Vol. 1, No. 27

| |
| @@@@@ @@@@@ @@ @ @@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@ @ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@@@@@@ @ @ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @@@@@@@ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ |
| @@@@@ @@@@@ @ @@ @ @ @ @ @ |
| |
| @@@@@@@ @ @@@@@@@ @@@@@@@ @ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ |
| @@@@@@@ @ @ @@@@@@@ @@@@@@@ @@@@ @ |
| @ @ @@@@@@@ @ @ @ |
| @ @ @ @ @ @ @ |
| @@@@@@@ @ @ @@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@ |
| Contrabass-L: a list for discussion of contrabass *anything*|
|To subscribe, email gdgreen@crl.com with "subscribe contrabass"|
|in the subject line |

Vol. 1, No. 27 2 August 1996

Here's the latest bass sax post:

From: Joe Sax <joesax@earthlink.net>
Newsgroups: alt.music.saxophone
Subject: Bass Sax FS
Date: 29 Jul 1996 11:56:52 GMT

Buescher Bass, Very Good Cond! Orig Case! $4,200.00 Joe Sax Woodwinds
(800) 876-8771
Joe Sax

Date: Fri, 2 Aug 1996 04:08:20 -0400
From: PaulWalto@aol.com
Subject: Some Old Business? And some new business.

Hey Big Instrument Fans,

Seeing all the bios of new members reminds me I never bothered putting one in. I'll keep it brief, I promise.

That done, on to new business...

I'm wondering if it might be possible to post some picture files to the group. Several people have emailed me asking for pix I have acquired of the following Big Saxophones:

  1. Conn Octo-Contrabass Sax, 1929
  2. Custom Sub(?)-Contra-Sax built by Rod Baltimore, 1960s

I'd be glad to share these with the whole list if this is practical. (Of course, to those I promised long ago, my apologies for the delay. I haven't forgotten.)

Also: Big Clarinets!

With all the talk of the octobass clarinet on this list, could someone please find the listing on it in the Guinness Book of Records and post it herein? (I'll try and hunt up a copy myself.)

And--all you contrabass clarinetists--any helpful hints about the horn for us Bb clarinet players? What should we bear in mind when attempting to tackle the King of the Clarinets?

Paul Lindemeyer


I'd prefer not to include images as part of the digest, but we can post them as part of the archive. For those without web access, I would email uuencoded images on request. My experience has been that most people really don't want huge image files appearing in their email unsolicited.

Of course, I do solicit such stuff. So, if you have a good scan, feel free to send it to me. I'll embed it in the "archive edition" of the digest, and email it out on request to anyone who requests it.

I'd love to hear more about RB's subcontra sax. What key? How low? Was it capable of playing an actual scale?

Saw your book the other day, but unfortunately didn't have time to wait through the line at the cashier (quick lunch). It looks great! You have a great contrabass sax photo in there (hint, hint...).


Date: Fri, 2 Aug 1996 04:07:24 -0400
From: PaulWalto@aol.com
Subject: Guinness on Big Instruments (Post for Contrabas-L)

Fellow Cellar Dwellers,

For your consideration, the word from the Guinness Book of Records 1996 edition:

Tuba (page 337):
The "contrabass tuba," built for Sousa's Band in 1896, was 7-1/2' tall with 39' of tubing and a 3'4" bell.

Is this the "BBBb" horn Robert Groover mentions in Contra-L 11 ?

<<Also, there is at least one working BBBb tuba, which was supposedly played at a Yale Band concert a year or two ago (according to an article in the Yale Alumni magazine) - if I remember rightly this was NOT the one which used to be in the Schirmer store in NY, but a twin to that.>>

Clarinet (page 340):
The instrument with the lowest note is "the sub-contrabass clarinet," capable of C4, 16.4 Hz.

Obviously the Leblanc octobass, but in true Guinness fashion there is no more info.

Bassoon (page 340):
A "sub-double bassoon" built in 1873 supposedly could play B4, 14.6 Hz--half a tone lower. It no longer exists. Again, no more info.

Could this be the instrument Francis Firth alluded to in Contra-L 12 ?

<<There was supposed to be a Subcontrabass in B Flat made by Czerveny (sp.?) an octave below the contra and this turns with an honourable mention in many books but no surviving specimen has been found.

<<However, recently Jurg? Eppelstein published an article in Galpin Society Journal (I have the article so I'll check out the details) proving that this was merely a large bore contrabassoon (probably metal) and that it was called subcontrabass by a quirk of contemporary nomenclature.>>

And How About This (page 335):

Under "Highest and Lowest Voices", we are told that Dan Britton, from Branson, Missouri, can sing Eb3, 18.84 Hz. If true, this would be a breathtaking two octaves and a major second below "...you get a little drunk and you lands in jaaa-aaaaaaail" in "Ol' Man River."

Someone call Dan, get him to sing the note into the phone, then post it as a sound file!

Paul Lindemeyer

Sarrusophone Report:

As I type, I'm listening to the recording of last night's gig. Finally got to play the thunder lizard (isn't that what contrabass sarrusophone means?). Unfortunately, didn't thunder quite loud enough, or wasn't close enough to the mike. The second tenor finally got the solo mike close enough, (practically in the bell: the ensemble is not a quiet little band), but I probably should have played straight into the recording mike. (I record our gigs on a portable Sony DATman, and simply set a stereo mike a few feet in front of the lead alto player. Surprisingly, this seems to work pretty well, just relying on the band's natural balance. I'm always panned all the way to the left.) So, you can hear me, but its going to be hard to dump onto disk (loud enough to hear me, without pegging the meters when the band comes in). Still, there should be a new WAV file on the sarrus page sometime today (time permitting).

The band's comment: don't sell your bari, Grant!

I played this one on the Evette & Schaeffer contra, which seems to have a narrower bore than the Gautrot. At least, the E&S takes a smaller bore reed than the Gautrot can handle. I plan to try this again (if they'll let me!) when the Gautrot emerges from the shop. Should be able to produce more volume. Then we'll have two WAV files to compare...

BTW, Paul Cohen has a collection of E&S instruments, and is interested in trading his contra d'anche for the "spare" sarrusophone. Should I?

Honking away...


End Contrabass-L No. 27

Back to Index

Next Digest>