Latest development news
ARCS are constantly looking to develop improvements and new designs for clarinets, here is a taster of the latest development for bass clarinettists
Inspired by observing the excessive movement of the current designs for floor pegs for bass clarinet players who stand to perform. These new models offer greater stability and a somewhat unexpected big improvement in the resonance and response. The shorter model, for players sitting to perform, also offers the benefit of a very noticeable improvement in resonance and range of harmonics in the sound. These models will be custom made to the desired height for each customer and are surprisingly lightweight but rigid enough to inspire confidence
Here’s the latest review of the floor pegs from Daniel Rye:
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Bass clarinettists have tried all sorts of sling contraptions for playing the instrument standing up. For me, one of the great joys of playing the bass clarinet is that it roots you to the ground, with no weight placed on the body. If everything is well balanced, the instrument almost does not need to be held at all – I have even removed the thumbrest on my bass. The only way I have been able to replicate this when standing is to take a footstool with me to gigs – an extra piece of furniture that is not the most practical for travelling around with.
With the new standing peg from ARCS my bass clarinet life has changed for the better. There is nothing complicated about this piece of kit. It is simply a very strong and solid peg that does not move at all when fitted. It is made to measure and fits in the standard clamp on the bell. I have a custom wooden bell on my bass and the peg fits both this and the standard Buffet metal bell.
My bass clarinet is particularly heavy when I have my wooden bell (made by the late Anthony Payne) and my Blashaus heavyweight neck fitted. But with this new peg the handling of the instrument is featherweight. In fact, the peg feels literally like an extension of the instrument: there is no movement or “play” at all – the bass clarinet is one object from mouth to floor.
I have also bought the sitting peg, which is just as stable and solid. With the extra freedom that comes from playing with these pegs, there is the added impression that the instrument is more connected to the room in which you play through the direct connection with the floor, carrying extra resonance. In fact, this is something to be aware of in reverse too: resonance from other vibrations in the room can travel back to your teeth, so in an extreme case of playing in a heavy metal band, for example, you might want to add a piece of rubber or similar underneath!
All in all then, I can thoroughly recommend these pegs to every bass clarinettist. I wish I had had the sitting one for my 20 years of playing in the pit with Welsh National Opera for the extra stability and resonance. But now that my musical career has entered a more varied phase, these pegs have finally completed the perfect bass clarinet that I have been searching for.
Former bass clarinettist, Welsh National Opera
Presently, multi-genre musician and teacher in the Faroe Islands
Photos: Daniel playing in his Balkan/Klezmer band Flytifólk
Here is what Ausiàs Garrigos Morant (Principal Bass clarinet of the RLPO) and the inspiration for the new bass clarinet floor pegs had to say about them:
“The standing floor peg that Andy has designed offers an amazing solution to a problem all bass clarinettists have experienced, being able to play standing up without any shoulder tension caused by most straps and harnesses, and without any wobbly unstable spikes. I have been really enjoying playing with it. And what is even better is that it also adds a surprising level of volume and body to the sound, which is fantastic. I have tried in the orchestra and chamber music as well as solo with really positive feedback and a great feeling. The shorter version, that replaces the standard floor peg, brings a very noticeable improvement in the sound quality and stability. I really recommend everybody try them, you’ll be really surprised!”
Read what Brad Behn had to say:
“Your beautifully designed and sturdily crafted bass clarinet pegs are simply amazing. With the standing peg I can play with security knowing my instrument is stable, wobble-free, and produces a more impactful sound. And similarly with the sitting peg I am pleased by the stability and secure feeling that the rigid construction provides. Both options deliver profound improvements in the playing experience. When I first tried them I was in my carpeted studio. Indeed I thought my sound was improved, more resonant, full and impactful. So impressed, in an enthusiastic moment I ran down to our home’s largest room, a “great room” where our living/family room, kitchen, and dining room are all combined. It has hard wood flooring and high ceilings. Immediately upon playing just a few notes I was amazed. I called for my wife, who usually prefers to steer clear of my gadget explorations, but I was so excited I simply had to have her listen with. She immediately declared your pegs vastly superior to the stock peg that came with my instrument. She sad “it is more resonant, seems louder, but more importantly the sound is fuller; you sound better on the A R C S pegs!” That’s good enough for me! I’ll add that the difference is profound. Not since trying the BlasHaus “heavy-heavy gold” neck/crook have I experience anything close to a similar impact. I can simply place my reed on my mouthpiece, insert the peg, and deliver a far superior quality of sound. Thanks Andrew, this amazing peg set is worth every penny – and more! “
Here are Iain Dixon’s observations
The ARCS Bass Clarinet pegs are the solution to a comfortable, stable bass clarinet playing position, both sitting and standing. The short (seated position) peg improves the sound instantly – both tone and projection. The longer (standing position) peg does away with any instability (wobble) and makes playing as comfortable as sitting down. As soon as you try it, you will instantly want one. These pegs really make a difference.