Subject: Clarinet Corner Query:
I have played a Selmer Balanced Tone clarinet for many years, (in a variety of jazz groups), and love the big Selmer sound. But for many years I have had intonation problems with this instrument, (which, I was told, has a larger bore than later Selmer models); either this problem is becoming worse, or my ear is becoming more sensitive to it. The barrel that came with the clarinet is about a 67 mm, and is a little too long for me to tune to most bands. Some time ago I ordered a 65 mm Selmer barrel through a music store that assured me it would work with the Balanced Tone. Perhaps because of the newer barrel, the BT’s scale is now inconsistent—and many different mouthpieces, (and a few generic barrels), have not improved the horn’s intonation. Is there a solution? Or should I dump the instrument, and get a later model Selmer?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Actually, with a clarinet played that much and so old, intonation can be getting worse, as the bore actually gets bigger perhaps, or certainly less well shaped. Clarinets do not appreciate, but they do get old, and many feel that ten or 20 years is quite enough, and will change.I do not feel that the sound of the Selmer is “big” or whatever size.
My suggestion would be to try a few instruments, take an hour or so and see if you hear and feel a big difference in what you try, expecially one for the better.
If you do, at that point it is time to consider getting a new instrument, and compared to the BT, the new selmers are really quite shockingly good, especially from the standpoint of tuning and sound.
Good luck, Sherman