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 What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-13 12:34

About 40 years ago, Selmer-Paris came out with a new model geared to the American.market and designed to compete with the hugely successful Buffet R13. From what I understand, it was a replica of a Buffet that had been tweaked for years by Anthony Gigliotti of the Philadelphia Orchestra and his renowned repair person, Hans Mönig. The 10G never took off, as far as I know, and was discontinued. My impressions of my very limited experience with it: its tone was too bright, probably reflecting. Mr. Gigliotti's taste in sound. Also the throat tones were pretty badly out of tune, my explanation being that the flare in the Monig barrel was slightly overdone. By giving it a darker sound that is more the flavor of the day and improving its intonation, this could become really successful on the the US market, for its a real A-440 clarinet. What are/were your impressions of it? Does anybody out there still play one? Thank you.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: John Peacock 
Date:   2021-09-13 13:05

I bought a pair of 10G's a few years ago as an experiment, but they ended up getting sold. I let a friend try them, who normally played on 10S's. His comment was "wow, they're so dark". Maybe this just shows that the "D word" is impossible to pin down. I got rid of them because I felt were too bright. And I also find the 10S too bright, but in a different way. The 10S is less resistive than the 10G, but neither of them could deliver the mellowness that you can get out of a good Buffet - or indeed out of a Selmer series 9*. I have one of those, and I enjoy playing it in a way that I never could with the 10G/10S. Although it's perhaps more for personal consumption, as the 9* tuning is not really up to modern standards. Perhaps that was the motivation for Selmer's shift to the 10 series, but I feel they lost something tonally even as the tuning was improved. Incidentally, it may be that the instrument you describe already exists in the form of the Selmer Privilege. That is more resistive than the 9*, and has a distinctly warmer sound than 10G/10S. The downside is that it's really heavy (almost as bad as the Recital), and has a few serious tuning issues (altissimo D and F are terribly flat) - but in many respects it's a really nice instrument.

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-13 13:40

Thank you John! The altissimo D and F are also flat on the Selmer Recital. The 9* and 10S have the Selmer genius: "genius" in the Latin sense of the word, meaning distinctive. The 10G seemed neither fish nor fowl to me.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: Jeroen 
Date:   2021-09-13 14:48

I have played a 10G Bb for a few years but traded it in for a new Buffet Festival. I found the intonation pretty good. Good throat register and up to E6 without pinky key. The Festival does need more attention imo. For me the sound was too dark, the Festival gives me more focus and power.



Post Edited (2021-09-13 14:50)

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-13 15:40

John: I find the main reason for the superior smoothness of Buffets compared with Selmers is ease in making register breaks. On Selmers, you have to struggle with these breaks more. However, Selmers have a certain grit, woodiness and rusticity that you don't get with Buffets. You loose on the swings what you gain on the roundabouts. To come back to the 10G, Leblanc also tried to cash in on the US success of the R13 by bringing out their L200. It never caught on either. You have prompted me to try out a Selmer 9* again; the last time I did this was....in 1966. I tested Jimmy Hamilton's new 9* and was bequeathed his old Leblanc LL.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-09-14 00:10

Ruben, I still play on my 10Gs bought in 1972 (Bb) and 1983 (A). By now they are probably "blown out" if there is such a thing, and I imagine a new set (approaching $10K or more) of Buffets or, maybe Uebels, might have more zip. But I've always liked the solidity and clarity of their tone and the general intonation. You have to keep in mind always that 10Gs weren't designed to follow in the Selmer line - they were meant to closely replicate an R13 adjusted to American tastes by Hans Moennig.

The problem continues with the use of "darker" and "brighter" when you describe their sound. Gigliotti meant to create an instrument that was "darker" in the sense that it was less strident, easier to control and better in tune off the shelf (without the benefit of Moennig's setup procedures) than R13s fresh from the Buffet factory. He described the sound as having an ideal combination of German and French qualities. I confess I never really heard the German part of the tone, but then I had never heard a German clarinetist live when the 10Gs came out (nor have I heard many except on recordings since). But even now my 10Gs seem to sound more concentrated and intense than my much older Moennig-adjusted R13.

Karl

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-14 00:50

Karl: -very interesting! Loren Kitt played a 10G: a fabulous clarinetist. Maybe I could talk Selmer into making them again. Unfortunately, the Selmer family, whom I knew, is gone and the company has been taken over by an investment fund. As far as I know, none of the members of the new management staff come from a musical background, as far as I know.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2021-09-14 02:54

I thought the 10 and 10G instruments I played were very good. I often felt that one big issue was that they were just a little different than Buffets AND at the time it was Buffet or nothing for most players. Back then it was really hard to find any major symphony player on anything other than Buffet. These days there is such a range of accepted instruments and possibilities that it is mind boggling. While Buffet is often still dominant, you find players much more willing to try other brands.

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ACCA 
Date:   2021-09-14 13:04

Well I really like mine!

As with many models, there is still some variation between them. Later models I have tried replaced the RH cluster crows foot with a mechanism on the C key cup which does the same job. A solid enough modification in it's own right, and these are still good horns, but the earlier ones with a crows foot (X-Z series serial numbers I think) play better and more alive. Find the right one, get it set up properly and you'll have a great horn for usually less than the price of an E11/13 and similar.

I would have described the sound of mine as "balanced" in terms of bright versus dark- my tastes may be a bit more to the bright side than the current status quo.

Build quality is superb and I just like it much better than any modern or vintage R13 I have tried.

You want "ping" and projection? Sweet and mellow? rich and complex? thick and creamy? light and lively? I found it gives the flexibility to do any of this as the music calls for, if you take your time to get to know it and sort out the right setup, which you'll need to do with any horn.

I'm using a Chadash barrel which improves dynamic range, Concept mouthpiece, and Legere Euros or Pilgerstorfer Morre cut. For me, that feels like a lot of clarinet for the money and definitely punching above its weight. YMMV as always. So to answer the OP, "what was wrong with it" for me the answer is "not much!"

Stay well everyone & best wishes.

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-14 17:06

ACCA: If Selmer listens to me -fat chance!!- I will try to talk them into bringing the 10G back, even if it's under a different name. A Chadash-type barrel would be a definite improvement, because the flare in the bore of the Mönig type barrel in the original is overdone. A Chadash-type barrel would improve intonation in the throat register.
Question: How is the 10G different from a Buffet R13? What did Mr. Gilgiotti and Mönig do to the former's original R13?

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-09-14 17:43

ruben wrote:

> Question: How is the 10G different from a Buffet R13?
> What did Mr. Gilgiotti and Mönig do to the former's original
> R13?
>

I'm not altogether sure exactly what Moennig was doing that was carried into the 10G. I was a college student. The R13s I owned had been set up by Moennig, so I had nothing to compare them to, and I only knew that they played better after Moennig worked on them. To begin with, every pad sealed, which was not (I think still is not) the case with off-the-shelf Buffets. I know he did a good deal of tone hole undercutting to free up the response on specific notes. He reamed the barrels to form the reverse taper in the bore. The original 10G barrels were lined, although someone told me recently that later ones (later than mine) were not. The RH pinky keys (not AFAIK a Moennig innovation) are angled upward - I think that was one of Gigliotti's preferences that got included in the design.

Beyond that, someone with more technical knowledge would have to continue the comparison. There must have been a great many of Moennig's signature tweaks that were incorporated. Once Gigliotti started playing the 10G prototypes, he would put black tape over the Selmer logos. When they came on the market, Gigliotti became persona non grata in Moennig's shop. We all (including Gigliotti) had to find other repair shops.

The point was not to reimagine the R13 in concept, but to create one that incorporated all of the tweaks Moennig made for Gigliotti and others into an instrument that was leak-free, evenly responsive, in tune and ready to play right out of the factory. At the time that was a little revolutionary.

Karl

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-14 20:22

Karl: I thought Selmer started making these instruments with Mönig's blessings. -apparently not! He must not have received the right financial reward for his work and didn't appreciate being copied. Here in France, Selmer players were playing 10S and found the sound of the 10G too small. At least that's what they claimed.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-09-14 21:19

ruben wrote:

> Karl: I thought Selmer started making these instruments with
> Mönig's blessings. -apparently not! He must not have received
> the right financial reward for his work and didn't appreciate
> being copied.

To say he was not pleased would be a colossal understatement.

Karl

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: m1964 
Date:   2021-09-15 08:26

Good clarinet making history lesson!

Thanks for sharing this info.

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ACCA 
Date:   2021-09-18 13:08

Ruben: good luck with talking Selmer into any such thing! I'm not sure from their point of view what they would be trying to achieve, or how they would market it, or where they would place it in their lineup. The Privilege, Signature, and Recital each have a clear position in the professional lineup, with the new Seles Presence occupying the high intermediate/ entry-level professional slot. It would be hard IMO to present a new "Reference 10G" model as something sufficiently distinct from the alternatives to be worth a try. The reason I went with my 10G is the amount of instrument you get for your money when buying used. Much as I'd enjoy trying out a modern reincarnation, I'd be very unlikely to buy one unless it was something significantly better than one of their current offerings, without a significant price premium. (and why would they undermine their current products like that!)

Stay well!

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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-18 16:36

ACCA: I think you're right and I doubt whether I'll get very far with Selmer. That said, Buffet has a model called la Légende that is basically a tarted-up version of I- don't- know- what model of the 60s. It would seem to me that there could be a market for a real Selmer A-440 clarinet that would appeal to all countries where they still play at A-440.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: prigault 
Date:   2021-09-18 18:41

ruben wrote:

> ACCA: I think you're right and I doubt whether I'll get very
> far with Selmer. That said, Buffet has a model called la
> Légende that is basically a tarted-up version of I- don't-
> know- what model of the 60s. It would seem to me that there
> could be a market for a real Selmer A-440 clarinet that would
> appeal to all countries where they still play at A-440.
>

That old model is the BC20, which had a sound of its own, but unfortunately the same goes for its intonation (hardly bearable for today's standards). So Buffet wanted to rejuvenate the former character while fixing the latter.

The Légende is the second iteration of clarinets on that bore family.

Interestingly, the first instrument on this line of bore was the Tradition, which was primarily intended for the US market. Buffet "did things right" for this process, recruiting several US clarinetists into the design. And what happened ? The Tradition sold really poorly in the US and did well in Europe, so much so that Buffet re-issued the Tradition only a few years later with changes aimed a the European players (borrowing its art-deco look, new medallion and plated posts from the Légende that is a hit in Europe). So you never know in advance the extent of the gap between the design/marketing intentions and the commercial reality.



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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: ruben 
Date:   2021-09-18 19:18

pigault: thanks for the information. It turns out that marketing isn't such an exact science after all. Furthermore, jumping on the R13 success bandwagon didn't work for Leblanc with their L200, even though they got Stanley Drucker to play it. Nor did it work for the Selmer 10G in spite of its being played by Gigliotti. Nevertheless, I feel I could improve the 10G if I were given a chance: improve its throat-tone intonation, make it more free-blowing and darker in tone.

rubengreenbergparisfrance@gmail.com


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 Re: What was wrong with the Selmer 10G?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2021-09-18 22:56

ruben wrote:

> I feel I could improve the
> 10G if I were given a chance: improve its throat-tone
> intonation, make it more free-blowing and darker in tone.
>

I'm not sure the throat tone intonation is a problem with the kind of mouthpiece they were modeled with. I don't find them flat - if anything they tend toward sharpness, depending on which of several mouthpieces I'm using and what barrel I'm using with it.

As far as "more free-blowing and darker in tone" are concerned, depending on exactly what you mean by "darker" you'd be risking defeating two of the features the original 10G was meant to provide - a cleaner, more focused tone and a little more resistance to blow against **than the R13s straight off the boat from the factory** provided. I'm not sure that anyone who is still devoted to the concept of the original 10G would be attracted to free-er blowing and darker (in the sense it's normally used these days).

Karl

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