best clarinet

Looking for a wind instrument that perfectly fits your skill? The clarinet is a popular favorite, as it gives a distinct yet significant sound, one might consider a bit similar to the distant trumpet. However, it produces a unique characteristic having a sound that unlike other woodwind instruments. Its sound has a lot of soul and depth.

What is a clarinet?

clarinet

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This is considered as one of the beloved instruments by many musically-inclined individuals. It has only a single reed, as well as a cylindrical bore. Most people would refer to A- and B flat version in general.

However, there is indeed a wide family of woodwind instruments that range from tiny E flat models up to the super deep-sounding best bass clarinets so you can expect to hear some different sounds when listening to this fine instrument.

You can find these high quality woodwind instruments made of a variety of materials including wood, metal or plastic. Some other hardware and the keys are nickel or silver coated metal.

For those who are brand new to playing, try starting with one that is made of synthetic material such as ABS with lacquer coated keys but when you’re feeling more confident, pick up a more higher end model, such as the fine granadilla wood along with silver-plated keys.

Though woodwinds look a little bit like the well-known oboes, they have a wider mouth and a single reed only. They are also well known for their wonderful sound, as they have a tonal range that is considered as the widest of any wind instrument.

How to Choose a Clarinet?

1. Characteristics or Levels:

best clarinet brand

This wind instrument is manufactured as for different abilities and level. These are the levels of clarinets:

Beginners/Students. The clarinets made for students will focus on the reliability, ease of playing and also affordability. In most cases, they are constructed with a plastic body since plastic needs less maintenance from the beginning players.

Intermediate. This is considered as a transition level instrument and it provides some upgrades from the student clarinets like a wooden body but still affordable. You might avoid intermediate category altogether once planning for a long term investment rather invest in the professional-grade horn.

Professional. Considered as the highest quality instruments, these have all the extra features standard intended for upper-level performance such as wooden body as for superb tone quality. These clarinets also have a low C-key which is desired at higher levels of performance as for extending lower range of the instrument.

The focus of the manufacturers would be on the optimal sound, accurate tuning, response and also swift key action. If these woodwinds are well-maintained then they could last almost decades or might even pass down through the next generation of great players.

2. Features You Must Look for

Indeed, clarinet features must also be well-considered once planning to purchase one:

Body Material

The two common types of clarinets, bass, and soprano could be constructed out of different materials depending on the level, desire and use. Some of the most common materials are the following:

  • Plastic

Known to be reserved for beginners or students, plastic ones are durable and affordable. They take far less care compared to woods and so players are not to worry about the instrument to crack due to weather extremes. Plastic instruments are as well commonly used in outdoor music activities like marching bands.

  • Wood

As an industry standard beyond beginner instruments, granadilla or the same dense wood could produce dark and desirable sound. Clarinets made of wood might require extra care since the wooden body swells or shrinks due to changing humidity and temperatures. Without the proper care, the body might crack and it will totally ruin the instrument.

  • Greenline

Greenline clarinets are known to be relatively new as it is manufactured from the combination of granadilla powder, epoxy resin, and polycarbonate fiber.

Woodwinds made from this material are offered on some professional level instruments and its density mimics the hardwood having no usual susceptibility to weather conditions as the wooden counterparts. This could also be a wise choice, particularly to those players wherein the instruments are being exposed to extreme environmental conditions.

Parts

You should also be aware of the different parts when it comes to clarinets. And these parts are the following:

  • Mouthpiece

Woodwind instruments would include a stock offering however many musicians would customize the mouthpiece. Solo performance, classical or ensemble informs mouthpiece choice and also many players would use different mouthpieces as for different musical styles too.

Along with that, the cut and the shape of the mouthpiece might alter tone quality and different tones or responses might be provided due to differences such as square or round chamber or measurement of space in between the reed and mouthpiece.

  • Ligature

This will strap the reed in place against the mouthpiece. It may come in many varied designs like the double or single screw and inverted and also in many materials such as string, leather, and metals.

The tightness and material of the ligature against the mouthpiece would affect whether how freely the reed vibrates against the mouthpiece, therefore, contributing to the sound of the clarinet.

  • Reeds

Known as especially-shaped pieces of thin wood, reeds are attached to the flat surface of the mouthpiece with the use of a ligature. When the musician blows through the mouthpiece, the air passes through the slight opening in between the tip of the reed as well as the mouthpiece. This vibrates against the mouthpiece and creates the lovely tone of the clarinet!

Be aware of these parts while shopping for the best clarinet available in the market today. Fortunately you’ll find high quality clarinets to enjoy for practice or concert playing.

Best Clarinet Brands

We highly recommend that you also consider the brand name when aiming to find the best clarinet. You can feel more confidence and also trust that the overall quality of this wind instrument will be superb. If you’ve owned one in the past, then you might want to go ahead and buy another instrument right from the same manufacturer.

It’s also hard to go wrong with a brand name which has a great track of record as for producing affordable and high-quality clarinets such as Buffet, Yamaha, and Selmer. If you are taking music lessons, ask your instructor or even a fellow musician for their personal recommendations too.

Price vs. Value: How Much Are You Willing to Spend?

Like with most purchase you make, the price will reflect the quality of the clarinet though the pricing could also vary based on the brand, type, and ability level. You should be wary of those instruments that are significantly less expensive than others since inexpensive ones could lead to avoidable repairs, quick replacement, and poor tone quality as well as tuning.

You might consider sticking to a reputable woodwind instrument manufacturers or you might consult trusted professionals or educators that would make sure a reliable and long-term investment.

In terms of price, you might consider the following:

  • Between $300-400. If this is your budget then you could buy a plastic clarinet that is indeed inexpensive. Better quality and used plastic instruments could also be considered.
  • Between $400-600. This budget will allow you to buy a good quality plastic clarinet or a bargain wooden instrument as well.
  • Between $700-800. For a top quality plastic woodwind or a decent quality of a wooden clarinet then you might need this budget.
  • Between $1000-2000. Indeed, this budget is for those that are looking for really good quality intermediate instruments which would significantly play better compared to those with low prices.

Reviews of the Best Clarinets

Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Intermediate Wood Clarinet
  • 4.4 Stars
  • Buffet Crampon E11
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  • Best for intermediate
              
  • Affordable price
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  • Impressive sound
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Buffet Crampon R13 Professional

Top 3 Best Student Clarinet

These type of beginner instrument will assist you to learn more and perform better as you play.

1. Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB Black Ebonite B Flat Clarinet

Mendini MCT-E+SD+PB Black Ebonite B Flat Clarinet

My rating: 4 Stars

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For student musicians, this clarinet is one of the good picks. This possesses a premium quality body having inline trill keys that are nickel plated and most especially durable.

A beginner may also fall for its adjustable or modifiable thumb rest. This instrument gives a great sound that is great for student’s use.

It’s a sturdy and compact woodwind stand can be easily stored and assembled. Aside from easily assembling this instrument, you could also have an easy time and fun time in playing it.

Moreover, it has a good carrying casing as well as pads. The tuning of this instrument is also quite impressive.

Things we liked

Easy to assemble instrument
Great sound
Nice tuning ability
Sturdy and compact stand

Things we didn’t like

Not clear instruction on putting it together

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2. Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet

Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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This may be one of your great choices when it comes to a beginner woodwind. It’s in Bb key and comes with an impressively strong carrying case that enables users to have it to anywhere they want.

You’ll also love its ebonite body composition that adds to the instrumental appeal. If you’re very particular with the design with great sounding attributes, this clarinet may work best for your preferences.

There’s a lot of beneficial key features or attributes in a student instrument. Aside from varied worthy accessories that it provides, this is a great clarinet when it comes to reliability, responses, playability and sound quality. As a customer, you will be 100% satisfied with this woodwind.

Things we liked

Impressive design
Great sounding tone and range
Excellent ebonite body composition
Reliable clarinet
Easy to play
Boehm 17 key system
Smooth playability
Excellent responses
Offers wide range of musical tones

Things we didn’t like

Plastic instrument

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3. Yamaha Advantage YCL-200AD Student Clarinet

Yamaha Advantage YCL-200AD Student Clarinet

My rating: 4.6 Stars

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Yamaha Advantage YCL-200AD is an advantageous woodwind instrument with an enhanced value and beauty due to its redesigned casing and plated (nickel) keys. This is a very high quality and also creates an impressive response and focused tone.

This is one of Yamaha’s top models that involves a discrete quality of the brand custom and professional clarinets. If you’re a student who encounters difficulty in hitting the first pitches, this may work awesome for your needs.

More than that, this also take great contribution in building the confidence of the beginners due to the improved bell resonance chamber, which is responsible for enhancing intonation and projection of the clarinet’s lower notes. It gives an opportunity for consistency in terms of learning or playing clarinet for the first time.

Things we liked

Quick response
Produces focused tone
New design of barrel
More durable
Easy to repair
Improves intonation and projection
Lightweight
Valentino pads

Things we didn’t like

Quite expensive

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Top 3 Best Intermediate Clarinets

Now this is the type of instrument which has a more suitable characteristic tone for an intermediate clarinet player, once your skills have advanced past being a beginner musician. Its wooden body produces a high-quality sound and a distinct clarinet tone characteristics. The recommended 3 instruments are as follows:

1. Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet

Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet with Deluxe Carrying Case

My rating: 4 Stars

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This is the best cheap instrument for intermediate use. Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet is an accurate intermediate woodwind that can be very striking when it comes to craftsmanship and quality. Intermediate users may also love its beautiful brush finish having a silver plated sterling keys.

Its entire keys are correctly and greatly working. More than that, it possesses a nice and light weight casing. However, you may encounter difficulty regarding assembling or disassembling it due to the clarinet’s very tight fitting.

Things we liked

Striking craftsmanship and quality
Very nice brushed finish
Silver plated keys that are sterling
Greatly working springs and keys
Correctly working keys
Light and nice casing

Things we didn’t like

Tight fit joints
Plastic woodwind

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2. Yamaha YCL450 Clarinet

Yamaha YCL450 Clarinet with Silver-plated Keys

My rating: 5 Stars

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As a top quality and well known woodwind brand, this one is mostly five star rated and highly known to intermediate players. It’s created from a professional and mass-created intermediate type of clarinet with optimum quality and affordability.

The steel (blue) springs of this instrument allows it to be more durable and more excellent in its every clarinet response. It can also give a promising warmer tone through its plated keys.

If you’re aiming for accurate pitch as well as right tonal color, this would be the right one for you. Yamaha YCL 450 clarinet fits the users that seek clarinets with traditional materials such as granadilla body, bell, and barrel.

Things we liked

Professional sound
Valuable for what you spend
Quality sounding clarinet for practice and concerts
Consist of high quality components

Things we didn’t like

Expensive compared to other intermediate instruments
Mass-produced

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3. Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Intermediate Wood Clarinet

Buffet Crampon E11 Bb Intermediate Wood Clarinet

My rating: 4.4 Stars

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This musical instrument is one of the long-time front runners in the industry. It’s also widely known due to the clarinet’s varied professional features as well as upgrades.

It is created considering the advancing beginner or student that is why it’s well appreciated by both band conductors and students. This is mainly through Buffet Crampon E11’s highly responsive work or keys, quality craftsmanship, and accurate intonation.

You’ll have access to features similar to those with the professional instrument but with an intermediate price. The clarinet’s responsive and fabulous key work is also greatly admired since it was molded or manufactured after R13. It’s a fantastic investment to make in your musical practice and play.

Things we liked

Highly responsive
Professional key work
Precise intonation
African Blackwood
Has great reputation high-quality instrument

Things we didn’t like

Little screws on the keys

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Top 3 Best Professional Clarinet

Professional instruments are made for college clarinet players, professional or advanced students in high school. These instruments are for the best use of the great professional players worldwide. If you’re already at this level, you would surely want to have a clarinet companion that suits your professional needs. These are the three best professional clarinets we confidently recommend:

1. Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet

Yamaha YCL-650 Bb Clarinet

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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This instrument complies with the sounding and quality expectation of the professional players of the clarinet. You may enjoy its key work that is silver plated as well as its wood body (granadilla). The addition of cylindrical bore and steel spring in this clarinet enables it to create a quality and promising sound that’s good for advanced players’ taste.

But aside from the instruments, great features is its surprisingly affordable price. It’s one of the top rated professional clarinets with impressive capability. If you’re one of those persons who seriously wants to have a great woodwind performance that will suit your budget, this could be an excellent option.

Things we liked

Not so expensive professional instrument
Produces professional, high quality sound
Precise intonation
Quality-created clarinet

Things we didn’t like

Lack of durability

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2. Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet

Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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In terms of professional appeal, this could be marked as a great kind of instrument. With the reputable craftsmanship of Yamaha, this woodwind is made to have an excellent intonation and sound. It also provides optimum comfort through the clarinet’s amazingly impressive touch.

It’s so easy and fun to play with. The product is highly recommended by several educators as compared to other clarinets.

The resonance, as well as sound quality, is enhanced through the instrument’s updated bell style or design. Players are also given options in utilizing neck strap. Aside from playing well, you could have easy time storing it due to the instrument’s larger case, which is best in increasing storage space.

Things we liked

Impressive touch, maximizing playing comfort
Excellent intonation and sound
High specification clarinet
Splendid residual values
Easy and fun to play
Adjustable strap ring and thumb rest
Nice barrel design

Things we didn’t like

Doesn’t have several cork cushions

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3. Buffet Crampon R13 Professional Bb Clarinet

Buffet Crampon R13 Professional

My rating: 5 Stars

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This professional instrument, the Buffet Crampon R13 could be one of your best choices since it’s a legendary pick of most professionals. This woodwind is suitable for several performances whether you are a soloist, teacher, chamber or symphony music, marching bands and even students.

It’s in Bb key and you’ll love its impressively focused and rich sound. With having more than sixty years of high-quality craftsmanship, the designs, as well as the promising capability of this instrument, is still unchanged.

You’ll more love this for its affordable price. It possesses refined features that pave a way to its powerful and rich registers, which gladly complies with the demands of players having various playing genre. This could be the instrument you’ve been seeking for.

Things we liked

Created from fine or durable materials
Industry standard
Unique design
Professional quality
Great sound

Things we didn’t like

Could not be appropriate for playing outdoors

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Conclusion

Buffet R13 Clarinet is the best choice among the professional clarinets. It is designed impressively along great features and materials. This instrument helps a lot in improving or upgrading the playing capability.

It’s one of the ideal options in the search for the best professional clarinet. Buffet R13 Clarinet is a perfect bridge in advancing student’s need that could eventually comply with the demands or requirements higher level of technical music.

There are several woodwind instruments out there. In choosing the best one for you, identifying the best and suited one for your level is essential.

If you have further inquiries just comment below.

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