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Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 16:18:43 -0800
From: Grant Green
Subject: Re: [CB] Benade

>One time while I was in Dr. Benade's course on Acoustical Evolution of
>Woodwinds, I had  been up most of the night with a bong and a lady friend
>and fell asleep in the front row of the class.  He tapped me on the head to
>wake me and as I stuggled to embarrassed consciousness he asked if I had
>been studying too late.  Another student said "no, he was probably getting
>laid", and the class exploded in laughter, which Art led.

Robert - a side of you we haven't seen before ;-)

I mean *really*, falling asleep in Benade's class...

>Dr. Benade's redesign of the Boehm system clarinet is available from Steve
>Fox, a boutique clarinet maker in Ontario.  It is cheaper than a Buffet
>Prestige and  is said to play much better; my Bb is due this spring.  Write
>me at my other address, for Mr. Fox's address.

Or just go to the website,  He makes basset horns, tárogátos, and low C extensions for regular bass clarinets too.  I wonder if we could talk him into making an octocontrabass clarinet... ?


Grant Green
Sarrusophones, contrabass reeds, &
other brobdignagian acoustic exotica   

From: "Merlin Williams"
Subject: Re: [CB] Benade
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 20:39:55 -0500

Visit Merlin's Mouthpiece
Jupiter Saxophone Artist/Clinician and member of the the Sax Ring.

> Or just go to the website,  He makes
> basset horns, tárogátos, and low C extensions for regular bass
> clarinets too.  I wonder if we could talk him into making an
> octocontrabass clarinet... ?

Nice idea, but Steve is so busy he barely had time to come to my Christmas
party this year. He made an extension for the Selmer US EEb contra I played
at one time. I had him make a D extension to get the horn to a sensible (for
concert band) F concert. Added a RH thumb key to work it. I'm gonna have him
extend my Selmer bass one of these days.

Last time I was over at his house he had 2 (!) Selmer rosewood EEb contras
lying around...


From: "Karen James"
Subject: [CB] Contra Repadding Surgey
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 08:52:12 -0800

Patrick Sculley writes:
>Unfortunately for me and several other correspondents here, the people in
>Leblanc's executive suite --  who supervise Mr. Fox and decide what he and
>his staff will produce and when -- have already ensured that Leblanc contra
>enthusiasts all over the world were forced to have surgery done on our
>instruments in order to install saxophone (or in several other cases,
>bassoon) pads.  Waits of 3 to 6 months (or even "indefinite") for simple
>pads are still the order of the day at Leblanc.
>BTW, the contra clarinet surgery necessitated by Leblanc's neglect, per one
>of the originators of the operation,  involves the amputation of a little
>nub (a threaded receiver) at the base of each of some 36 keycups with bolt
>cutters, followed by the floating of pads of more typical design in molten
>shellac.   My Leblanc BBb contrabass just got this "sub Saharan female rite
>of passage"  two weeks ago; it's all over, folks.

Patrick's description of the way his contrabass is being repadded really had me concerned. I wrote to my tech and asked for his comments.

I asked:

>>"My question to you is: Is that what you plan on doing to get my contra repadded . . . take bolt cutters to the keycups?!?!")

With his permission, I am forwarding his response . . .


No!  and any other tech who does so should be reprimanded. Even with regular bass clarinet pads or thin sax pads the rivets can be take out of the pad or with a plain pad a center hole can be punched by hand and the regular threaded "spud" can be retained along with the original pad resonator.

Let me go ahead and add that the pads must be floated in BUT the original pad spud and resonator washer can be retained. The process is simple:

  • Level the tone hole.
  • Level the key cup.
  • Install pad with shellac in key cup.
  • Assemble the key and pad on the instrument.
  • Float the pad and level the pad.
  • Remove the key from the instrument.
  • Install pad resonator washer and retaining nut.
  • Assemble key back on instrument.

  • With the LeBlanc pads one has to do Nos. 1 and 2.  If the pad cup and tone hole or level all that is to be done is to put the pad in the key  cup and assemble on the instrument. Sometimes I put a little adhesive (shellac or other) around the outer edge of the pad only to give it some stability.  Paper washers are required if the pad is leaking badly in an area, similar to repadding a flute.  You may share this information with your group if you wish. I do not have a problem with you posting this information on the bulletin board. Other LeBlanc contra players need to know that although the method described that you mailed to me will work, some of us like to keep the integrity of  the original design.


    I thought this information might be of value to anyone still waiting to get their instrument worked on.

    In the meantime, LeBlanc has finally begun shipping parts again. My tech has received the "D" key to replace my broken one, and THE PADS should be in transit as we speak. After all this time, it looks like we're almost there!

    Karen James
    San Jose, CA



    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 12:06:57 -0500 (EST)
    From: "Dr. Carole Nowicke, Applied Health Science"
    Subject: Re: [CB] Contra Repadding Surgey

    Why would it be any more difficult to repad a Large Woodwind with proper pads than to do an ophicleide?  Aside from twice as many keys, that is. I had my ophicleide repadded last year here in Bloomington by a woodwind repair person.

    Carole Nowicke


    From: "Patrick.Scully"
    Subject: Re: [CB] Contra Repadding Surgey
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 10:28:45 -0800

    Yesterday, I finally got the first communications from Leblanc itself concerning contra clarinet parts supply issues.  I will not reproduce these communications here (it's Leblanc's duty to communicate with its customers) but I will sum up the bottom line for you here:  Leblanc did indeed have a parts supply problem which interrupted its own production and depleted its spare parts inventory.  Leblanc stated that shipment of contra pads to its distributors has resumed.

    For those of you who have instruments about to be repadded, it is imperative that you contact your technician IF you wish to have original equipment parts used and have them contact their Leblanc distributors to get the needed padsets.

    On the subject of the procedure used to repad Leblanc contras when the original pads are unavailable, I would hesitate to say that your technician should be "reprimanded", as Karen James' communication suggests, for adopting the radical repair approach.  The reprimand is most properly directed elsewhere!  Also, while my own preference would have been to use OEM parts, the radical surgery (in which the nubs in the keycups are cut off) has the advantage of transforming your instrument into one that in the future can use standard bassoon or saxophone pads.  Not only would dependency upon an unreliable supply of pads (Leblanc) be eliminated for good, but repadding will be far less labor intensive (and expensive) -- for the remaining life of the instrument.  One other advantage is that, if you play your Leblanc regularly, you won't be finding (or not!) little screws and resonator washers that have fallen off your pads all your case, or rattling around inside your instrument!  (I just recently saw a missing reso and screw on the side B trill key on one of my 2 EEb paperclips).  I have spoken to people who have had the radical procedure and would do the radical surgery again right now, even knowing that Leblanc pads are available again.  I would not have been in this group (I did not have this choice), but the word is that the sonic results are fine.  Like I said, I'll let you know what I think when I get my BBb back later this month.



    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 10:41:51 -0800
    From: David Richoux
    Subject: Re: [CB] Composer/arranger JUAN GARCIA ESQUIVEL (1918-2002) RIP

    Just for clarification - I did not write the obit - just the first paragraph below.  The obit I got from another list had stripped the author's name, but I found it from another source - it is Irwin Chusid  (I think he is with the NY Times.)

    David Richoux wrote:

    > I was playing several tracks on my show today - he really knew how to have fun with
    > contrabass instruments, and not just using them in the regular way - key-popping bass
    > sax sounds, bass harmonica (or accordion or something else?) The CD collections we
    > have at KFJC don't list the individual musicians or instruments but the sounds are
    > fantastic anyway... a musical genius!
    > Dave Richoux
    > JUAN GARCIA ESQUIVEL (1918-2002)
    > Irwin Chusid

    ***End of Contrabass Digest***

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