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From: MVinquist
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 17:33:24 EDT
Subject: [CB] Size of Bass Sax Reed

John Kilpatrick asks for the dimensions of bass sax reeds.

A new box of 5 Vandoren bass sax reeds, # 3 strength, average very close to
one another and have the following dimensions:

length: 89 mm.
width at corners of tip: 18.3 mm.
width at butt: 17.2 mm.
thickness at butt and shoulder: 4.1 mm.

I sand these reeds flat on the bottom and worked on the vamps to reduce the
strength to about # 2 or 2-1/2, so the thickness is probably 0.1 mm. less
than original.  On 2 of the 5 reeds, I have left the width unchanged.  On the
others, I have narrowed them by 0.15 mm. to 0.2 mm. for use on new Selmer
contrabass clarinet mouthpieces (both Eb and BBb), Leblanc Eb contra
mouthpieces and the newer Leblanc BBb contra mouthpieces.  This allows me to
position the reeds slightly to one side or the other to find the "sweet
spot."  For bass sax, presumably the width will be left unchanged, but all
these reeds warp with a ridge down the center of the bottom, so the bottom
really has to be sanded flat.

By comparison, Vandoren BBb contrabass clarinet reeds for the old, wide
Leblanc mouthpieces (some new # 4, some 35 years old, medium strength),
average the following dimensions:

length: 86 mm.
width at corners of tip: 20.3 mm.
width at butt: 18.4 mm.
thickness at butt and shoulder: 3.5 mm. to 4.2 mm. (highly variable, due to
differing outside diameters of tubes from which the blanks were cut)

Once again, after I flatten the bottom and bring the stiffness down to about
2-1/2, these dimensions are about 0.1 mm. to 0.15 mm. less.

These measurements are for Vandoren.  Postings on the clarinet board have
said that Rico baritone sax reeds will fit Selmer Eb and BBb contrabass
clarinet mouthpieces, but Vandoren bari reeds are too narrow to fit at all.
Thus, Rico bari reeds are clearly wider than Vandoren.  Rico makes bass sax,
contra-alto clarinet (Eb) and contrabass clarinet (BBb) reeds, but I have not
tried or measured any of these.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw

From: MVinquist
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2001 18:25:12 EDT
Subject: [CB] Breukink Subcontrabass Recorder

Grant -

You recently mentioned a giant subcontrabass recorder and gave a link to a photo.

The maker's own page is at and a large photo of the instrument is at

I have read in the recorder literature that a member of the Loeki Stardust Recorder Quartet supplied her with the log, and she made the largest recorder she could out of it.  Apparently that's why it's in Bb instead of C.  A truly amazing instrument.

Best regards.

Ken Shaw
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