Selmer USA

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Selmer USA information is sketchy at best. Please contribute information. If anyone has any information they wish to share about any item on or not on
this page please contact Steve

Quick Clik [ Quick History ] [
Manhatten – NY models ] [ Pre WWII Signets ] [
wood Bundy’s ] [ Signet Specials ]
[ Mazzeo ] [ Soloist ] [
Omega – engraved bell ] [ CL200
– gold plated
] [ Serial Numbers Approx ] [
Signet 100 ]

Alexandre clarinets (from Alexandre Selmer, Henri Selmer’s brother who
returned to france to help in clarinet production) also supported F. Barbier
clarinets. Florentin Barbier factory was sold to Selmer paris at one time.
Later on it was noted that Barbier instruments may have been SML stencils
(identified by the metal lower joint socket) when they were stamped Sponsored by
Selmer and made in Paris. Later Barbier production was moved to Elkhart,
and resembled the earliest Signets.

Selmer USA has manufactured various clarinets under the Signet brand since
about 1945 and going back to the early 1920s. Selmer USA actually manufactured Signet clarinets before World War
II (per customer 2/18/2012). The pre WWII Signet was quite
interesting as it had several pro features (swoopy keywork which allows ease of
adjustment). Please see the new pictures below. These have almost always been inferior to the Selmer-Paris
models, but during WWII, Paris clarinets were, for obvious reasons, not
available here

The Selmer USA serial numbers for the forties, in the list that I have, show
a gap between 30,000 (10/15/40) and 33,000 (6/1/47) presumably because of
the war.

Selmer USA began making (or selling) Manhatten metal clarinets and Manhatten wood clarinets in the 1920s
and/or 1930s.

Selmer USA models are from lowest to highest model: Signet 100, Signet
Special and Signet Soloist

Selmer Manhatten – Manhatten clarinet sponsored by Selmer

This lines of clarinets was primarily a student and intermediate level.

There were made during a time when Selmer USA was still headquartered in New
York which they then moved to Elkhart, Indiana.

I do not have much information about these lines yet gathered,
email me for more information or come back at a later date.

Check out the register key. The register pip is raised like Leblancs
but the register key is very recognizable in it’s shape.

Pre World War II Signet – 8892

Clearly stamped “MADE IN U.S.A” on the bell.

Click on each below picture to see a full sized image


Wood Bundys started production in 1941.

Plastic Bundys started production in 1948.
With World War II cutting off the import of Selmer Paris instruments George
Bundy started the line of of Bundy student instruments then added the Signet
intermediate line. But some of the first Bundy wood clarinets were
apparently Selmer Paris factory owned instruments in disguise. So production of Bundy
clarinets would have started before their supply was cut off (or after the war
?). Keep in mind that Selmer Paris had their own Selmer Paris factory in
addition to 2 other factories such as Barbier. I’m “guessing” the Bundy’s
were from the Barbier or other plant and not the authentic Selmer factory.

But these cannot be “Selmer Paris” factory instruments because at the same
approximate time Selmer Paris had 4 posts for the throat keys, and this one has
one shared post. I would guess this is from the Barbier or the other

Signet Specials

Signet Specials started production in 1941 or 1946. The early Signet
Specials has the insignia on the barrel as well as on the other pieces.
The barrel insignia was stopped around 1955. The early Signet Specials had a
guide for the top trill key which was gone in 1955 but reappeared in 1960.
In 1955 the tan leather cases were introduced but the inside arrangement and
outside label was different. The badge on the 1960 case had Selmer in red
letters. By the late 1960’s the case was black plastic or fiberglass and had
Signet in a circle.

Serial Number 74991 Signet Special: Barrel pivot screws,
except for the UJ lower ring keys. Straight gauge steel needle springs,
the throat Bb uses a needle spring which going width-wise instead of the normal
flat spring seen on most clarinets.

.590 = 15.00mm top / .575 = 13.83mm lower bore

1958 Selmer Special (SN

Selmer Special sn 65168 – approximately 1967

The Signet line (Soloist, Special, 100) use barrel pivot screws. The
idea behind the barrel screws is that with and exact fit of the keywork between
posts that the keywork would just pivot on the exact fitness of the barrel screw
to the bore of the keywork. The “A” throat key also uses a needle spring
in this example.

– Sometime in the mid 1960’s the Mazzeo Signet Special models
(see the brochures below) were produced along with the regular model with the serial numbers being the
same series as the regular model.

Selmer Mazzeo
Clarinet Article

Mazzeo Brochure #1

Mazzeo Brochure #2

Mazzeo Mechanisms
The Mazzeo mechanism on the Signet allows the player to switch between “Mazzeo”
mode and regular Boehm. The first picture has a Bundy Mazzeo (on the
bottom) and a Signet Mazzeo (on the top)

The Signet mechanism (left) shows it in the Mazzeo position. It has a
knurled end “plunger” mechanism to turn the Mazzeo system on/off. To
dsconnect you simply push the mechanism in. To reconnect you pull it out.

Mazzeo information, brochures and pictures provided by S. Page, UK

Signet Special 100 evolved from the Signet Special sometime in the 1970s with
the serial number list continuing as before. Around this time the Signet
Resonite was also produced.

Selmer Soloist

The Soloist possible had their own set of serial numbers starting possible in
the 1950s.

Selmer USA supposedly was not making clarinets from 1944 through 1946

The Soloist had some nice features such as
[1] the thumb hole was a screw in cap. This allowed technician to easily
properly align it inside the bore and more importantly the “cap” part made a
nice tight seal. Normally many are push in and one has to use wax to seal
it as an extra measure.

[2] the register vent was also screw in and sealed very well without having
to use a wax to seal it.

[3] A rarity which is found on the Soloist and Special is that the A throat
key uses a needle spring versus nearly every other manufacturer and model uses a
flat spring.

[4] Later Signet Soloist had a nicer deeper imprint of the emblem and name
than above.

Approximate Serial Number list

Signet special serial numbers
Looks like they must have started at end of WWII (1946,7 ?) or possibly 1941

3500 initial annual production /200 = 17/working day or about 2/hr

26000 ~ 1955 (John O’s is 26754) no guide on highest trill key
30354 – case and clarinet still look like ’55 model
33608 – no guide on highest trill key, puchased new, per owner 1958
40403 – bought used in 1962
41297 – Seller thinks 1965 purchase
42984 – DEC 1960 ? 17000 in 5 years (~ 3400/yr) (3300/yr for 13 years?)
48863 – case etc. like ‘70s (no metal on center tenon ? replaced?)
57918 – bought in 1968, per original owner
62135 – bought in 1968, per original owner
64176 – Signet Special Mazzeo
65000 ~ 1967 (3200/yr for 20 years?)
71436 – bought Dec. 9, 1967 per receipt
72216 Aug 1969 30000 in 9 years (~ 3300/yr) (72000 in 22 years? 3100/yr)
77344 ?
803XX – bought new in 1970 per owner
84273 Mazzeo that fairly knowledgeable seller claims was made in 1965 (more
likely 1975)
85703 (100) seller says 1975 (but also claims age of 35 years making it 1969)

90276 (100) seller says 1973
111610 – seller says approx 1976
151462 ~1980 74000 in 11 years (~ 6700/yr) (about 4/hour) 125000 in 25 years ~
5000/yr (151000 in 33 years? 4000 + /year?)
177773 ?
256153 ?

Soloist serial nos

Looks like they have own set of numbers

16115 – bought new June 1966 (D Cheeseman) entered

13028 bought early in 1960/per paperwork
16228 ? (has features of specials above say 35000)
203xx 1953?
25846 purch 4/13/76 w/paperwork
37795 –owner told suzie ray it was purchased new in 1994
100 serial nos: are these a separate series or are specials, soloist, and 100s
intermingled ? Plastic Signets?
85703 seller says 1975
one seller says purchased in 1973
90276 ?
120912 Sellers husband says new in ‘75
180052 – 1979 (probably wrong)
235888 (bought used in 1994)
247832 about 1995
260037 (seller claims 1999)Looks like these things may sit around music stores
for years.
263889 seller says 1997 (sounds reliable) (264000 in 50 years? ~ 5300/yr?)
266510 seller says 93, 94

Thanks to John O. for his contribution to Selmer USA information

Selmer USA Emblems
Selmer CL200 – special gold plated keys (posts
and rings) and unstained wood and a Selmer Paris mpc. Made in the late 1980s
and early 1990s. Retail price was around $3,000 USD.Click on the pics to
the right for a full size pic.

Omega – This was a special Selmer USA clarinet
in the 1950s around the same time as Selmer Paris had their Omega (but their
was Centered Tone based and a professional instrument).This was a regular
USA model with some really nice bell engraving. It would look better
if it gets guilded.

Selmer Signet Soloist (top of the line Selmer USA) – Good
value instrument. Quality close to a Noblet least 1991 to metal tenon joints top and bottom of upper and lower stack. May be
constructed from Selmer Paris body tubes.
Selmer Signet Special (2nd from Selmer USA)

– metal tenon joints upper and lower stacks
– Older ones may have metal tenon only on the lower joint to the bell


from ebay)
Selmer Signet 100 (3rd from Selmer USA)

Visually identifiable by no metal tenons on the upper joint (unless
repaired) and a metal tenon on the lower joint for the bell.

(from Cindy Chastain)