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question about Buffet Albert Bass clarinet


Old King Log
Staff member
Regarding the low E/Eb issue, if there is not a fifth key for the low Eb, then you have a low E horn. While the Albert system does not have the same degree of duplication as does the Boehm, there will still be two keys for the LH little finger and two for the RH little finger on a low E horn, and an extra key (I've only seen it on the RH side) for the low Eb.

(There is also a mechanism whereby the C# key operates a cross-connection that helps with the LH/RH switch issues (the same reason that the rollers are there) when dealing with fingering problems. I forget the name for it and don't have any of my reference books handy right now, but someone will fill this in for you, never fear.)

Regarding the cleaning, the approach that I took was using the naphtha lighter fluid on a rag to clean off the crud accumulation (including key oil leakage onto the joints, the big crud collection source in my opinion).

(I swear by Ronsinol over all of the others - less smell, better containers (take a sharp knife and trim off the little blue tab in front of the folded spout), and better stripping action than the others. We probably have gone through thirty containers of it over the years, all without lighting a single cigarette. They probably wonder what it going on up at FBI headquarters.)

Then, after judicious application of the penetrating oil to reluctant screws, I disassembled the key work, using a labeled ice cube tray for the small parts, stripping the horn down as far as practical. Following that, I stripped the cork attachment points and cleaned them off of the remains of the adhesive (with mild applications of heat to help), then thoroughly oiled the joint with bore oil, threading oil soaked rags through the bore and tone holes.

After that sat for a week or so, I stripped the excess oil from the joints, bagged (in labeled bags) the key work up (after first heating and removing the shellaced pads from the key cups) and hauled it off to the repair place for final setup and re-padding. I didn't remove any springs (of the needle type) and only removed, cleaned and replaced the few flat springs on the instrument.

When I got it back a week later, the only additional step that I took was to press gold leaf into the maker's stamp. Had I owned it, I would have put the extra money into having the dented up bell and neck into original condition (I have had this done on other old instruments in the past but 'then future') and having them both re-plated (along with the key work) in silver. Expensive, but if you are allergic to copper like I am, well worth the price.


Old King Log
Staff member
Regarding the "obsolete" Albert system, I would change that word to "obsolescent". While it's not a Klose/Boehm horn, the common one in the non-Germanic countries, it still works well enough to be used if you want to learn the different fingering system. There are a significant number of jazz players who prefer them (in soprano clarinet form) - Woody Allen even went so far as to have Selmer make him a new one when his antique suffered from age-induced cracking.

Regarding the clarinet method issue, I don't have any of my copies any longer (I moved past the Rubank way of doing things in the 1960s), but I understand that the first method book (the "Elementary" one) has not changed in lo these many years, funky fingering chart and all. There are also fingering charts available on line.

My previous comments on music methods:

"I like the Rubank methods for another reason, that being that they are widely available. When a student loses his book, you don't have to scratch and dig to find a replacement - instead you just send them to the local music jobber and have them pick up another one.

The time for Klose and other studies and methods (Lazarus was one that I preferred) is after the basics of the first two books in the Rubank series have been mastered.

Plus, with the Rubanks you get that funky metal clarinet for the Boehm side of the fingering chart, authored by good ol' Nilo Hovey. (Nilo? What mother names a child Nilo?) A link with the past, if you will.

Just make sure that you mark the chart so that a parent does not try to help the struggling student by referring to the "normal looking" side with the fat clarinet
(which is the Albert system side)..."

The Lazarus method is important for a couple of other reasons. The most important is that it was written by a man who played the Albert system to the end of his days, and incorporated exercises specifically designed to deal with the complexities of the lower joint key work. Spend a few hours with the switchy stuff over the break, and you learn his accommodations for the breed. But, as important is that the Lazarus book gives you the whole ball of wax in one volume.

However, it is not as readily available, an important concern when teaching young students.

One other thing - there is no "classic" method book for the bass clarinet. (Here, I do not include the crap with the fancy shiny colored covers produced for the school market.) Just use a clarinet method.
I am new to the forum too... It's great the in-depth knowledge that many of the posters on here have. A lot of Bass Clarinet experience it seems. I've joined on the off-chance the forum may help my son at some point. He is 11 and has been playing for around 6 months. He still seems to enjoy it, which is great. Was hoping it wouldn't be a passing phase, he is picking it up fairly quickly as well.
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