Playing the refurbished Selmer Paris silver clarinet

I picked up my Selmer Paris silver (I’ve taken up this term instead of metal) five-piece clarinet from the repair shop. I spent about a half hour with my fav tech talking about this instrument.

After having spent a half year on a Leblanc Paris and periodically picking up my wife’s Buffet R-13 Festival I must say I was disappointed. I guess I had unrealisitic expectations for this instrument made ~1930. The keywords and action feel clunky compared to a modern instrument. The Leblanc and Buffet keyworks feel buttery smooth by comparison.

The tone is a little buzzy and there are interesting overtones and multiphonics happening. Given time I could overcome these sound disappointments. But then moving to a modern instrument would be very challenging. I must say the intonation is superb. Not as good as the Leblanc, but very doable.

The ergonomics are nasty. For example the bottom Eb key is placed so close to the surrounding keys that both the tech and I hit them when releasing the key. And if we change our hands to accommodate this interesting key placement, the other keys are hard to hit.

A good player would make this instrument sound fine and it is a looker! (Will post pictures later.) But alas it won’t become my primary instrument because I need every bit of edge that I can get to become a decent player.

I have a lot of money in this instrument. But it is a beautiful piece of art, that I will pull out and play for special occasions. Everyone I’ve showed it to is awed by it. I suspect that in the coming years it will be easy to get my money and a little more out of the deal. But I am in no hurry to do so just right now.


About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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