Whatever reason you are choosing to purchase a clarinet, whether its for practicing at home or upgrading to a professional clarinet, it can be a very overwhelming decision. There are so many clarinet models to choose from that it can be mind boggling..IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A INSTRUMENT, besides Amazon, which I hilighted ib blue throughout this article, ZZOUNDS OFFERS THE WIDEST SELECTION OF NAME-BRAND INSTRUMENTS AT GUARANTEED LOWEST PRICES. YOU CAN PURCHASE OVER 125,000 DIFFERENT PRODUCTS FROM THEIR WEBSITE 24 HOURS A DAY.
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In this article I will try to make it a little easier to choose what clarinet you end up purchasing by giving you some information on what to look for when choosing and hopefully educating you about the different aspects of the clarinet.
There are three types of clarinets, the Soprano clarinet, the Bass clarinet, and the Harmony clarinet.
This model has a variety within its model. The Bb clarinet, the A clarinet, and the EB clarinet. Soprano clarinets creates music in a high register. The most popular of this clarinet model is the Bb clarinet because it is the most versatile and can be used for all types of music styles.
The A clarinet is a little bit longer and has a deeper sound than the Bb clarinet. They are tuned to an A rather than a Bb. This model is usually chosen to play classical music because it is hard to transpose a piece written in A if you have a Bb clarinet.
The EB clarinet, also called the Sopranino clarinet has a higher register which can be used for higher pitched songs.
This clarinet has a much larger hallowed out body than your other clarinets. It has a low bassy sound and is tuned to the Bb one octave below the soprano Bb models. You can hear this type clarinet in a wide variety of musical pieces, from jazz, pop, and orchestra pieces.
This instrument is called Harmony because it is basically made to play harmonies rather than melodies. A harmony clarinet is not as versatile as your other clarinets and therefore would not be your main clarinet to own. You can find harmony clarinets in plenty of musical pieces and would be nice to own as a second instrument.
What to Consider When Buying
1- Mouthpiece- A good quality mouthpiece makes a big difference in its sound. The standard mouthpiece is a standard molded plastic mouthpiece which usually comes with a student’s clarinet. High end clarinets comes with a hard type of rubber called ebonite. Clarinets are very easy to switch the mouthpiece so you can buy a mouthpiece that feels comfortable for you if you want to upgrade.
2- Bore- This word refers to the internal dimensions of the clarinet. The larger the bore of a clarinet the better the projection and fuller sound but makes it harder to play in tune. A beginning student is better with a smaller bore because of this problem.
3- Material- There are two types of materials that a clarinet can be made out of. One is the plastic one made for beginning student’s, and the other is wood which is usually chosen for the more professional musician. Plastic clarinets are rugged and easier to care for. They are also less expensive but you will never get the same tonal qualities as the wooden clarinet.
Wooden clarinets are crafted from grenadilla wood and is usually the chosen instrument for advanced musicians because of their excellent tone qualities and resonance. You do have to take much more care with a wooden clarinet if you want them to last.
4- Ligature- This is a very small size part on the clarinet but holds a very important role to the clarinet. This little piece holds the reed against the mouthpiece and makes a great difference in sound. A beginner’s clarinet usually comes with a simple metal ligature, but professional clarinets have a more sophisticated ligature to enhance the tone of their clarinet.
5- Keywork- This is the clarinets keys which are made from nickel or brass and plated with nickel, silver, or gold. Your cheapest clarinet usually comes with nickel plated keys and your pricier clarinets are usually plated in gold. The problem you can have with silver plated keys is they can tarnish which you would have to do much more maintenance even though it looks great on the instrument.
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A--3968605"$50-$400 – You can find some reasonably priced models if your not looking to play at a professional level for as little as $50 to $100. If you spend less than $100 for this instrument you will probably end up wasting your money because in a couple of months you will probably want to upgrade.
$400-$700 – This would be an intermediate grade clarinet. You would choose this price range clarinet if you see your child or student is serious about furthering their musical talents.
$1,000-$8,000 – This price range is for the professional clarinet player. This clarinet would have the best qualities the instrument could have
A List of Some Models and Approximate Price
1- Mendini by CECILIO B flat- $!00.00 This is an inexpensive entry level clarinet that comes with a lot of needed starter accessories. The only problem with this model is you will need to use a lot of cork grease if you have trouble assembling it initially.
2-Nuvo n100 cl bk– $130.00. A nice little clarinet for kids to enjoy because it is made from abs plastic so no matter how rough you handle it this model will be able to handle the abuse and will last a pretty long time. It is also lightweight because it is made out of plastic weighing 2.5 lbs. Because it is made out of plastic this model will not have the greatest sound but it is satisfactory for its purpose. This comes in the key of c which is normal for kid clarinets.
3- JEAN PAUL USA CL-300 student clarinet- $200.00. This would be a good choice for its value for beginning student’s. It has a good tone and is good for marching bands because it is not real expensive to have outside. It has a thinner vamp design for easy play.
The Vamp is the inclined “peeled” part of the reed leading to the tip. A long Vamp makes the reed flexible and responsive, ideal for Jazz musicians. A concert clarinetist,on the other hand, may prefer a shorter Vamp for its improved focus.
You might want to replace the mouthpiece with a better one or to your liking.
4- Buffet Crampon E11 Bb. $1,200.00. This is not a beginner’s clarinet. It is targeted for intermediate and professional players. It is more expensive than your typical intermediate clarinets but, you’ll find its well worth its price. This is the most popular of all the intermediate clarinets which makes it easier to get replacement parts. It has a deep and rich sound quality. This model does require harder reeds for the same sound quality and is high maintanence
5- Yamaha ycl-255 standard Bb – $612.00. This is an entry-level instrument, although it is quite pricey. It’s plastic instead of wood and lacks a bit on what a professional clarinet should be, but it doesn’t claim to be one. If your looking to upgrade from a budget instrument, then you might want to consider this one. Because of it being made of plastic construction, this clarinet is good for student’s and younger players as it will be able to take abuse better. Even though it is made of plastic this model still produces a beautiful sound and does resemble the sound of your wooden clarinet. It has a matte finish which makes it very attractive to the eye and you can also order for a finish or color that better suites your tastes. This comes with an adjustable thumb-rest and a belt ring which helps the beginner on how to learn proper playing techniques. This comes with a lighter Bell than your ycl 650 model, which I will go into detail on this model below, which enhances and improves the tone.
5- Yamaha ycl 450 with Nickel Keys. $1,420.00 This is also an intermediate clarinet. It is made of wood and is well constructed. It is made of granadella wood which gives it a beautiful appearance and sound. You have to treat this model with a little tender loving care but, it is still a durable instrument. It has a new bell shape design which affects the sound. You’ll find that it projects really loudly, especially the lower register. It has nickel plating keys, so if you are allergic to silver plating, this is the instrument for you. It has an adjustable thumb rest and strap ring which makes it easier for people with smaller hands. It is a little bit more expensive than your average intermediate level clarinet
6- Yamaha ycl 650 with nickel keys. $1,980.00 This is a professional level instrument. It is a wood bodied clarinet with a great tone and great sound. The cylindrical bore allows ease of blowing. It has an adjustable thumb rest and a natural looking finish to it. This comes with four mouthpieces, case, which you might want to invest in a better case to protect your investment, and care accessories.
7- R13 Professional Bb clarinet with nickel keys. $3,200.00 This is the top of the line and is suitable for symphony, chamber music, soloist, and teachers. This is made of premium grenadelle wood, which gives it an evenness of tone. It has french made hb silver plated ligature which provides a round centered sound. 17- key- 6 nickel- plated keys. Features 577- inch polycylindrical bore, 66- millimeter barrel, and undercut tone holes. There is no mouthpiece that comes with this model, but at this level you would probably want to choose your own style
Hopefully you have learned a little bit more about the clarinet from this article and can make a better decision when you are ready to purchase this instrument.whether you are a beginner or professional.Just remember when looking you don’t want to spend $1,000 and up if your not sure you like to play the clarinet and you would not want to spend $50 if you are a professional. You also will want to think about what type of music you would want to play. If most of your pieces are written for an A clarinet you wouldn’t want to invest in a Bb clarinet for example. Make sure the clarinet you choose isn’t too heavy where you would be struggling with the weight of the clarinet. You might have to use a strap to help with the weight distribution. Hopefully there is enough information to choose wisely by my giving you the different types of clarinets and more detailed information on some of the characteristics of this instrument. If you have any questions please feel free to ask them below and I will try my best to answer them to the best of my knowledge.