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Bass Clarinet Neck - Better Angle?

Hi,

I've just taken delivery of a new Buffet Prestige (to Low C) and the neck that came with it seems to have the mouthpiece at quite an extreme angle. (The tip of the mouthpiece reaches 6.5 cm above the body/neck joint)

Now I have done a bit of investigation and I do appreciate the logic behind this design, namely to try to get closer to the angle a regular Bb clarinet mouthpiece would be in the mouth, however being quite short (that's me that's short and not the clarinet) this makes it quite uncomfortable for me to play.

I was wondering if anyone had any words of wisdom on alternative necks I could try which would save my own aching neck (and also reduce the embarrassment of having to use an extra-high chair when playing).

I do play saxophone, so would be quite comfortable with any neck that gave the mouthpiece a more horizontal angle if it knocked a couple of inches off the overall height.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jan
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I don't know that needing a taller chair is anything to be embarrassed about. I have a special stool I use whenever I play contra, it's just part of the setup needed to play the instrument.

I play sax and clarinet too. I hold the soprano up to keep the appropriate embouchure, which is different from that of the clarinet. If I could afford to have a different bas clarinet neck, one like yours, I'd go for it. It might take some time to get used to it, but I'd bet it would be worth it.

The straight neck can be found out there, and many of us have played them for years, because that is all there was. I think I'd invest in a chair or stool and carry it with me and take advantage of your stock neck and the advantage it has for proper airstream. Try an adjustable hight drum throne for something comfortable and cool looking that will keep you with your stock neck.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'm 6' 1" and didn't need a stool for the contra :). (It was a paperclip.)

I've only played one Buffet bass and that didn't have an as extreme angle as a Selmer.

The idea, of course, is to make you have a more "proper" embochure. With a sax mouthpiece, you blow into it. A clarinet, you blow across.

(Not 100%, mind you, but you get the idea.)

In other words, if you're playing it like a tenor sax, that's not quite right.

(This is also the reason why I suck at straight soprano sax, but sound fairly decent on a fully-curved one.)

I'd stick with it for a little while. If that doesn't work out, you might look around for that additional neck.

Welcome to the forum!
 
Hi Jan

Not knowing how tall (or short) you are, I can only guess. I'm short for a guy, but taller than most women in my country (however when I was in Holland not that many women were much shorter than me :)).

I play the same model Buffet bass clarinet. With most normal chairs I put the peg so the clarinet is close to the lowest possible. Some chairs are impossible and then I use two chairs for example. Some chairs are just high enough so no problem. I never thought it was embarassing. For a higher chair you probably need to sit closer to its edge.

I play mostly standing though, and I tried to get a less angled neck from Buffet, which I heard exists. I tried Buffet directly and several of the biggest dealers in several countries. When one dealer finally came through, I decided to order the neck. When it arrived to the dealer, I recevied a message that they sent a regular neck identical to the original and not a different angle. Buffet is very hard to deal with. Unless I went to their factory and actually saw the less angled neck I am now pretty convinced they just don't make it anymore (supposedly can be special ordered but I tried to special order it, didn't work).

Selmer makes two types of necks. A friend was just here with his new Selmer (he uses the less angled version), and the Buffet neck worked with it ok (slightly wobbly though from the tenon being smaller). I think the bore of the Selmer is a little bigger but I didn't measure. We didn't check intonation at all (he only tried it for a few seconds). The Selmer neck tenon is too wide to fit the Buffet, but depending on how much wider it is, and the thickness of the metal, it might be possible to fix that. Or maybe it's possible to get a Buffet tenon, or make a new tenon. However until you try it it's impossible to know if the Selmer neck would work. The closest thing is to test a Buffet neck more seriously on a Selmer, but even if it works, it doesn't the opposite will too.

You can also have the mouthpiece half of the neck changed to a different angle. Several places offer this. This would mean to not have your bass clarinet neck for a while. Maybe you can check if just the outer half of the neck from another model (Selmer, older Buffet, etc.) will fit without messing up intonation. Some places (I know of at least one - expensive!) can make a new part for the neck with less angle, or even a completely new neck (very expensive!).

So my suggestion is simply to use a high enough chair.

I hope this helps.

By the way, you can notice that here in the bass clarinet sub forum there is an article I wrote about the Buffet bass clarinet neck register hole. I would be interested if you tried the specific excercise there and let me know if you find the problem I'm talking about in the A to E interval.

Gandlafe, isn't yours a Selmer Privilege? Or do you have both the Selmer and a Buffet Prestige? I don't remember if there is any difference in height though.

Nitai
 
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Thanks for all the advice.

I'm only about 5'0 tall, so a high stool does allow me to reach as high as the mouthpiece (with the peg as low as possible), however that makes it difficult for me to reach the bottom R.H. pinkie keys comfortably. A neck with less of an angle would reduce the overall height and save me from straining my neck and shoulder to reach those bottom keys.

I actually think this would help my embouchure as well as I definitely feel (and hear) a difference when I have to contort my neck and body out of its comfort zone to reach all the keys.

I'll keep persevering and let you know when I find my ideal solution - surely I'm not the only small person who loves big instruments. ;-)

Cheers,

Jan
 

Carl H.

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Can you return it? If you can't play it there is not much point in keeping it.
 
I know this is an old thread, but I am wondering about the chances of finding a used more horizontal neck to fit my Vito Resotone BC. Actually the neck with it is not that extremely angled upward but is due to the design of the Vito. Basically it has the ergonomics of a Model A Ford which make playing it with my short stature (5'6') and large hands, very uncomfortable to play. Regardless of sitting high or low (extending or shortening the peg as needed)'when I have the upward angled mouthpiece in my chops, my right hand is basically on my right thigh and has to bend down and inward to get into playing position, something which is quite uncomfortable.

To modify the clarinet to my ergonomic needs I had to remove the tiny crappy thumb hook that came with the Vito and replace it with a Ton Kooiman one that is adjustable in two ways. I placed the plate that hold it lower than the stock one so my right hand would clear and not brush all those keys right above there on the back of the body tube. In fact, I have to slide the adjustable thumb hook down lower on its ratcheted plate so 1) my right pinky can reach the E, F, and Eb keys comfortably, and 2) my index finger knuckle won't hit that damn key cluster above it and cause the Canada Goose to squawk. That often happens because my right thigh keeps my hand higher than where it needs to be lower down between my thighs. As a result my hand has to bend down unnaturally, something that is uncomfortable.

If I had a neck that was horizontal like a tenor sax neck the entire body tube of the clarinet would be up higher on its foot peg thus allowing my right hand to likewise be higher up and free to move because it would not be down pressed against my big thigh. My question is if such a more sax like neck is something that is made and sold as an aftermarket item or if I will have to get one custom-made. That will probably be prohibitively expensive as this horn is a double for me and not my main instrument. I am learning it for the fun of it but I don't want to be tortured either. I have modded all my saxes as needed to make the key work and thumb hooks etc fit more ergonomically to my hands and body, so I am handy in that way, However, bending a neck is not something I have either the tools or the capacity to do.

Does anyone have any ideas?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I think you might have a problem with getting such a neck, not because custom necks don't exist, but because they probably don't exist for your horn. One disadvantage of having a student horn. FWIW, and I might have mentioned it before, I really like older Vito bass clarinets (say, 80s and earlier). I haven't played anything more modern.

You might want to post in the Repair & Maintenance area. We have a lot of very good techs that post here and they might be able to give you some ideas and recommendations.
 
Thanks Pete. BTW, your're not Pete Thomas of Cafe Saxophone by any chance are you? I see some other CSand SOTW names on here so wondered.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Amusingly, I've gone over to Pete T's forum a couple times -- I occasionally get e-mails from folks asking me to weigh in on some sax that nobody can identify or similar -- and people there also confused me for Pete T. I had just registered as "Pete" and hadn't checked to see what username Pete T had. Anyhow, Pete T and I chatted and he changed my username. I don't remember to what. I probably should check :D.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Saxpics has always been one of the best sites online for researching saxes. I've used it a zillion times.
Obligatory note, if you didn't know: I started writing saxpics.com some 20+ years ago. I sold it 13 years ago to USAHorn.com. They've changed some of the layout and some of the content. If you have any questions about anything on saxpics.com, please ask. Things can change in 20 years. Like, how I'm 20 years older.

Eventually, Helen and I merged our new picture galleries. Those galleries have more and bigger pictures, still with some research. Helen's huge website for sax stuff is here. My modest website is here. I should stick to an update schedule. If I ever make one :D.
 
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