This vintage French-made Selmer Centered Tone Bb wood clarinet was brought to us by a customer whose mother was gifted with it when she started playing it in her school band in the late 1950's. It has been well preserved and not played much since that time. The joint is stamped with the serial number Q2124, which indicates the year of manufacture to be 1955. This model was the top of the line professional clarinet offered by Selmer Paris at that time. Although it was highly sought after as a "jazz clarinet" when Benny Goodman made it famous, the Centered Tone is very flexible with a wide tonal range, perfectly suitable for a variety of playing styles.
There are several reasons why Centered Tone is such a popular model even to this day. First of all the design: with the combination of the large bore (15.00mm/15.10mm) and large toneholes, the projection you get with these horns is outstanding, which gives you a great advantage in the situation when you need to be heard (e.g. a jazz band, concert band). Then there is Selmer’s excellent key mechanism – very tight, stable and solid as a rock. But perhaps what’s most important is that these clarinets have a wonderful full, deep, woody tone, with all notes being clear from top to bottom. The grenadilla wood which they were made from was allowed to air dry for 20 years or more to ensure that the clarinet won’t crack and was of the finest grade, very hard, dense and naturally dark. The superb quality of wood and exceptional craftsmanship is not something you will find easily with modern clarinets.
Cosmetically, this clarinet is in good condition. There are a few nicks, but no cracks. A full repad was completed in February 2020, including all adjustment corks. The original Henri Selmer mouthpiece and Airo case are included. It is in great playing condition as well, just waiting for someone to breathe new life into it. This is a wonderful instrument for a great price!