Bundy Mazzeo System and the Thumb

I am a 27 yr. veteran of public school band directing … actually a woodwind doubler concentrating mostly on bassoon. My daughter is an oboist who also plays saxophone. She is a college Mus Ed major and needs to take woodwind methods next semester. She will study clarinet extensively, but has a deformed left thumb and cannot cover the LH thumb hole on the clarinet. Do you think the Mazzeo system might solve this problem? Where might I be able to find one for sale? Are there other solutions I am not aware of? Thanks.

Thank you very much for your interesting letter and congratulations on your band directing career as well as your doubling on woodwinds. Your dedication is impressive.

I know that the Mazzeo System clarinet would help your daughter’s problem with the left thumb because that thumb ring is covered with a spatula key on the Mazzeo System clarinet. The reasons for that were manifold: one, to facilitate the movement across the break, and two, to help vent the open G further down the instrument, theoretically to make it less an open sounding tone.

When I first played them and for the next 15 years or so, I always used the thumb plate. Then I stopped because I wanted try other instruments. I then found further use for the Mazzeo and had it retooled taking away the thumb ring, making it almost exactly like a regular Boehm clarinet except for the Bb mechanism which I had retooled to make it the same pressure as the ordinary clarinet, and had a clutch installed, rather ingeniously so that I could use it at will. It is a lovely instrument and I will always keep it. The work was done by a young French technician, very bright, curious and special. He died quite prematurely of a brain tumor … keeled over at work. A great tragedy.

You should try to get a Bundy Mazzeo clarinet. There will be a lot of dealers around and band directors who, if they look in their unsold file or wherever will find these Resonite Mazzeos, because there were a lot around, especially I think in that part of the world where band is a very large part of the curriculum … at least I think it was at one point.

I would envision you getting one for practically nothing if you can find one, and frankly they were absolutely indestructible. There was an advertisement that was in many music magazines when the plastics came down to roost. It showed a Bundy Resonite clarinet in four pieces or two, each piece holding up one side of a Studebaker, you remember, the modern looking one that you could not tell if it were coming or going. It made me laugh then and it does now! Anyway, I hope I have been of some help. A covered thumb hole is what you want, period. That, you can have made, but you asked about Mazzeo, hence the material above.

Best of all good things and luck to you and to your daughter.

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