If you play the clarinet, you are probably aware that numerous best clarinet brands and styles are available for starting students, intermediate players, and even a pro composer. However, if you’re starting, or even if you’ve been playing for a while, these options of best clarinet brands may appear daunting. People of all skill and career levels utilize a variety of clarinets in their daily playing.
This article offers our reviews of the top-rated clarinets for beginner, intermediate and professional level clarinet players before outlining a few considerations to research when you search for the best clarinet. We also answered some of the questions regarding the top clarinet brands that might arise in your mind.
5 Best Clarinets Reviewed: Our Top Picks for Best Sound Quality
Shopping for the best clarinet, whether for yourself or a family member, is difficult if you have no past expertise. Not everyone is familiar with the newest clarinet brands or lingo. Since buying an excellent clarinet is a long-term investment for most musicians, it is better to be cautious and smart in choosing the right clarinet.
Here, take a look at five of the best clarinets on the market right now.
Jean Paul is one of the finest student clarinet brands for an affordable student instrument. Despite being an American company, some of their entry-level instruments, like this CL 300 Clarinet, are made in China.
These student instruments are made from Ebonite. Ebonite is a hard rubber substance that can be made to seem like wooden instruments. It is, of course, a solid choice for a cost-effective production method to mimic a wooden clarinet. It produces a decent instrument compared to its wooden counterparts and is surely better than the plastic ones.
The design is typical B flat clarinet with a 17 key Boehm system. The keys are nickel plated. This student clarinet is also incredibly durable and keeps its silvery appearance for a long time if properly cared for.
The bore of this well made student clarinet is excellent, allowing for rich sound quality and projection. It’s designed to be simple to play but lacks some finer details on more expensive and professional clarinets.
The package includes a 2.5 inch Rico reed, gloves, cork grease, and a cleaning cloth. It’s a great choice for the first clarinet or student clarinet to buy. It is inexpensive and appealing. It’s well-made and has a great sound. A better sound than most plastic clarinets, but not all.
However, some users complained about keys bending after this clarinet being played for long periods.
- Rich sound quality, great student clarinet
- Comes with essential accessories
- Includes a light but strong carrying case for easy transportation
- Amazing playability and key action
- An amazing B flat clarinet with 17 Bohem key system
- Affordable price for a wooden instrument alternative
- Bent keys issue due to prolonged use for many years
- Not recommended for professionals
The Mendini clarinet is ideal for beginning players who are hesitant to take up clarinet playing. This plastic clarinet offers a simplistic but attractive approach to clarinet playing. This is also the finest option for providing some inspiration to kids starting with clarinet lessons.
Mendini players benefit from an adjustable thumb rest and inline trill keys. In addition, the adjustable thumb rest and trill keys on this clarinet are inline. Trill keys are quick transitions between notes that be either semitones or full tones. The note can be flattened and then quickly raised to the intended note using inline trill keys. This is what creates the thrilling effect.
This student clarinet is appealing for its fun colors, ranging from bold hot pink to dark black!
Each of these beginner clarinets comes with ten 2.5-inch reeds. However, we recommend investing in better reeds which will produce better sound quality and expressiveness to mimic intermediate models.
Along with this Bb clarinet, you’ll get a pocketbook for storing your sheet music and a collapsible clarinet stand that fits inside the bell.
- Comes as a full starter kit with high quality accessories which is ideal for beginner models
- Lightweight, adjustable, and easy to transport
- Sleek, smooth, and elegant design
- High quality construction materials of this plastic clarinet
- A wide range of color options with affordable price points
- Not recommended to intermediate and professional payers
The Yamaha YCL 255 Standard Bb Clarinet has an ABS resin body painted to look like a real wooden clarinet. It’s lighter than the other premium models of this popular manufacturing company, yet just as tough. This is a great option for intermediate clarinetists.
This intermediate clarinet has nickel-plated keys and an adjustable thump design with a neck strap. Yamaha YCL 255 added durable Valentino pads to protect the Valentino from temperature changes and a strap ring for comfort.
However, it is an economical musical instrument for an intermediate player unwilling to compromise consistent sound quality when he or she plays. The Yamaha YCL 255, like other Yamaha instruments, has the ability to produce a deep tone and warmer sound.
Yamaha says these intermediate clarinets can handle practically any condition. However, some intermediate-level players claim it lacks high notes. Try out different mouthpieces and reeds along with multiple clarinets to see if you can improve.
- Sturdy and durable craftsmanship with ABS resin body
- Great sound quality with a pleasantly produced consistent tone
- One of the top rated plastic clarinets that’s modeled after professional clarinets from Yamaha
- An exceptional resonance chamber in the bell aiding the projection and improving intonation in lower notes
- Easy to hold for long playing session with adjustable thumb rest
- Ideal as a professional clarinet
- Great value for money
- A bit expensive higher-end model
Despite its low price, this instrument contains numerous high-end features ensuring reliable sound projection. The fluidity and the easy response of these clarinets are awesome. This clarinet features high-carbon steel springs and double sheep casing pads. These are ideal for student clarinets.
Many significant features set this instrument apart from other woodwind instruments. This model features two provided barrels that allow for modification of intonation. High-carbon steel springs will last longer and require less regular maintenance.
The ebonite body produces a distinct and beautiful tone. The nickel keys are perfect for students. It has a beautiful polished finish with nickel-plated keys and ebonite construction.
We recommend this instrument for beginners looking for a low-cost instrument with high-end features. It’s ideal for those who don’t want to invest a significant amount of money on high-end clarinets at first.
- Strong sounds projection and distinctively produced sound quality
- Includes two barrels for tuning
- Great response and elasticity with matte finish surface
- Aerodynamic design to allow free blowing and excellent sound projection
- Double skin pads
- An entire range of high quality accessories included
- A budget clarinet with an affordable price
- High carbon steel springs with nickel keys for a more comfortable feel
- Substandard quality of included mouthpiece and reed, not designed for rough handling
This gorgeous professional clarinet has silver-plated keys and a Grenadilla wood body. The Buffet Crampon R13 professional clarinet has undercut tone holes for excellent tuning. Poly cylindrical bore design and two fish skin pads are also featured in these professional clarinets.
Buffet Crampon, the builder of this lovely wooden clarinet, is known for closely working with musicians to meet their needs. They did the same when developing the particular model. Professional musicians like this Buffet Crampon R13 professional clarinet for its legendary focused sound.
The most appealing feature is the flexibility of this wooden clarinet. The Buffet Crampon R13 professional clarinet won’t let you down regardless of register.
These professional clarinets do not come with a mouthpiece. Professional clarinetist usually has their preferences and specifications. Buffet Crampon wanted to allow for this in their professional bb clarinet.
The Buffet Crampon R13 professional clarinet is one of the best clarinets because of its sound quality and warm tones. The deep warm sound of this wooden clarinet is omnipresent in music. For the price, the crampon R13 professional Bb Clarinet is the way to go if you are serious about music.
- Naugahyde coating over this wooden clarinet promises superior durability of the wooden body
- Amazing design and larger bore allowing for deep warm sound while maintaining tone quality with undercut tone holes
- The classical appearance of a professional clarinet for a professional musician
- Includes a high quality hard-shell case with plush interior and a French-style HB ligature
- Highly recommended for its distinct focus sound on other professional clarinet reviews
- Top notch build materials of this professional clarinet
- One of the most expensive instruments
Types of Clarinets
The clarinet family includes a variety of instrument varieties that are differentiated by their tunings, body designs, and sizes. Many clarinetists vary between several distinct models, tailoring a style of music—or even a specific composition—to the ideal instrument for the job.
To choose the proper clarinet for yourself, you need to understand the difference among common types of clarinets.
1. Soprano Family
When most people think of clarinets, they think of the soprano clarinet, which has a long, thin body that most people identify with right once. Rather than being a single clarinet type, the Soprano clarinets are a sub-family of clarinets that come in various tunings and sound profiles.
i. Bb Clarinets
The Bb clarinet is the most familiar type of clarinet. Bb key is the most common key which is used in various music, from Mozart to marching tunes, but jazz, swing, and Dixieland employ it the most. Because the Bb clarinet has such a broad music repertoire, it is often the quality instrument of choice for starting students.
It can also serve as a suitable crossover instrument, allowing musicians to easily switch to the saxophone or flute at a later point in time.
ii. Eb Clarinets
The Eb clarinet is often referred to as a “sopranino” instrument. Orchestras, marching bands, school bands, and concert bands frequently use the Eb to play higher melodies that a Bb or A clarinet would struggle to play. The contra-alto clarinet is pitched in the key of Eb and has a higher pitch than the contra-bass clarinet.
Beginners should avoid the Eb clarinet as this is a professional clarinet. Its high notes often require sophisticated fingerings, and its precise intonation requires a sensitive ear. Regardless, the Eb clarinet is a fantastic choice for experienced musicians wishing to challenge themselves.
iii. A Clarinets
Although the Bb clarinet is the most popular, the A clarinet is vital to many musicians, especially those who play classical music of the highest standards.
Classical clarinetists frequently move from Bb to A clarinet within a single piece of music. While it is technically conceivable to transpose passages written for the A clarinet to the Bb clarinet, the music would certainly suffer as a result.
Classical clarinet players usually carry a Bb and A model in a set case. So, if you’re an intermediate clarinetist who wants to play largely classical music, A clarinet would be worth considering.
2. Bass Clarinets
The bass clarinet family has a large repertoire. We can hear them in classical, symphonic, jazz, and even pop music. The bass clarinet is generally placed on the floor using its thorn (a peg at the instrument’s base) or carried by the performer using a strap or other accessory.
The instrument’s bell is turned upward, giving it a saxophone-like look. There are two types of the bass clarinet. Some instruments have a range to low Eb, while others have a range to low C.
Tuned to Bb, the bass clarinet has a rich, pleasant tone that works well alone or in an ensemble. Because there is no readily available bass clarinet tuned to A, players must occasionally transpose passages, which can be difficult for entry-level clarinets.
3. Harmony Clarinets
Aside from the models mentioned above, there are others manufactured for various tunings. These musical instruments are usually employed to achieve harmonies rather than melodies, hence “harmony clarinets.”
Buying Guide for the Best Clarinet
Buying a clarinet, whether for the first time or as a move up, is a huge decision with many aspects to consider. To acquire a great instrument, you need to learn about the important characteristics and components to consider when choosing a beautiful clarinet that’s ideal for you.
The clarinet family contains a variety of instruments that differ in terms of register and tuning. To get started, you’ll need to figure out which clarinet type is appropriate for you. This buyer’s guide will walk you through the nitty-gritty by going over the various clarinet kinds and some considerations for shopping for the best clarinets.
mouthpieces are available in a variety of sizes, materials, and colors. Student clarinets usually come with a basic mouthpiece with ligature and cap. Many of these are made of plastic and cast from a mold, whereas more expensive, higher quality mouthpieces are made of Ebonite, a strong rubber-based material.
After reaching a certain level, players often wish to better upgrade their mouthpiece and ligature to complement their embouchure, repertoire, and style. The costlier mouthpiece on professional level clarinet benefits from better design, precision, and manufacture. Many consider mouthpiece design an art form while buying a professional-level clarinet. It’s a hot topic among woodwind players.
The clarinet barrel connects the mouthpiece and body. Professional musicians may update their barrels when they are ready for a professional clarinet, although students rarely do. The barrel will match the rest of your instrument, usually Ebonite for student models. Some student models come with a shorter barrel to help new learners play in tune.
Like the mouthpiece, your ligature is an important consideration because it greatly influences your sound. It secures your reed against your mouthpiece. The same as mouthpieces, ligatures come in a variety of materials. Most student models come with a basic metal ligature that players can enhance once they graduate. Expensive ligatures on the professional clarinets may use more inventive fastening mechanisms, reducing the dampening effect.
The build of a clarinet’s body is another important thing. The upper and lower joints create up the clarinet’s body. Ebonite, a strong vulcanized rubber with good tonal properties, is commonly used in student models. You may also encounter ABS resin in many clarinets, which is comparable.
The most expensive models are wooden clarinets with Grenadilla wood bodies. Wooden clarinets have excellent tonal qualities. However, wooden clarinets require more maintenance and care. One of the two joints of a wood clarinet has the instrument’s keywork, drilled and attached to the body.
When assembling and dismantling your clarinet, be careful not to bend or push the key work out of alignment. Applying cork grease to your instrument’s tenons will facilitate this process.
The bore of your clarinet is the cylindrical hole through which air travels to create sound. Most student models have a consistent bore from top to bottom. More expensive clarinets may have poly cylindrical bores with varying diameters. The smaller bore is supposed to give a brighter tone in the bell section. The normal Bb clarinet bore is 15mm in diameter.
After each playing session, use a pull-through to remove any remaining moisture from your clarinet’s bore. Expensive granadilla wood models may also need lubrication inside the bore to play well.
The keys on your instrument are normally made of metal (primarily nickel, silver, and brass alloy). The most common ones are silver, nickel, and gold-plated keys (for the more expensive and professional instrument). Nickel-plated keywork might induce allergies in some players after extended exposure.
Many student clarinets have durable keys that are silver plated. Many starting versions include a silver polishing cloth for keeping silver plated keywork in good condition. Finger oils degrade and discolor silver plated key work over time. Thus, regular cleaning helps prolong the life of this beautiful instrument.
Keywork components like pads and springs will distinguish cheaper models from a more expensive and professional instrument designed for a professional player. Blue Steel springs are renowned for their speed. The material used to make your clarinet’s pads varies from model to model played by professional players. They are vital in providing an airtight seal between the key and straight tone holes.
For students, ‘skin’ pads are preferred over leather pads. Over the lifetime of your clarinet, these will need to be maintained and replaced.
Finally, an adjustable thumb rest rather than a fixed thumb rest is ideal for the smaller hands of the younger players as their hands grow. Common on student models, but worth verifying when choosing the first clarinet.
Clarinets Maintenance Tips
- Keep the tenon corks lubricated to avoid bending the keys when putting the instrument together as a completely assembled clarinet.
- Any torn pads should be replaced because they will buzz when you play.
- Twice a year, apply key oil or clock oil to the ends of all moving rods.
- Make certain the tenon rings are secure. This is something that any qualified woodwind technician can swiftly take care of for you.
- Use a tiny amount of mild soap and water that is at room temperature. Cleaning the external area of the mouthpiece, bore, and undercut holes using moistened Q-tips is good.
- When packing up after a game, thoroughly wipe any moisture from all tenons and sockets.
- Cleaning pad paper between the pad and the tone holes is an easy way to dry them.
- Maintain a clean and tear-free swab.
- Before playing your professional clarinet, always wash your hands and brush your teeth.
- A qualified woodwind technician should be seen at least once a year to maintain an expensive professional clarinet.
There are various alternatives available for young players, beginners, middle or high school students, or advanced clarinet players.
Choosing a wonderful clarinet is essential for your own enjoyment and satisfaction. Some of the sets merely include the clarinet and case, while other models include everything. Ensure you get the other essential accessories as well when buying your first instrument.
Take your time and have fun finding the ideal clarinet for you that truly justifies your investment and personal preference. Happy jazzing!
How much does a decent clarinet cost?
Ans: Beginner clarinets of different models typically cost between $500 to $1100. Decent-sounding intermediate clarinets typically cost between $1,300 and $2,800. A professional clarinet costs between $2000 and $4,000. For obtaining a more premium quality clarinet, the total price tag, including the extra cost of customization, can move up to $40,000.
Is it easy to play a clarinet?
Ans: A clarinet is no harder or easier to master than any other orchestral instrument. The trip begins once you understand where to place your mouth on the mouthpiece and how hard it blows. Regular practice with a skilled teacher makes mastering clarinet easier. Like any other instrument, you will learn one note at a time and then go on to the next step with more professional-level instruments.
What is a good professional clarinet?
Ans: Buffet R13 Professional Bb Clarinet and Yamaha YCL CSVR Series Professional Bb Clarinet are good professional clarinets for clarinetists to shine on the stage.
What is the most expensive clarinet?
Ans: The Selmer Paris Model 41 Contra bass Clarinet is the most expensive and professional level clarinet globally, priced at $35,775. The clarinet’s Rosewood body and silver plated keys produce rich tones, making it the best professional clarinet.
What type of music can I play with the clarinet?
Ans: The clarinet can perform any style of music. However, a professional clarinet works well with classical, blues, jazz, and modern music in any school band, marching band, jazz band, or orchestra setting.
Which brand of clarinet is the best?
Ans: Buffet, Jupiter, and Yamaha are the best student clarinet brands that make excellent student model clarinets. Yamaha, Buffet, Uebel, Selmer, and Leblanc are among the more advanced clarinet brands.