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list                           Wed, 16 Sep 1998           Volume 1 : Number 90

In this issue:


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 14:57:36 +0900
From: Akiko TSURUOKA <>
Subject: Piece for wedding

This is first mail to me.
I always play bass clarinet(Selmer 25 No.II) , sometimes play
contra alto clarinet(Leblanc).

I need to help!! Friends of mine who plays bass clarinet and love
it have a marriage ceremony on Oct. 10. Then she said to me,
"Play any piece on the bass clarinet." I'm at a loss...

Advise me what piecs I play.


Yotsukaido-city , Chiba , Japan
ICQ #16446546


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 03:29:57 -0400
From: Farfl <>
Subject: bass sax hiss (longish, semi-sensible advice)

> Changing the reed does not affect the hiss.)  Is this noise common on bass
> saxes?  Until recently I was on such a steep learning curve that the hiss was
> the least of my worries, but now it's starting to bug me.
> Two possibilities come to mind:
> 1)  The sax will explode soon.
> 2)  Demonic possession.  The demon hates my playing.
> Short of killing a chicken, can I do anything to exorcise this noise without
> spoiling the tone of the sax?
> Lelia
> ----------------------------
Dear Lelia;
I play a 1924 Conn bass sax, and I think I can shed some light on your bass's hissing problem.
I wouldn't pay any attention to any of the advice you've received already. It's much too

The real cause of the hissing is that some unscrupulous woodwind repair "Conn" artist has
actually replaced some of the tubing on your instrument with sections of radiator pipe. The
kind that uses steam heat, yet. The sonic anomalies that you are experiencing are the exact
same as the type experienced by dwellers in ancient apartment complexs.

One way to confirm that you've been duped is to open up the spit valve. Does it emit steam? If
so, you've been taken. And so has someone's radiator. It gives new meaning to the term
"playing hot". But don't get all steamed up just yet.

The problem could also be a result of your horn being used for another purpose than the one
for which it was intended. You see, I knew of a bass sax that was once used in "J. Silver's
Travelling Reptile Show". Mr. Silver used the bass sax in a reptile play he adapted called
"The Boa In The Iron Mask". You know it; the one in which the evil boa brother traps his twin
boa brother in an iron casing. Anyways, your hissing might have some reptilian origins. I'd
check it out. That's all I'm saying.


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 07:53:35 -0500
From: Jean Adler <>
Subject: Re: Piece for wedding

Akiko TSURUOKA wrote:
> This is first mail to me.
> I always play bass clarinet(Selmer 25 No.II) , sometimes play
> contra alto clarinet(Leblanc).
> I need to help!! Friends of mine who plays bass clarinet and love
> it have a marriage ceremony on Oct. 10. Then she said to me,
> "Play any piece on the bass clarinet." I'm at a loss...
> Advise me what piecs I play.

Piece for wedding

As a bass clarinetist there aren't a lot of original works out there.
However, you could transribe a cello piece.  What type of music are you
looking for?  Or do you want a small group to play?  Perhaps a clarinet
trio, 2 sopranoes and a bass clarinet.  There is a lot of music
available for that grouping.  There are other group arrangements where
the bass line belongs to a bassoon or cello that could be transcribed.

Good luck.  I'm sure you will come up with something wonderful.  I have
some friends who had a tuba quartet at their wedding.  My husband and I
had a bagpiper.  Talk about LOUD!!!

Jean Adler


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 11:56:12 EDT
Subject: Re:  Re: Low-C Bass Clarinet

In a message dated 9/15/98 3:13:07 AM, you wrote:



Strange; my YTS-23 is a piece of dunk that even the most experienced players
can't make to sound good....   Also; upper register quality on lower priced
bass clarinets is often quite poor; due to the bore configuration (made to
make proper lower register tone production simple for beginners) and
inferior workmanship.  And, In my experience; the worst bass I ever played
was a Yamaha!!!

Wel I played a low C instrument, model 622 for about 7 years and its key
mechanism was very smooth, the instrument very reponsive, and any extended
range issues were very easy to solve. I would stand by this particular model
Yamaha Bass Clarinet, but every instrument is different just as every player

Vinny Golia


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 14:37:32 EDT
Subject: flimsy stands

Jean Adler writes,
>> Most commercial stands are flimsy and horribly expensive....>>

That reminds me to advise people to check the bolts on your stands.  I ordered
a bass sax stand through my instrument repairman.  It's unmarked.  He didn't
tell me who made it, but he said that he special-ordered it from Germany, from
a company that makes two or three of them per year.  (He keeps secrets about
where he gets things. He's probably afraid I'll go straight to the source and
he'll lose the profit.)  The stand is heavy stainless steel, with a low, wide,
secure tripod.  It seems solidly built, overkill in fact, except that the
manufacturer decided to save less than a US dollar on the bolts on the two
padded brackets.

Two weeks ago, as I practiced while standing up with the bass on the stand,
the support brackets suddenly gave way and swivelled straight down!
Fortunately, I never quite trusted that stand, because I had to tighten the
bracket bolts too often (with pliers), so I was wearing a harness and holding
the sax in a correct position, instead of easing the stress on my right wrist
by moving my right hand around more to the front, the way I sometimes do when
I get tired.  If I hadn't been able to catch the whole load on the thumb rest
and the harness hook, my bass would have dropped on the hardwood floor.

The threads of the bolts had stripped.  The bolts turned out to be cheap junk,
not hardened steel.  My husband (formerly an auto mechanic in starving student
days) replaced them with hardened stainless steel nuts, bolts and locking
washers, and says that the stand "would probably hold up the house now."  He
gave me a box wrench to tighten and loosen the bolts in order to adjust the
brackets for use while standing up or sitting down.

Please do what I should have done and check the quality of the screws or bolts
before there's an accident.  If nobody in the household can identify hardened
steel, take a bolt to the hardware store and show it to someone who knows.
Also bear in mind that metals in contact with each other and under stress must
be of approximately equivalent hardness.  Otherwise, the harder metal will
grind down the weaker metal.

Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear.
What, me worry?
                          --Alfred E. Neumann


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 12:17:52 -0700
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Metal bass clarinet?

Wasn't someone was asking about a metal bass clarinet a few weeks ago?  I
just ran across a listing for one at Lark in the Morning.  The listing says:

"Bass Clarinets
Pedlar "Custombilt" Metal AMI502 $700.00"


This is from their mail-order business, but you might be able to arrange
for them to have the instrument at one of their stores (San Francisco,
Seattle, Mendocino) to try out first.



Grant D. Green             Just filling in on sarrusophone
Contrabass email list:   


Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 21:24:43 EDT
Subject: bass sax hiss

Thanks to Grant Green, Matthew Hansen and Frank Diaz for the help with the
bass sax hiss problem.  As Frank Diaz figured, the mid-staff D hisses the
worst. Eb and E hiss less; while the F, G and G# above hiss so little that
it's almost inaudible. The hiss is only in that range, from mid-staff D up to
top-of-staff G# . (I said G previously -- failing to include the # was a
typo.)  The A on the first line above the staff that's the first to switch
over to the upper octave key doesn't hiss at all, nor do any of the other
notes that open the upper octave key.  Long mid-staff C, B and Bb (using all
the stack keys, pinkie finger[s] and the lower octave key) don't hiss. My sax
has the automatic octave key mechanism, which appears to be the unmodified
original.  No keys (except the water key) open onto the part of the neck that
detaches from the sax.  Both octave keys open onto the "drainpipe" section
that drops straight down to the neck behind the upper stack.  (The sax has
keywork to Eb. The LH palm Eb opens on the front center of the top U-joint,
exactly where I hear the hiss, but I don't think that this key, close to 1" in
diameter, has a pad problem, or it would cause a lot more trouble than the
hiss.  Having my husband press the Eb key to seal it more tightly while I'm
playing makes no difference in the hiss.) As presently adjusted, neither
octave key is capable of opening any wider than it opens during normal use of
the key.  In each case, it's a very narrow openingb.

In testing your suggestions this evening, I discovered that my husband, who
plays the violin and has a good ear, can't hear this hiss from a few feet
away, so it's less of a problem than I'd perceived at close range.  Since the
notes sound fine otherwise, I may not lug the dinosaur back to the vet.  From
what you've said, he probably already did everything that's practical.  (He
and his reclusive subcontractor, who works on big horns in his garage, both do
first-rate restoration, but kept the bass for more than 10 months, so I'd just
as soon not turn it over to them again!)  Because this sax has excellent tone
and intonation, and because I generally prefer leaving "vintage" saxes in
original condition except for maintenance-type repairs, I don't want drastic
modifications, such as relocating holes and keys.

My cat flattened her ears and glared at the hiss at first, but now ignores it.
(She likes bass sounds, but she's usually not much of a critic.  Another
grumpy old cat, who died recently at age 19, had perfect pitch, a good sense
of rhythm and discriminating taste.  He would sit in the doorway during
practice sessions and make scathing remarks about any transgressions. Usually
he confined his commentary to gruff little barks, sotto voce, but for sight-
reading, he howled the Howl Dolorous, triple forte.)  30 years ago, my college
roommates used to complain that my old wind-up alarm clock ticked like a
cartoon time bomb, but after tuning it out for years, I had to concentrate to
make myself hear what they were griping about.  So, if there's no simple,
practical way to get rid of the hiss, I'll probably learn not to hear it.  At
least it's not "the vile squealing of the wry- neck'd fife."

Thanks again--


End of list V1 #90

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