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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was cleaning out a closet in my house and came across my grandmothers clarinets. Sorry, but I play guitar not clarinet as my grandmother did. Well, I found her old clarinets. What i do know is, 1 is a b and 1 in an a . I remember her playing these in the 60's and 70's. She wasn't that bad for a woman her age! Now to the question if I could. From what I could find on the web and from local music sources is they are from between 1927 and 1931. Both are Selmers. A "K" series and a "Brevete S.G.D.G." The original barrels are not there. She had some aftermarket ones with them. My local music store cant or wont give me any information on them. Hence me coming here. Was told they are useless without the original barrels. I am really thinking that isn't right for some reason, as she played them from what i can remember with the redwood barrels and the electric barrel for us when we were kids. (she would plug into our guitar amps !) Now the actual question. Are these clarinets worth the $150 each they want to re-pad, re-cork and clean so my kids can play them or, are they something that should not be given to a 10 yr old to learn on? As for the value of them, it seems the music store wants them but wont actually tell me why or what they really are. HEEEELLLLLP!!!
 

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If you could attach some photos to your description it would help to identify and help you decide what is best to do with these clarinets. Was the shop you visited one that specializes in woodwind instruments?
 

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My guess is that these vintage professional quality Clarinets may still play, or perhaps need just a little attention; my tech can always work within my budget of ~$50 to get any instrument playing again as long as all the parts are there and it is not totally bent. Non-original barrels should not be a problem as long as they fit, so you have been very wise in asking for exra advice before deciding. Perhaps try to find a local Clarinet player who is not trying to push an agenda onto you, to see if these Selmers still do play (the smaller one in Bb is the usual key to learn on and play)... Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will attach some pics this afternoon. They are all there and still play, the tech told me the corks need replacement and the pads are old but there are no cracks or leaks. He sent me here because he was told by the store owner not to release too much information. I kind of suspect some kind of scam, but maybe its something else. They are just acting strange and not giving me any information. The tech took me to the side and gave me this web address.
 

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Any Selmer clarinet in reasonable shape is worth fixing up IMHO. Post some pictures if you can.
 

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My grandfather gave me his old Clarinet to learn to play on when I was 10 years old. It is also a Selmer 'K'...from about 1925. Certainly they are not 'useless' without the original tuning barrels if they have replacement tuning barrels that play fine. I'm not sure that I would give one of these to a 10 year old kid to take to school (even though that's what happened to me) but your kids could use the 'Bb' one at home to practice. Most music is written for Clarinet in 'Bb'. The 'A' Clarinet would be more for an advanced (orchestral) player. I still occasionally play Clarinet but I don't and have never owned an 'A' Clarinet. I think that you have a nice pair of vintage Selmer Clarinets and the store is looking to buy them from you for resale at a hefty profit. It's interesting that your grandmother had a barrel with an electric pickup...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Went and picked them up from the music store. Here are some pics. Funny thing is, he said they can be shined up and corks replaced for a mere $150 ea then offered me $125 ea. I said no thank you. He told me he would give me $25 ea yesterday. Don't really think I can trust him at this point. As for the electric barrel, it was made from a regular barrel and a mic type pick up by a friend of my father who repaired guitars. We are currently trying to find the box of barrels and mouthpieces. https://flic.kr/p/9326607199
 

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These are vintage PROFESSIONAL clarinets. Do not give them to a 10 year old. Wait until they can appreciate their value.
The 'A' clarinet will easily bring ~$1500 in playable condition. The B flat not so much.
As for the replacement barrels. They do bring the 'collector' value down, but it doesn't mean they're unplayable.
 

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I'm not sure that I would give one of these to a 10 year old kid to take to school (even though that's what happened to me) but your kids could use the 'Bb' one at home to practice.
Agreed. And even if your kids are careful, you still have the rest of the band to worry about. Keep them around, and if one of your kids decides to stick with it long enough, they'll have the pleasure of playing on a top-shelf clarinet that belonged to their great-grandmother.

Freightshaker, where are you located? Maybe someone here can suggest a reputable local technician who's not attached to a shady music store.
 

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Went and picked them up from the music store. Here are some pics. Funny thing is, he said they can be shined up and corks replaced for a mere $150 ea then offered me $125 ea. I said no thank you. He told me he would give me $25 ea yesterday. Don't really think I can trust him at this point. As for the electric barrel, it was made from a regular barrel and a mic type pick up by a friend of my father who repaired guitars. We are currently trying to find the box of barrels and mouthpieces. https://flic.kr/p/9326607199
You have what looks like a Bb and A pair of vintage Selmers - the larger A clarinet looks to be the older of the two - it has an older Selmer logo. Some great places to check for info would be Phil Fields' Clarinet pages, Steve Sklar's Clarinet Perfection site, and the Clarinet BBoard at woodwinds. org. At Clarinet Perfection, you may be able to look up the serial numbers of the instruments to determine when they were made. Those are likely a couple of rare old gems you have there. Don't let yourself be talked out of them for a song - that said, they'll need lots of work from a quality technician to be worth what they can be worth. They can live and sing again in the right hands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Agreed. And even if your kids are careful, you still have the rest of the band to worry about. Keep them around, and if one of your kids decides to stick with it long enough, they'll have the pleasure of playing on a top-shelf clarinet that belonged to their great-grandmother.

Freightshaker, where are you located? Maybe someone here can suggest a reputable local technician who's not attached to a shady music store.
Sorry I had to work the last 2 days and couldn't respond. I live in St petersburg Fl, so if you know a reputable repairman in the area please let me know. Thank you.
 

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There is a very reputable repair guy near Ft. Lauderdale who is a member of SOTW...but that is a pretty long drive from St. Pete. But you might contact him and see if he can put you in touch with someone that he could reccomend that is located closer to you...search for 'saxtek' in the members directory. (Randy Emerick)
 

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I think that's an exciting find. As mentioned, having the set does imply professionally owned....probably an orchestra player.

There's a tech in Indian Hills FL, SOTW member etc. He advertises repair videos if that rings a bell....last name begins with H.

Or maybe someone at Chris Elliot's in Ft. Meyers is into great old wood clarinets.

Greets from Stuart FL
 
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