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Which instruments should I get?

Which instruments should I get?


  • Total voters
    10
#1
I'm in a very fortunate financial position at the moment and am planning on buying a couple of instruments.

I currently have:
Yamaha 481 flute with Drelinger headjoint
Buffet R13 clarinet
Selmer SA80II alto and tenor

I'm pretty satisfied with my instruments. I am getting the tenor overhauled and do plan on upgrading my flute in the future, but I'd like to add new instruments first. My goal is to eventually add piccolo, eb and bass clarinets, soprano and baritone saxophones, possibly oboe, english horn, and bassoon. My goal as a player is to do studio and pit work. I want to know which instruments I should get in order to get the most work. Thanks!
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
#2
I voted for bass clarinet. It seems like I see that being played a lot in pit orchestras.
 

Roger Aldridge

Composer in Residence
Distinguished Member
#3
I agree with Ed. The bass clarinet is a GREAT addition to one's doubling arsenal. I returned to the bass clarinet last year after a 35 year absence and I'm having the time of my life with it. I'm using a Yamaha 221 II with a Walter Grabner LB mouthpiece. The Yamaha has a beautiful quality of sound and is very well made. In my opinion it's one of the best deals around for the price. I had a hard time justifying the cost of a Buffet 1193.

I look for creative ways to use the bass clarinet. I've used it on the 1st tenor part in a big band on some arrangements. I discovered that having a bass clarinet in the MIDDLE of a saxophone voicing (rather than on the bottom) adds a fresh tonal color and texture to a sax section. Remember you heard it here first! ha ha ha

Roger
 
#5
That's a great point Merlin, and something I've been considering in this decision. Although it sounds a little funky, I will probably end up getting a piccolo and baritone saxophone. I am learning Book 1 for Spamalot in Las Vegas (picc., flute, clarinet, alto) so I would need a piccolo. Book 2 (clarinet, tenor, bass cl.) requires a low-C bass so pricewise that's a little more than I'd like to spend. None of the other shows in town even have bass clarinet; The Producers does, but it's closing February 9. Bari is the other instrument that I might get calls for in Vegas. I'm working in China now, but I'll be back in the states in 3 weeks. I'm looking to spend up to $6,000 (plus set-up, repairs, etc.) on two instruments. I guess I'm starting to answer my own question...
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
#8
Last season our flutes seemed to all be playing a lot of piccolo. I noted that it would only be fair if we all brought our soprano saxes!
 

Roger Aldridge

Composer in Residence
Distinguished Member
#9
I'm curious why the alto flute is not listed. Granted, the piccolo is used more often as a flute double in concert band and orchestra. However, the sound of the alto flute is SO BEAUTIFUL. I use my alto flute quite a bit in our local concert band. I transpose (by sight) flute parts that are well-suited for the alto. It adds a wonderful quality to the flute section.

As with my bass clarinet, I don't concern myself with how often I find alto flute parts in arrangments. It's a matter of learning how to transpose and using my doubles in creative ways. Usually, the directors I play under let me do pretty much what I want instrumentation-wise. They like the tonal colors I add with my doubles.

Roger
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#10
While I agree with what Roger says, I posted "bass clarinet and "baritone sax" because there have been many, many times that people have just said, "Pete, we need you to play because you HAVE a bari sax and a bass clarinet", not because I was an astoundingly great player.

Hey, $50 to $100 a gig is still $50 to $100 a gig.

I'm a big fan of flute in jazz, but I really, really suck at playing flute. However, I look out for interesting flute parts. The only time I've seen alto flute parts was in a chart that was primarily for bari, but also had parts for bass clarinet and Bb clarinet.
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
#11
Going a little off topic here but there's a guy who I wish would make a jazz flute album. Walter Parazaider from Chicago. In concert these days he's doing some really cool stuff on flute. Not bad for a guy who started out playing clarinet and studied classically at DePaul (if memory serves).
 
#12
Hey Ed,
I'm looking at a few different options. I've heard some good things about the Burkart and Phelan Global from a couple of friends in Vegas. I'm also planning on trying a couple of Hammigs, the Emerson Boston Legacy, and maybe a used Zentner if I can get my hands on one. I am really interested in the Hammig headjoint. They make a modified-wave head that has a full lip plate. It looks a lot like the lip plate on my Drelinger flute head. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has a particular picc they prefer.
Roger,
I would love to get an alto flute. I agree that it has a great tone that presents the flute in a different light. With that said, I am looking at this from the perspective of getting the most bang for my buck and there's nothing in Vegas that calls for alto flute. Also, a good friend of mine has one and if I really needed it, he would let me borrow it.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#13
I think that went WAY over Ed's head, eddie :).
 
#15
pete said:
While I agree with what Roger says, I posted "bass clarinet and "baritone sax" because there have been many, many times that people have just said, "Pete, we need you to play because you HAVE a bari sax and a bass clarinet", not because I was an astoundingly great player...
I had to laugh at this because of my personal experience along these lines.

The reason I sold the last of my baritone saxes was a statement made to me by another sax player in one of the bands I was playing in at the time, "The only bad thing about owning a baritone sax is that one day someone will ask you to play it."

My real joy comes from playing alto, tenor and soprano saxes, in that order. I was never able to experience the same playing bari, and I gave it a good go. Just hauling the thing to and from practices and gigs was enough to take away some of the pleasure, but I also found the bari parts not very interesting, although admittedly vital to a full sounding ensemble.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#16
Someone once told me that you have to be a special kind of person to play bari. I suppose they're right. Hey, I had to get on the school bus with a case that was almost as big as I was. That kind of experience scars you for life.

:D
 
#17
I chose bass clarinet because of reasons stated by others. My reason for shying away from baritone sax is in another reply. I think, from my limited playing experiences in SoCal, that the most common doubling instruments are clarinet and flute, especially for big (swing/jazz) bands. Owning and being able to play bass clarinet could be the key to gaining entry to classical ensembles, pit orch's, etc., as would oboe and piccolo. It depends on what kind of musical group you'd prefer being a part of.

I've played in substitute situations with a reed man who plays all woodwinds except the bassoon. His name is Chuck Herbach and he plays with the Los Angeles Police Band and does a lot of theater pit orchestra work in the Los Angeles area, in addition to substituting for tenor and alto sax players in local big bands. The kicker is, for making a living he drives a truck. He also comes to practices and gigs on his v-twin cruiser motorcycle, even with his bari sax if needed; a very interesting guy, to say the least.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#18
The bass clarinet isn't a bad choice and you'll still get a lot of the stuff I mentioned, above. Plus, if the part's not too demanding, you can play some of the bari parts. Just not as loudly.

Are you going to get a beater and get it repaired or something shiny and new?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#20
From what I've seen, even a used bari is way more expensive than most bass clarinets.
 
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