This is something the bass clarinet world and I have been awaiting….since…well, there were Bass Clarinets. Finally, a fine intermediate bass clarinet! Not just at a great price…the first one in existence. Unlike most other instruments, there has been no good student model bass clarinet. The best of them is just the “best of the worst.” Thanks to Kessler Music in Las Vegas, we have the Kessler Custom Artist Series Bass Clarinet with three models: Low Eb, Low C, and a “stealth” model, the Low C in All Black Finish. Due to Michael Lowenstern’s detailed YouTube review and side by side blind playing test against the Selmer Privilege, a dear friend and colleague bought the “stealth” model and brought it to my studio for a “gear geek” evening. We put it through it’s paces against my Backun and Das Blashaus modified Privilege and tested a dozen mouthpieces on it. Pretty quickly, I forgot I was not playing a $15,000 Porsche, but a $3000 Audi. Please understand that is high praise indeed.
It is one of the few new instruments I’ve ever tested that plays very well right out of the box. Most new instruments need a $500 to $1000 setup before they play well. Not this baby. It’s got power, sweetness, good intonation, and good response over the whole range. The fine double register mechanism eliminates the huge issue of ALL student bass clarinets of difficult response and poor tone on notes above the staff.
After testing out a dozen mouthpieces, I recommend the Backun Vocalise G, Selmer Focus or Vandoren B45 with this horn, and Kessler Music is giving a discount on these with your purchase.
I will be recommending it to all my clarinetist friends, band directors, students, high schools with which I work, and of course anyone who has to play outdoors! There should be a huge market for these instruments to military bands! It should replace every student instrument in every school in the world. Period.
Let’s all kneel down and say “Thank you, Dave Kessler and family” every year on the anniversary of this instrument’s release.