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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, my band leader, Jim Miller (Trombonist and former owner of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra), recently gave me a Selmer clarinet that he said was owned by Jimmy Dorsey. My bandleader played in the original band at the time when Tommy and Jimmy were playing together. Apparently Selmer sent Jimmy a bunch of clarinets throughout the years to play, but he never liked them. He played on an old mixed and matched clarinet that he worked on and personally enjoyed playing. However, the clarinet given to me is one of the Selmer's that was sent to him. Jimmy had so many clarinets that he would give them out to the band members, even brass players. That's how my band leader got it.

I ran the serial number and it doesn't seem to match. It appears that its early 60's but Jimmy died in 57. I feel like I'm wrong though. I really believe that my band leader got this from Jimmy and the clarinet is almost like its new. No sign of residue on the original c* mouthpiece that came with it. No wear or tear on the clarinet itself. Its really nice. Here are some pictures for you guys:
http://jcstup.imgur.com/all/

You can see that the serial number is: S3036

Hope you guys have some input! thanks.
 

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Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall hearing that Jimmy Dorsey played Albert System. Of course that doesn't mean that he didn't OWN a Boehm clarinet. I guess the real issue then is whether this horn you have was made after Jimmy Dorsey's passing. If someone can show that it came from the era before Dorsey's passing, then it well could be true. DAVE
 

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JD did play Albert system and also screwed around later with half Albert and half Boehm, although I can't remember which half. JD was a Selmer Paris guy and Selmer stopped making Albert clarinets in the '30s. They may have sent him newer Boehm models for photos, or maybe JD was trying to switch over to Boehm (which is what probably killed him). Anyway, I know a guy who played lead alto in the Dorsey Bros band in the '50s, so I'll ask him about JD's clarinets.
 

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I believe the S series is 60's, the beginning of the Series 9, which came after the Centered Tone. This is a very nice gift. Don't worry too much about who owned it. Enjoy it and play it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JD did play Albert system and also screwed around later with half Albert and half Boehm, although I can't remember which half.
That explains what my band leader was telling me about him playing a mixed and matched clarinet. This guy(Jim Miller) is a trombone player, so he doesn't know much about the instrument itself. But he does tell some damn good stories.
 

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nice clarinet.

Anecdotal attribution to any famous player of any instrument, unless supported by pictures of the player actually playing it and some sort of statement, will only ever be a nice story to tell. Regardless, it is nice to know it, unless you are counting on it to bring you more money if and when you will sell it.
 

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beautiful clarinet but the story about JD having owned it I'm afraid can't be true because he died in 1957. This is a mid 60s vintage horn...beautiful looking horn and mouthpiece (early C* marking stamp on the table) The 9* is the starting point where Selmer adapted to the tapered bore and undercut tone holes in the upper joint that Buffet originated in the early 50s with Carre.
 

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Aside from being one of Bird's favorite altoists, Jimmy was the man on the clarinet, incredible talent! What we see him playing here is clearly some type of albert/oehler system and bear in mind he may have had a hand in designing this particular horn.

 

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I didn't bother to re-configure my Albert, Oehler, and Boehm clarinets in assembling the various joints, but I'm not sure it could be done, at least so the mish-mash horn could be played in tune.

The tuning barrels are of a different length and the upper and lower joints are different lengths. Yes, the horns are all of similar overall lengths, but the smaller parts aren't. I'm sure someone here will do it just to prove the point, and if so, that's fine. I just don't think it will work. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Aside from being one of Bird's favorite altoists, Jimmy was the man on the clarinet, incredible talent! What we see him playing here is clearly some type of albert/oehler system and bear in mind he may have had a hand in designing this particular horn.

Right. I never said he played this. He had many clarinets that selmer sent him and he didn't like them. They were always trying to get him to endorse new one and he never would. I must clarify that he never actually used this clarinet. He might have tried it out but never actually used it. He would get so many of these things sent to him that he would just hand them out to band members. This IS NOT the main clarinet that he played on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I didn't bother to re-configure my Albert, Oehler, and Boehm clarinets in assembling the various joints, but I'm not sure it could be done, at least so the mish-mash horn could be played in tune.

The tuning barrels are of a different length and the upper and lower joints are different lengths. Yes, the horns are all of similar overall lengths, but the smaller parts aren't. I'm sure someone here will do it just to prove the point, and if so, that's fine. I just don't think it will work. DAVE
I heard that he actually modified his clarinet completely. Jim Miller said that everyone thought it was ridiculous but Jimmy Dorsey didn't care because he liked what he played on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
According to the Morgan SN chart, this Clarinet was made in mid to late 1960...
I found other serials that say it was in 1961 produced.
Trust me, already looked at multiple charts, the problem is they are all different.

My question is, why does a trombone player who played with Dorsey have a clarinet then?? hahaha
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
unless you are counting on it to bring you more money if and when you will sell it.
NOPE! Never selling this one, I don't care who it belonged to. This is my first clarinet actually and I'm just thankful that its such a nice one.
 

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NOPE! Never selling this one, I don't care who it belonged to. This is my first clarinet actually and I'm just thankful that its such a nice one.
and it is. Enjoy having it regardless. Sinnce JD died in in 1957 he couldn’t have had this clarinet, however get in touch with Selmer France, they will know, for sure, if they had given this particular clarinet and to whom. Good luck.
 

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I went back and checked the charts, the Morgan chart in particular because I felt that the mid 60s period, as I previously assumed, wasn't right and yes this clarinet was made between 60 and 61.

http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Equipment/HowOld/Selmer.html

what you have is a very nicely made early example of Selmer's tapered bore that should play beautifully if it is set up properly. In that era it was a 3 horse race: Buffet, Selmer, & Leblanc. Your horn in particular was designed to compete directly with the best of Buffet's clarinets of that era.
 

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Tharruff, I didn't read the year correctly in your first post and you were indeed correct, what I thought I saw in your post was mid to late 1960's'. I have a V series Selmer circa 68 and didn't realize that the S series were that further back by at least 7 years.
Thanks for bringing Morgan's chart to light again for me and others. Again it is the overlap and transitions of the center tone into the series 9 & 9* that make Selmer clarinets very interesting to chronicle in that era, especially the Q-R-S series. The mid to late R models may have had quite a few series 9 models in the run, the S was all series 9 but then again there may have been some exceptions

According to the Morgan SN chart, this Clarinet was made in mid to late 1960...
 

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Dave, it's safe to say tha most of the major makers of clarinets in the very late 1800s and early 1900s experimented as well with combining the 2 major sytems and how well they played I guess was in the ears of the player and most of them claimed that the alberts had a superior lower register. It would be reasonable then to say that Dorsey had an interest in the experiments of Buffet, Selmer, Conn, etc. and he didn't want to wrap his mind around a boehm system instrument, if it was good enough for Bechet, Dodd, etc., it was good enough for him. He took it a step further with his own experiments and obviously didn't care that Goodman and Shaw were playing Boehm horns. Interestingly he played a very modern Selmer sax of the time, the BA...go figure...

I didn't bother to re-configure my Albert, Oehler, and Boehm clarinets in assembling the various joints, but I'm not sure it could be done, at least so the mish-mash horn could be played in tune.

The tuning barrels are of a different length and the upper and lower joints are different lengths. Yes, the horns are all of similar overall lengths, but the smaller parts aren't. I'm sure someone here will do it just to prove the point, and if so, that's fine. I just don't think it will work. DAVE
 
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