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What's your Bass Clarinet Setup

Discussion in 'Bb Bass Clarinet' started by Gandalfe, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    The D.S. beak arrived today. It's an unbranded hard rubber piece that just says "France" and "3" (which I gather is not the serial number). David did his magic with it, and OMFG what a difference compared to the humble Yamaha 4C! Far less embouchure adaptation needed (I could play on my tiny cute soprano immediately afterwards without nasty squeaks) than on the Y.

    So, no more excuses, now I have to repad that monster and get rid of the noise and of metal clacking against metal (some cautious straightening is on order).
    TrueTone and Gandalfe like this.
  2. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Ben, was the piece opened up or just normalized with rail repairs and the like?
  3. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    David said he'd made it to accomodate a slightly softer reed, so I guess the curve was modifed (and normalised and all that). Looking into the mouthpiece it looks as if some serious baffle work was done, too. I'd say originally the piece had more like a rollover baffle which David flattened out a bit in order to get a less edgy tone.
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  4. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    Sounds like a Riffault blank. You can do some nice things with them.
  5. I have a Buffet Prestige Low C. Selmer C* mouthpiece, Rovner dark ligature, and Vandoren 3.5 reeds. The instrument is insanely responsive...it will play the full altissimo range up to "stratosphere" C at any dynamic level. The symphony that I play for supplied the instrument, which is a blessing, since there is NO WAY that I could throw out 14k for this horn. If you ever get a chance to try one out...DO IT! Those low C's will rattle your teeth if you put enough air into it. Awesome experience!

  6. ...oh, and the angle of the neck really makes a huge difference. On other models, I like to push the bell back and underneath my chair so that I can achieve a more Bb-like angle from the mouthpiece. Because of this, I use a neckstrap to make sure that I don't drop the darn thing when I play anything "open." It's just too constraining for me. The Bufet (and Selmer) necks both naturally create the right angle so that all the rest of it just falls into place.
  7. Vito horn, vandoren b45 mouthpiece, 2 1/2 reeds and occasionally 3 /12s if the piece calls for it. Generic, cheap ligature, but surprisingly it does a fantastic job. For a common, inexpensive instrument, it sure performs.
    As far as playing position, I'm used to holding the horn 90 degrees upright and have no issues, I'm quite tall and have no issues adjusting the floor peg for comfort. Neck strap only for playing while standing for me.
  8. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I've come to love the strap for those (thumb-only) Fs and open Gs where you always have to stop the horn from falling away from you.

    Per an update, I now not only have my trusted Artley but also a nice silver-plated Jupiter 675S. (nice instrument with beefy keywork and a fine tone).
  9. For those Fs and similar, the position I usually hold the instrument in prevents any risks of it falling over, however on tired days in weird settings where I have to hold it more leaned forward, I use a neck strap just in case. It's just a matter of the musician's preferences in playing position. I just like the neck strap because I don't have to worry about it running away from me and eating the flute section. It's more a leash than a strap.
  10. Sitting or standing I always use a neck strap on my old workhorse of a Leblanc 400

    But the instrument was improved beyond measure when I got a cheap Charles Bay style neck that fit it perfectly and much improved the playing angle.

    The neck I got from a vendor who has vexed some members of the forum in the past - Jimmy Hayes - but I got a perfect product that still looks as good as it did 2 years ago and was bought, shipped from USA and received in Australia all within a few days.

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  11. An OLD thread....but I'll start it up again...and I see some of the same people here playing Bass Clarinet that I see on SOTW.......
    Main axe is a Leblanc 330S....Low C with Single Register Key....Fobes San Francisco CF+, Rovner Platinum Lig and Rigotti Gold #3 Reeds. Back up is a Leblanc 400 to Low Eb...same mouthpiece..and for outdoor gigs I use an Orpheo to Low C. Selmer/Bundy ContraAlto again with a Fobes moutpiece, Rovner Dark and Fibracell #3....Leblanc Paperclip to Low C ContraBass with a Fobes, Rovner Dark and Legere # 2when I need to rattle some foundations!
  12. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Regarding loud bass clarinets (and bari sax for that matter), every once in a while I get an insane director who wants me as loud as a bass bone, when I can't get there he gives my part to the bass bone. So I've taken to amplifying my instrument in those cases. And in my band, I have been known to remind the director that the part he wants me to play FF is marked MP and behind a singer. I also won't let him pass the part to the bass bone anymore.
  13. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    After being in a similar situation I went into the shop and took some power tools to an old Vandoren bass piece. I needed higher tuning so I started by shortening, then I went at the facing, opening it and "adding" a rollover baffle. It has plenty of bark when I want it and is quite mellow when called for as well. It plays as needed for the instrument I modified it for, but is a monster on a standard bass. It has taken the place of a very nice custom piece which is now gathering dust. It isn't pretty to look at, but it delivers.
    Gandalfe likes this.
  14. Hi...I'm new to the forum;
    I play a Series 9 (low Eflat) bass....played one professionally through the 70s and 80s....acquired this one recently with a Fobes piece (I stupidly sold both of my other pieces). I play it in small group gigs...I like playing jazz on the bass clarinet and at the occasional wedding, pretending I'm a cello.

    Just for the heck of it; I also play two clarinets. A 1935 Selmer BT and a 1954 Selmer CT (full Boehm)...I like those big bore clarinets.

    To Gandalfe....I played in Las Vegas bands for a couple of years where the dynamic range alternated between fff and ffff....all my mouthpieces were wide open with hard stock reeds to be heard above the (normally) very loud rhythm section. We played one show (Cher) where OSHA placed sensors on our lapels to check decibel levels and the show was louder than a 747 taking off...whcih didn't affect anything...we were still expected to continue to play just as loud.
    Gandalfe likes this.
  15. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Playing a woodwind horn in the era of amplification is a hard row to hoe, no doubt about that. I backed up Tina Turner back in the day, and I couldn't believe the dynamic levels that I was required to produce - and at the lower end of baritone's range to boot.

    Of course, the provision of universal amplification has eased that a bit. The last loud gig (where the big four of the rhythm section set the dynamic level at which we participated) was as bad as the Turner gig. I thought about bringing my sound equipment in for the six members of the horn section (we supplied the horns and one of the vocalists), but figured that surely, in the tight theater in which we performed, they wouldn't be playing that loud.

    Boy, was I wrong. Since that time, I've ensured that (if paired up with "modern" music folks), I could also amp the horns up to 11 in the same fashion.

    I imagine that "modern" folks (and their sound people) have been listening to things at 11 and 12 for so long that they consider it to be normal. They probably then wonder why some folks are leaving their presentations early.
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  16. Ah, but it isn't that difficult to get even...whip out them piccolos, boys!
  17. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

    To revive this yet again:
    I'm using: a 1951 low E (Not Eb!) Selmer Paris, along with a Vandoren B44, V12 3.5 reeds, and a Rovner dark ligature.
    Plus I'm considering trying another mouthpiece in the future, so that may change.
    Gandalfe likes this.
  18. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I'm trying to get back into BC after a long layoff. I thought my horn had issues, but it turns out it was mostly my mouthpiece choice. My horn is an old rubber Artley that was restored by Dave Spiegelthal. I was going back and forth between a Yamaha 4C that Dave had refaced, and a Roger Garrett piece, with multiple different reeds (Legere 2.75 & 3, Fibracell 2.5 & 3, and LaVoz Mediums) and two ligs, a Rovner Dark and a Rico H-lig. I just couldn't find any combination that worked throughout the range of the horn, and every combo squeaked & squawked when going over the break all the way up to G.

    A couple weeks ago, I played my bandmate's Clark Fobes San Francisco piece on my horn and the light went on. She tried to play my Garrett piece on her very nice Selmer BC and hated it. I also played the Fobes on her horn, and it was heaven - so maybe my horn does have a few issues.

    I decided that the San Francisco was a little pricey, so I bought the Nova model, which is also very well regarded. Well I finally busted it out today and it is a very nice piece. I'm still trying to dial in reed strength. I like the sound of the harder reeds, but have a little more difficulty controlling them. The Fibracell 2.5 was the easiest to play, but the tone was a bit thin and buzzy. My current favorite is the Legere Standard 2.75. I think I need to work on long tones and voicing on that, and gradually work my chops up to the 3. The LaVoz also sound a bit thin, but I have only tried a couple of them, so I need to dig deeper in the box, and maybe even clip the tip a bit. Surprisingly, the Rovner lig sounds and responds better than the Rico H across the board.
    Gandalfe, Helen and TrueTone like this.
  19. Helen

    Helen Content Expert Saxophones Staff Member Administrator

    You and I sound like we're going through a very similar process Saxhound. I don't want to admit how many years it's been since I laid off bass clarinet... Suffice to say shoulder pads and big hair were still all the rage. :emoji_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

    My set-up is a Richard Keilwerth-stencilled Jubilee, with a no-name--likely the original--MP and a Rovner dark lig and Legere 2 3/4 Signature Series reed. I also have another neck, with a slightly different socket opening, that I use a Selmer HS* on, along with with the same reed and lig combo. I got both of these MPs and necks with the horn.

    Given that it had been so many years since I played bass, I decided that I would wait and develop some chops before soaking any $$ into a mouthpiece.

    That being said, I did try my tech's Vandoren that is supposed to be a go-to piece for many bass clarinet players, but both the original and the Selmer pieces sounded better, and played easier for me when I first tried it.

    At some point I think I'll try it again, just to see if there is any change--and maybe one day I might try other pieces--but given that the bass clarinet is really nothing than a double for me, I can't see myself soaking a lot of money into a MP. I just think of all the great sax stuff I could buy for the the money... Stuff I could use all the time, and really get the most out of.
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  20. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    My layoff hasn't been as long as yours, since I only bought the horn in 2011. After the initial excitement, life and work got in the way, as well as the turmoil of moving to a different state. Now that I'm retired, I have more time to focus on my music, although it is mostly limited to rainy or cold days. The weather here is mostly nice, and when it is, I want to be outdoors working around the house, boating, romping with the dogs, or just sitting on my pier watching the sun go down with an adult beverage.
    TrueTone likes this.
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