Bundy Mazzeo and Stubbins Systems

As one of the few people who writes about the Mazzeo Clarinet, I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between my Noblet Stubbins and the Mazzeo mechanism. Also, do you know if the Stubbins Mechanism was put on any higher-than-student line clarinets? I have seen only 3 Noblets with the mechanism. Finally, my teacher took lessons from Stubbins at the University of Michigan, and approached his first lesson with a Selmer Omega, a horn with the Stubbins mechanism. Stubbins would not let him enter. One last question … My other clarinet is 1930’s Selmer Balanced Tone, big bore w/full Boehm. What do I use an articulated G# for? Thanks for tolerating my questions!


Hi Daniel,

Interesting question, especially so in the light of the knowledge and/or mythology I can shed on this subject.

The differences, as I remember them are as follows: While both ideas were almost identical, the Mazzeo System did not use additionally drilled holes in the instruments for the note “throat Bb”, while Stubbins did. The Stubbins system required more mechanism than did Mazzeo’s idea, which was an articulated spring mechanism which opened the Bb when activated and then with the index-finger spatule produced the throat Bb.

The reason that Stubbins disallowed entry to your teacher is rather simple as I recall, and this is where the mythology may enter the history: I knew Rosario very well, he was my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. I never met Stubbins, however it is my understanding that there was a terrible disagreement about their two ideas: they each felt the other was “ripping the idea off”. They did not just feel it. It may have entered litigation at some point.

I had a friend in the 4th Army Band, quite a good clarinetist who played a Leblanc with the Stubbins mechanism. It was a “top of the line” clarinet with silver plated keys. Stubbins mechanisms were either patented or licensed to Leblanc; Mazzeo to Selmer. If I were Stubbins and saw a student attempt entrance with a Selmer instrument, I may have done something similar, but somehow I think not. They were both interested in having everybody play their instruments. In the end, neither idea took hold. You may blame the inflexibility of clarinetists, or the lack of being able to play any instrument and adopt the mechanism of their choice to it.

There are and were standard ways of playing certain difficult passages on standard clarinets. Call it side effects. There were too many side effects from either idea for it to have been adopted widely.

The articulated G# is arguably the best thing about full Boehm. In any key from G major, any key with sharps or as much as three flats, you use the articulated G# key 95% of the time, for it is this articulated mechanism that you open each time you approach that note. It takes all the difficulty OUT of the problem … the little blip that can be heard when you move quickly. Also, a trill involving this articulation is dog simple – yes my dog could do it. But then again, this is one smart dog … but then again, I am one great teacher (of dogs?).

Best of luck and thanks for the question


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