Contrabass Digest

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list                           Sat, 13 Jun 1998            Volume 1 : Number 2

In this issue:


Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 22:04:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: list V1 #1

On 06/12/98 17:34:21 you wrote:
>I've got a straight CB clarinet and it's extremely unweildy when I'm
>doubling.  It's not so bad when I'm playing near walls that I can lean
>the thing against, but on stage I resort to either (a) laying it on top
>of the case (which is difficult and dangerous 'cause it's so long --
>especially if I don't take the time to shorten the peg) or (b) just
>wrapping my arms around it while I play regular clarinet (I'm sure this
>looks awfully strange, and it's certainly not ideal in terms of playing
>Does anyone know of a proper stand for the thing, or has anyone fashioned
>something out of other stands that works?  Any advice is greatly

I used to use a string bass stand - the kind that has three legs; one of them with a little cup to hold the endpin.  There are two arms that extend from the side to hold the bass.  I would fold the arms upwards and attach them at the top.  I put the peg on the bottom of the bell in the cup, and the top of the body of the horn fit between the arms.

Merlin Williams
(A member of the Sax Ring!)


Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 21:36:58 -0500
From: Matthew Hanson <>
Subject: Re: Sarrusaphone Mouthpieces

I recall having heard (a few years ago) that customized Ab Clarinet
mouthpieces work really well for most sarrusophones. I have never used
one, so don't know for myself. I would think that they may work better
than some small sax mouthpieces since clarinet mouthpieces usually flare
slow inside the bore since the instrument itself is cylindrical. I
assume this would be closer to the feel and vibration of the double reed
than the taper of the sax mpcs.
But hey! Sarrusophones ARE conical. Would indeed be nice to have an
opinion and comparison from someone who has used all three (sax,
clarinet, and dbl reeds). I have not, however, ever seen any kind of
clarinet mpc with a round chamber :)
just relaying what I've heard..
Matthew Hanson


Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 14:38:02 EDT
From: <>
Subject: A New Contrabassoon

        I just returned from the IDRS convention in Tempe, AZ and I now own a new
contrabassoon made by Gunter Wolf of Kronach, Germany.  This is the 4th contra
he has made and it is a beautiful instrument.  All of the contra players which
I spoke with who tried it were very favorably impressed.  It descends to
subcontra BBb and has many innovations which I won't go into (unless there are
some interested people).  The biggest changes are that the bell faces towards
the audience rather that to the side as in other contras and the first u-bend
is made of wood rather than of metal as in all other contras.  The sound is
gorgeous and it is very free-blowing.  Of further interest to some people, I
should mention that the price is remarkably low for an instrument of this
        I tried all the other contras and in general found them all to be good
instruments, especially compared with many contras which seem virtually
unplayable and out of tune.
Heckel had a new contra on exhibit which played easily and in tune but which
had a somewhat hard tone quality to it.  It also cost $35,500 or so, but it
was a stunning instrument to behold.  The Moosman contra was well made and had
a nice tone - price was $24,000 but they were selling this one for $17,000 I
believe.  There was a contra made by Kroner which played fine - price was in
the 20's if I recall correctly.  By comparison, the Wolf contra cost me
roughly $14,000 (I'm not sure exactly because I don't know the exchange rate
that I am paying at this time).  It comes with a beautiful solid wood case, a
hand carved crutch (which looks like a banana slug!) , 2 bocals, and a case
cover with shearling lining.  I can truthfully say I have never played a
contra with such a beautiful tone and sonority.  I have been playing it next
to my Heckel contra and there is no comparison - I previously felt that my
Heckel contra was one of the most beautiful sounding intstruments I have ever
played!   I could rave on and on, but you get the gist.  If anyone has any
questions about Guntram Wolf or the contra, I would love to talk to them.
        Naturally, I'll have to do a lot of practicing with a tuner to check out
fingerings etc, but it will be a pleasure.  I'm playing for a screenplay next
week so I don't know which instrument I'll use - obviously I'm much more
familiar with my Heckel.  We'll see...
        Monica Fucci from Argentina did a contra recital and Henry Skolnik of Florida
also played several solos during the convention.  I need to get on the stick
and work something out for the next convention in Madison and for the
Contrafest just prior to it!
        Heckel had a new heckelphone on exhibit which I attempted to play.  What a
hoot!!  My wife tried also, but she played standing up (she's 4'10'').  Gerald
Corey played a new composition for heckelphone, viola and piano by Graham
Waterhouse (son of the famous bassoonist, William Waterhouse).  There was also
a used heckelphone for sale which was in pristine condition and included 2
different bells and reed tools (shaper etc) for $20,000.  If I were rich I
would have bought it!  New ones are $30,000 or so.
        One last note:  I will soon be in possession of a Conn contrabass
sarrusophone!!  I've been after this one for 15 years and it will soon be
mine!!  Details later...  Michel Jolivet


Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 13:02:18 PDT
From: "Bret Newton" <>
Subject: contrabass clarinet stand

Anther stand that might work for the contra is the Konig and Myer
bassoon stand.  I had a friend who switched between bass and contra-alto
and my stand worked perfectly.  I hope that this might help.
Bret Newton

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Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 13:21:32 PDT
From: "Bret Newton" <>
Subject: bassoon mouthpiece

I have a current catalouge that lists a bassoon mouthpiece in it.  It is
the Thoroughbred Music's National Music Supply.  The Mouthpeice lists at
$21, almost too good to pass up.  They have a web site,
http//  This is all the info that I have.
Bret Newton

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