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Author Topic: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s  (Read 12755 times)

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2024, 08:04:46 AM »
I'm reviving this old thread because this question just came up for me / and this thread is a good one (and I miss Lisa who had so much to share).

6 years ago I got a Vito alto that had been sat on and broken, then stored for 40 years presumably. I repaired it, replaced a few pads etc. With a good old French MP, it sounded very pleasing, good intonation, etc. But after 6 months, the original pads looked fine but I think the felt was deteriorated and it became unplayable.

Last week, a friend gave me a Bundy–Selmer Resonite OPEN-HOLE alto. It's in great mechanical shape but also needs a full re-pad. I like the key feel better than the Vito, and I prefer to play an open-hole instrument. And, it will be much easier to re-pad and maintain than the plateau Vito.

But will I be happy with the tone and intonation ??   Unfortunately, neither horn is playable to compare them.

I searched this topic elsewhere and there seems to be bias toward the performance of the Vito, but some of it is due to problems landing on open holes (no problem for me with the Bundy). I am begging for an experienced opinion (ignoring ergonomics) so I can decide which one to overhaul. Thanks!

The ther useful ref I found: http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=480784&t=480703
« Last Edit: January 16, 2024, 08:18:02 AM by windydankoff »
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2024, 11:25:39 AM »
Not exactly "experienced," but the best alto I ever played was this awesome old full metal, open holed one. I felt that the open holes gave it a less "stuffy" sound.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2024, 12:19:36 PM »
On this Bundy, only one upper, and two lower holes are open, so it will make much tonal difference overall. More significant, I measured the bores. The Vito has a significantly larger bore top to bottom. So they really are different. When playable, the Vito had a some of that gutsy bass-like sound that I love. They Bundy may have some other virtue, but probably not what I'm shooting for. If I can get it to test-play, I'll report back.
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Offline jdbassplayer

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2024, 05:42:02 PM »
Bundys are not as well in tune as Vitos, but they aren’t awful. They have the same small 17mm bore as the pro Selmer too at a much lower price. This is also the same bore size as many German basset horns if that’s the sound you’re looking for. Definitely helps to have larger hands though.

Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2024, 06:00:32 PM »
Thanks JD. I slipped in some electrical tape under the Bundy's moth-eaten pads, and I got my Vito to play using finger-extra pressure. Good enough to make comparisons, and to my surprise, the two horns with different bore sounded practically identical. I am going to repair the Bundy and play it some more. It's more comfortable to my hands. Yes, it takes bigger hands to reach the open holes. I wear Men's Large glove size, to give an idea. It is an easy stretch that is nearly equal to my G clarinet, except the hands are farther apart. I am well accustomed to it. I really like its normal clarinet simplicity in contrast to the plateau system of the Vito (just like a bass). It's surprising how much more complexity (and weight) it takes to add plateau system (pads) to all the holes. This Bundy has an unusual finish. Instead of being glossy, it has a mild texture, as if it were spray-painted, but it's perfectly done obviously as original. I'll report back ...
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 06:03:40 PM by windydankoff »
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2024, 07:01:01 AM »
Selmer-branded altos also had that matte-ish finish, for what that's worth. I have a suspicion that 1980s-00s Bundy/Selmer altos were physically the same thing.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2024, 09:42:25 AM »
The results are in:  Comparing  instruments that are now-leak-free, the tonal quality of the Bundy is mediocre. Vito sounds more rich and more clarinet-like. As JD pointed out, the major difference is the bore size. The difference between open hole or plateau keys is essentially insignificant.

The Bundy keywork is excellent and highly precise. That was a factor in my wanting to repair it. But for tone quality, it isn't delivering the goods. And, it's harder to blow.

Mouthpieces used for the comparison - I used two specimens of Vito France 2V , and a J&D Hite. The Hite transforms the Bundy into almost-good, but it's not so good on the Vito. For reeds - I'm using synthetic Fibracell 1.5 alto sax reeds. I agree with others on the net who find them to be the favorite for alto cl.

I'm doing another MP experiment - to be continued in a new topic.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2024, 02:51:34 PM by windydankoff »
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Offline windydankoff

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Re: Alto clarinet open vs closed, plus ?'s
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2024, 09:08:05 AM »
I just started a new topic: 
Tenor sax mouthpiece modified for alto clarinet – It changed my life!  Go to:  https://clarinetpages.info/smf/index.php/topic,2242.0.html
« Last Edit: February 18, 2024, 02:46:49 PM by windydankoff »
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