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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There was a Luter piece on Ebay a few weeks ago that ended up selling for around $200. It was the first time I'd ever seen one, so I was surprised by this. There's not a lot of info on here other than Luter was affiliated with Sidney Bechet. The only things I can find about the mouthpiece are that it was based on/similar to Bechet's piece, and that it gets a big, dark sound. I happen to like a big, dark sound.

So, does anyone have any info on these pieces? Could you recommend a modern equivalent? Anyone close to the Selmer company who could get them to look into a reboot?
 

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Look up <Claude Luter et son orchestre.>. He led the most popular French jazz band in the 1940s and 1950s, though post-rebop peeps might not know about him. Creole Jazz was a big hit record for Luter. Bechet was very often the featured star artist with Luter's orchestre. Like Bechet, Luter was first a clarinettist; he added soprano to his game under Bechet's influence. He was such a big star in France that it's no wonder the Selmer company named a mouthpiece for him. If you want to find one of these mouthpieces, your best bet would be to try French sources. Try Paul Beuscher in Paris, for example.
 

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these are Selmer pieces with a CL on the table

they really don’t appear to be anything extraordinary to me. They look like they are of a stompy (short lay) design with a round chamber.

This, to me says that these pieces were mena tto be for older design horns, especially those which octave key is so close to the cork that makes impossible the use of a more modern , longer design (for example the S80 or the Concept)

The design appears to be similar to Lelandais or even a Ponzol HR ( I would advise to ry both especially the first can be acquired for little money), but even the most modest of all mouthpieces (Yamaha) should be for off (albeit longer than it may be used on a real vintage instrument and for wich the shank can be shortened making it a stompy).

This should be for sale right now

https://www.nicolastrefeil.com/selmer-claude-luter


Nicolas Trefeil

"La Roque Saint Loup" Email:

81700 Puylaurens, France. [email protected]



There was one for sale on ebay with a starting bid of €49 offer on a asking price of €500, it went unsold

https://www.ebay.fr/itm/282123186032


Also this one, asking price €400, unsold

https://www.ebay.fr/itm/183693317239


Searching the archives returns ( among others) this

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?15270-Selmer-sop-piece-Claude-Luter



From that thread info by Dave Dolson

I got a story second-hand about three years ago from a guy who was VERY close to George Probert (dec.) of the Firehouse Five plus Two. George was a monster soprano sax player in the old-school of trad jazz AND a fan of Sidney Bechet (as are most trad jazzers).

The story was that Selmer made Bechet's mouthpiece - a special project. George had a mouthpiece like it but of course he did not sound like Bechet - few do. I don't know much more than that but can only assume that anything associated with Claude Luter would be similar to what Bechet used, beings that the two were very close in Bechet's later life in France.

I was able to be gifted two of Probert's sopranos, one being a '27 Conn New Wonder II straight soprano in what appears to be a lacquered finish. I know, I know, supposedly Conn didn't lacquer their saxophones in 1927, but this one has what appears to be an original finish - and lacquered. It is a wonderful soprano.

My Conn is mouthpiece-friendly and plays well with a number of soprano mouthpieces. Right now, I'm using a Vandoren SL3, a scroll-shank Selmer Soloist-style C*, a Selmer S-80-D (cleaned up by Joe Giardullo), and an S-80 G (of exceptional smoothness) on it. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info so far!

... They look like they are of a stompy (short lay) design with a round chamber.
So like a Rascher with a smaller chamber?
 

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like the majority of mouthpieces before the people tried anything to make them different, until someone tried to made them as they originally were
 

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Um, I believe I was actually the person who bought the mouthpiece in question earlier this year, so... I can answer some questions.

I emailed Selmer asking about it a few months ago. They told me that this was modeled after the piece they custom-made for Sidney Bechet in the 1950s, with the only change being a slightly shorter facing curve. It was made briefly in the 1970s. It sold well in the first year or two but sales declined quite a bit after that, and they discontinued it a few years later.
I also learned that Selmer Paris' customer service is not what it used to be - they simply didn't respond to my first two emails about it, and that's all they gave me when they finally did respond.

The facing break is actually a good medium length at 16.3mm. Tip opening is a smidge under .060". I'd say it has a medium rollover baffle just behind the tip, and the floor is fairly low with lightly scooped sidewalls. The chamber is very slightly larger than the bore - it looks more or less like a Link STM tenor or bari, but because of the wall thickness of the neck, of course that is functionally a larger chamber on soprano than T/B.

It is most decidedly not a Rascher school piece. If you want that, I'd recommend a Caravan, a Rascher, a refaced Buescher or other vintage stubby blank, or a vintage New York Meyer.
It also isn't a good alternative to a Slant - a Slant is more free blowing and more spread. If you want a modern alternative there, just get a Wanne Gaia.

I have not played a Morgan Jazz Large Chamber, but based on the pictures and description, I believe that might be a pretty close match.
I didn't even know these existed until less than a month ago but somebody told me the new Ponzol EBO is also similar. Maybe someone who has played one can give some details about them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info! I've been super curious about the Luter pieces, but yours was the first and last I've seen so far. Do you like it? And do you use it for classical or jazz playing?
 

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Pop/rock and jazz. I could use it for classical - on soprano I won't use a piece that isn't versatile enough for me to say that - but if I actually played classical with any frequency there are other pieces I'd prefer.

I do really like the piece. I won't go through the whole spiel of how I arrived at using it; suffice it to say that it is a very powerful piece, but it still has a full sound and only gets that nasal Coltrane-y quality if I deliberately voice harshly (and I don't like that sound). I don't sound anything like Bechet on it either, but for what I want from soprano I am very happy with it.

There is one weird thing though. It isn't picky about individual reeds, but it is very picky about reed cuts. It only plays well for me with a Java Red, V16, or V12 - every other Vandoren cut and Select Jazz reeds play terribly on it. This was quite a contrast to my Super Session, which gets along fairly well with every reed I give it.
 

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Update - the Morgan large chamber is nothing like the CL. That piece has more in common with the old New York Meyer than anything. Still don't know about the Ponzol.

Mojo, I suppose that is possible, but I'm quite happy with it using a Java Red. It works with every reed in a box (or at leas the four I've broken in so far) so it isn't a matter of individual reeds, it just thrives with certain cuts and sucks with others.
Selmers also have a reputation for holding up well, don't they? FWIW the break length is the same on both rails.
 
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