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Bass Clarinet

I received my CF Debut mouthpiece ($37 at MF, nfi) this morning. Not a particularly signifcant tonal difference between it and the PRECISION mpc, but the Debut renders altissimo much more easily--playing smoothly like the other registers. Just as with my alto sax, upgrading from the PRECISION mpc to even a low-priced piece makes quite a fifference. I find it plays more like the Hite Premier I have on my soprano--allowing me to "bite" it more in altissimo, providing for greater control and articulation.
 
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I know this is an old thread, but just wanted to say that as of today (02-Jul-2014) there is a Selmer Series 9 Alto Clarinet on Ebay, very, very, poor condition, and it's advertised as a Bass (!) but one of the pictures shows a Series 9 stamp.

Zebedee.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
That's the trick to moving an alto clarinet - say that it's something else (an apple peeler, a closet bend (look that one up, if you will) or a oil well Christmas tree, and don't include a photo. It works like a charm...
 
Hello SOTSDO;

I am a new member and just read your very informative post regarding vintage bass clarinets. As yourself, I am a woodwinds doubler. However, I don't have a lot of experience with the bass clarinet. I did purchase a vintage bass clarinet a few years ago, but did not have the occasion to perform with it until recently. I would really appreciate your experience and knowledge in helping me to determine as much information about this bass clarinet as possible.

To provide you some information about this bass clarinet, it is a wood bass clarinet marked "Henri Leduc Paris" on the upper joint, with the serial number "2007" on both the upper and lower joints. There are no other markings on either joint, or the bell. It plays down to low Eb. This bass clarinet also has two register keys, one on the body, and one on the neck. It also appears to have the long rod (as you mentioned in your post) linking the upper and lower joints and which actives the "on-neck" register key when playing the from third line D on the staff to fourth space E and remains open on up this register. In reading your post, I couldn't understand whether you were saying that this long rod linking both joints was a good or bad thing. But this is when the bass clarinet begins to play flat. The intonation below the point where the on-neck register key is activated seems to be fine, but because it doesn't have a tunable neck that could be adjusted, it is difficult to play in tune in the upper register.

I haven't been able to find much information at all about this bass clarinet. It appears that "Henri Ledoux" may have been a stencil made in Paris, but I couldn't find anything regarding "Henri Leduc", which is probably just another obscure stencil. It does appear to be a well-made bass clarinet with nice crack-free wood, well-manufactured keywork (the finish is still excellent), and a nice sound. I am not sure what you mean by the "fork Eb" that you also mentioned in your post, so I am also not sure if this bass clarinet has this. Since I don't expect to be playing a lot of bass clarinet, I seems to be suitable for my needs and I am fairly happy with it. But if I could correct the intonation a little, I would be a lot happier!

I am wondering if this bass clarinet is possibly a Leblanc stencil. I can only guess that it was made sometime in the 1930's - 1940's, but I wouldn't be surprised if was older or even newer. (It has a fairly new case so I can't use that as a clue.) Anyway, if you might have any information, ideas, or suggestions regarding this vintage bass clarinet, I would really appreciate it! If you wish, I could provide some photos it that would help!

Best Regards, WindsDoubler
 

TrueTone

Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History
Hello SOTSDO;

I am a new member and just read your very informative post regarding vintage bass clarinets. As yourself, I am a woodwinds doubler. However, I don't have a lot of experience with the bass clarinet. I did purchase a vintage bass clarinet a few years ago, but did not have the occasion to perform with it until recently. I would really appreciate your experience and knowledge in helping me to determine as much information about this bass clarinet as possible.

To provide you some information about this bass clarinet, it is a wood bass clarinet marked "Henri Leduc Paris" on the upper joint, with the serial number "2007" on both the upper and lower joints. There are no other markings on either joint, or the bell. It plays down to low Eb. This bass clarinet also has two register keys, one on the body, and one on the neck. It also appears to have the long rod (as you mentioned in your post) linking the upper and lower joints and which actives the "on-neck" register key when playing the from third line D on the staff to fourth space E and remains open on up this register. In reading your post, I couldn't understand whether you were saying that this long rod linking both joints was a good or bad thing. But this is when the bass clarinet begins to play flat. The intonation below the point where the on-neck register key is activated seems to be fine, but because it doesn't have a tunable neck that could be adjusted, it is difficult to play in tune in the upper register.

I haven't been able to find much information at all about this bass clarinet. It appears that "Henri Ledoux" may have been a stencil made in Paris, but I couldn't find anything regarding "Henri Leduc", which is probably just another obscure stencil. It does appear to be a well-made bass clarinet with nice crack-free wood, well-manufactured keywork (the finish is still excellent), and a nice sound. I am not sure what you mean by the "fork Eb" that you also mentioned in your post, so I am also not sure if this bass clarinet has this. Since I don't expect to be playing a lot of bass clarinet, I seems to be suitable for my needs and I am fairly happy with it. But if I could correct the intonation a little, I would be a lot happier!

I am wondering if this bass clarinet is possibly a Leblanc stencil. I can only guess that it was made sometime in the 1930's - 1940's, but I wouldn't be surprised if was older or even newer. (It has a fairly new case so I can't use that as a clue.) Anyway, if you might have any information, ideas, or suggestions regarding this vintage bass clarinet, I would really appreciate it! If you wish, I could provide some photos it that would help!

Best Regards, WindsDoubler
Unfortunately Terry (SOTSDO) is no longer with us, so we can't have any more wisdom from him than he already gave.
I'm going to preface this by saying I've never heard of Henri Leduc and pictures would be really helpful.
The long rod we're talking about is a good thing, it means that the lower part of the clarion register is properly vented.
If the horn is also flat in the corresponding part of the lower register, then having someone make a neck or finding an already-custom made neck could work.
The fork Eb is a mechanism replacing the alt. Eb on some Leblanc low Clarinets, basically playing a low Bb/top of the staff F and adding RH3 will give you a low Ab and Eb, respectively.
I doubt it is a Leblanc stencil, as you say it has a rod going along the back of the upper joint connecting to the lower joint.
And yes, photos would be very helpful.
 
That's the trick to moving an alto clarinet - say that it's something else (an apple peeler, a closet bend (look that one up, if you will) or a oil well Christmas tree, and don't include a photo. It works like a charm...
This one post succinctly describes the charm of Terri "SOTSDO" Stibal.
 
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I was sorry to hear of the passing of Terry (SOTSDO). After reading a lot 100_2745.JPG 100_2748.JPG 100_2749.JPG 100_2750.JPG 100_2751.JPG 100_2752.JPG 100_2753.JPG 100_2754.JPG 100_2755.JPG 100_2756.JPG 100_2757.JPG 100_2758.JPG 100_2759.JPG 100_2760.JPG 100_2761.JPG 100_2762.JPG 100_2763.JPG 100_2764.JPG 100_2765.JPG 100_2766.JPG 100_2767.JPG 100_2768.JPG 100_2769.JPG 100_2770.JPG 100_2771.JPG 100_2772.JPG 100_2773.JPG 100_2774.JPG 100_2775.JPG 100_2776.JPG 100_2777.JPG 100_2778.JPG 100_2779.JPG 100_2780.JPG 100_2783.JPG 100_2784.JPG 100_2785.JPG 100_2789.JPG 100_2790.JPG 100_2791.JPG 100_2792.JPG 100_2793.JPG of his posts, he seemed to be a great guy, and musician, and a wealth of knowledge that will be missed.
 
I took your recommendation and posted many photos above. I hope these photos will assist in determining as much information as possible regarding this "Henri Leduc Paris" bass clarinet including manufacturer, history, vintage, keywork, intonation, peculiarities, etc. I also welcome any and all opinions as it is compared to other vintage bass clarinets. All information, feedback, and opinions are welcome! Thank you! River432
 
I am not an expert in any of this and I don't know much about that Maker, though I think I've happened across auctions for them once in awhile. It's a pretty horn for certain, but I don't think it's a Leblanc stencil as it looks nothing like my old Noblet.
 
JfW, thank you for your response! Although this "Henri Leduc Paris" bass clarinet is apparently a stencil, I felt it was not typical due to the double register key mechanism. And overall, it appears to be a well-made bass that has a very nice sound.


Unlike a lot of vintage basses, the upper register speaks easily and sounds beautiful all the way up to high G (4th line above the staff). But it starts to go flat at the point where the neck register key is activated. The neck register key is activated when playing from fourth line D on the staff to fourth space E, and remains open (and the clarinet plays flat) on up this register. So the problem might be with the neck, which is not adjustable, so maybe I should try a newer neck, such as a Charles Bay neck (but I would need a neck with a register key.) I am playing on a very nice Charles Bay mouthpiece and ligature which I do like a lot.


But thanks again, JfW! I don't believe its a Leblanc stencil either. If not a Leblanc, it would be nice to learn that it was manufactured by Buffet, Selmer, or even Malerne. Any and all responses from any other members on this site are also welcome! River432
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I've seen some posting saying that later Henri Leduc horns were made by Malerne and your horn looks a lot like one, IMO. Cursory search also seems to indicate that the name went out of use around the end of WWII. [MENTION=146]Steve[/MENTION] might have some further information and/or an exact identification.
 
Thank you for your response, pete! Yes, I agree, the Malerne bass clarinet depicted in the photo you provided does look a lot like my "Henri Leduc Paris" bass clarinet! And yes, my bass may just be a later model. My bass has an alternate low Eb key located on top of the left spatula key stack. So, I think we may be on the right track. You were much more successful than I was in finding information regarding Henri Leduc horns in your searches. And thank you for the referral. I will definitely follow up with Steve.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Yup. Steve knows a lot more about clarinets than I do.

An alternate key doesn't necessarily mean too much to me. You could probably have one added for an extra couple dollars when the horn was originally purchased. The key shapes and positions are much more important. The key on the neck is probably a more important feature.

I wouldn't necessarily go after a new neck to improve the intonation, yet. It's possible that something's mechanically wrong. I've also heard of moving the octave pip, too. Hey, the first Google result I got is this and that's about $1385 US (they do some remarkable work, btw).
 
Thanks again, pete! Yes, I am happy that this vintage "Henri Leduc Paris" bass clarinet has the double register key mechanism, one on the body and one on the neck. And the mechanism does seem to operate very well. But I agree that I shouldn't purchase an expensive new neck before a good woodwind technician takes a look at the bass. I did check out that company in Switzerland you referred. And yes, it seems that they do some very excellent work!
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Hey! I'm getting better at identifying clarinets!
 
Thank you, Steve & Pete, for you assessments regarding my "Henri Leduc Paris" bass clarinet. Yes, I agree that my bass may very well be a Malerne stencil, but I recently was provided with some photos of a "Jean Cartier" bass clarinet that is strikingly similar to my "Henri Leduc" bass. Although there are variances in the double register key mechanism and the low E key pads, the keywork is almost identical betweem them.

My research indicates that the name "Jean Cartier" was a stencil name of Dolnet (Dolnet Lefevre & Pigis). Dolnet was a small woodwind manufacturing company located in Mantes-la-Jolie, France and was noted more for its saxophones than its clarinets. However, it appears that Dolnet made some excellent instruments. The names "Jean Cartier" and "Henri Leduc" may have been stencil names of Dolnet. Anyway, I thought I would throw this out there for discussion.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'm not going too far out on a limb by saying that Dolnet probably did not manufacture bass clarinets. Bb clarinets, definitely. Saxophones in various pitches, definitely. For G Whiz, here's a JC bass clarinet that doesn't look very much like yours. I'm not quite sure why some specialty clarinet makers decided on just making soprano clarinets. I do know that it took hundreds of years to come up with a really good working bass clarinet design, but that design was well in place by the end of the 19th century.

Remember:
* Just because company A made stencils for company B, it doesn't mean that ALL company B horns were made by company A. As an easy example, Selmer New York saxophones were almost always made by Conn, except when they were made by Buescher.
* The above also means that just because you know of stencils named something were generally produced by a company, not all stencils with that name have to be from that company. As a fun example, stencils named "Vega" were built by probably every company on earth at some time.
 
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