This is perhaps the ideal compromise between the small and medium bore basset horn concepts. With the barrel adaptors supplied, it can be played either with a conventional Bb/A clarinet mouthpiece, giving the veiled sound and high resistance characteristic of the small bore model, or with a German basset horn mouthpiece, giving the power and projection appropriate for use in a large modern ensemble.
The bore diameter of 16.0mm classifies it generically as small bore, but it has been designated as "medium small bore" in order to distinguish it from the S. Fox small bore model, which has ring keys and an even smaller bore. (For further explanation of basset horn bore sizes, please see the main basset horn page on this site.)
Unique features include a downward-pointing clarinet-style bell (for stronger bottom notes), and a curved, solid-body barrel (instead of a metal neck).
Keywork includes plateau keys except for two open finger holes (L3 and R3). An automatic register/throat Bb mechanism is included, for accurate twelfths and a clear Bb, and a vent attached to the R1 ring improves the tone and tuning of low B natural. An articulated C#/G# key is optional.
The standard basset key arrangement has low Eb played by the right hand little finger and three right thumb keys giving D, C#, and C - with the touchpieces shaped to allow smooth transitions between notes - plus an alternate low D key for the left hand little finger. An alternate left hand Ab/Eb lever is also standard. An option is a right hand little finger key (on the upper rank, beside F/C) which is convertible to produce either D or C#.
(For thoughts on the basset key arrangement, please see the article on the subject on this website.)
A choice of support mechanisms
is offered: a floor peg, or an abdomen brace and neck strap/chest
harness, which allows the instrument to be played either sitting or standing
with equal ease.
Basset keys, showing convertible R4 low D/C# key