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Make and Model lists and research / Re: French Selmer Alto Valuation ??
« Last post by Abraxas on November 25, 2020, 06:51:01 PM »
I actually tried to do a shellac job using leather pads on a Bundy and it didn't come out so well. Everything looks great but it's not playable. I think what I really need is some instruction on adjustments as much as I do on changing the pads out. I'm still thinking I should perhaps sell this but going back to my first question, how do I get it appraised and what metric do I use. as I said, the prices are WILDLY all over the place on the French Selmer Altos on Ebay. and I do mean W I L D L Y !!!
All about Clarinets / Re: Dad's Conn 448N
« Last post by windydankoff on November 25, 2020, 08:25:48 AM »
Dulcet/Mark - Pitch of the horn is determined by the barrel's bore as well as its length. This is discussed on our topic "Clarinettist with Conn 448N question".
Make and Model lists and research / Re: French Selmer Alto Valuation ??
« Last post by GrumpyMiddleAgedMan on November 25, 2020, 08:15:40 AM »
Honestly, there is always YouTube. Of course using the search function here is a good way to learn about specific things.
With tube, you can get a flavor of what you need to do and basics of how to do it. There really isn't a lot involved if you are just changing pads. I would recommended shellac and not glue if you do happen to try yourself.
If you stop and think, most things aren't hard. Making it look good is what takes skill. At least that's my 2 cents.
All about Clarinets / Re: 30 dollar train wreck
« Last post by windydankoff on November 25, 2020, 07:56:29 AM »
So, with the bars all closed these days, you're stuck with this wreck. A Penzel may play out well afterall!

I don't believe that the bore texture effects the performance. Even if it's shiny smooth, it's quickly coated with droplets of water that get bigger, then drip down, altering the surface substantially. Do you, or anyone, notice a change in tone from dry to wet? I don't.
Make and Model lists and research / French Selmer Alto Valuation ??
« Last post by Abraxas on November 24, 2020, 11:56:34 PM »
I'm lightening my load for a big transnational move. One of the instruments I found in my collection was a 2 piece Alto Clarinet by Selmer. Ebony. It's certainly playable with no noticeable defects. I'm almost toying with keeping it as it has such a nice tone. I asked my local instrument tech for a quote on a repad and set up and he wanted $450 CAD,,, ie about $350 USD. For one who only picks up a soprano once in awhile to do some noodling, I don't think i even deserve this, nor at a cost of $450 to get it into top shape.

When i went on Ebay, I was shocked at what the high end pricing was on these: $4500 !! Some even higher. as it's late at night, I can't retrieve a serial number or other identifying info except it's marked France and I think Depois .. or something like that.

The problem I'm having is that the low end price of these Selmer wooden altos is allso quite low at only one or two hundred dollars.

My dilemma now is I can't, using Ebay, even nail down a market valuation for these as they are wildly all over the place. If I sell this I have no idea what to ask. I also don't know what repads should cost.

What I'm thinking, is to repad this myself or at least make all the adjustments necessarry to get it to play as well as it can with the pads already on it. I'm a certified machinist with a wealth of tools that would make professional instrument shops envious. i do not however have the skills to do this.

What I'm asking here is this: Can you tell me a process or a direction I ought to follow in assessing this horn's fair market value ? Without going to some school, even if I could, how might I get some instruction on doing the adjustments or taking on the task of doing my own repad ?

Thank you so much for your time in replying.


All about Clarinets / Re: 30 dollar train wreck
« Last post by GrumpyMiddleAgedMan on November 24, 2020, 10:18:23 PM »
Its  penzel, I'm trying to revive it. To bottom joint is in good shape, the top joint as seen here, is a little rough. It absorbed roughly 12-14 ml of bore oil so far. It was really dry but seems to be almost rehydrated.
This has been a learning experience.
 My next trick is going to be finding or making the missing key.
I haven't been out to a bar in years  :(     
I was told that the only C melody sax worth owning is Conn. I found one (1923 vintage). Intonation was very good except slightly off  in 2nd octave F area. It was wonderful to honk with a blues jam!
All about Clarinets / Re: Clarinetist with Conn 448N question
« Last post by windydankoff on November 24, 2020, 08:10:08 PM »
I just bought a 424N made in 1951, with original barrel and Conn Steelay mouthpiece. It's one of the best made clarinets I've seen, and appears it was little-used.

I oiled the bore, did some needed regulating, and ... it was hard to blow, dull sounding with any MP. I wasn't happy (yet). But the intonation was good. I've found lately that my large-bore horns do best with a reduced-bore barrel. It seems to balance it out (matches the impedance, presumably).

So, I opened my junk box of old barrels. I tried the ones that fit its tenon. Lucky, I found one that plays like a DREAM. My experience may serve as an example, so here are the numbers ...

Upper joint of my 424N bore close to the top is 15.34mm (15 is considered large) The top flares out even larger. Also the bottom expansion is very large. This is a really large bore horn! – favored in the big band era.

Original barrel is 64mm X 14.9mm bore (verified elsewhere)
My "better" barrel is 63mm X 14.7mm bore   (both with no taper)

Now the tone is as good as I've ever produced AND the blowing is easy! The intonation is superb.

I had to try a bunch of mouthpieces. An old Noblet FRANCE 2V takes it to perfection (for a clarinet). With a steady embouchure, it rolls up the scale like butter.

My conclusion/advice:  Don't worry about the original barrel dimensions. Find something that WORKS! Of course its sockets need to fit (standards have varied much since old times). An invisible difference in bore makes an amazing difference in the result!

If you live in a large city, maybe a repair shop has a bunch of barrels to try? If you can get bore measurements, maybe someone here can help. I, or another techie on the list may be able to fit up the right thing. (For me, I would ask you to send me the instrument.) If you love the horn, it may be worth it.

If you are so inclined, I would may make suggestions based on your measurements. To measure bore, I use a machinist's telescoping "snap gauge" which I read with a micrometer or digital caliper. Wood is never round so find the average ID.
All about Clarinets / Re: 30 dollar train wreck
« Last post by Windsong on November 24, 2020, 07:37:26 PM »
What brand is this clarinet, Grumpy?
Forgive my ridiculously late response.  (I have been working solid 65-70 hour weeks for the last several months, and I have to remind myself to breathe some days.).
That chart is a gem, Windy.  Seems spot on, too.  I had a C-melody sax for a while.  I enjoyed it.  It would not tune well, but I enjoyed it just the same.  When mechanical tuning fails and when no clear remedy avails itself, we learn to adapt technique and embouchure to compensate. 
I admire your tuning skills.
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