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Good sources for repair tools and parts in the US are

Ferree's Tools, Inc
1477 E. Michigan Avenue
Battle Creek, MI 49014-8950 USA
(800) 253-2261, Ext. 7

Votaw Tool Company
1523 N. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65803 USA
Within the US: 800- 894- 8665
Outside the US: 417- 865- 7509

In the UK try
Windcraft Ltd.
Unit C, Warrens Centre
Reform Road
Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 8BT, U.K.
Telephone ++44 (0)1628 778377
Fax ++44 (0)1628 777466
e-mail sales@windcraft.co.uk

There is also the Blackwood Conservancy Project thay may be of interest.

Probably a Selmer Omega Mechanism - which may be incorrectly labelled as an SK mechanism. Here's the report by Ken Shaw:

"The photo you have posted of the Stubbins SK middle Bb mechanism is actually of the mechanism used on the Selmer Omega model in the mid-50s. The switch between the register vent and the Bb vent is controlled by the thumb ring. If the thumb is off the ring, a strong spring opens the lower hole for Bb. When the thumb is on the ring, a lever attached to the ring holds the Bb key down and the weakly sprung register vent can open.

The Stubbins SK instruments and photos I have seen were activated by a lever attached to the A key, not the thumb ring. Also, I believe the Bb vent was positioned more toward the right side (viewing the instrument from the back) so the thumb-touch lever didn't arch over the Bb hole.

I played Selmer Omegas for several years. The Bb was beautiful, but the mechanism was not reliable. The balance between the strong and weak springs constantly got out of adjustment, and the register vent (which was opened only by the weak spring) tended to stick closed. Selmer even provided little slips of sandpaper to remove the crud. Also, to get the Bb, your thumb had to be all the way off the ring. The Bb key went up and down with the thumb ring, and if it wasn't all the way open, the register vent would open slightly, spoiling the note. This meant a lot of thumb movement and was a problem in passages going back and forth between Bb and the adjoining C (as in the Debussy Premiere Rapsodie).

This was not a problem with the Stubbins SK, since the A key is always all the way open to play Bb. However, the problem with opposing springs remained, which I think is why it hasn't been adopted.

A number of years ago, there was a letter in, I think, The Clarinet from a major symphony player (I don't remember which one), saying that he had gotten an instrument with a special Bb mechanism and proudly brought it out for the solo in Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which has a long, exposed Bb. The conductor (Ormandy?) immediately stopped the orchestra and demanded that the player go back to the unimproved fingering, which he said was what Debussy had in mind. So it goes."

A further explanation by Richard Bush:

"Mr. Shaw correctly identified the photo as being a Bb-register mechanism made by Selmer. I would like to add the following information to what he said:

The Selmer mechanism was an either/or mechanism not unlike what is used on their Bundy (now Selmer USA), plastic bodied bass clarinets. The Bb tone hole is an acoustically correct tone hole for Bb. Notice in the photo that the Bb key which resides under the camel humping register key is radially around the body from the side or trill Bb key (jumper key #3). With this mechanism, only one key opened at a time, either the register key or the Bb.

The Stubbins SK mechanism was different. On this mechanism, the lower hole (which was also in a similar place as on the Selmer -- under a camel humping register key) opened along with the register key to produce Bb. This key was a supplemental vent used in conjunction with the register key for the production of a better sounding Bb.

A third type of mechanism designed to improve upon the compromised Bb/register key dilemma was the Mazzeo mechanism. This mechanism was an articulation of the Bb jumper key that was actuated by the bottom ring key of the upper joint. The ring key of the lower joint (because of its connection to the upper joint) would also activate and open the articulated side Bb key. Producing Bb then became a matter of playing throat tone A and closing either of the rings below the first ring key. The Bb key was overridden and closed by the left them closing the thumb hole. The thumb hole, by the way, was not an open ring key on the Mazzeo model clarinets, but a key with a pad.

One of the great shortcomings of the Mazzeo mechanism was that any and all resonance fingerings for throat tones became impossible simply because any fingers that were put down opened the articulated side Bb key. Also when descending to throat tone A, all other fingers had to quickly and cleanly open or a Bb blip was experienced.

There is an area devoted to the renown scientist Arthur H. Benade sponsored by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University. If you want to start learning about the acoustics of wind instruments, this, along with his seminal book, Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics (Dover, 1990) would be a good starting place.

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