Student Bass clarinet suggestions?
A question from YouTube:
Hello, this past year I have been playing bass clarinet seriously and I am thinking about buying one... I wonder if you have tried the Bass Clarinets made by Tom Ridenour. Right now I am renting a Buffet Prestige from the school but it would be just too expensive for me to buy one of those. Do you have any suggestion for me?
Here was my reply:
Not a fan of the student-model bass clarinets actually. (I'm sorry!) I've tried Jupiter, and a bunch of others, and I haven't found one that has decent keywork. On Bb clarinets that's not as big of a problem, because 1) the keys are smaller and 2) you cover half of the holes with your fingers anyway. But on bass clarinets the length of the keys, and the length of the rods makes it such that bad keywork (low-quality alloys) will just mean that your bass clarinet is ALWAYS out of adjustment.
That all said, I am going to ClarFest this year, and I plan to make a quick video of each student instrument and post it on YouTube with my comments. (well, if that's possible, and if it's possible to hear me over the noise of everyone playing!)
I hope to be surprised by one of these student instruments. It's just SO hard to make something that's affordable (even if it's plastic) that has decent metal in the keys.
UPDATE! I’ve tried a bunch of student bass clarinets and have all of those videos posted on YouTube. For your convenience, I’ve put those reviews below. Decide for yourself!