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Author Topic: SML bass clarinet  (Read 1347 times)

Offline strBean

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SML bass clarinet
« on: September 12, 2020, 02:11:05 PM »
I have an SML bass clarinet that I got in the mid-1970s and it seems it was at least ten years old when I got it.  The model name is "Strasser" and the serial number is 1533.  I would be VERY interested to know what date of manufacture that serial number suggests.

Just for fun, I will relate:  When I got the pipe, I was not a player, and my first teacher agreed that there was a problem in the low notes of the clarion, very stuffy, terrible.  He suggested I take it to a man named Glenn Johnston in North Hollywood, a retired musician who had a woodwind shop at his home.  I think he was a genius - he was an uncertified accoustician.  He determined that the cause of the problem was the automatic register key, and he disabled it and made a second thumb key just to the right and said, "You'll have to move your thumb over somewhere between the D and the F - it's not real fussy, and you'll get the hang of it."  He was right, I did, and I have only ever played a horn with two register keys!  I am still quite amateur but having a lot of fun.  He also built a foot joint for the low Eb horn that added 2 half steps, to low Db.  It so changed the timbre and consistency across registers, he tried to buy the horn from me when he was done.

25 or so years later, I got a couple of lessons from a concert bass clarinet player named Michael Davenport, and he tried my horn and said it was a great horn, that he would record with it.  I think it is only as great as it is because of the work that Glenn Johnston did to it.  It is certainly an anomaly.

I am finally buying a Selmer 67 and I suspect that my beloved SML will just start collecting dust.  Any info or experience anyone has with SML bass clarinets - I would love to converse.

Offline windydankoff

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Re: SML bass clarinet
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2021, 02:20:39 PM »
Great story, Thanks!   Sorry nobody replied until now.
Windy at BLACK • HOLE Clarinets
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Offline DaveLeBlanc

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Re: SML bass clarinet
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2021, 10:18:24 PM »
I've never played an SML bass, but I've had a couple sopranos in the shop. I really liked the quality of the wood, if nothing else.
David Watson of the original The Clarinet Pages
Virginia Beach, Virginia