Alexandre Selmer

Thanks to David Love for giving me the opportunity to review his father’s high school clarinet. His dad graduated in 1932. I suspect that this clarinet might have had one owner before David’s father.

This clarinet has no marking on it anywhere to tell us who it was made by. But I bet the case for this is the original one, so I have listed this under the name Alexandre Selmer. See historical information about Alexandre Selmer below in the 2014 article that was just based on David's pictures. This review was written in November 2018. I think it interesting that if the case logo is right, the clarinet might have been made in New York.

Serial #none

Barrel: 66.3mm

Bore LH joint top: 14.6mm

Bore LH joint at bottom: 14.6mm

Intonation results taken when playing loud and not lipping. See how to interpret these results on the Model Comparison Page.

For this test, I pulled 0 mm at the barrel, and 0 mm at the center tenon, and used the original barrel.

Intonation summary: The intonation would be improved by using a shorter barrel. But bear in mind that I test playing loud, and I generally use a 64mm barrel on standard clarinets. So some players could be a couple of cents higher in the clarion register. A shorter barrel would help the flatness in the lower and clarion registers. Usually there are some sharp notes on a clarinet. This one only plays sharp in the A and Bb throat tones. It seems best to get in the habit of playing those with extra fingers down (almost all of them) and perhaps lipping down as well.

Key work quality: Good standard key quality for the time this was made, perhaps 1918.

This clarinet is most appropriate for: David Love. But if he chooses to sell, I would think there would be a ready market in Europe for an Albert system clarinet that plays this well in tune. Various tweaks could help this clarinet, depending on the mouthpiece and style of playing being used.

Condition issues noted: I fixed a longish crack at the top of the LH joint. The crack was previously pinned.

Previous article from 2014:


Pitch: Bb

Maker: Alexandre Selmer

Hallmark: Alexander Selmer/New York (case badge)

Place of Manufacture: France

Approximate Date: 1926-1927 [2018 update: a better approximate date would be 1915-1920.]

Material: Wood body, metal rings

Keys: German silver(?)

Keywork: Albert system

Serial Number: ---

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My thanks to David Love for sending pictures of his Alexandre Selmer clarinet!

There are plain Alexandre clarinets that I suspect were named after Alexandre Selmer, but I doubt they were made by the H&A Selmer Company.

The link to the historical pictures was sent by David also. They are from See below.

The only reason I duplicate some of the information from clarinetperfection is because I don't want it to vanish if the site were to be taken down.

Alexandre Clarinets - Barbier Clarinets - G Bundy Clarinets

Alexandre Clarinets were from Henri Selmer's Brother Alexandre. (in summary from the old Selmer Paris website - info no longer on the new one) Alexandre departed to the US in 1885 and was solo clarinetist for several of America's biggest Orchestras (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, and New York Philharmonic Orchestra). He also struck out on his own and started manufacturing Alexandre clarinets in the US.

He started the Selmer USA company in 1904 and then started importing his brother's, Henri Selmer, instruments to the US. George Bundy, a former student, was hired to manage the company. When Henri desperately needed assistance in producing clarinets Alexandre went back to France in 1910 and opened the Gazillion factory. For a short period he produced Alexandre clarinets in France. These clarinets are stamped "made in france" the US ones I believe had no marking of origin. He then abandoned clarinet manufacture after helping his brother get his clarinet design "corrected". George Bundy at one time sold wood Bundy clarinets, which were from one of the Alexandre (Selmer Paris) plants and not the specific Selmer Paris plant as some suggest.

You could say the Alexandre clarinets were Selmer Paris prototype clarinets. BUT they are not. Alexandre Selmer is a Selmer, but not a Henri Selmer and then Alexandre did design the new Henri Selmer clarinets which of course resemble his clarinets. Confusing" basically in Paris there was Henri Selmer Paris, Alexander Selmer Paris (factories) and Barbier at one time. The two Selmer factories, being Selmer (Henri & Alexandre).

Alexandre used to travel alot giving Master Classes in the US and Europe. But due to the "Henri Selmer" lineage his history is somewhat obscured and forgotten.

SN 726x - manufactured 1926-1927

NOTE: There are Alexandre saxophones but those are Italian made and no relation to Selmer

In 1927 George Bundy buys his store from the Selmers and becomes the sole distributor of the Henri Selmer Paris instruments. He names his company "H & A Selmer Inc." H&A probably standing for Henri & Alexandre. H&A is seen on vintage Selmer USA saxophones too.