For clarinet players, or even beginners, who want to start with the right instrument, some research is important due to the different types of clarinet brands that are out there currently. However, there are those that stand out from the rest, and these are the pieces that clarinettists need to properly hone their talents.
For beginners, you might wonder, which is the right clarinet type to start with? And as you advance in your craft and gain experience, you might want to upgrade to a piece that fits professionals. Thus I have taken it upon myself to provide some insight into some of the best clarinet brands with some of their stand out pieces.
Different clarinets come with different features or additions that make most of them unique. Selecting the right type of clarinet will require one to consider some factors such as:
1. The pricing
How much money are you willing to spend on your instrument? If you are operating on a tight budget, then you will want a piece that is of good quality and still affordable. However, there are also high-end clarinets for those willing to spend on the top of the line instruments.
2. Playing level
As a beginner, you need a piece that you can learn easily with. You will also be looking for a clarinet that is durable since you are probably going to spend a lot of time with this instrument. For the professional level, you will want to upgrade to something that better showcases your talent. An instrument that is more refined and accurate and worthy for a professional.
3. Personal opinion
You have probably heard of a few brands of clarinet, and you know a few pieces already; however, how do they appeal to you personally? This is why it’s always advisable to test playing instruments before purchasing them. This way you will feel whether you are comfortable playing it.
Reputable Clarinet Brands
There are some reputable in the market right now, and there are also the clarinet brands to avoid to be safe. While the latter might still produce good instruments, purchasing from a brand that is trusted globally is a good way to go.
Yamaha was founded in the 1890s and began, and they are famous for their pianos. However, it is also a reputable brand for producing clarinets and other orchestra equipment.
Jupiter brand of instruments made its appearance in 1980, and they are famous for their brass builds of equipment. They produce decent quality clarinets.
Jean-paul which is based in the US also has a decent reputation based on the various reviews on its products. But, for professionals, this is not the brand for you; however, their beginner level pieces are good.
Backun is a great name in the music world. Even though they came in later in 2000, their quality instruments have little competition in the clarinet department. This is a brand that you always know you will receive quality.
Conn Selmer came into the market in 1995 and then took on brands such as Leblanc, Holton, and Vincent Bach. They produce decent equipment; however, what they are better known for is their reliable pricing.
Mendini by Cecilio
Mendini by Cecilio is very reliable for beginner level instruments, and their cost-effectiveness makes their instruments quite competitive in the market. For players willing to pay more for a quality piece, I would suggest looking into some higher-end options.
Jean-Paul CL-300- Best on a Budget for Student and Intermediate Players
Jean-Paul is held in high regard especially when it comes to producing student instruments. The perfect example is Jean Paul CL-300 clarinet.
This piece is made out of ebonite, which is better sound-wise in comparison to the plastic made ones and more durable than those made of wood. This instrument has a 17 key layout. It is also in the key Bb.
This clarinet has a good range and is therefore suitable for playing in bands. Furthermore, it produces a better sound than most plastic clarinets within the price range. This clarinet is mostly a gateway piece, good for a student and intermediate players, but I would not recommend it for the professional level.
Also, it is not the right fit for players who are too young, since its keys are known to be prone to bending.
Mendini by Cecilio B Flat Clarinet -Best on a Budget for Beginners
This is a beautifully constructed clarinet made from rosewood and has silver-plated keys that are quite durable. It also comes with an adjustable thumb rest. You can choose between 10 colors.
This instrument also suits beginners and the intermediate level players. For students looking for a budget, clarinet with good quality sound, this is the piece for you.
This high-grade B Flat clarinet comes with a hard-shelled case that increases protection.
The downside to this and other clarinets made from wood is that they are less durable than ones made from plastic. Hence the player needs to be careful with this. Furthermore, also because of the nature of wood to expand and contract with temperature, it needs extra maintenance as compared to plastic pieces.
Yamaha YCL-255 – Best Quality For Beginner and Young Students
For those into the plastic clarinets, one of the best options out there is from one of the top clarinet brands is the Yamaha YCL-255. This clarinet produces a great quality warm tone, which is common for other wooden clarinets.
It is a beautiful piece with a matte finish, which makes it mistakable with a wooden clarinet.
This piece has keys made out of nickel and plated with silver making them very durable. It is also very easy to maintain this clarinet
This is hands down the best plastic clarinet in the market right now. However, Yamaha products don’t come for cheap, and the price of this piece is significantly higher. But it is a good investment.
For beginners, this is the right piece if you are willing to spend a little more. It is elegant as well as durable, so you will not need a replacement compared to some cheaper fragile models. It can also serve for players transitioning to intermediate level
The tone produced to this is really close to that from wooden clarinets, but a professional/ advanced player can differentiate it.
Jupiter JCL700N – Best Quality For Beginner and Intermediate
From another of the reliable clarinet brands currently, the Jupiter JCL700N is the right choice for beginners, and also intermediate players come from the Jupiter line of instruments. The build on this clarinet is worth every cent.
It is a 583 bore made out of ABS resin, which is very durable. It is not affected by changes in temperature. JCL700N has an elegant matte finish and has been fitted with nickel keys, also very durable. There is an adjustable thumb rest for the keys.
This clarinet has features for more expensive models. It produces a great quality sound, and the durability of its plastic build is an added bonus.
I would recommend this brand for students, especially those in bands. It is suitable for young players likely to drop their instruments.
This clarinet’s major downside is that it is a little expensive, keeping in mind that it is made of plastic and not wood. Also, it might not sound like a wooden clarinet.
It comes with a neck strap and case for easy transportation
Selmer CL211 Clarinet – Best Intermediate
One of the good clarinet brands, this is a wooden clarinet fitted with quality high end features that all contribute to a great sound.
Even though it has been made by a US-based company, the SelmerCL211 follows a French key system. It has a small-bore, an adjustable thumb rest, and blue steel springs, which are all qualities of a good intermediate level clarinet.
The sound from this clarinet is smooth and consistent, making it a trustable option. It is a good option for intermediate level students.
The Selmer CL211 is quite durable for a wooden clarinet, and therefore you will not need to make replacements frequently with this piece.
I would not recommend this clarinet for beginners since it might be too expensive. However, it is worth it.
As a wooden clarinet, it will definitely require more maintenance as compared to any plastic one.
Backun Beta Bb – Best Intermediate Wooden Clarinet
In case you are in search of good clarinet brands to provide you with a professional level clarinet, then Backun is a reliable option you need to consider. These brand knows their stuff when it comes to clarinets.
First, the Backun Beta Bb clarinet with silver keys is made of Grenadilla wood. Its keys have been crafted nickel and silver making them very durable. It has a very comfortable blow resistance. Furthermore, it comes with water-resistant pads, a neck strap and an adjustable thumb rest.
This clarinet comes with a hard-shelled case for protection. The Backun Bb Beta clarinet is a well-priced instrument and has a lot of positive feedback.
However, since it is made of wood, it requires a bit more maintenance than plastic clarinets, and players need to be a bit careful with this one.
It is one of the best professional clarinets out there right now, and its price makes it quite a bargain.
- Ideal first upgrade wooden model
- Suitable for Grade 4+ players as a guide
- Premium grenadilla helps give a rich tone
- Supplied with relevant accessories and case
Cecilio CT-480 – Best Intermediate Clarinet for Limited Budget
For the developing students, another reliable piece is the Cecilio CT-480. This clarinet is great for students in high school who can manage full tones with this instrument. It has an ebony body that is beautiful with an elegant engraving at the bell
This wooden clarinet has better sound than others made from plastic. It accommodates the experience and development of a student and can continue being used at the intermediate level.
The Cecilio CT-480 is not expensive, and therefore, it might not be suitable for those with limited budgets. It is a good instrument that can help you develop your skills. But for a serious student willing to spend, we recommend lookinging into a much more reputable product. But if you are just looking for a hobby instrument , then it might be a worthwhile purchase.
It is also less durable due to its wooden make, and hence it is not good for younger students.
- Intermediate Bb clarinet
- Ebony wood body
- Silver-plated keys
- Italian pads
- Adjustable thumb rest
- Short and long barrels
Yamaha YCL-650- Best Cheap Professional Clarinet
This is a professional clarinet that is also applicable for intermediate students, and ist the cheapest one in the professional range. But the feel of the sound is definitely not cheap. From arguably the best clarinet brand, the Yamaha YCL-650 is a piece made from granadilla wood and has a beautiful yet distinguished look.
It has a cylindrical bore set up that favors tuning. With this instrument, a player can easily transition from intermediate to professional playing easily.
It produces an amazing sound and is comfortable to feel. I would not recommend this clarinet for beginner level students since it is a bit expensive and might require a lot of care while playing it. It is significantly less durable than a plastic clarinet.
Furthermore, it needs more maintenance and cleaning too as compared to plastic ones. For a professional, the price is right considering the quality you get with this piece.
Since it is wooden, it has a warm, beautiful tone you expect from it.
I can comfortably say that this is the best clarinet for professionals with the pricing considered.
Buffet Crampon R13 Bb with Nickel Keys – Best Deluxe Professional Clarinet
From one of the less known brands, the Crampon R13 clarinet has some good features, and that is why it had to make this list. It comes with a 577” bore with a 66mm barrel. This clarinet has been constructed from Grenadilla wood and has a 17 key layout.
The keys on this instrument are Nickel plated, making them very durable, and it also comes with an adjustable thumb rest.
The case it comes in is covered with leather and gives that professional look you want. It also comes with an HB ligature. It is a decent professional clarinet.
It produces a warm dark tone and is great at long range.
This is a genuinely good piece, but it is one of the clarinet brands to avoid. There have been a few cases of players receiving instruments with some issues. So, unless you are well familiar with the brand, I would advise you to steer away from this piece.
As I mentioned earlier, it is always important to physically test these instruments to determine whether they are the right fit.
With the wide variety of clarinets currently, you should be able to narrow down your options with the help of this list. A clarinet is an investment and should be treated as such. So choose wisely.