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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

    Thanks Pete! It looks like my Bundy is from the early 70's.
  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Not a problem. I've got some good ideas for that list and hopefully I'll get to it in the upcoming weeks. College class just started, tho.
  3. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

    Just to circle back....

    After spending more time with the Bundy I switched back to #3 Quebec reeds on the Grabner K11e. This set up gives me a remarkably good quality of sound and projection on the Bundy. In fact, the Bundy is really growing on me. It's definitely fun to play. As I wrote on the Woodwind.org forum, given how well-built and rugged the Bundy is and how good it can sound with a top-notch mouthpiece I cannot help but wonder why there is a need for cheap Asian imports. Why not simply recycle old Bundies?

    I would never have thought that I could be so impressed with an old Bundy! ha ha ha

  4. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    I also suspect that the old Bundy is better made than most of the Asian imports.
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Why not just buy used?

    IMO, most people think "new" = "better" and, even if they don't, a lot of people aren't savvy enough to buy a decent old horn off eBay and get it properly repaired -- or know which horns to avoid.

    As was mentioned on another thread, the clarinet design -- if not the tuning -- was established by the 1830s.

    I've stopped giving advice about which vintage instruments to buy because, in the past, people shot me down and/or kept contradicting my advice. I might consider doing another thread about that, but I'll just post and run :).

    Anyone have a statement on how much a complete clarinet overhaul costs? Say, Bb and bass? I know it's less than on a sax.
  6. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    In Seattle (2008) complete overhaul by a decent tech is from $400 to $500 which includes a year of return visits and a clarinet that plays as good as the design itself, sometimes better. I have a Buescher silver Albert in right now that I expect to come in at just over $500 because of some extra work like fabricating a right thumb hold. You can get an overhaul for less, but horror stories are everywhere.

    Talking about prices for overhauls, I've had two friends walk away from my recommended tech because they felt the price was too high. One lady ended up seeing three other techs and the instrument is ruined because one of the repairmen bent the keyworks to her R-13 in ways that I don't even want to discuss. They other fellow hasn't found a tech with 'the right price'.

    I'm guessing that prices are cheaper in other parts of the US and world.
  7. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    There is a lot of work that goes into overhauls. Some people just don't understand.

    The $99 "overhauls" are simply cheap repads put in with basically a hobby glue. And we are talking the cheapest single bladder pads. Normally no setup what so ever .. just slap new pads in and off 'ya go.

    Other more expense- sub $150 usually get the instrument to a playable condition, but lacks keywork refinement and good pads.

    There is a big inspection process where one must look for air leaks in other places than pads !! plus cracks, reinvigorating the wood, cleaning, polishing, installation of high quality pads and the installation method, keywork refinement (making it all nice and smooth with no slop), and the list goes on.

    I recently bought an R13 that had a newer "overhaul" with no leaks, the setup shows a 4 on my MAG machine. The pads are very pourous, which of course affects the tonal quality that you get !! It's a great R13, it's just going to get cork and high quaity leather pads real soon !
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    So, finalizing the question, people aren't buying old Bundys because they can't justify buying one for $50 and then spending $400 for repair, especially when a new Buffet B12 costs $600 :p.

    It's essentially the eBay argument I mentioned regarding saxophones: if the horn really is cheap on eBay, you've still gotta worry about that overhaul price.
  9. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member


    The question of vintage versus new is certainly a good one. It's one that I've asked myself whenever I looked at getting a vintage or used horn.

    For me, it comes down to the particular qualities I'm looking for in a horn. There are some vintage horns that have special qualities that are difficult to find in a modern one. As I've mentioned on other threads, I deeply admire Buescher New Aristocrat saxophones and Couesnon clarinets. I've come to feel that they are a perfect match for my tonal conception and playing. Whenever I play a new saxophone or clarinet I always shrug my shoulders and happily go back to my vintage horns. Therefore, a key factor regarding your question is knowing what we want and knowing the subject matter so we can (hopefully) avoid getting ripped off....whether it's on ebay or elsewhere.

    My Bundy just came back from the repair tech and the bill was $85. So, I'd say that this was definitely cost-effective.

    Last year I made several exceptionally good deals on ebay. I got a Yamaha model 26 (older version of the 261 open tone hold student flute) for $165. $90 was spent with my repair tech. After she worked her magic on the flute it looked and played like a brand new flute. Finally, I got the new Yamaha curved head joint for $135. This set up works absolutely great for me. Also last year I got my 70's Couesnon on ebay for $450 and $200 with my repair tech. This is truly a fantastic clarinet. I'd be hard pressed to find a comparable pro-level clarinet for anywhere near the money I paid for the Couesnon.

    So, good deals can be had on vintage or used instruments. Of course, I have sad stories as well! However, live and learn. Happily, I've learned from many of my earlier mistakes.

  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    That's a bit of my point. You and I are experienced enough to look at a horn in an ad and say, "This thing looks like it's going to need X, Y and Z. Those repairs will be $150. The horn is only $50. It'll play as good as a $600 horn when it's fixed. I'll do it."

    Nancy Clarinet Player may not have enough experience to make the determination that the repairs aren't going to be that expensive and should budget for that full overhaul, instead, if she's going to let her fingers do the shopping on eBay. And we haven't even mentioned banding, pinning, epoxying or what have you. Hey, if I didn't know better, I'd think a band might just be a kewl accessory. You and I know it means "look for a different horn". (I mention some of these "if the horn has this, keep looking" things on my horn value thread.)

    Or, a bit more "graphically":

    * The horn has a max monetary value of $1000 in perfect condition.
    * The horn has a playability value of a $1500 horn (i.e., "Experts think the horn plays as good as a ...").

    If max playability value is less than the purchase price of the horn + the cost to repair it AND is not much greater than the max monetary value, it's probably a keeper. Otherwise, you're probably going to find a better deal, elsewhere.

    But, it's a lot easier to say, "Student! Buy a new Buffet B12. Don't worry about eBay!" Unless you want to do it for the student.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  11. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

    I completely agree with you. Clearly, less experienced buyers need to seek out guidance from musician friends, teachers, internet research, or other resources. Never the less, "learning experiences" are a part of life.

  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Learning is good. However, I'd rather learn from other peoples mistakes :).

    Hey, I do thank you for sharing. That made the forum a little better place.
  13. Okay, necro thread, but I have to chime in and add myself to the bundy fan club.
    It's all about the musician and the set up, I wouldn't take it to an orchestral gig, but there's nothing wrong with it anywhere else.
    If I had to buy a relatively inexpensive plastic horn for my (nonexistent) kid, I'd buy and restore an old bundy.
    Most of the newer plastic horns are icky, but I've seen a few exceptions, Yamaha (a select few models), Bliss (the all plastic one), etc. I've heard some people make them sound great.
    Now if you hand me a laval for instance, not even my best, most favorite set ups and reeds could possibly save it.

    Also, Roger's post sums it up straight forward and center.
    Wise learn more from fools than fools from the wise though. :)

    I'm not shut out to any age horn, if I like the tone, the feel, intonation, etc, and I can find a good set up for it, it qualifies. It doesn't have to be perfect unless I'm in the Symphony (which I'm not).
  14. JfW


    not a big fan of the bundy clarinets as I find the vito much easier to play.
  15. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I agree wholeheartedly. The Vito is an easier route in for young folks, but I've found them to be more in tune than any Bundy that I've ever played. And, they are much less expensive than the Yamaha student models.

    But, the best thing about them is the use of small finger holes, at least compared to professional instruments. I have convinced any number of sax players to start out on a Vito, this to learn the chimney locations more securely and without the squeaking that comes with new fingers on the larger openings. Later on, you can shift to something "more professional" with little loss.
  16. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    In my area a repad on a student model plastic clarinet goes for about $200 - $250. This includes new key corks, tenon corks if needed, and some key fitting in critical places. We are doing most student clarinets and older wooden clarinets with imperfect toneholes with the Valentino synthetic pads. They provide an excellent airtight seal, even on the older wooden clarinets, and are very stable and long lasting.

    The only downsides to the Valentinos that I am aware of are:
    1. They tend to get sticky - clean with water and a flattened Q-tip
    2. They have a different "feel" than bladder pads - not a concern with student & intermediate players.

    It is true they cost more than traditional pads, but we charge the same for repads because the difference in the price of the materials is more than offset by the time saved in the installation because they are so consistent in manufacture.

    I agree with SOTSO, the Vito has been my favorite student clarinet for years, both as a band director and as a repair tech.
  17. Perhaps my Bundy was made at 3 o clock on a Friday, but I have no intonation issues or any issues with the little guy whatsoever.
    In a nutshell, the vito is a wonderful student instrument and I've never had any issues with them, a life long friend of mine grew up with a vito and loved it.
    But also, an improper setup is easier to come by with the bundy than the vito. It takes more "fine tuning", but other than that I must argue that mine is a superb instrument, nothing like my professional quality instruments, but I would give him to a 13 year old for band any day.
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