Best Clarinet Brands Every Musician Must Know
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Tyler has been toying with the idea of owning a clarinet and becoming a pro at playing the instrument since the Saturday he and mom watched that busker’s performance at the pavement right opposite the mall. The applause the street musician garnered for his splendid show instantly inspired Tyler to pursue clarinet playing as a hobby. Undoubtedly, there are scores of individuals worldwide like this teen wanting to master the instrument and probably trying to own one but are struggling to figure a brand that’s ideal in meeting their expectations.
There’s no dearth of online pages that overwhelm you with dozens of clarinet models, and each one claiming to be the best of its kind. It’s quite obvious that such a deluge of information adds to the purchase ambiguities of buyers, especially beginners who are almost clueless about the features to look for in a clarinet.
We conducted a comprehensive study of leading clarinet brands to help buyers learn about the brands that suit them the best. A glance through this list should hopefully end your pursuit if you’ve spent a significantly long time figuring the clarinet best suited for your budget.
Top clarinet brands
It’s likely you will come across two highly reputed names during your research of clarinet brands – Buffet Crampon and Yamaha. We’ll cover both in more detail further down, as well as look at some others that offer good quality clarinets at cheap prices.
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List of Top Clarinets
|Yamaha YCL – 255 Standard Bb Clarinet||15.2 x 6.5 x 12.5 inches||4.21 Pounds|
|Yamaha YCL-450 Series Intermediate Clarinet||14.7 x 10.2 x 5.3 inches||5.5 Pounds|
|Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet||14.2 x 8.2 x 4.2 inches||5.15 Pounds|
|Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet||6 x 15 x 9.5 inches||3.9 Pounds|
|Buffet Crampon R13
Professional Bb Clarinet
|14.2 x 11.2 x 4.8 inches||5.5 Pounds|
|Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Clarinet||14 x 4.2 x 10.8 inches||4.54 Pounds|
|Glory B Flat Clarinet||16.1 x 9.7 x 5.2 inches||3.48 Pounds|
|Mendini MCT ABS B Flat Clarinet With Case||14 x 10 x 4 inches||3.4 Pounds|
|Mendini Red ABS B Flat Clarinet||14 x 4 x 10 inches||3.57 Pounds|
|Selmar Paris Bb Clarinet||1 x 1 x 1 inches||1 Pound|
Any discussion of musical instruments is incomplete without a mention of Yamaha, a Japanese brand preferred by some of the world’s finest musicians today. As far as clarinets are concerned, Yamaha has produced several impressive variants which deserve your attention.
1. Yamaha YCL – 255 Standard Bb Clarinet
Yamaha YCL – 255 Standard Bb Clarinet
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Yamaha YCL – 255 Standard Bb Clarinet
Developed by Yamaha, a reputed clarinet manufacturer, the YCL-255 is one of the best choices for a beginner. Its 4C mouthpiece and 65 mm barrel are largely responsible for the focused tone this unique instrument delivers.
Although a little on the expensive side, the YCL-255 is perfect if you are looking for an instrument manufactured by a reputed brand that’s also best suited for beginners. Its 65 mm barrel helps the instrument deliver a focused tone. The Yamaha product also includes a thumb rest with strap ring that makes it really easy to hold and the performances effortless.
Yamaha’s signature 4C mouthpiece is another perk music enthusiasts would get on buying the YCL-255. This implies the makers have taken utmost care to ensure the ergonomics and design aspects are perfect to the best possible extent in a bid to help budding musicians deliver an impactful output during their gigs. A little over 15 inches in length and weighing 4.21 pounds, this instrument is quite light and can be played easily.
The many advantages aside, the YCL-25 is not an instrument suited for professionals and lacks the typical wooden finish you’ve probably observed in the clarinets used by many musicians. The product doesn’t claim to be a professional’s delight either and is targeted at the new entrants, yet this Yamaha wonder delivers sound that kind of matches the output of wooden clarinets.
- Thumb rest helps musicians play effortlessly irrespective of their hands’ size
- The built-in resonance chamber delivers the best sound output
- Many users have said the product isn’t exactly beginner-friendly as it claims to be
2. Yamaha YCL-450 Series Intermediate Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-450 Series Intermediate Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-450 Series Intermediate Clarinet
Another noteworthy instrument from Yamaha’s clarinet suite is the YCL-450, which is ideal for a user who has graduated from an amateur to an intermediate level. The Grenadilla wood used in its manufacture helps this Yamaha product render exceptional sound quality.
The Grenadilla wood used in its manufacture is highly responsible for the Yamaha YCL-450’s peculiar sound quality that steers it ahead of many other popular clarinets. However, the incorporation of wood in the design also means that a lot of maintenance is required periodically, failing at which the clarinet wouldn’t perform to the best possible extent. Grenadilla isn’t the best quality of wood available and the material makes the product quite vulnerable to damage.
However, wooden clarinets have a charm of their own and contribute to their melody to the extent of enthralling the listeners, which is exactly why the YCL-450 is a product you must consider. While a lot of clarinets are susceptible to damage or drop in sound quality when exposed to varying climate conditions, the YCL-450 is resistant to extreme weather conditions. This is an important quality for a musical instrument to possess, which is often overlooked by budding musicians. The quality of musical instruments can significantly dwindle due to the lack of insulation to weather fluctuations, and the YCL-450’s triumph lies in its resistance.
The thumb rest and strap ring of this clarinet are easy to adjust, making even people with smaller hands play the clarinet effortlessly, not just musicians with long lanky fingers. The instrument approximately weighs 5.05 pounds, which is relatively heavier than several other popular clarinets available today.
- Great sound quality
- Thumb rest and strap ring makes the instrument suitable for different kinds of users
- Less vulnerable to damage caused due to erratic weather conditions
- The incorporation of wood in its construction means painstaking efforts in maintenance
- Slightly expensive compared to intermediate level clarinets
3. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet
Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet
High on aesthetics, the Yamaha YCL-650 is equipped with a bore that greatly enhances its performance. The makers offer a range of accessories too that help in its maintenance.
Quite confidently we can say the YCL-650 sounds as great as it looks, unlike a lot of clarinets that promise a mountain and deliver a mole hill. The vital component of the instrument is its resonance chamber that’s responsible for delivering sonorous tones.
The bore of this Yamaha product has been designed to not just deliver an impressive intonation, but also make playing effortless to a great extent. Blowing through this instrument will seem like an effortless exercise and this quality of the clarinet will be loved by music teachers and beginners alike. The silver-plated key of the CL-650 adds to its aesthetic appeal and makes the instrument a head-turner. The makers have taken utmost care to ensure they have got the ergonomics right with this model and the keys have been cemented with such precision that playing the instrument for hours won’t seem tiring.
The instrument is quite light too, weighing merely 5.2 pounds, making it easy to carry, especially during gigs where it’s required for you to stand for a long period. As far as the accessories are concerned, the manufacturer includes a carry kit, a mouthpiece, and a care kit. Its Grenadilla body and the inclusion of steel spring material in its design add to the elegance of the Yamaha YCL-650 and these ingredients also contribute to the unique sound quality it delivers.
Talking about the drawbacks, the mouthpiece Yamaha offers for this instrument isn’t really impressive and can impact your performance to an extent. If you are a beginner, you can probably overlook this aspect, but if you perform at gigs regularly then it is advised to choose another mouthpiece. The clarinet is also quite expensive considering this limitation, but the various advantages the product offers are the perks you get in return for the price.
- Grenadilla body contributes to the aesthetics and sound quality
- Light, easy to carry
- Horizontal bore ensures excellent intonation
- Mouthpiece isn’t really the best
- Requires consistent maintenance considering it is a wooden instrument
- Slightly expensive
Even those of you who are relatively new to exploring the latest musical instruments in town probably don’t require any introduction to this brand. Jean-Paul has carved a niche for its finesse in manufacturing wind instruments of quality that has been largely unparalleled by the dozens of clarinets produced over the years. Here’s one of the latest products manufactured by the brand you should probably consider if you are looking to procure your first clarinet.
4. Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
An invention of reputed musical instrument manufacturer Jean Paul, this clarinet is a boon for students, true to its name. Quite moderately priced, this instrument is made of Ebonite.
As the name suggests, this Jean Paul instrument is tailored for beginners and if you are a veteran at playing the clarinet, probably you can skip this option.
The chief ingredient used in the manufacture is Ebonite, a type of superior quality plastic, added to enhance the durability of the product. A lot of clarinet brands widely perceived classy by musicians adopt other lustrous raw materials. These are relatively more expensive than Ebonite and enhance the gloss of raw materials.
However, the plastic variant makes the instrument less brittle and decreases vulnerability to damage, especially while being shipped. Most importantly, the presence of Ebonite and its Nickel-plated exteriors, to a large extent, insulates the CL-300 from fluctuations in external temperature and conditions such as humidity.
The most important factor to be noted is that the clarinet is moderately-priced and Jean Paul offers several accessories apart from the instrument for the cost. Probably, you might have to spend a few dollars more for the extras, but the investment is totally worth it. Apart from its features and the accessories, its aesthetically-high, sleek design which instantly makes heads turn is an added advantage for those of you looking to buy the CL-300.
- Equipped with the 17-key system, a global standard followed by clarinet manufacturers worldwide
- Moderately priced
- All keys are metallic, which isn’t a finish every budding musician prefers
- Some tunings are not really impressive
French brand Buffet Crampon is one of the go-to names among musicians looking for woodwind musical instruments such as flutes, oboes, saxophones and a wide range of horns. Apart from manufacturing instruments that deliver exceptional sound quality, Buffet Crampon also strives to design each of its products such that they are high on aesthetics. These are a couple of suggestions from the brand’s product suite which you probably would like to consider.
5. Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet
Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet
Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet
The tone, construction, and sound quality of this instrument steers it ahead of many other popular clarinets today. The R13’s HB ligature, polycylindrical bore, and the grenadilla wood used in its construction make it one of the best clarinets for professionals.
The Crampon R13 is a favorite among many of the world’s most renowned musicians.
Not just its looks, the tone, construction, and sound quality of the instrument are quite impressive and uncompromised too, making the R13 a game-changer. Considering its many features, the Crampon R13 is one of the best products to buy if you are graduating from amateur to an intermediate or a pro level.
The clarinet arrives enclosed in a case that looks really plush. So, when it arrives at your doorstep, at first glance the package gives this impression that you have bought a box of precious jewels for the price of a clarinet. The wooden shell case is covered with a layer of Naugahyde that adds to its elegance.
The components included in the design are responsible for the Crampon R13’s exceptional sound quality. Notably, its 3-step poly-cylindrical bore, the Grenadilla wood used in the construction of the clarinet body, and an HB ligature.
The product has undergone a series of enhancements over a period of 40 years, which speaks volumes about its quality and what the product can possibly offer.
However, if you are considering buying this Clarinet, you must note that the price isn’t inclusive of a mouthpiece and you might have to procure one separately. The Buffet Crampon R13 is a great instrument for symphonies, and also suits the needs of most soloists, teachers, and students participating in marching bands.
- Uncompromised sound quality
- Slightly expensive, considering it’s tailored for an intermediate level
6. Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Clarinet
Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Clarinet
Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Clarinet
Although a little expensive, the components used in its making make the Buffet Crampon interesting. Its stainless steel-made springs, the mixture of Dalbergia Melanoxylon and stained African blackwood, and the silver-plated keyworks make this clarinet a must buy.
If you are looking for another option in the Buffet Crampon suite, then the E11 is a product that deserves attention to an extent.
The clarinet is slightly expensive as compared to many intermediate level instruments available today, but its architecture and the many impressive features make it worth the price. The product’s popularity has soared incredibly over the past few months, pipping the demand of various competitor brand clarinets. This rise in recognition implies it is easier to find replacement parts and service consultants if any component becomes dysfunctional.
As far as its design is concerned, Buffet has included stainless steel springs as well as sliver-plated keyworks, that greatly adds to the instrument’s elegance. The clarinet’s body deserves a special mention too since it is built with a mix of Dalbergia Melanoxylon and stained African blackwood.
If the Crampon E11 that has arrived at your doorstep is faulty and requires replacement, don’t fret. It can be returned and exchanged within 45 days since the date of purchase, which should alleviate any worries regarding product quality.
The turn-offs of the E11 are probably the lack of a gig bag and the fact that the instrument requires special care. If the maintenance aspect is overlooked, the clarinet won’t perform as it does during the initial days since the purchase. The reeds used in the clarinet need to be quite hard and may have to be replaced frequently to ensure a consistency in sound quality during each performance.
- The components used in the design and the ingredients employed in the construction make the E11 exceptional
- A great choice for intermediate and professional clarinet players
- Quite expensive for an intermediate-level clarinet
- Requires high maintenance
There’s no dearth of clarinet brands across online platforms today. However, if we funnel down reputed names that exclusively cater to students, then Glory would be one of the first few names that could be recalled. Here’s a review of a product manufactured by the brand we couldn’t afford to miss and feel you deserve to know.
7. Glory B Flat Black Clarinet
Glory B Flat Black Clarinet
Glory B Flat Black Clarinet
An 8-pad cushion, and its mouthpiece help musicians deliver exceptional tunes. The accessories that come along with this clarinet make it easy to maintain it frequently without the assistance of an external expert.
Here’s another instrument worth considering if you are a beginner. The Glory B Flat may make it easier for you to learn playing a clarinet and improve your craft to help you graduate to an intermediate level quite quickly. The use of Ebonite in its making, the presence of inline trill and Nickel keys don’t just contribute to its flawless, stunning look, but also make it sound great.
The presence of a cushion with 8 pads, 11 reeds, a cap and a mouthpiece, makes it really easy to carry the clarinet. The design has been tailored to ensure that its not strenuous to hold the instrument for long hours. Other noteworthy features of the Glory B are its hard-shell case and a second barrel. In addition, the makers offer a care kit that includes a screwdriver, cork, grease, reeds holder, a pair of glovers and a cleaning kit.
The ten reed pieces the manufacturers offer help you practice for many hours. A few customers who bought this instrument have complained about the clarinet failing to perform well after a few months. However, thinking of its many advantages, the Glory B Flat is a great beginner clarinet worth the investment, at least for the few months you spend mastering the instrument. The Glory B is one of the lightest clarinets around and weighs only around 3.48 pounds, so carrying it isn’t really going to hurt your arms.
- Presence of a hard-shell case makes it break-resistant
- An impressively large number of accessories
- Not a long-lasting product
- Can break easily
Be it their stringed instruments such as violins, or the clarinets, Cecilio has carved a niche for its ability to engineer some of the best products you know. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if we say Cecilio’s range of musical instruments is one of the best. The quality consistently delivered by the brand is now considered a yardstick by consumers to assess the abilities of its inventions. A simple online research will reveal several models introduced by Cecilio over the years, but here are a couple of clarinet suggestions you could consider before you arrive at a decision.
8. Mendini MCT ABS B Flat Clarinet With Case
Mendini MCT ABS B Flat Clarinet With Case
Mendini MCT ABS B Flat Clarinet With Case
Along with a one-year warranty, Cecilio offers a lot of additions such as a foldable clarinet stand, a mouthpiece, and a cork grease to ensure performing with this instrument is a breeze.
The Mendini range of clarinets is undoubtedly the most popular of Cecilio’s creations and there was no way we could afford to miss this product in our list. Its sky blue color might grab your attention instantly if you spot it at a store. However, this Mendini invention is far beyond merely its design and offers several features that make it worth considering, especially for music enthusiasts at the beginner and intermediate levels.
The body of the clarinet is made of ABS and includes Nickel plated keys as well as a thumb rest that’s adjustable, making it suitable for different kinds of users.
It’s not just the musical instrument you get for the price, Mendini offers a clarinet pocketbook, a foldable clarinet stand, a hard-shell case, mouthpiece, a box of reeds, cork grease, cleaning cloth, and a pair of gloves. It is to be noted that the reeds offered measure approximately 2.5 inches. If you consider the number of accessories the brand offers for its price, MCT is totally worth the money.
Although several reputed brands do promise great quality products, consumers often tend to discover that the instrument shipped to their address is a faulty one. In view of the inconvenience faced by such consumers, Mendini offers a 1-year warranty that includes return and exchange of defective products and also looks into the occasional wear and tear associated with clarinets.
- A large number of inclusive accessories for the price
- Impressive architecture
- Slightly expensive
9. Mendini Red ABS B Flat Clarinet
Mendini Red ABS B Flat Clarinet
Mendini Red ABS B Flat Clarinet
The cap, mouthpiece, box of reeds, and ligature included as a part of this Mendini instrument’s accessory kit tremendously help in elevating performances to a whole new level. The use of ABS in its development is highly responsible for the high intonation.
Mendini by Cecilio isn’t alien to budding musicians since this range of clarinets has been around since 2004. Each of the instruments belonging to the Mendini family has undergone a series of transformations over the years, and this fact assures that the clarinets available today are of high quality. They have found wide acceptance among bands and are also highly preferred by musicians for orchestral performances. Here’s another instrument belonging to the Mendini umbrella that you need to know about before buying a clarinet.
This clarinet, in particular, constructed using ABS, measures approximately 14 x 4 x 10 inches and is one of the best instruments for a beginner taking baby steps into the world of clarinets. The plastic variant used in its development is responsible for the high tonation and sharp sound that can be delivered by this instrument.
The inline trill keys of this clarinet are nickel-plated, which prevent the possibilities of tarnish to a large extent. Cecilio offers several accessories along with this clarinet such as a cap, a mouthpiece, a box of 10 reeds, and a ligature, which are essentials that play a vital role in helping musicians render a great performance. That’s not all, the manufacturers also offer a foldable stand that helps you play the clarinet better, as well as a pocketbook, cleaning cloth, cork grease, and a pair of gloves. Not many clarinet makers today offer a wide array of accessories as the Mendini Red does, which is one of the biggest advantages of investing in this product.
The makers also offer a one-year warranty for the instrument to fix defects that have occurred over a time period. Even before the instrument is shipped to your doorstep, it is to be noted that they are tested at Cecilio’s factory and then a local warehouse in California to confirm it isn’t faulty. The aforementioned reasons should be strong enough to inspire you to buy this clarinet.
- Wide range of accessories
- ABS used in its construction is responsible for delivering exceptional sound quality
- Cork grease isn’t impressive enough and doesn’t make playing the clarinet easier
With a legacy dating back to 1800, Selmer has long been known for producing reliable, great quality clarinets. These instruments not just look elegant, they are easy to play and sound great too. Today, you can find both Selmer and Henri Selmer Paris brands in the market. Both these brands manufacture products that are aimed at professionals as well as amateurs alike, and are known for their finesse in producing great student clarinets.
10. Selmar Paris Bb Clarinet
Selmar Paris Bb Clarinet
Selmar Paris Bb Clarinet
The Paris Bb has a body, barrel, and a bell that are made of Grenadilla, which contribute immensely to their rich, dark sound. Noteworthy among its accessories is the C85 120 mouthpiece which is largely responsible for making its sound soothing to the ear.
Selmar’s famous creation, the Paris Bb Clarinet could probably be the best find for all you musicians in pursuit of an instrument that delivers a rich, dark sound. The noteworthy features of this instrument is its small bore that measures approximately 66 mm and its thick walls, both of which are responsible for rendering its focused and dark tone.
Selmar has adopted Grenadilla for the construction of the body, barrel, and bell parts of the clarinet, which alone implies the kind of sound quality this instrument can deliver. The accessories included as a part of the package are a case, a Selmar Paris C85 120 mouthpiece, ligature, cap, and several care products.
Customers can choose between instruments where the keys are silver plated and clarinets that have employed nickel silver alloy. Well, we suggest the adoption of instruments with nickel-plated keys since they protect a clarinet from tarnish or any form of external damage. The Paris Bb has an adjustable thumb rest that makes holding it an effortless task, especially for those with short fingers.
- Amazing dark sound
- Suits both amateurs and professionals alike
- There’s often a confusion between Selmer USA clarinets and the Henri Selmer Paris kind, which are high-quality pro instruments
- A bit expensive
Things to consider while buying a clarinet
Now that we’ve checked out some of the top clarinet brands and the uniqueness of their products, here are a few key things to keep in mind while choosing the right instrument.
Type of clarinet
The instrument that most of us recognize as a clarinet is a Bb Soprano. Bb clarinets are the all-rounders you’ll see in orchestras, jazz ensembles, and bands. The ideal practice is to indulge in a research to figure the clarinet that works best for you.
How much does a clarinet cost?
An obvious limiting factor for most of us is our budget. A simple student clarinet including a mouthpiece, case, and accessories can cost under $200. On the other end of the scale, a fine quality grenadilla wood clarinet from a well-regarded brand will cost more than $5000. Many of the top clarinet brands offer models to suit every purse, so even if you’re on a small budget, you can still swing for a top end brand by choosing an entry-level student model.
Levels of clarinet
We can group clarinets into three broad categories: student, intermediate, and professional.
Student clarinets are entry-level instruments that can start at as little as $200. They’re perfect for beginners who are testing their commitment to taking up a new instrument. Since your choice of clarinet is so personal, starting with a student clarinet buys you some time to learn your preferences as a player before you make an investment in a long-term instrument. Student clarinets are typically made of plastic (ABS resin) and are easy to play and take care of.
Intermediate or mid-level clarinets are great for the continuing student or keen amateur. You’ll begin to see wooden clarinets in this category, as well as higher-quality plastic models.
Clarinets described as professional level are designed for the most serious players, either highly committed amateurs or professional musicians. You will find mostly wooden clarinets at this price point, although there are also fine resin and composite clarinets designed for players who favor an instrument with greater durability.
A word of caution: opting for a pro model does not necessarily mean that you’ve secured the best clarinet for your needs. A top-of-the-range professional clarinet will sound extraordinary in the right hands, but a beginner will find it difficult to play and will struggle with tone and intonation.
What are clarinets made of?
Wooden clarinets are typically made of Grenadilla wood, which renders that dark, rich clarinet tone that many feel can’t be matched by instruments with bodies made out of different materials. This factor alone is a strong reason to opt for a wooden instrument, despite the associated hike in cost. However, wooden clarinets are also very fragile. If you are a beginner, live in a humid region, or play for a marching band, it’s better to look for an alternative best suited for your needs.
A second consideration is the material of the keys. This also comes down to personal preference. Clarinet keys are made from a metal alloy, usually plated with either nickel or silver. Silver keys have a warm luster that looks beautiful and easy to play, though it can become tarnished over time. Although during the initial days the instrument’s Nickel keys may seem shiny, the gloss will eventually wear out and expose the alloy underneath. Clarinets with gold plated key work are less common and make quite a statement.
The bore of the clarinet is the cylindrical space inside the body. Its size and shape makes a difference to the clarinet’s sound and ability to play effortlessly. Small bore clarinets are accurate and easy to play. Larger bore clarinets are more difficult to pitch but offer a broad flexibility of pitch and tone.
Keys and Plating
The kind of metal employed in your clarinet keys not just contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the instrument, but they also help determine the instrument’s durability. While Nickel and Silver are the ones largely adopted in the design, it is vital to know the demerits of employing each of them to comprehend approximately how long your instruments would perform efficiently.
While silver definitely contributes a lot to the elegance of clarinets, the instruments coated with Nickel are quite resistant to tarnish and increase their longevity.
1. How to use portable little clarinet stand?
Portable clarinet stands are usually easy to fold and carry, and could be the best accessories to own, especially if you travel extensively for gigs. These stands can be stretched and placed on the floor and can be dismantled quickly in such a way that they fit into any bag with little effort.
2. Are clarinets only b flat?
No, there are other categories of clarinets too such as E Flat and Bass. The architecture of these instruments differentiates them from each other, and the design even makes a significant impact on the sound quality. For instance, the bass clarinets have four registers that deliver different kinds of sounds. Be it penetrating, powerful, dark, sonorous, or mellow, these registers help bass clarinets deliver an array of sounds.
3. How Does Plating Affect the Durability?
The durability of the clarinets is affected by the material used in plating. For instance, the incorporation of Nickel in their design not just contributes significantly to the appearance of clarinets but also makes them less susceptible to damage of any kind.
4. Which Plating is Better for Beginners?
Nickel-plated clarinets are far better than those coated with silver. Although Nickel-plated clarinets might seem a little less lustrous, they protect the external surfaces from damage to a large extent.
5. Do I need a special mouthpiece?
A lot of clarinet manufacturers offer their own exclusive mouthpieces that are perfectly aligned with the instruments produced. However, several brands don’t offer mouthpieces and the users need to choose one that suits them the best. The choice of a mouthpiece, in such cases, should be determined by the kind of clarinet you own. For instance, a mouthpiece that suits a Class A clarinet might not be the best fit for the Bb kind, and so on. We suggest consulting a professional musician or a service assistant from the brand’s team to arrive at the best decision.
6. Does the type of reed change how a clarinet sounds?
Yes, the type of reed adopted tremendously impacts the output of a clarinet. Rico, Vanderen, Rigotti, Selmer, and Legere are a few brands known for their finesse in manufacturing clarinet reeds. Strength and cut are additional factors, apart from the brand, musicians need to consider before procuring a reed. The strength of a mouthpiece is determined on a scale of 1 to 5, to differentiate the softest from the hardest. It’s highly recommended that beginners choose a softer reed, while intermediate and professional players can opt for relatively hard ones, best suited to their preferences.
As far as the cuts are concerned, regular and French-file variants of reeds are widely available today. French files are slightly expensive, but they offer relatively quicker responses and are highly preferred by professionals, whereas it might not be the ideal ones for amateurs.
7. Do I need any accessories for my clarinet?
Yes, accessories are a must while purchasing clarinets, since they not only contribute to the sound quality these instruments deliver but also help in maintaining them to the best extent. Some reputed brands offer accessories such as a cleaning cloth, marching gloves, and screwdrivers to make those minor adjustments that are quite necessary over a time period.
8. How to Balance / Adjust Reeds?
Before we move into a detailed discussion about balancing or adjusting reeds, it is really important to select the right piece to link with your instrument. Clarinet manufacturers usually deliver a pack of reeds, each of which measure 2.5 inches.
However, a bit of inspection is vital to choose the right piece, and the simplest method is to hold the reed against light. When subjected to illumination, the opaque part of the clarinet, considered its heart, should appear like an inverted “u” or “v”. The sides of the piece, the cut in the middle and the heel of the reed should all seem symmetrical.
The most important step in determining if the reed has been perfectly adjusted is to check for bright overtones. Gently moving the piece from left to right helps precisely know if a particular side is stuffy and needs to be chiseled. Usually, the tips of reeds require a bit of manual tapering to ensure great results.
Scraping is an activity that requires a lot of care. The best practice is to slice a bit of wood and play the instrument to check if it sounds perfect and you’ve chopped just the right amount of wood, since there’s no point regretting slicing more pulp than what was required.
Adjustments of these kind are frequently required to ensure your clarinets perform consistently well. Saliva and undesirable mouth particles get deposited on the reeds when played frequently over a span of months or a year. Even dust, moisture, and other foreign particles from the environment too get deposited on these pieces and diminish performance significantly.
The way to curb the damage is to make light strokes on the reed surface using an exclusive knife tailored for clarinets. This practice removes layers of dirt from the instrument and enhances the longevity of the instrument.
9. How to care of your clarinet?
The care required for a clarinet is as much as that of a toddler. Acclimatization plays a key role in ensuring the longevity of a clarinet. If your clarinet is made of Grenadilla or wood variants for instance, there are a few rules of thumb you can’t overlook. Never leave it exposed to cold during the chilly winters or abandon it for hours in a car during scorching hot afternoons.
During extremely dry weather, where the air contains absolutely no moisture, clarinets are susceptible to cracking. If you reside in a dry region, it’s ideal to procure a humidifier to prevent cracking.
However, an excess of moisture could spell doom for your clarinet as well, so it is really necessary to wipe it frequently if there’s a large amount of humidity in the air.
10. Is clarinet easier than saxophone?
Well, the answer is quite subjective since the opinions of musicians vary drastically. However, if you are a beginner considering playing a woodwind instrument as a hobby, then the clarinet is a good option to start with and probably you could graduate to playing a saxophone.
Many music industry veterans too recommend that the saxophone is the last woodwind instrument you should try if you are kind of alien to these products.
11. How many keys and holes does a clarinet have?
Ideally a clarinet needs to have 11 holes, which includes 10 for tone and one to accommodate over-blowing. Most of these instruments, manufactured by reputed brands, adhere to this protocol. Since one of the fingers, usually the thumb is required to hold the clarinet firmly, the other nine can toggle between the eleven holes.
12. How many octaves does a clarinet have?
Clarinet has a range of four octaves and the number depends on the type of the instrument. For instance, a B – Flat clarinet has a range of more than three octaves, whereas the Bb kind has three.
13. Is there a tenor clarinet?
Alto clarinets are also popularly known as tenor clarinets in a few countries. However, the reference isn’t the same as tenor saxophones. As far as saxophones are concerned, the difference between the alto and tenor are clearly distinguished and these are separate instruments in their own right.
14. What is the difference between A and B flat clarinet?
An A clarinet is widely preferred by musicians who are mainly into classical music. Even if you are an intermediate who already owns a Bb clarinet, the A kind can be a great addition that proves to be really handy. The difference between the two instruments lie in their pitch and timbre, which makes the A type more suitable for sharp notes, whereas the B clarinet is ideal for flat ones.
Choosing the perfect clarinet brand really boils down to an individual’s expectations. Our research has revealed that Yamaha and Buffet are some of the best brands that manufacture a variety of clarinets. Their reputation of producing some of the best musical instruments, garnered over the years, implies that their products are highly reliable. In addition, the other options in the list could help you zero-in on a product perfectly suited for your price expectations.
We hope we’ve been able to inform and inspire you in making your final choice!
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