- 1885 – Selmer Paris company started manufacturing mouthpieces and reeds.
- 1898 – Mouthpieces started to be made at 4, place Dancourt, Paris.
- 1926 – Airflow mouthpiece released. The new logo “Henri Selmer Paris” is used. It has a laurel wreath instead of lyre.
- 1935 – Jimmy Dorsey mouthpiece released with the “Jimmy Dorsey” variant of the “Super” model saxophone.
- 1939 – Coleman Hawkins version of ‘Master Link’ mouthpiece released with Selmer Saxophones.
- 1955 – Classic Metal and Jazz Metal mouthpiece released.
- 1956 – Soloist Short Shank mouthpiece released.
- 1960s – Soloist Long Shank and later the Long Shank Soloist Style mouthpiece released.
- 1970s – S80 Mouthpiece released.
- 1999 – Super Session soprano and CP100 clarinet mouthpieces released
- 2002 –Soloist ‘New Edition’ mouthpieces released.
- 2010 – SD20 and Spirit mouthpieces released.
- 2013 – Concept mouthpiece released.
1885 H. SELMER MOUTHPIECES
These were the first of the Selmer mouthpieces produced in the early 1900s. They had the name “H. Selmer Made in France” inside an oval on the back of the mouthpiece. They had a very large chamber.
The Selmer ligatures and caps at this time also had H. Selmer written on them. They were stamped from a very thick brass. Most were silver and gold plated.
In the mid1920s the mouthpieces had SSS marked on the back. This indicated they were made during the time of the Selmer Super Sax, also in 1921.
1926 AIR FLOW MOUTHPIECES
The first Air Flow mouthpieces had a metal ring around the shank, a very big chamber, and small tip openings. These are popular among classical players but are often considered too ‘dark’ by others. The very first version had a fancy banded shank and a metal logo on the back. This only lasted a year or two though.
Selmer soon switched to a simple metal band and scribed writing on the back.
In the late 1920s these models lost the metal band and moved to a scroll work band around the shank. The floor became a little higher. They still maintained a very large chamber. The first year of production mouthpieces had a serial number on the side. These all had the tip opening marked on the table. For example: table C.
Here is a pricing list for these mouthpieces from 1921:
The metal version of this mouthpiece had deep fluted sides and a medium round chamber. These were the first metal mouthpiece Selmer made which started in the late 40’s. They all had the facing stamped on the table.
At this time the all the rubber mouthpieces chambers became small round chambers as well. The first of these had the name AIR FLOW stamped on the table. Later AIR FLOW was removed and the tip opening was placed on the table in an oval. All of these had a scrollwork shank similar to the later Soloist models, however, the very end of the shank was shorter, and stubbier. These are very good mouthpieces and the alto model is in particular demand by classical musicians.
1950s CLASSIC & JAZZ METAL MOUTHPIECES
The metal version of this mouthpiece looked very similar internally to the rubber version. While not as pronounced, it also maintained the fluted exterior of its previous metal model.
This metal mouthpiece was called the Classic model.
Later the flutes on the outside body were removed, except for one on either side of the table. This model has not changed much in design since it first came out. Today’s version is still the same.
The Jazz model was also introduced at this time. It had a horse-shoe shaped chamber with a high floor. These mouthpieces were brighter than the Classic model and did not have a scrollwork shank. They had Jazz written on the table, though. Initially all the metal mouthpieces were only made in facings: C, C*, D and E. Later this model would be available also in sizes: F, G and H. Below is the Classic model.
Here is a Selmer mouthpieces ad from 1955 showing the AIRFLOW models. This was just a year prior to the famous Short Shank Soloist models released in 1956. All the rubber mouthpieces had the small round chamber at this time.
1956 CLARION & GOLDENTONE MOUTHPIECES
In 1956 Selmer came out with a budget line of rubber mouthpieces called the Selmer ELKHART, and a student line of plastic mouthpieces very similar in sound and style to the Brilhart Ebolin and Tonalin mouthpieces called the Goldentone. The CLARION line of crystal clarinet and tenor saxophone mouthpieces was also released.
During this time, Selmer made some rare mouthpieces for Stentor . These had a taper finished shank, the tip opening in an oval on the table and a small round (actually almost oval) chamber, and are very good playing mouthpieces.
1956 SHORT SHANK SOLOIST
These are the classic Selmer mouthpiece of the 1950s. They had a short, almost stubby, shank and the name Soloist engraved on the table.
The first of these had an almost oval chamber, much like the Brilhart Ebolin and Tonalin Great Neck NY mouthpieces. There was a small flat at the back of the floor (front of the chamber) in their molds. This flat was enlarged by hand to make it more oval (Picture on Left). Later, the hand work to oval this section was not done (Picture in Middle). Finally the chamber became truly horse-shoe (or dome) shaped (Picture on Right).
The later horse-shoe shaped chamber mouthpieces are what is commonly referred to as the Selmer Short Shank mouthpieces. The two previous versions of this chamber were only made for a few years. All of these mouthpieces are enjoyed by the Jazz and Classical players alike.
From this point on all mouthpieces with the smaller round chamber are called Larry Teal models, and are distinguished by an LT on the table.
The Selmer “Soloist” short shank hard rubber models came in sizes from B* to H. For reference an “E” is equivalent to an Otto Link 5, and an H is equivalent to an Otto Link 7*. The Selmer mouthpieces from B* to E all came with a medium length lay (the distance from the tip of the mouthpiece to the point where the reed meets the facing). The larger sizes F, G, and H only came with a SHORT length lay. Hence all the larger tip openings had a shorter lay than the smaller tip openings. This was an attempt to make them easier to play. However, the bottom end of the horn suffered tremendously because of this.
Here is a Selmer mouthpiece ad from their 1956 Band Instrument Catalog showing the very first Soloist mouthpieces:
The Jazz model remained the same basic design; however the shank of the mouthpiece got a band like look to it.
Selmer issued several different ligatures in the 1950s. The adjustable slide-on ligature fit everything from a clarinet to a tenor saxophone mouthpiece. The screw-down ligature was released in 1958. It had a very thick reed-plate giving it a dark sound. Their standard band ligature had very fat screws at first. Over time the screws got thinner.
The first caps just had the Selmer name on them. They also had and a pointing tip. Later, MADE IN FRANCE was added along with their famous logo. The tip of the cap was also flattened. In the 1960’s the lacquer got lighter.
1960s – LONG SHANK SOLOIST
These mouthpieces were identical to the later short shank models, though with a longer shank. The C* model was included with all the French (Paris) Selmer Mark VI saxophones made in the early 1960s. Like their Short Shank brothers, they were made in sizes from a B* (smallest) to an H (largest) which is equivalent to an Otto Link 7* tip opening.
The Long Shank Larry Teal model looked identical on the outside to the Long Shank Soloist but had a round chamber and LT stamped on the table.
1960s LONG SHANK – SOLOIST STYLE
These mouthpieces externally look similar to the long shank Soloists, but did not have Soloist engraved on the table. The tip opening was also stamped on the back. They still had the horseshoe shaped chamber. They had less roll-over baffle than their Soloist brothers though, so were darker sounding.
The Soloist Style mouthpieces were produced primarily in the late 1960s and 1970s. Because they look like the Soloist mouthpieces, but are not marked Soloist, they are called Soloist Style.
The metal mouthpieces had an elongated shank and the tip opening stamped on the back, just like their rubber counterparts. The long shank Selmer Classic metal mouthpiece has not changed to present.
These mouthpieces were produced in the 1980s to present. They have a bit higher floor giving them more projection and have a square chamber.
The metal mouthpieces have remained pretty much the same from the 1980s to present. The Jazz model’s shank became more streamlined looking.
The S90 mouthpieces were produced in the 1990s to present. They are identical to the S80 mouthpieces except with a slightly larger square chamber.
1999 SUPER SESSION SOPRANO MOUTHPIECE
These mouthpieces were a reissue of the popular Selmer Soloist soprano mouthpiece. Selmer did a good job on these.
2002 SOLOIST ‘NEW EDITION’
Selmer reissued the popular Soloist mouthpieces. They are a fairly accurate copy of the ‘Soloist Style’ vintage more so than the older version that said ‘Soloist’ on the table. These mouthpieces do say ‘Soloist’, though on the side of the mouthpiece instead of being engraved on the table.
2010 SD20 and SPIRIT
The SD20 mouthpiece has a small round chamber like the LT model mouthpieces, however it also has a higher floor so it projects a lot more. It is more of a modern classical style mouthpiece due to this extra projection. It was designed with the members of the DIASTEMA Saxophone Quartet.
The Spirit mouthpiece looks and plays close to a Meyer. Though it has a higher baffle, so is considered more for Jazz and to be more powerful. It has a medium chamber similar to the Meyer as well. It was designed with Pierrick Pedron , a french premier jazz musician. Unique to Selmer this one is machined from a solid bar of hard rubber instead of being cast or molded.
Selmer departed from their classic designs with this mouthpiece. It is modern in every way. Not only the body shape is modern looking, but so is the sound. It has a lot more projection than their standard hard rubber mouthpieces, so gets a very clean tone.