(Names have been left out in order to respect the writer)
I hope you can help me out in my dilemma. I am solo clarinetist in ****** band also do a fair bit of freelance playing on the side as well. Iíve been playing on professional Selmer clarinets since High School (1982) and Iíve always been satisfied with the instruments. I own a Selmer 10S & a Selmer Centered Tone. . I am currently playing on a 10SII which I have been playing on for the last eight years. Itís generally been a very good instrument. Iím able to play in tune with the rest of the section (who all play Buffets) although; Iíve had to work quite a bit on the intonation in the altissimo register.
After doing some research on the pro Selmer horns, I became interested in the new Signature model. I was impressed with the feedback from other clarinetists about the great intonation and response. I also had the opportunity to try one last year while I was visiting Tokyo Japan. It played extremely well in tune and was very free blowing.
Hereís the problem. I requested four or five Signature clarinets to try out with the idea of keeping one of them for purchase. The local instrument dealer who won the tender and supplied the clarinet for me was only able to obtain two clarinets from the supplier (I assume that would be Selmer in Elkhart Indiana) They came in last week Iíve tried them both & two of my colleagues have also tried them out & weíve all come up with the same conclusions. In both instruments, the low E & F and the middle register B & C are extremely flat (twenty cents or more). You canít even begin to try to adjust these notes with your embouchure. Is this a problem that can be fixed or are there just poorly manufactured clarinets with unfixable intonation problems? Complicating this problem is the fact that the money in the budget has to be spent by the end of this month or the funds are lost. So, if I do not accept either instrument, theyíre sent back the supplier and I may have to wait a year or more before I can order another. Is there any truth to the notion that Paris keeps the best clarinets for themselves, sends the rest to the U.S. and other countries & Selmer U.S. sends their rejects to Canada? ——————————————————————–
As far as Paris keeping the best clarinets for themselves, that is absolutley not true. They sell many more hundreds of instruments on this continent than in Europe , hence it would be very bad business for them to do this. (The supplier sent you only two because he only asked for two) My immediate response is to send the horns back right away and also to request a Buffet instead.
That probably sounds heretic to you, but I have been in sections wherein I was the only player of Selmer and it is uncomfortable musically as well as personally.
The Selmer horn has been playing low at the bottom of the horn since the entrance of the first Recital, of which I had a set. The low f was unplayable unless you whispered into the instrument. I ended up donating them to Concordia University.
I find that this problem with Selmer is here, and you have corroborated it.
You are a professional and I would consider changing horns if I were you.
I am currently playing Yamaha and they have the best tuning…..period.
The high register is much better than either Selmer or Buffet.
As soloist with the band you ought to be able to play what you want and they ought to be able to accomodate your wishes.
There is of course the possibility that the bell might help if you had it cut, again probably a hereitc thought but you have the same thing in 12ths on the intrument, so what can you lose. Or see if you can get a shorter bell from a colleague to try. Me, I would have it cut, period, especially if I could not send the horns back.
Your band director will help you on this; I just know he will. A couple of phone calls from him to Selmer will help, I just know it, and he can do things with the budget, that I am sure.
Let me know what happens.