Changing(in England) from Selmer 10S to Centered Tone

Dear Mr Friedland,
Let me first say how much I enjoy reading your postings on the clarinet corner site. I am a jazz player resident in England and for over 20 years have played the Selmer 10S using a Selmer E mouthpiece and Rico Royal reeds strength 2.5. The instrument plays well in tune with itself and I generally get the sort of sound I want. I have always been curious to try the famous Centered Tone clarinet to see if the sound would be any different. I recently purchased a Centered Tone clarinet of 1959 vintage from Gorbys Music in Charleston after a delightful e-mail correspondence with Vince Gorby. I am very pleased with the sound of this clarinet but the curious thing is that it will only play in tune when I use the E mouthpiece from my 10 S. I have tried HS* HS** and the C85/120 but they all seem to play flat at the top end of the range. This is not a big problem since I can use the Selmer E mouthpiece when I give the CT an outing but I wondered what your thoughts were on this experience and what is the recommended mouthpiece for the CT clarinet

Hello JL:
For me, this is a fairly logical answer to a frequent problem,( but of course, I claim the right to be wrong) I played the Selmer Centered Tone Clarinets for many years and started performing in a symphony orchestra on them. I played many mouthpieces on the clarinet but found the most success with a crystal Pomerico, made by the Argentinian Pomerico.When I first tried the mouthpiece, it was from a group of 6 which I bought from a clarinetist for 6 dollars a piece. I did not think much of them. But my wife, listening from the nest room asked me about one of them which she found better and different from the others. It turned out to be the best mouthpiece of that period for me. I also played many Selmer mouthpieces with these clarinets, namely, the “S”and the “C*”. What I am trying to express is that mouthpieces and people are very different animals, specifically regarding pitch.
Obviously ,you were used to your Selmer E mouthpiece on your 10s. (This happens to be one of the clarinets I’m playing on presently. I play it with w Richard Hawkins R mouthpiece with excellent results. Actually, I can reommend this particular Hawkins mouthpiece as being one of the very best mouthpieces being made . Richard Hawkins is an excellent clarinetis twho teaches as Oberlin College in Ohio. I find him to be the most sensitive of all of the mouthpiece makers.)This does not mean you will play better in tune on one of his mouthpieces. It means only that if you get used to a mouthpiece, a particular reed on a particular clarinet, you are very much conditioned to that clarinet, that mouthpiece and reed combination. It is where you are acoustically grounded. It’s where you hear the pitch and where you play it.

So finally, my suggestion is that you learn your new clarinet with your E mouthpiece. There’s really no need to change. We get used to mouthpieces and the pitch setup of the 10s and the Centered Tone is not that much different, the Centered Tone having a slightly bigger bore.
All of the additional mouthpieces are more different than are the two clarinets, so keep the E and have a good time with your Centered Tone.

best wishes, Sherman


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