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Surprised by an old Bundy

Discussion in 'Selmer USA' started by Roger Aldridge, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

    I've been looking for a back up clarinet to use for summer outdoor gigs....not wanting to take my treasured vintage Couesnon Monopole out in the hot sun. After trying several student model clarinets I was given a 70's Bundy by a sax buddy to try. I did not have good first impressions of the Bundy when I tried my Grabner K14 & #3 Legere Quebec set up on it. To my ears the sound was muddy. I then tried a series of mix & match combinations with the 4 types of Grabner Kaspar mouthpieces I have as well as 3 types of Legere reeds. I finally hit pay dirt on the Bundy with a Grabner K11e and a #3 Legere Ontario. Of course, the Bundy's quality of sound is not at the level of my Couesnon. However, it's not bad at all. For whatever reason(s), the K11e really brings the old Bundy to life. This set up should meet my needs for a summer-gig clarinet.

    I'm curious about how folks on this forum would compare a 70's Bundy to the current field of plastic student clarinets in terms of overall playability. The Bundy certainly appears to be rugged!

  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I was impressed with the Buffet student model (B11/12) and the Yamaha student model (YCL-250). They had a lot of oomph for student horns. I mentioned in another thread that I bought the Buffet clear plastic horn with the copper keywork.

    I played a 70's-ish Bundy Eb soprano in high school which was pretty nice. And plastic. Hey, one of the basses I played was a plastic Bundy. Decent horn.

    IMO, the entire Bundy line was designed to be rugged and play relatively in tune, even if you beat on the horn. Yes, the sound could be "plain", but so what? "Plain" is OK for a beginner, which is what the Bundy line is focused on. I think the Yamahas are better instruments, but they've never struck me as that rugged. As for Buffet, up until the horn I bought (and then traded for a YCL-34), I never cared for their plastic models.
  3. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    Like I have posted before my clarinets are from the 1950's. An old Noblet and a couple of old Conn's. I think the Conn's are 424's. Tom Ridenour has an interesting opinion about materials used to make clarinets. You can find it at http://www.ridenourclarinetproducts.com ... lamyth.htm
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I just remember that most woodwinds used to be made out of boxwood. From my work with all things saxophone, I'm pretty positive that the bore makes more difference in the sound than the material the horn is made out of.

    As I've said before: imagine a clarinet with the R13 bore made out of plastic. I'd buy that.
  5. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Then a Buffet B12 is for you.
    polycylindrical bore. and blued steel springs. a very high quality plastic clarinet. I had one go through the shop the other day and after i got it fixed up it was a very nice instrument to play. It had synthetic pads which sealed very nicely and nice and smooth key action. made in germany and was very high quality.

    though i've never measured the bore to make sure it is exact, but then the R13s seem to vary over time anyways
  6. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    I bought a B12 for my grandson who had small hands at ten years of age. When he plays a R13 he squeaks more. Someone mentioned that a B12 would be the way for a sax doubling on clarinet to go as the holes are smaller and easier to cover.
  7. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    i've always associated student instruments with smaller toneholes .. though i've never actually kept any measurements or anything but it all makes sense.

    of course, with smaller toneholes you get an effect on tone. also professional instruments usually have alot more attention to detail and some fine tuning.

    At one time I did compare my Normandy 4 to Noblet 45 to Leblanc Symphonie.
    Normandy 4 - smaller toneholes, keywork a little more compact.
    Noblet 45 - slighlty larger toneholes, keywork not so compact
    Leblanc - largest toneholes and most spread keywork.

    of course, i'm sure Leblanc and other makers vary their tonehole size dependent upon what they are after - that was only one example. and of course keywork varies too. I have a plastic Artley 17S here which has a very wide spread keywork .... so go figure.
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Yah. Lots of variation in that R13 bore. Discussion I found: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoar ... 4&t=101034

    However, just because it's polycylindrical doesn't mean it's the same bore (the new B12 and new R13 have slightly different bore measurements, tho), but I wouldn't mind a side-by-side test! Hey, it's $600 vs. $2600.
  9. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

    Thanks for the link to Tom's article. I remember reading it before but it's been a period of time.

    I'm going on gut instinct about this....

    I think that Tom is on to something. Simply based on my experiences with mouthpieces I've found exceptionally high quality hard rubber mouthpieces (of course faced by an expert craftsman) to have a greater resonance and level of projection than mouthpieces I've played with lesser quality rubber or other materials. I have not had an oppurtunity to try a high quality modern wood mouthpiece (like one made from cocobolo). However, it's my impression that wood mouthpieces do not have as much projection as high quality hard rubber.

    If this logic holds water, then there is the possibility that a high quality hard rubber clarinet might actually have more resonance and projection than a comparable grenadilla wood clarinet. I'd love to try one of Tom's clarinets and see for myself.

    Another way we can look at this is how much the mouthpiece-reed-ligature (and the player) contributes to one's sound versus the clarinet itself. Ralph Morgan used to describe the mouthpiece (with the reed of course) as a tone generator and the instrument as an amplifier.

    In the case of the old Bundy I'm trying, it sounds pretty decent with a top-notch mouthpice -- like my Grabner K11e (which Walter made especially for me) -- that is matched to the particular performance characteristics of the clarinet. As I described in my original message, this set up meets my needs quite well for an outdoor-gig clarinet. However, when I compare its sound with my vintage Couesnon there is no comparision. My Couesnon is significantly more resonant and and ringing.

    A couple of other things.....

    I haven't tried a new student model plastic Yamaha soprano clarinet. However, I had an older model Yamaha for a period of time. I had problems with Grabner mouthpieces playing flat on it. I mentioned that to Walter Grabner and he told me he heard similar comments from some other players. I tried several Muncy barrels on the Yamaha and had some improvement. But, I reached a point where trying to get my sound on the Yamaha to where I wanted it to be became more of a hassle than I could put up with. That said, I absolutely LOVE the Yamaha 221 II bass clarinet. It works beautifully with my Grabner LB mouthpiece. One of these days I'll have to test a new Yamaha student clarinet and see if it's better than the older model I had.

    In the meantime, the old Bundy appears to be what I'm needing for outdoor playing.

  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    FWIW, Peter Ponzol, in an article I wrote regarding Keilwerth saxophones a few years back for my old website, said ...
    He is, of course, referring to sax mouthpieces, but the principle should be the same.

    I do have a wooden clarinet mouthpiece and have used it on a couple of occasions, but I really can't tell much difference -- and my Selmer C120 was a much better mouthpiece to play.

    However, you mention something that I've always thought and I like to see that someone else has posted it: the mouthpiece setup makes at least as much impact on the overall sound or "experience", if you will, as the horn itself -- and, of course, easily 80% of the sound isn't the horn or mouthpiece, but the player. It's really outstanding when you couple a very decent mouthpiece with a relatively well-made instrument, even if that instrument's a student model.

    I'd also like to try out the YCL-450. Looks interesting and I really liked the YCL-34 -- the 450's the replacement.
  11. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    yes, the R13 bores do vary.
    from time to time i measure them and put them here

    also some more Buffet information

    and my two 1955s Buffet R13s have flat leaf springs on them
    sn 51xxx and 55xxx not the more common needle springs

    remember the B12 is molded. The R13 is bored out. Wood is going to vary much more than plastic too. and they may not have the exact same production design .. would have to measure the entire bore to compare that from top to bottom.

    i've also found that some pad materials - like synthetic actually help the sound. but they don't help the player much as they can stick more readily
    IMHO fyi, i sound different on a variety of mpcs on the same clarinets (depends upon the design intent of the mpc), same player, lig at least to my ears .. not sure 20 feet away though.
  12. As you can see from my sig area, I still play a Bundy. Actually, my parents bought it as a Christmas present from a cousin who decided she no longer wanted to play. If I recall it's a mid-60's model. BUT...for plastic, it's a great instrument. Had it completely overhauled 4-5 years ago, and it still plays well. Not a pro model (have never been able to afford one) but a good one anyway.
  13. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    btw, it takes me about 15 minutes to transition to the keywork of my R13s. The B12s are nicely spaced for my hands.
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I should open another thread about "closed hole" clarinets. I'd think that it'd be a GOOD idea -- you'd seal the tonehole every time -- but I don't know of any professional make/model that has these. Heck, I just Googled and can't even find pictures of one, but I know Vito and Normandy models are available with them.
  15. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    I think you might be right about closed key aka plateau keyed soprano clarinets not being offered by any of the major clarinet makers. I'd love to hear different but I only see plateau keys on bass clarinets.
  16. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    and Leblanc LL had a model available

    I have PDFs of their product offering on ..guess where .. scroll up from this link until you see the PDF links for the LL
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/sncla ... [HASHTAG]#SNLeblanc[/HASHTAG]
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    So, only Leblanc?
  18. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I doubt buffet had one

    Selmer ? hmmm .. i think there were too busy with their Mazzeo system clarinets
    which i also have brochures of their entire Mazzeo model line .. but i ain't gonna tell you were it's at ... you'll have to google to try and find it :)

    I don't know who else would have made a plateau clarinet
  19. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

    Bundy question.....

    Do Bundy clarinet serial numbers have the same production year as Bundy saxophones? If not, could some one point me to a Bundy clarinet serial number list?

    Thanks, Roger
  20. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
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