Dear Sherman, thank you, first of all, for being such a strong resource in the clarinet world. My question is about the new (to me) selmer 10s I recently bought from a second owner. He stopped playing it about 6 months ago and the clarinet shrunk. Despite this, I loved the tone of it and figured that if I humidified it, the horn would be a great horn again. I then took the horn to a tech and had it fixed up, but I still have a problem with it. The horn has excellent intonation from the top on down till low c and lower. from there, it becomes very sharp; sometimes as much as 20 cents or more on the A and Ab!
Before playing this horn, I used an r13 for years and this horn feels much different. Could it be that I just need to get used to it (I’m not the greatest Bb player…I’m a Bass clarinetist), or have you come across a 10s like this before?
Thank you so much, M.
Thank you for your note about the 10s you recently acquired.
First, I would ask you how you know it has shrunk? Did you measure it? In what way was it smaller? I think that shrinking is highly unlikely.
The first response I can give you is that if you played an r13 for a while, it could have been flat in the right hand and you could have been compensating on that clarinet. If you were, it would be normal for you to play sharp in the same register on the 10s. In changing clarinets most would do well to remember my friend Tom Kennys admonition about used cars: “You cannot tell if a used car burns oil for at least 30 days.”(Tom Kenny is one of the world great French Horn players, having played first for Szell in Cleveland and also for Paray in Detroit. You can take that statement to the bank for clarinets as well. It’s really impossible to tell anything about a new horn until you’ve played it for a good while.
I play the 10s and have found it to be the most in tune clarinet ihave played and the most even as well. It is one of Selmers finest instruments in my experience.
If you played an r13, you definitely were compensating for whatever was eccentric about the pitch of that instrument. It could have had a flat right hand and you could have been always do what you could to play it sharper. And that would account for the Selmer 10s apparent sharpness.
I would give it a good month and reassess.
Good luck and keep practicing.
Best regards, sherman