A set of Centered Tone Clarinets

Hello Mr. Friedland,

I have a pair of Selmer Centered Tone Clarinets that I inherited from my former clarinet teacher who played professionally in California many, many years ago. The b-flat serial number is R1257. The A clarinet serial number is P5832. Can you tell me how old these clarinets are? How would I go about selling them and what is a fair price? Thank you for your time and help.


The best place to sell the clarinets is Ebay. That may be the only avenue in which you may be able to get a fair price for the instruments. I would suggest that you first go to ebay and look up Selmer Clarinets, or clarinet in general. There you will find many instruments and prices listed for sale. That will give you an area to look at in order to assist you in answering some of the questions you have asked.
As far as the Centered Tone clarinet, it is currently in great favor especially among players of Jazz or enthusiasts, the reason being that it is supposedly a large bore instrument, favored by oplayers of Jazz. It is not that large, only .590, as opposed to .575 for a smaller-bored instrument, and any kind of music can be played on any clarinet regardless of bore, despite what the mythology may be, and mythology is important because you will have more buyers who will be interested in the CT (as it is called) clarinet. Also Benny Goodman is purported to have played one for a while. In any event, he made an ad for the Selmer Company advertising that instrument.
The largest determinant for price will be the condition. Cracks or splits, pads, corks and springs and general appearance is important. Also as important is the particular layout of the keys, if it is an ordinary clarinet with 17 keys and 6 rings, (which is ordinary) or if it has more keys, such as full-boehm which has 19 or 20 keys and 7 rings, the more the keys, the higher the price depending upon condition the all-important factor. Also case will figure in as well. The clarinets were made in the 50s or so, but the condition is the most important aspect as I have already mentioned. A set of used CT clarinets in excellent condition may bring as much as 800-2000 dollars, or as little as 500-1000 dollars.
I hope that I have been of some help.

Actually, I played a set of Centered Tone Selmer Clarinets when first I started playng in the Milwaukee Symmphony Orchestra, many years ago.
I remember them with great fondness. They were full-boehm Mazzeo System instruments and I wish I could come upon them again.

Sherman Friedland


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