Silver (Metal) Clarinets

DSC00617 I’ve taken a liking to metal clarinets. Since I only buy the silver ones, I call them silver. Silver clarinets were very much in vogue in the early twentieth century. More durable than wood, you would see them in military bands and such. There are a few out there that are the standard bearers that I’d like to mention. The penultimate sliver clarinet site is here:

SilverBetLogoI want to to talk about a few instruments that I have found on eBay. The Selmer Paris, is in my opinion the gold standard for this category. It has a built-in tuner in the barrel, sounds as good as any instrument I’ve played and is a looker too. You can see more here. They go on eBay for around a $1000 – 1500 if you need to repair them and higher in good condition.

SilverSonicBellThen there is the almost mythical SilvaBet, short for the old Bettoney SilvaBet Boston clarinet. It is known for it’s fine sound and esquisite engraving. The last one I saw on eBay went for around $1000 as these babies have gotten rather popular.

Finally there is the King Silver Sonic. The bell is marked Sterling and engraved as the King Super 20 Silver Sonic made by H.N.White Ohio. the inside of the bell is a gold wash and this high-end instrument is a looker as well as player. This instrument recently went for over a $1000 on eBay.

You can read more and talk with owners of instruments like these on the Woodwind forum. It should be noted that most metal clarinets are crud, only good to hand on the wall to remind us of days gone by. But the nicer, high-quality silver clarinets well… I luv to pull out my Selmer Paris silver clarinet just to wow people and get them to ask me dumb questions like, is that a soprano sax?  ;o)

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 Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra), and enjoy time with family and friends.
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13 Responses to Silver (Metal) Clarinets

  1. Beth says:

    Here again I can’t post anything intelligent so I will just say hello and I hope your day went well.  😉

  2. coco says:

    It looks like wonderful!

  3. Rambling says:

    THAT was funny!  Is that a soprano sax!  Um. No.By the way, it is lovely.  I noticed the engraving immediately and that alone would make me wish to have it.  Is it truly silver or a  metal other than?Do you feel a clarinet is easier to play than a trombone or trumpet (for a young person).

  4. Rambling says:

    Just went to the website and I see they are silver plated.  They are lovely!!!  That engraving..tres bon.

  5. daphne says:

    I love those pictures! Did you make them? I especially like the one where the clarinet is all ‘undone’ on a sheet of music – very atmospheric.
    love, daphne

  6. Barb says:

    I think they all look beautiful .. I love the sound however I would be the bright one
    asking unintelligent questions too:)

  7. JaAG says:

    The disassembled clarinet is my Selmer Paris silver clarinet. I love the sound and look. I have Buescher Tru-tone silver clarinet in the shop being finished by Steve Nelson. It has different (Albert vs. Boehm) fingering. I think that clarinet is one of the hardest and most useful instruments to start on, but then I’m really woodwind guy. If one learns to play the clarinet, going to sax or flute is relatively easier than vice versa.

  8. Chris says:

    I own a gold and silver store where I purchase scrap gold and silver. Monday I bought a H N White "Silver King" clarinet not knowing that all of it wasnt silver just the bell. After research I did however find out it is worth more as an instrument than scrap. It is in its original case and had not been opened in 63 years. Do any of you know what this clarinet is worth? It needs polishing but all the parts are in tact and it even has a the mouth piece and a reed. It doesnt seem to have any major flaws ie dents or dings and the bell is straight. My son plays the sax and he is 15 but knows nothing about this piece. I would rather something like this go to someone who will use it than to cut it up for scrap. Like I said it does need to be polished and cleaned but all of the clarinet is here and works as it should because my son did try it out though he isnt a clarinet player he could make it make sounds. If you can help you can reach me by email at golddaddy69 at gmail dot com. Thanks for your help in advance and hope to find someone who will appreciate this and save it from the acid bath.

  9. Pingback: Clarinet Solo Stretch Goal: Stompin’ at the Savoy | The Bis Key Chronicles

  10. Michael Snyder says:

    I have an Andre Marcel Silver Clarinet, Paris, France and can not find any information about it. Do you know anything about it? It’s a beautiful instrument. Thanks for responding

  11. Gandalfe says:

    Michael, I’d ask that question on the Woodwind Forum at

    There are a lot of experts there that are invested in answering questions like that. The best way to get a complete answer is to include pictures of the instrument. Good luck!

  12. Emily Fenn says:

    Hi there! I was wondering, can a metal clarinet be cleaned with the same polish for a brass instrument?

    • Gandalfe says:

      I would use a silver polish, rather than a polish for brass for silver plated instruments. For nickel plated instruments, I don’t know of anything that can be used effectively. Remember, 98% or more of metal clarinets are absolute dreak, only suitable to use in art. You can read more on the Woodwind Forum.

      If you don’t like liquids (I don’t) you can use the silvercloth fabric to polish. SilverCloth can be found at your local fabric store. There are two kinds, one to keep in your case to slow down the tarnishing and the other an actual polishing cloth. Good luck.

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