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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks

My next door neighbour wants to learn the clarinet. He is a late bloomer and is a big fan of Sidney Bechet. He truly loves Bechet on the soprano, but knows that the soprano saxophone is the hardest one to control intonation. He also knows Sidney Bechet was a fanastic clarinet player and thus wants to start here......Now being neighbours, he gets to listen to me practice, and my three children practice, so he figures I know clarinets....(wrong)......I've never played one.

Now....he is at a stage of life where he wants to treat himself to a nice clarinet and get on with learning it. He is a learned man, and has been doing his research for 30 years because he wants to buy a Selmer clarinet.

Can someone point me to a decent Selmer model to search for. I know there are probably cheaper and better options with different brands but I think he has his heart set on buying a Selmer......He is a good neighbour to me and I want to help out on his musical journey....

thanks for listening
 

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I see you're down and under (or I am, but same result....), which might make it tricky. Nevertheless, there is a guy working closely with Selmer Paris who specializes in refurbishing Selmer clarinets, mainly Centered Tones and Series 9, the most sought after by jazzmen here in Europe. I should meet him sometimes next week, to choose one from around 50 (no joke !) horns. I can ask him if he'd consider a deal abroad, and how to handle it. He is based in Belgium or France, depending on the season.
 

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It sounds like your neighbor is more interested in the name Selmer than in playing the clarinet. Have you asked him why of all brands he has a thing for Selmer if he has never played one? If he has his heart set on a Selmer just find a reasonably priced plastic Selmer and go at it. If he has never played clarinet, he will not notice the subtle differences between high end and low end, plastic and wood. If he's just a guy with too much money and wants to buy just because...... have him pick within his price range and go from there.

There really are very few "bad" clarinets out there for the beginner. Selmer or otherwise.
 

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I'll bet he is interested in an older model Selmer - Ser 9, CT, BT, RI. And why not? They're plenty of clarinet for the money. You could learn on one and stay with it for years.
 

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There are MANY Selmer clarinets that would suit an adult beginner. I wouldn't recommend 'plastic' student horns unless I felt that the 'adult' wasn't the type to properly care for a wood instrument.

A few that I've played and found to be very nice are:
Signet Special and Soloist. Good 'higher intermediate/entry level pro' clarinets.
Omega. My daughter has the Omega and it's a VERY nice sounding/playing clarinet.
I tested a 10G and another of the '10' series, I can't remember what it was, 10SII? Both were nice, but didn't thrill me.
If he really wants to spend the big bucks he should go with a Signature or St. Louis.
 

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If the guy loves Sidney Bechet so much (like I do) maybe he should find a decent Albert System and get it on. After all, if he's just starting out, what's the dif?

Bechet, like so many early jazzers, played Albert System (and marvelously, too). Of course, that doesn't mean he can't do it on a Boehm, and I agree that limiting himself to Selmers (Albert or Boehm) is . . . limiting. I do my Bechet-shtick on a Buffet Boehm. DAVE
 

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Bandmommy, we don't need another clarinet controversy but.......why would you not recommend plastic student horns to anyone? Why go through the hassles of "caring for wood" if you can buy a Vito-40 for under $50 and have one incredible horn?
 

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With some 'adults' if you recommend a 'plastic' clarinet they feel like you have insulted their abilities to care for the 'grown up' version of the instrument, or their sincerity in learning to play.
Most 'adults' are looking for what they would consider a 'real' clarinet. ie one made of wood.

Now if someone were to ask me what clarinet would be best for a kid who may be playing in marching band, a 'doubler' who needs a durable instrument for outdoor work or 'iffy' venues... then I would probably suggest one of the many fine playing 'plastic', hard rubber, or greenline clarinets.

I have no real bias towards non wood clarinets. I have a plastic Artley that I've used when conditions were 'harmful' for my Buffet or Signature.
I was only making suggestions that wouldn't be 'offensive' to an 'adult beginner'. :)
 

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Yeah, I'm with bandmommy on this. According to the OP, the guy has been doing research for years, wants a "nice" clarinet, and has decided Selmer is the way to go. Telling him to get something likely to be perceived by him as a "beginner" type horn would likely frost him. (Even if he is a beginner.) This is someone who apparently won't even consider trying a Buffet or other perfectly good horn.

Logic has been trumped by desire, so no matter how much sense a plastic horn might make, it shouldn't be the first recommendation. At best maybe it could be a secondary choice ("...or if you want to pay less money, and have something easier to take care of, maybe a xxxx would be a decent choice.")
 

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Not so different from an adult beginner with money to spend on a horn and wants a Mk VI.

It's OK. They may get what they want and love it.
 

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I'm guessing the OP will share all of this with his neighbor. They should be capable of sorting it all out. No harm in any of it. As far as adults who like nice things, and can afford them . . . all the more power to them. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks all for your input. As I said, he wants to treat himself to a nice Selmer Clarinet. Its not my call to talk him out of it as I don't see it as a big deal. I have a few models now to recommend to him, and get him started on his journey.

thanks again
 

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To me it is the equivalent of a beginner driver insisting on using a Merc rather than a Corolla to do the shopping.
And he won't even consider an Audi or Lexus? Nuts!

If that is the case, does the model of Merc really matter?

Does he even know the difference between a Selmer Paris and a Selmer USA?

I think he needs a reality check. Even when he is a reasonably good player, his audience won't know whether he is playing a Selmer Paris or a student Yamaha.

Some of the most "wow!"-ful playing I ever had next to me in a pit was on a B & H Regent, and a student Yamaha is a step up from that.

Sorry to speak my mind. Dismounts soap box. (Once I have adjusted a student Yamaha, it is a fantastic instrument. My guess is that those who dis student clarinets have never played one well adjusted.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the advice Gordon.........I hope the soap box lives to fight another day !

Trust me on this one.........
 

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It obvously sounds like this gentleman has his mind made up on Selmer. If he want's a "Bechet" like sound, there are quite a few to choose from. I'd recommend looking at a Selmer series 9*. They have a larger bore and are great horns. So is the Balanced tone and the 10G series. The old Center Tones are great horns as well.

Dexdex: I can't believe you're going to be able to pick from 50 great old horn's! I'd go nuts and bankrupt at the same time. ( OK already have the "nuts" part down ) Let us know how your trip goes. I've never been at a dealer or collector that had that many clarinets of any type ( Vintage ) at one time. You are one lucky guy.
 
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