Fact: Woodwind doublers need to own lots of equipment.
Fact: High quality equipment isn't cheap.
So unless funds are unlimited, woodwind doublers have to choosy on what equipment they spend money on. While I would love to own a $14,000 bass clarinet, it makes no sense for me to go into debt for one. It’s extremely rare I get asked to play, so I have a nice mouthpiece (Fobes Nova), and I have friends with access to used school instruments who are nice enough to loan me one if needed.
But it would be nice to own a quality instrument. One that you can practice on anytime, and have adjusted to your liking. As doublers, we need to know if there are good budget options available for instruments, but especially so for auxilary ones. But it is unfortunate that due to low demand, some instruments (bass clarinet, bassoon) lack options and price points. For example if you look at wwbw.com for bass clarinets, you’ll see Yamaha has a student model($2,200), pro to Eb ($7,800), and pro to low C ($8,900). That is quite a jump, especially if you think you may need a low C.
Thankfully, Michael Lowenstern (aka Earspasm Music) is here to give us reviews of budget bass clarinets. If you are unaware of his Youtube presence, be sure to check our his channel. He has given the world lots of excellent and educational content on everything clarinet/bass clarinet related. I really appreciate his educational focus and that comes through in these reviews as well. He not only demonstrates the pros and cons of these instruments, he teaches you what to look for when purchasing any instrument.
You should absolutely watch all four of these. I won’t spoil which one I think comes out on top in his mind, but they are worth the watch especially for his genuine reaction to the first note of one of them. Thank you Michael, for all your effort!