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This is an extremely rare Selmer Alto Clarinet, to low E. This model, which is open hole, rather than plateau, and which features a double overblowing mechanism, like an Alto saxophone, was made by Selmer for only a short period after WW 2. Their subsequent designs adopted only a single overblowing vent, and full plateau mechanism. This instrument is a commission sale for Clarinets Direct having come to us from a London based professional Jazz player. The advantage of this mechansim is that it allows for much better response and tuning in the second register, and overall the sound is "freer" than with a plateau instrument. The mechanism switches automatically to the upper vent for the pitches above G# in the clarion register. The disadvantage is that the player must be able to manage a much bigger finger stretch than with a plateau Alto.
The German Silver keywork is in very good condition and shows only slight wear. The crook is in good condition, but the bell has a few "dings" as well as some slight flattening to the bottom, see photo 8. The Alto has just had a partial overhaul in fish skin pads in our workshop. The regulation and feel of the mechanism is excellent. The instrument is in overall good condition with no cracks or repairs, but there are many slight surface marks and scratches, which is to be expected with an instrument which was made over 60 years ago. The case has been stencilled with white marker & it is likely that this instrument was previously owned by either a school or college. The case itself, which is original, is much worn and has lost its handle. Both the catches still function as they should. This is a superb Alto; Selmer is generally held to be the finest manufacturer of harmony clarinets in the world. The matching Selmer serial nos. are N8179 which dates to 1951. The m'piece is a Yamaha 4C in good condition.