|Selmer HS* Oval c.1955|
Hoping to get exactly that sort of baseline, I acquired several vintage Selmer mouthpieces last year, this HS*Oval among them. It was in pretty rough shape when I got it, though not damaged significantly. I sent it off to Bradford Behn for refacing and was deeply impressed with the results.
Brad did a fantastic job, on this and a Benny Goodman model, both of which match well with my 1955 Selmer Centered Tone. Before this, I'd been very happy to play a C85, but after the refacing, everything got easier--volume, depth of sound, richness of tone, and even facility over the break. Everything is just much smoother, with plenty of timbral range, mellowness or bite, and on the HS*Oval in particular, an even stronger chalumeau.
These mouthpieces are getting more difficult to find, and prices are going up. Unfortunately, too, there seem to be some mouthpiece refacers who think they can be marketed as "jazz" models by opening them up to excruciating degrees-which for many of us is tantamount to mangling them. As a jazz clarinetist who uses a relatively close facing (as many jazz clarinetists do) I'm very much against this, and hope that any mouthpiece craftsmen reading will reconsider the practice. Considering the scarcity of these vintage pieces, please do not open them up before finding a player who wants it done! For those looking for a great mouthpiece to match a vintage large bore, I highly recommend this piece.