SCHWENK & SEGGELKE Klarinettenbau | Bassetthörner

Basset instruments

Basset horns

German fingering (Model 2000) and French fingering (Model 3000)

The way our basset horn is designed, it can be constructed with German fingering, as well as French fingering, depending on preference. Their tonal performance is equally strong. Elements of either type can be combined according to individual customer wishes.

Having started the process of creating a new modern basset horn in 1998, we have been awarded the „Bayerische Staatspreis“ (Bavarian State Price) for our basset horn‘s „extraordinary design work and craftsmanship“ at the craft trade fair in Munich, in March 2006. To view the German newspaper article, please click here.

The mouthpiece is inserted into a wooden barrel which is connected to the basset horn’s upper joint by an angled joint, the so called “knee” (Utility model protection number 200 10 855.0). The addition of the wooden knee greatly improves the acoustic appeal as well as the sound, and reduces the formation of condensation noticeably. By changing the barrel, the instrument’s pitch can be adjusted.

Another special feature is our basset horn’s b‘ flat mechanism. It eliminates interfering valve noises during register changes and ensures an easy playability of b’ by already having an open register key when playing b flat. On our Model 2000, the keys for b‘-c“-sharp and c“ are rotating on vertical axis, therefore allowing for the b’- and c“-sharp long keys to be built much shorter, relieving the left pinkie. Controlling the thumb keys via newly developed levers, designed to have the shortest possible lifting point, makes for a quicker and more precise playing of the 4 lowest notes.

Standardly, the instrument comes with a wooden bell which further increases its tonal qualities. The tone hole for low c is incorporated into a separate corpus joint which can be attached to the lower joint of the clarinet just above the bell. Consequently, our model is shorter than comparable instruments by other manufacturers and can be transported more easily.

Variants with a German bore

German fingering (Model 2000)

„Variant I“

Mechanical equipment including f lever and 4 thumb keys for E flat/D/D flat/C
Optional addition: e flat lever

„Variant II“

Mechanical equipment, including f-lever with alternative key buttons for c sharp/b/low E flat, 4 thumb keys for E flat/D/D flat/C, b’-c’’ sharp trill (articulated b’-c’’ sharp)
Optional addition: e flat lever

French Fingering (Model 3000)

„Variant III“

Mechanical equipment, including 4 thumb keys for E flat/D/D flat/C; Low E flat playable in two ways; e flat lever
Optional addition: b’-c’’ sharp trill (articulated b’-c’’ sharp)

„Variant IV“

The basset register is playable using the right pinkie (E flat and D), the left pinkie (second option for D), as well as the thumbs (C sharp and C), similar to standard bass clarinets with French fingering. This model has a coupling from low F and below to G, therefore only requiring one pinkie or thumb for the low range.
Optional addition: b’-c’’ sharp trill (articulated b’-c’’ sharp)

When buying a basset horn from SCHWENK & SEGGELKE, you are able to choose from the following types of wood: Grenadilla, Mopane, Boxwood and Cocobolo. If you would like to know more about the different types of wood, please click here.

Sound samples

From the CD "Clarimonia@twilight". edited by bremen radio hall records. For further information click here.

CD Clarimonia Twilight: Joseph Fucik „Der alte Brummbär” (Excerpt)

CD Duo Imaginaire Romantic Reflections (John Corbett): Franz Schubert Sonata in b flat minor (Excerpt)


Scope of supply

Instrument with 2 barrels, mouthpiece, ligature, clarinet case, care accessories.


Price list

For all our current prices, please click here.



Basset clarinet

The most famous composition for basset clarinets is without a doubt Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s concert KV 622 in A major. What exactly gives the basset clarinet its particular charm?

Technically speaking, a clarinet that has keywork down to its fundamental note is a basset clarinet. Normally, the clarinet's tonal range includes a major third downwards, chromatically down to the written C. In that respect, it resembles the basset horn which, however, is tuned in F. Therefore, you might call the basset clarinet a “basset horn in A”.

Besides the Basset clarinet in A, the instrument is available in two other tunes as well: Between the basset horn and the basset clarinet in A lies the clarinet in G which we, here at SCHWENK & SEGGELKE, have brought back to life recently, as well. Significantly more popular is the basset clarinet in b flat which numerous pieces were dedicated to during the classism, and not only by Mozart either. Today, it is versatilely used in e.g. Jazz music and several modern clarinet pieces.

Due to the purely cylindrical built, the design factors result in no audible tonal differences between the fingerings which is why we offer our basset clarinets with French, as well as German fingering.

The models with German fingering, have 4 thumb keys for all notes below E, whereas the models with French fingering have 2 keys for the right and left pinkie (two ways of playing E flat / D), as well as thumb keys for C sharp and C. When using our configurator, you are able to choose from a variety of currently available building options. Besides buying a completely new instrument, we offer basset lower joints to complement your current clarinet’s upper joint.

Sound sample




Should you have any further questions or special requests,
please don’t hesitate to contact us.