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 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-14 20:59

Hi all,

I've just obtained a Selmer Eb clarinet probably from the 60s, which plays really well, but is proving really awkward to identify properly. It doesn't have a model name stamped on it, but does have a few features of the full Boehm instruments being made at that time, such as the articulated C#/G# and the 3rd left hand ring.

The serial number is only three digits long and is located beside the rods that the left hand keywork pivots from. I've already contacted Selmer about it, but they claim not to recognise the number.

I've had a few possibilities suggested to me:

1) It's not a genuine Selmer.
I don't think this is the case - it feels a lot like a Selmer to play, it's got the distinctive sound of a Selmer, the keywork is of Selmer's design and so on. I see no reason other than the odd serial number to support this.

2) It was a prototype model that wasn't necessarily meant for the market.
I suppose this might explain the serial number, which may in fact just be a reference number for the guys in the workshops. It might also explain why the number is in such an odd place, and why it has some but not all of the full Boehm keywork.

3) Selmer have lost their records for this particular range of serial numbers.
We all know it happens to all of the major manufacturers from time to time. I suppose this is plausible, but doesn't help me very much.

4) It was custom made to a unique order and so wasn't assigned a serial number from their standard line.
This also seems plausible, but unlikely. The odds of picking up a unique instrument by random chance seem low given that there must be far more 'standard' production instruments around.

I'm out of ideas. It's a great little instrument with a wonderful tone and surprisingly accurate tuning even by the standards of modern instruments, and it's quite frustrating for it to carry such a secretive past! I'm currently having it repadded, but will put up some pictures when I get it back in a few days.

Has anyone else seen a similar instrument, or would be able to offer any insights on what might really have been going on when it was made?

Thanks a lot,
Aaron



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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: jdbassplayer 
Date:   2017-12-14 21:15

Does it not have a Selmer logo? Can you post a picture?

-Jdbassplayer

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-14 21:28

Hi jdbassplayer,

It does have a Selmer logo, yes. I'll post a picture as soon as I get it back from repadding (hopefully this weekend).

Aaron

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-12-15 00:56
Attachment:  series9eb.jpg (263k)

Selmer Ebs usually only have the Selmer logo on them. I've got a Series 9 Eb and that doesn't have Series 9 on it.

Chris.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-15 01:53

I'm aware most Selmer Ebs don't have more than just the logo, but nonetheless I'd really like to know what it specifically is.
It's my understanding that the series 9s normally have the hexagonal register key inserts (or at least the Bbs and As did? Please of course correct me if I'm misinformed). Mine doesn't have that in any case.
Then again, I can't find anything suggesting they produced anything that wasn't called a 9 or 9* during the 60s. Maybe it's just possible it's from the back end of the CTs, though CT Ebs are pretty rare and I doubt it would have been sold without mentioning something so important. I am told it's from roughly the 60s, though this is all I have to go on there.

Thanks
Aaron

Unrelated note - your's looks wonderful! Are there any D clarinet parts that actually require the use of the full Boehm's low Eb key, or is it most useful just in aiding the resonance of E/B?



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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-12-15 02:18

Low Eb also makes for a useful mid stave Bb as well as adding resonance to the E/B. Mine has the hexagonal speaker bush as did the CT Ebs before it.

Some Series 9/9* Bb/A clarinets didn't have the Series 9 logo on them, likewise some CTs weren't even marked as such, but they did have the hexagonal speaker bush.

Has the serial number on your Eb got a letter prefix or is it just three numbers? Has it got the round or oval Selmer logo?

Chris.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-15 02:58

There's no letter prefix, just the three numbers. The logo is the round one.

Looking at your picture, there are some subtle differences between our two Ebs, around the area between the left and right hands. The linking mechanisms from the right hand rings and the articulated C#/G# are fundamentally the same (as far as I can tell), but designed slightly differently. I wish now I'd taken some pictures before I dropped it off with my repairer this morning!

Aaron

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: Ed 
Date:   2017-12-15 06:22

Perhaps it is an earlier model?

My Series 9 Eb has the register key bush mentioned and is marked Series 9 .

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2017-12-15 18:02

What plating has been used on the keys? If it is unplated the clarinet could be a lot older than the 60's.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-15 18:26

It's not silver plated, that's for sure. A lot of the original plating has worn off so it does look unplated in some places now, but I think it was originally nickel plated.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-20 02:43

I've got it back from repadding now, and here are a few pictures.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-20 02:47

pics did not attach i think

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-20 02:48

I've got it back from repadding now, and here are a few pictures (sorry about the poor lighting quality). If anyone can tell me anything about it, it'd be much appreciated!
Thanks
Aaron

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-20 02:52
Attachment:  20171219_222020088.jpg (668k)
Attachment:  20171219_221807027.jpg (549k)
Attachment:  20171219_222237421.jpg (364k)
Attachment:  20171219_221852537.jpg (614k)

This time genuinely with pictures (I hope)

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-12-20 05:14

Interesting that it has the mechanism that closes the c#/g# key when the right rings are down, without having an articulated g#. I've only ever seen this before on German clarinets (actually my wife has one at him with this mechanism). It can actually be retrofitted to a boehm clarinet without too much hassle.... Dn

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: donald 
Date:   2017-12-20 05:27

(it requires an ingenious clutch mechanism on the c#/g# key that I'll try to photograph later on)

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2017-12-20 21:25

That's an early 20th Century Selmer as the keywork is very Buffet-like. The long Bb clutch is the same as on Buffets whereas later Selmers had a screw adjustment on the top side of the ring keys to regulate the long Bb.

I'm surprised it has the throat G#-A adjusting screw as older Selmers didn't have that, unless it's been added at some point.

Mine being a full Boehm (No.8 in Selmer's catalogue) has the articulated C#/G# but the pad cup is mounted on the same steel as the B/F# sliver key (and uses the same curved arm and pad cup as the sliver key). The C#/G# touchpiece has a plain arm on the end to hold the pad cup closed. I added an adjusting screw to the linkage from the RH ring keys as it didn't have that and having cork pads, it really needs that to get the regulation spot on.

As your Eb has the forked Eb/Bb and articulated C#/G# (but no LH Ab/Eb lever which would make it No.6), it's the No.4 spec:

http://www.woodwindforum.com/clarinetperfection/galleryclar/SelmerParis/Ads/1928/Page02.jpg

Chris.

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 Re: 60s(ish) Selmer Eb clarinet identification
Author: AaronHB 
Date:   2017-12-21 03:43

Chris, thanks very much!
As soon as I started thinking in the right decade, everything made sense!
Assuming the information on the website you linked to is correct with regard to earlier serial numbers, that would put mine somewhere between 1930 - 1932 ish, right at the time when they changed the logo. Now I'm better informed, the subject of this thread feels a bit embarrassing...

Thanks everyone for your help! [toast]

Aaron



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