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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000438.txt from 2003/06

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: [kl] the tone of a selmer....
Date: Sat, 14 Jun 2003 19:34:23 -0400

At 03:27 PM 6/14/2003 -0600, Barbara Reimer wrote:
>I really tried to stay away from using comparative terms during my testing
>process i.e. this one is 'darker' than that one, this one is more of this
>than that one. Yes, my whole process was to compare and select the best
>clarinet for me, but let's face it, we are dealing with near top of the
>line clarinets here; there is a certain standard that I should be able to
>expect at this level otherwise, what exactly are we paying for? And one
>must remember there are other factors to consider that may or may not be
>related directly to the actual playing of the clarinet; such as the needs
>of the individual player and/or group.
>The Selmer Signature, I found, takes more air to play. I found I was more
>comfortable playing on a slightly softer reed than with other
>clarinets. Don't get me wrong, this is not an unresponsive clarinet.
>It is a joy to play and the tuning across the instrument and dynamic
>levels is magnificent! I barely had to move a muscle to play in tune
>jumping octaves or large intervals, or going from low to high, loud to
>soft; it was great. (now if only my eefer would play so in tune!)
>The tone/timbre itself? I could say the tone was warm, rich, mellow,
>full, as my playing was described to me, but that would be qualitative
>analysis and not to terribly helpful. And I'm not to sure of how to fix
>that as I am not a technician by any sorts and I admittedly don't have a
>firm grasp of the technical language. I think the bores of the Signature
>and the r-13 differ quite significantly and that could be the difference
>in tone I heard. The Buffet does have an easy response but I found it a
>bit more work on my part to keep tuning in check and to get the tone I was
>What it finally came down to was which clarinet came closest, when I
>played it, to that sound I hear in my head when i think of the ideal tone
>or what I should sound like? For me that was the Selmer. Just to note,
>my mother, who has played for only five years now, sounded way better on
>the r-13s I was trying than the Selmer. So it really is an individual process.

Selmer's own literature says that the Signature has more resistance than
other clarinets. It also says that the Selmer (Paris) line does not use
the polycylindrical design some other manufacturers use, and implies that
that design is the source of their intonation problems and uneven timbre
between registers. Selmer bores are reverse cone through the upper joint
and basically cylindrical through the lower joint. I can't quote directly
because I do not have the pamphlet here, but I was just reading it in the
store yesterday.

Assuming the definition of "dark" to be the relative dominance of
fundamental and lower partials over the higher partials, Selmer clarinets
have, to MY ears, a "darker" sound than Buffets do. I have played some
very nice sounding R-13's, but they sounded DIFFERENT from Selmers. I like
the Selmer sound. Of course, I have been playing my Series 10 for 30 years
now and am quite used to it.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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