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Vento Contrabass: $2.5K

Discussion in 'Bb Contrabass Clarinet' started by pete, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2011
  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I don't really know if there's a difference, but that page says "ABS," not "CBC." I found a Plastics wiki and found this for ABS, but I haven't found anything for "CBC."

    I'll point out the Vibratosax, the world's first ABS saxophone, which hit the shelves a couple months ago. It sells for about 1/2 or so of any other new brass student horn. In the case of this contra, the Vito's only a bit more, at $3900. It's also listed as ABS.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    The wonderful world of plastics

    Almost all modern plastic clarinets use ABS (or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, if you are playing along at home) for their body material. The great exceptions are the new "hard rubber" instruments emanating from China.

    Another, much more common use of ABS is as a soil pipe replacement in home sewage systems. It's much easier to work than the old cast iron soil pipe, and lighter in the bargain.

    (For what it's worth, rubber is also a plastic (within the strict definition of the term). However, most don't consider it as such.)

    Nevertheless, both ABS bodied instruments and those made from hard rubber hold their bore shape very well. After all, Lazarus played on hard rubber instruments, and there were no complaints about his tone (just the vibrato).

    I look at ABS as a modern form of the rubber clarinet, only less toxic (rubber clarinet bodies (and mouthpieces as recently as the 1960's) contained lead) or likely to break down (de-vulcanize) under hot, humid climactic conditions.
  4. I think you meant "climatic" conditions, but considering some of the stories I've heard from working musicians on this board, perhaps "climactic" is indeed a better choice of word!
  5. Pete, CBC is just short for contra bass clarinet.

    If they have it in Musikmesse I'll try it. So far, although I like some of the Chinese saxophones, clarinets and flute and think they are ok student instruments, I didn't like their bass clarinets. But I think the bass clarinets improvised since I last tried them. Though I'm considering a contrabass clarinet I'll probably aim for a better model than this...
  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator


    Well, just remember that the posters before you didn't point that out, either :).
  7. The description of the instrument on the retailer's site says "sturdy brass keys." Isn't that a contradiction in terms? My understanding is that brass is relatively soft compared to the forged keywork of a Buffet or Selmer; I wonder just how well the very long rods needed for a CBC will hold up.
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    I thought nickel was cheaper and is known for being more sturdy. Or maybe I'm hallucinating again.
  9. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Buffet and Selmer have relatively soft, bendable nickel keys. Whatever their alloy is, Leblanc is much stronger/stiffer.

    Not exactly a comment on quality. I play a Buffet clarinet and a Selmer bass clarinet, and I've tried everyting.
  10. Brass can be sturdy. A lot depends on the specific alloy and other things that can harden or soften the brass. The shape, thickness, etc. of the keys can also affect it a lot. This is the reason some saxophones, all made with brass keys, have significant differences in how sturdy the keys are.

    Re nickel, AFAIK (someone correct me if I'm wrong) woodwind instrument keys are never made of nickel. They are sometimes made of nickel silver or cupronickel (common on clarinets and flutes), both are copper alloys. This is generally harder than brass, but other things than the type of material itself can affect this.
  11. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    You are correct as to the alloy. Nickel is used to plate the keys and provide a smooth, shiny surface unto which the user places his/her dainty fingers.

    Some of us who have fingers more dainty than the run of the mill have moved to silver plated keys. Aside from looking better, they also cause fewer allergic reactions than the nickel plate.

    For those few who have trouble with copper itself, I don't know what to say. There are gold plated keys, but (just like all of the others) the plating metal itself is an alloy.

    The problem lies in the way that metals are used. Virtually no application involving metal in any form uses a pure, 100% exclusive amount of any metal. Instead, all are alloyed with other metals (and other elements) to obtain final substances that wear better, bend better (or don't bend at all), and look better than the pure substance.

    (Elemental iron is never seen for the very good reason that it rusts immediately, being very reactive. Instead, it's alloyed with a variety of substances (the most prominent being carbon, not a metal at all) to produce "iron" and steel.)

    All of these systems (according to my industrial hygienists, who I once tasked with looking into the problem) contain some amount of copper as part of the "pure" metal, largely for metallurgical reasons. So, short of some sort of electro-deposited platinum coating, there'll always be a bit of copper that I have to contend with. Stupid element...
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