Untitled Document
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!

Full Boehm Selmer A

I'm acquiring a full boehm Selmer Brevete (late '20s) which seems so far to be in good condition, however, there is no barrel, and I don't know where to start here.
I've never had to fish for a barrel for something this old, all my other horns had perfectly fine "default" barrels safe and sound in their cases.
I'm rather intimidated, I don't have a near by music store in which I can test them with my instrument and mouthpiece.
Any "guidelines" here? It's my first A clarinet, I've been playing for a good while and began to learn that this little dude is necessary for me since I began taking it more seriously.
FWIW, I aim for dark, warm tones and a rich and crisp lower register. The instrument is LP I believe.
Also, anyone have any success using a Bb barrel with an A clarinet? Or would that just be a train wreck.
It seems the more I learn, the more there is to learn.

(also, excuse my search issues, I'm not an avid internet user and am in a slight hurry, don't bite my head off)


Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
What part of this blue marble do you live on? If you are in/near Seattle there are a lot of places to pick from including Morrie Backun up in Vancouver.

Also a number of places online like music123.com allow you to order three or four barrels, pay for one, select the one you favor and return the rest. That might be a way to go too.
Oops, yeah, I forgot to include that little detail. LOL. I'm in the sometimes-sunny state of Florida.
I'll have to check that website, sounds like a good deal to me.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
... or you can check eBay and see if someone's selling the exact model horn you have, but it's only got a good barrel. That could be an uber-cheap way to go!

As Gandalfe mentions, it's fairly easy to get third-party barrels that might work for you. As a matter of fact, you might even contact www.selmer.fr and see if they have a recommendation.


Old King Log
Staff member
I would contact Selmer first. They do stock some old stuff, and may be able to come up with a barrel without too much trouble.

A Bb barrel may fit (my A barrel is a great fit on my Bb Series 9, but I have to confess that I've never used it the other way), and may play with minimal problems. I use my A barrel on my Bb horn all of the time, and it plays both in tune and with less "gripping" in the upper register. However, it would be hard to tune an A horn with the typical 65mm barrel of your garden variety Selmer Bb soprano horn.

I love eBay, as it is the last refuge of the full Boehm clarinet...
I'm guessing they'll probably be able to work out something with a case then, too?
I'm having a grand old time trying to find a case that this enormous (in relative) instrument can properly fit in. It goes to low Eb.


Old King Log
Staff member
Good luck with that...

You are probably likely to have more success obtaining a Centered Tone (or whatever model you were looking for) barrel or bell than the right case.

When I got my two Series 9 instruments (after a two year delay), I had two pouchette cases when I wanted one. Selmer sent out a double case for two regular 17/6 instruments, which of course was just about useless.

After quite a bit of expensive long distance calling (remember when it cost money to call long distance? Ah, those were the good old days...), Selmer sent out a double case with completely new guts, into which both horns fit perfectly. It took some doing, but I finally got it. And the case (thanks to a now disintegrating vinyl zipper cover) looks like it is brand new after all of these years.

Against that, we have the problem of my bass clarinet case. It is a 1969-1971 vintage range to low C horn, a car's worth of musical instrument that lives inside of a decaying Plywood® box. The handle has been replaced twice, I have reglued the leather trim an untold number of times, and the guts of the case are running out of places to glue and nail them into place.

On this one, I have attempted at least five times to get a replacement case. However, what I am sent are cases for subsequent models of horns that are shorter in the body of the instrument pieces (and apparently longer in the bell and neck). As a result, the joints don't fit into the cutouts for them. The current bass case is not a solution as well; I tested my "pieces" in one at a Selmer show day, and found the same problem.

Selmer keeps assuring me that they are sending the correct case, but in each instance, they have been wrong. (One time, I was sent the same case twice in a row!) There are custom case solutions available, but all are much more expensive than the Selmer box should be, and some are poor fits.

The last time I tried, it turned out that there was someone else with the same model of instrument looking for the same thing, (His horn happened to be in for repair at the time that I made the attempt. Alas, we were both (again) disappointed.

There is a manufacturer up in Kenosha who will make a case box to fit whatever guts you would care to put in it. I have toyed with purchasing some very thick expanded polyethelyene foam, hot wire cutting the cavities for the two joints, covering it with velvet fabric (you have to cut slots at the joint ends to make it all come out right), and then shipping it off to Cheeseland for the box. But, the foam costs a lot, and I don't know if I still have the paper with all of the details. It was one of those things I was putting off for retirement, but now that it is here, I find myself buried under the paperwork from my mother's estate and now can't find a whole pile of stuff. Sigh...

I'd call Selmer/Conn/Steinway/Mitsubishi or whatever they are these days and try the direct approach. It may take some time on the phone, but it worked for me...the first time at least.
Let me show off

Well here he is. He had nine lives and is now on his last one.
If it wasn't for me, this poor little instrument would be in a sad place, so essentially I'm a clarinet hero. :cool:
He now has a nice barrel that does the job, good enough... and sounds wonderful. I found a wonderful set up for him as well, and the keywork feels like teflon. The intonation isn't out of control either, a pleasant surprise.
All in all, a happy ending to a suspenseful story.