Contrabass Digest

To subscribe or unsubscribe, email



Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 18:10:04 -0700
From: Grant Green
Subject: Re: [CB] Selmer Contra Problem

>The real problem is that I can sort of coax an A out of it, but B and
>high C just aren't there.  The G, however, is easy and clear. These high
>notes on the Bundy also are a little hoarse, but I can hit them.   My
>first thought was a leak, but the pads are almost new and I can't detect
>a leak using a leak light.  It seems pretty tight when I take the upper
>joint, cover the bottom and all the keys, and blow.   Besides, if the
>problem was a leak, wouldn't it affect one note much more than others?
>My next thought is that the register key opens too much.   Pressing
>halfway helps get the A, but doesn't help above that.   Is there
>something mechanical that is supposed to happen between G and A?  Any
>other suggestions, or is this something that Selmer has solved with some
>change in keywork in newer horns?

Two things come to mind: register key regulation, and reed/mouthpiece
combinations.  I have an old Selmer bass clarinet that is prone to
the same problem.  Stiffer reeds and better breath support helps.
Have you tried the Bundy mpc and reeds on the Selmer?

What helps most, though, is having a good repair tech look at the
register mechanism.  The Selmer mechanism (at least of that era -
haven't seen a new one for a very long time...) is a very sensitively
balanced contraption: it has to decide which of two pads to open
based on input from the register key, the linkage from R3 (the pads
switch when you go from D# to E), and the throat A key (for the
throat Bb).  There are a number of little levers and balance arms,
and if one spring is too strong (or not strong enough), or one of the
corks is too compressed, or if one of the linkages is a bit sticky,
you end up with one pad or the other not opening far enough, or
opening too far, or opening slightly at the same time as the other
pad.  The last possibility is what I usually encounter: the upper pad
opens fully, and the lower pad opens slightly.  For some reason, this
doesn't affect the range below G above the staff, but makes G-B
difficult.  Try fingering the high A, and with your right hand press
on the lower register pad.  If that makes it speak better, you've
probably located the problem.  Since it is a bit awkward to play that
way, a trip to the repair tech is in order ;-)

Best of luck!!


Grant Green       
Professional Fool  ->

From: Louis Rugani
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 23:25:00 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: [CB] Contrabass Percussion

Say, 2001 marks the 80th Anniversary for  Purdue's 8' Leedy contrabass drum!
Remo has been making plastic heads for it, which should obviate the
further need for calfskin heads, as in the old days.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ =96=3D[=95]=3D=96 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

The opposite of bravery is not cowardice, but conformity.
        Robert Anthony


From: jonsmith
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 01:34:32 -0700
Subject: [CB] selmer contra

Dear List,

Does the Selmer EEB model 40 play well above C 3?? I can't hit much above C.
Would an overhaul help? It plays excellently below that note, but almost
nothing above it. I can get C# and D with alternate fingerings (going up the
back way, with the thumb) but not with standard fingerings.

But, I have a Vito BBb on which I can hit up to F easily.


P.O. Box 178884
San Diego, CA 92177

***End of Contrabass Digest***

Next Digest ->
Previous Digest <-