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Paperclip Leblanc Contrabass Clarinet low D

#1
Note from Pete, Your Humble Admin: I moved this thread to the Clarinet forum because it veered off topic from just a sale to some interesting CBC and CAC musing. Please put other sales threads in the correct place.

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I may be able to part with my beloved paperclip for $3900.
It's been worked on by Lee Kramka at Saxworxs and it plays great.
Here are some vids of me playing it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbGMJcxVp8k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54ULsOU9PNU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZh6efi7dvU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6ibEgW-7Mg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwXvN6Rvo9o
 
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Heckelphone

Double Reed CE
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#3
Not so fast!

You know, of course, that Leblanc is no longer making these. All of the lower clarinets are now out of production, and they are planning to redesign the contra when they reintroduce it in a few years.
 
#4
You know, of course, that Leblanc is no longer making these. All of the lower clarinets are now out of production, and they are planning to redesign the contra when they reintroduce it in a few years.
I didn't know that , I wonder if Eppelsheim had anything to do with the decision to stop production or the redesign ? I think his design is considered better.
http://www.eppelsheim.com/kontrabass_klarinette.php?lang=en
How'd I miss this. Inspired playing Bob.
Thanks Gandalf ,
 
#5
I'm looking for a BBb

If it's still for sale.
 
#6
Hi Semiconducter
yes it's still for sale and if you're in the bay area you are welcome to come try it out. I've been playing it lately and it sounds great. I have some new videos of it in the can that I hope to get out soon.
 
#7
a friend of mine broked recently the upper body of his Vito/Leblanc resonite straight contrabass clarinet, and we could get from Selmer-Conn a new body, i noticed that on catalog they have only straigt models one in resonite and another one in brass black nickeled
no more paperclip, do you still sell yours?
 
#8
That's interesting.
I would have thought that if Leblanc were to discontinue a contrabass it would be the straight one.
The paperclips are really much more practical for recording and ensemble use.
---
I also have a plastic straight contrabass. They are fun to play but you have to be extremely careful with them. I think they are marketed to the schools which is the last place they should be.
Danial Dietch , the clarinet repair guru of San Francisco , Did as much tweaking as possible on my straight contra but he said to never touch the rods.
They are made of soft material that is easily bent.
I've finally figured out how to handle the instrument without touching the rods but it took awhile.
Long story longer -- buy a used paperclip and if you're in San Francisco you're welcome to try mine.
 

Heckelphone

Double Reed CE
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#10
No contras at present

As far as I know, Leblanc is not making any low clarinets at present -- even basses. I understand that there are plans to reintroduce basses in another year or so, and a "redesigned" contra a year or so after that.

In the meantime, you'll just have pick up an Eppelsheim ;-)
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#12
... but it's really, really pretty ....
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#13
That's an awful lot of tin for a horn that is (at the very best) only marginally useful.

There might be a few folks who do movie and television work who might have need for such a beast, but their numbers could (and can) be counted on the fingers of one hand. The parts that they play aren't very demanding, and for such marginal work "good enough" is a better value than "only the best".

Orchestral use of the contra-clarinets is so limited as to be a once-a-year demand. (And, the vicious economics of being a professional musician will almost certainly ensure that any such parts are performed on a borrowed, cheap Bundy than on an exquisite piece of work like an Eppelshiem.)

If I had call for a contra on a regular basis, I'd find myself a decent second-hand Leblanc "paperclip". The straight horns that I've played over the years (including the up-end Selmer "professional" model (as if there is such a thing as a professional contra-clarinet player - a professional "clarinet player", yes, but not a professional, exclusively contra-clarinet player) just have not measured up to the wonderful Hovenagel design that mistakenly found its way into Vito's clutches.

True, they are not the easiest thing to keep in regulation, but when jam up and jimmy tight they are a joy to play. Plus, they fit in a normal sized car without tearing up the headliner.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#14
Y'know, I've never had the opportunity to compare a straight contra to a paperclip -- I only played the latter, a Leblanc to low C -- I would have thought that a straight horn would be better. The Leblanc I had had a tube-to-tube brace that was always breaking and that also meant that the key "bridges" from one tube to the other were constantly being thrown out of adjustment. While I admire the paperclip design -- especially in the form of the Eppelsheim -- I just think it's overly complex.

But, as said, I've never had the opportunity to compare.

As far as pricing goes, that's a bit less than the various Tubaxes and contrabass saxophones that Eppelsheim sells, IIRC, and those horns are used a lot less than a Bb contra clarinet. The Selmer straight contra clarinet is $22K and the Vito (low Eb) is $4K. (I do find it interesting that Buffet has an Eb contralto, but no Bb contrabass.) In other words, the Eppie isn't badly priced ....
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#15
The Eb "contra-alto" parts are a bit more common in reality, compared to the very scarce Bb "contra-bass" ones. For example, there are a fair number of Broadway shows that call for the Eb horn, but I've yet to see or hear of one calling for the Bb.

Of course, relative to the "norm", the Eb horn is so scarce on Broadway as to be nonexistent. Not more than a fraction of one percent of Broadway shows have called for the Eb horn.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#16
And, regarding fragility, was the "paperclip" that you played a school horn, or one that you owned from new? Poor handling practices in school settings can ruin even the sturdiest of instruments.

Personally, I would avoid any previously owned horn that had spent time in a school setting. Too much potential for down-the-road problems there.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#17
The Eb "contra-alto" parts are a bit more common in reality, compared to the very scarce Bb "contra-bass" ones. For example, there are a fair number of Broadway shows that call for the Eb horn, but I've yet to see or hear of one calling for the Bb.

Of course, relative to the "norm", the Eb horn is so scarce on Broadway as to be nonexistent. Not more than a fraction of one percent of Broadway shows have called for the Eb horn.
Hmm. I've seen all of one Eb contra used in all my years. It was at an All-State band competition. I've seen a few Bb contras at various concerts. Admittedly, I've only seen a handful of Broadway-esque shows.

Yes, the Bb contra I played was a school horn. That being said, this school also had a couple Mark VI tenors that were in good playing condition and had some other interesting horns. Hey, at one school I went to, they bought me a new bari -- didn't stop me from buying my own, mind you, but it was a new horn.
 
#19
Eppelsheim is running at $17000 USD for a new one isn't it? Ordering one of these bad boys is to me kind of like going for a Stephen Fox or a Rossi Soprano...
Only in that they are all made by a small company/maker and not a big one. The Eppelsheim is not as expensive as Selmer Paris just like some models from Buffet (Tosca) and Leblanc (Legacy) are possibly more expensive than these smaller makers. I don't see anything different about getting a Rossi, Fox, Selmer, Buffet Eppelsheim, Leblanc, etc. the point is getting the one you want.

That's an awful lot of tin for a horn that is (at the very best) only marginally useful.

There might be a few folks who do movie and television work who might have need for such a beast, but their numbers could (and can) be counted on the fingers of one hand. The parts that they play aren't very demanding, and for such marginal work "good enough" is a better value than "only the best".
One type of player that is completely missing from your post (though probably not many of those either) is one who plays what they want e.g. improvised music and/or their own music, and music that is written for them. That's what I do and would be able to use the contrabass clarinet for msot concerts if I wanted to. Only about (just guesstimating) 20% of my concerts are music specifically written for clarinet or bass clarinet. About 50% is improvised and/or my own music, which I could use the contra and 30% is music written that I could ask to add a part for the contra. So I'm seriously considering buying a good contrabass clarinet.

While I admire the paperclip design -- especially in the form of the Eppelsheim -- I just think it's overly complex.
The complex design of the Eppelsheim is what makes it so great. It uses linkages and other type of mechanics I've never seen on any woodwind. Really making it work very good. It's really something to see to know. I wouldn't call it "overly complex". The advantage of avoiding the very long hinges is very good and the much smaller case is very helpful too.

pete said:
I do find it interesting that Buffet has an Eb contralto, but no Bb contrabass.
I think they only make that for special order. I think there are very few ever made. Though Buffet used to make a Bb contrabass clarinet, made of metal. At least that is how several identified it from a photo, the one here is unplayable and not possible to check but it looks like a Bb.
 
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SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#20
The Bb contra-bass clarinet may seem rare to some, but I lived in a city where at least 30% of the high schools bothered to buy one. My district never bothered, but each year when the All County Band would assemble, it fell to me (one of two bass clarinet players in the group) to cover the parts (in about a third of the music that we would perform in two different concerts each year).

Since the halcyon days of my youth, the only times that I have had to play a contra-bass (in both cases, an Eb) were when there was a part in a musical. In the one (On The Twentieth Century, an otherwise unremarkable show), the horn was played for precisely forty-eight bars (including bars spent resting), for one otherwise forgettable ballad. And, the part could have been covered by an extended range bass clarinet; I only played it on the contra-bass to be authentic to the composer's vision.

There is a coming trend towards use of the contra-clarinet in the newer Broadway productions. (There is also a resurgence in the use of the bassoon in the newer shows - not something that I like to deal with, the bassoon/bass clarinet/baritone doubling situation.) When The Producers came through town a few years back, the low reed man had the unwieldy combination of bass clarinet/contra-bass clarinet/bassoon/baritone. Quite aside from all of the weight involved, making a quick horn change in that combination would end up with broken reeds aplenty.
 
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