Selmer 9* with voicing hole

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I am following the auction of a series 9* on ebay. It appears to be in excellent condition, having been completely overhauled and reconditioned (according to the seller who has an excellent ebay feedback record). One aspect of this clarinet that leaves me with some doubt. A small “voicing hole” at some time was drilled in the bell of the clarinet. Could you advise me as to the purpose of a “voicing hole” such as the one in this clarinet, and how effective is it to achieve its purpose. Another concern I have is the effect of this “voicing hole” has on the resale value of the clarinet.

Thank you for your fine discussion group. You comments have guided me over the years.


Dear JT
Concerning the 9* clarinet you are considering , as a Selmer user and clinician for many years, I might suggest that you think twice about the purchase. Although advertised as a big bore clarinet, the 9 was just a wee bit bigger than the 9*, which was talked about being a smaller bore. In experience, neither seemed to be an outstanding instrument, either in the Selmer lineup or in “the business”
That is not to say that you may be considering a great horn, but only to give you my impression.

The “voicing hole” opens a new doorThis was done on many different instruments of all makes, and it served several purposes, (supposedly). Perhaps to open up the low e or the throat b. These clarinets were ¬†heavier than those of today, many of which have either eliminated the bell or narrowed it considerably. The bell ring was much heavier than those of today, and there was another problem as well.If you are a player who holds the clarinet between your knees, that act usually lowers the pitch ever so slightly. On an already flat note, it becomes noticable. The voicing hole was just like a hole in the ground or, one supposes, the head.It does absolutely nothing, regardless of any claims of which you may hear..

The 9 and 9* were superceded by the Centered Tone, even a bit wider than the 9 or 9* bores, but still, not really a big bored clarinet. The CTs are considered better instruments

Stay well


One Response to Selmer 9* with voicing hole

  1. bulldoggy2008 says:

    Thank you for your always wise comments. I do have a Bb Selmer CT which I purchased new in 1958 when I played first clarinet in the First Marine Division Band. I also have A CT “A” clarinet which I purchased later. Both are wonderful instruments which I still play to this day. I believe both the Selmer 9 and 9* were manufactured after the CT line. I had a colleague in a band in which I played who had a 9*. I tried it out and found it to be an excellent, free-blowing clarinet, with excellent action and tone.

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