Another Selmer 10S admirer

Dear Sir,

I have read your articles on several occaisions and always find them
interesting… thanks for the time you obviously put into answering

I recently bought myself a new (old) clarinet, A Selmer 10S. According
to the serial number it was made in 1981. I’d been looking for one for
some time; there’s a bit of a story why…

I saw a ‘french, wood’ clarinet offered in the local paper two years
ago, and went to have a look, it was a 10S. It was an absolute dog…
dried out, almost no corks, no case. Just for a laugh I tried to play
it. The notes that played had an awesome sound that I’d never heard
myself produce before… I almost bought it, but they’d been told it
was worth a fortune, which it clearly wasn’t in that condition, so I

I found the current one going for a good price on ebay and grabbed it.
It didn’t disappoint when it arrived, plays for me with a similar big
sound to that I remembered, and my family seem to like the sound it
makes too. It’s a bit rough though, lightly corroded on some of the
keys etc., so it’s currently with my tech being cleaned up and repadded
at the same time.

OK, so after the preamble, the question….

I can’t seem to find very much on the web regarding the 10S, but I note you’ve mentioned it once or twice in your anecdotes as an instrument
you once owned. I was wondering if you would care to give an expert
opinion on the instrument, and how it compares with the oft recommended
Buffet R13 and its peers.

Secondly, I would like to set it up with a nice mouthpiece. It came
with a Selmer C*, which is the only one I’ve played it with so far. It
sounds OK, but maybe not quite as big a sound as the ‘dog’ which I
think had a 5RV on it. I have a 5RV which I haven’t tried yet but have
read somewhere that the bore of the Selmer doesn’t suit that of the
Vandoren (maybe I should stop reading…). Anyway, would you recommend
a mouthpiece or two to try with the 10S? I play exclusively solo stuff
with a very modern church band, so the big sound is an advantage, and
I’m not looking to ‘blend in’ with a section. (I also play tenor and
alto saxes).

I expect with the amount I play that, providing it works well for me, I
will keep this instrument forever. However it would be nice to know
what I have bought, and also to have it set up as well as I can get it.
Your reply would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time, and apologies for rambling!

Hi there:

I still own a Selmer 10s. It is most surely the best clarinet for even register
and intonation I have known.
Mouthpiece is kind of tricky. I would suggest trying one of the following
Selmers 108,110, 0r 120.
Also try a Van Doren M13, my latest but more for my Opus than 10s.
You need a deeper quality for this really nice instrument.
It tends to be rather bright sounding with an HS* or B45. I like all of the
others much more on this instrument. But regardless the tuning is best. Keep
the instrument.
They are close to the R13, but better in tune as I remember.
The 10G had something to do with Gigliotti in the instrument. The 10S is a
refinement of that clarinet.
I am quite sure it speaks very well and with resonance, just watch
brightness, which was my problem.
The 108-10-or 120 are better sounding, also a bit better in tune and perhaps
a little lower in pitch which may be problem.
Congratulations on your new acquisition, and the best of good luck.

sincerely, sherman


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