Seems to be a different branch? I've read mostly good reviews of these horns. Seller offered me a chance to cancel this quickly if I decided to since he/she doesn't know much about it.
     
  8. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    So apparently I won this auction today.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/272471844993?_trksid=p2057872.m2748.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

    I asked the seller about this and he/she told me that he/she does not know a thing about these instruments. I bid anyway after reading good reviews of this horn. Has anyone ever tried these RS Berkley Bass Clarinets? The listing does not say so but I beleive this is the Elite Series model since I do not see any other version of Bass Clarinet from RS Berkley. The seller offered to cancel this purchase anytime I wish becuase he does not know much about it.
    I think the "Berkley" name is accosiated with a asain maker but I'm not sure about RS Berkley, sounds like a different branch than Berkley Winds. Nonetheless I've read good reviews on this horn.
    What do you guys think?
     
  9. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

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    +1 to what Mojo just said.

    I am first and foremost a sax player. Always have been. Always will be. My double is clarinet, but mostly bass clarinet really. However, since I never owned my own, the last time I played seriously was in university. This year I finally bought my own bass. It is a circa late 1950s Richard Keilwerth-made stencil horn keyed to low Eb.

    My tech had it in his shop's back room, and rebuilt it for me. It came with 2 necks, and 2 MPs/ligs. It plays beautifully. All in, with a new case and Hercules stand, I'm out well under $1000 Cdn.

    For what I am going to do with it, it will do the job nicely. Sure I could have spent boat-loads more cash on a pro-level, low C, blah, blah, blah... but given that this will be nothing more than a double for me, it made sense to get this vintage hard rubber version. Like Mojo said, if I ever decide to get more serious, I will never be out the cash if I go to sell it. I will always be able to sell it for what I paid for it.
     
  10. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    Thanks again guys. So I won this auction today. 510 dollars for a RS Berkeley Bass Clarinet not sure if it is the Elite Series or not but can possibly be since the only Bass Clarinet I do see around the internet IS the elite series by RS Berkeley. Has anyone ever played on of these? Thoughts opinions? Seller claimed to know nothing about it and so offered me a purchase cancellation anytime of my request. I also think Berkeley is an asain maker if I'm not mistaken, but judging from the good reviews, I went ahead and bid on it once.

    Is this RS Berkeley Bass Clarinet a pro or studebt horn? I cannot show the eBay listing on here since the mods here have to approve my post first.
     
  11. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Not sure that this is a professional instrument, but the proof will be in the playing. If you can, have a bass clarinet player play test it for you and report back. If you find that your play tester or you have problems voicing in and above the clarion range, I have some suggestions how to address that. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  12. JfW

    JfW

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    That's because Trumpets have what, six mechanically moving parts and require three seals???

    A Bass Clarinet will have about a hundred moving parts and over two-dozen parts requiring a repeatable mechanical seal.
     
  13. evinjaq

    evinjaq

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    So any one have experience with these RS Berkeley Bass Clarinets? I see it's not too well known...
     
  14. BenVoiles

    BenVoiles

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    There is a YouTube review of it/ I don't have the link but it will be easy to find.
     
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