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Clarinets Does anyone have and experience with or knowledge about the Thomann low Eb Bass Clarinets?

Jazz Is All

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Many people in Europe know about Thomann because it has websites in most major Eurozone countries. The prices are generally in line with those on Amazon in Europe although shipping isn't free like with Prime, unless you spend over 200€,. As a result shopping with them for small accessories is sometimes not worth it when they charge 20 euros to ship a box of reeds from France or Germany to Northern Spain. Supposedly the EU was to be a common market but shipping companies in each country still act as if the other countries are somewhere west of the moon and there are no standardized common rates for intereuropean shipping at all.

Anyway, that detail aside looking at their bass Clarinets I see that in addition to Selmer, Yamaha, Buffet, Jupiter & LeBlanc, they have their own line of such instruments, just like they have their own Saxes. They have both low Eb and low C models and in fact have one with a grenadilla wood body rather than one made of resin. All of them are lower in price than all the "Name" brand models, some of which run up to 12,000 euros like you would expect. So I assume that these are all made somewhere in Asia like Taiwan or mainland China, but I have no real info about either their provenance or their playing quality, which of course is the subject I am most interested in knowing about. Are they any good and worth buying?

The reason I am interested is because even the least expensive low Eb model has a double register mechanism and what appears to be a tuning lever on the neck. These are features that not even Yamaha and Jupiter bass claris have and usually only found on those costing around 4 or 5 thou. So naturally my interest has been as a possible move upward in playing quality than my lowly student Vito Resotone,. if....and that's a crucial IF.....it really is a well made, good sounding instrument I would start saving to get one.

So if anyone on this forum knows anything about these models I would really appreciating hearing about it.
Thanks a lot.
 

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unless you spend over 200€,
It's from €50 anytime I've ordered. That's like 2 Legère synthetic reeds.
I've bought instruments from them. They've been cheap, but no better than expected for the price. I have not bought a bass clarinet but my curved soprano was from them Thomann TCS-350 Curved Soprano. It was cheaper than the present price, but still around 400.

By the way, they ship everything (to my place, anyway) via UPS which is very good here.
 

Pete Thomas

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If you wait until after brexit is finalised and if there is no trade deal (looking like there won't be), you will probably find you can buy from the UK without the VAT being applied. This means you will save 20%.

Hanson is reputable online dealer and they already have 20% of John Packer basses, so you may well get a further 20% if without VAT


Not that I'm particularly recommending those, just saying it my be a bargain with 40% off. Someone else here may have a better idea.
 

Jazz Is All

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If you wait until after brexit is finalised and if there is no trade deal (looking like there won't be), you will probably find you can buy from the UK without the VAT being applied. This means you will save 20%.

Hanson is reputable online dealer and they already have 20% of John Packer basses, so you may well get a further 20% if without VAT


Not that I'm particularly recommending those, just saying it my be a bargain with 40% off. Someone else here may have a better idea.
Although I feel funny about benefiting from the post Brexit reality at the expense of Britons, that would be very tempting if it comes to pass. However, once the UK is out of the EU, Spanish treasury will snag the package at the airport and make me pay 20% VAT on the instrument and the shipping. Then they'll charge me their usual 39euros to take it out of customs for me (acting as my customs agent) and moving it across the street to the post office to send it on to me. In the end that comes to 25% over the value of the merchandise so unless the pound goes way down in relation to the euro after brexit, it's a losing proposition anyway. Buying from the USA will then be cheaper by comparison.
 
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Jules

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If you wait until after brexit is finalised and if there is no trade deal (looking like there won't be), you will probably find you can buy from the UK without the VAT being applied. This means you will save 20%.

.
But there would be import duty payable instead, which would probably balance that out..
 

Jazz Is All

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But there would be import duty payable instead, which would probably balance that out..
Yes I just edited my reply to Pete mentioning that. The Spanish Corsairs charge more than BoJo ever could think to do and they don't let anything slip past them like they used to do back in the 90s and teens. Customs here used to be in each community (it was here in Barcelona for example) and foreign shipments and mail used to go directly to those regional offices. Now it is only in Madrid and they squeeze ever centimo out of you that they can. If you don't have a customs agent (who does other than companies?) to remove the package from Customs to send it on to the recipient, the Post office does that for you for a 39 euro fee. Otherwise you'll have to go to the airport in Madrid to get it yourself. Unreal. The two offices are probably across the hall from each other, or at most across the street. But on the bright side, somebody has to pay the salaries of all those congressional deputies from the 6 or 7 parties we have here. They have to eat too, don't they?
 

Pete Thomas

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Yes I just edited my reply to Pete mentioning that.
Ah yes, I wasn't aware Spanish Import duty was so high, (it's quite low here compared with VAT). I blame the Spasnish Armada.

And thanks for editing out the B stuff also - it gets political. Nooooo!

I know I mentioned it but I thought I'd got away with it.
 

6441

 
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On the topic of import, I once bought some trousers from a brand name site, shipping was either free or very little, so the price was better than what I would find here. Once they arrived in France, the import tax, which applies to anything over (I believe) 100€ made this a terrible deal. Within the EU, and back to Thomann, coming here from Germany, there is no import tax, and as I said, shipping is free above 50€ and I assume 50£, so their prices are very good. The disadvantage with an instrument like saxophone, clarinet etc, is that it's going to be harder to return it or get service, even within warranty. I am buying an instrument that was listed on Thomann, but I told the local store I'd buy it from them if they matched the price, which they did. It's a good idea to look at Thomann's price and use this to ask dealers to match it. However, this can not work if you're wanting to purchase a Thomann product.

By the way, I used to work at a dealership of Fender guitars and amps. The discount to the store was 50% or 40%. I don't know what the Yamaha markup is, but there is certainly room to discuss such things. Remember, back before the Internet there wasn't such competition. The price was the price, full stop.
 
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Jimmymack

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I may not be looking at the right instrument but the Thomann isn’t particularly cheap. There’s a review here of the Kessler equivalent
View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=emb_title&v=oogvwQGIGZc

that seems like worth thinking about, the same guy does a lot of other student level bass clarinet reviews. I know it involves the importing horror story that you had with your current horn but it’s about half the price so even with the charges it comes out cheaper and you have something to base your decision on from a good musician.
 

Alphorn

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Kessler doesn‘t ship it outside the US, at least last time I checked it. Michael Lowenstern wasn‘t very enthusiastic about the low C mechanism in his review. It is the same on the JP. It is different on the Thomann. They are not strictly equivalent. Considering the hassle of importation and potential return I would go with the Thomann all the way. If you don‘t like it return it.

Alphorn
 

Jazz Is All

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Kessler doesn‘t ship it outside the US, at least last time I checked it. Michael Lowenstern wasn‘t very enthusiastic about the low C mechanism in his review. It is the same on the JP. It is different on the Thomann. They are not strictly equivalent. Considering the hassle of importation and potential return I would go with the Thomann all the way. If you don‘t like it return it.

Alphorn
Thanks for these comments. I had looked at the Kessler BC and watched the Youtube review already and discounted this as an option. For one thing I don't think I need a low C BC. I have read the opinions on various forums about that topic and for a non-pro player it seems to add mechanical complications I don't need to get involved with. Yes I would love to be able to play a low D because so many Bb standards charts in the Real books go down to D or C, and those notes on the BC must sound fantastic. However I have seen that little panel for the left thumb with the rocker panel of keys and I have my hands full (okay, fingers) already with all the damn pinky levers and odd now left now right switching you have to do just to play a damn basic arpeggio.

Besides which as you so rightly say, the big put-off is that Kessler is ¾ across the USA which means a long time for an instrument in a box being chucked around by gorillas all the way to Europe. And of course there is the absurd costs of importing it now. In Spain the customs people make no distinction between bringing it in for personal use or for retail and tax us equally simply because you haven't bought it in-country where it would be making somebody else a profit. Well, whatever their logic is unless you have it shipped as used pre-owned personal goods by a family member you have to pay the taxes. I have bought saxes in the USA when I was there personally and brought them in as part of my luggage no problem, but getting something shipped to you by a business is going to be taxes heavily.

On top of that what recourse would I have if something were amiss or went amiss with it? Ship it back to Kessler at the hassle and loss of time and money? No thanks. Plus, many years ago I bought a Chinese alto that Kessler sold and it was junk and contrary to the card enclosed saying that Dave had made it play ready himself, it was totally out of adjustment much more that could be attributed to being shipped from Nevada to New York. The thing had a leaky neck tenon and screws of all different sizes used on the mechanisms and it was very rough and unfinished inside. One of the kinds that Phil Barone was ranting about getting back in the winter on SOTW. So Kessler is not a name I value much.

Thomann, on the other hand, does seem to have decent horns made for them if the Antique finish tenor a combomate let me try is any indication of that. It sounded good, and more than that when I went to play the altissimo the G came out loud and strong and fairly in tune like I was playing G2 on my Martin on which G3 has always been hard to get decently. Of course that's the difference between computer designed modern horns and hand designed vintage ones and not indicative of the actual tonal qualities of the instrument which, as we know, is far better in a vintage Martin than any modern Chinese made sax.

So even if I would be missing the richness that a 12,000€ Selmer like the one Marcus plays, by getting the low Eb Thomann for 1,500€, at my level of ability how could that be of consequence given the small budget I have to begin with? And as you say I could always most likely return it if it was not up to basic snuff. So my main reason for asking is to find out if it is at all decent and at least as good as the similarly priced Jupiter BCs which have gotten good reviews I believe.
 
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