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These are an ultra rare pair of Selmer Paris, Centered Tone clarinets, which are a commission sale for Clarinets Direct. The current owner, a noted American collector, has difficult personal circumstances due to his wife's ongoing illness. Consequently some extremely rare and valuable clarinets are offered to the market. Selmer have, in the past, made instruments with extremely short production runs: The Centered Tone Omega Bb was such an instrument, with a limited edition of around 100 made. The instrument was personally endorsed and played by Benny Goodman, and it is considered the finest, and most expensive, production line jazz clarinet ever made.
This Omega Bb clarinet features a dedicated and fully automatic mechanism for both throat Bb and the 2nd register, in other words a dual function register key. This is not a "Stubbins" booster mechanism, as so often mistakenly described on the web, but instead each hole has a specific function: an excellent throat Bb, and a dedicated 2nd register vent. Note how this example comes with the original alternative register key speaker tubes, as supplied by Selmer, for further refinement of tuning and response, depending on the individual player and m'piece choice. The Bb is a later instrument than the A, the serial nos. are Q5075, which dates to 1956. The instrument features; Rhodium plating in excellent condition, unique scrolled engraved art work into the bell and lower joint, and forked Eb/Bb and articulated C#/G#. The wood throughout is in very good condition with no cracks or repairs. As mentioned earlier this instrument is the property of a fastidious collector, the condition is excellent. The fish skin pads, whilst not new, are all in good condition & sealing well. As is the case with all Centered Tones the upper joint bore is a reverse taper, it measures, 15.29mm at the top of the upper joint narrowing to 15.04mm at the bottom. There are four supplied barrels, of 65.0mm, 66.5mm, 67.0mm, and 68.5mm
The A is of earlier manufacture, the serial nos. are P1900. This dates to 1952. The fingering system is identical to the Bb, apart from the register key mechanism. It is my understanding that Selmer made the Omega only in Bb, therefore this A represents the closest match to the Bb. Like the Bb the wood throughout is excellent for a vintage clarinet, with no cracks or repairs. Again the upper joint bore is a reverse taper, measuring 15.04mm narrowing to 14.78mm. The German Silver key work is in good condition with no wear, only light surface scratches. All the fish skin pads and corks are also in good shape, there will be no need to overhaul this instrument for many months. The case is of modern Selmer pouchette type in excellent condition. The m'piece is a used Vandoren B45 in very good condition. The owner is prepared to split the pair as follows: Omega Bb, 1950. CT in A, 745. The Bb would be sold with 2 barrels in single case. The A in the pictured case, again with 2 barrels.