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Do you want to learn the clarinet for the first time or expand your playing ability? You should go through the best Leblanc clarinet models guide to learn what the brand has to offer.
I first played the clarinet in 2013 on a cheap, used model, but it wasn’t from Leblanc. Had I known, I may have tried this brand back then and could have had an easier time learning the instrument.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, try as many clarinets as you can. The Leblanc line is an excellent addition to your testing and shopping process.
Bottom Line Up Front: The Leblanc 300 Series is the best Bb clarinet from the company. But you can also shop for alto clarinets, contrabass clarinets, and every size in between.
Best Leblanc Clarinet Models
You can find a lot of Leblanc clarinet models, especially when you look online. However, some of the models didn’t look as good as the others.
Or maybe the models were fine, but they came from sellers I didn’t trust. I tried to stick to reputable music stores so that you can be sure you’ll get a genuine Leblanc clarinet.
Many people will sell counterfeit instruments to scam you out of a lot of money. Aside from sticking to reputable sellers, I tried to choose at least one option in various sizes.
That way, you can shop for a clarinet, whether it’s your first model or if you want to expand your skill set. Here are the best Leblanc clarinet models I could find.
Leblanc 300 Series
Also known as the Vito clarinet, the Leblanc 300 Series is a student model line. That makes it the perfect Bb clarinet for new musicians looking to enjoy the instrument.
I love how it has an ABS resin body, so you don’t have to worry about wood cracking. There’s also a fixed thumb rest with a neck strap ring so that you can hold the clarinet comfortably.
The bore design of this model helps you get a more similar tone to wood instruments. Overall, the clarinet also features ergonomic features and is lightweight to be easy for beginners to manage.
It comes standard with a plastic hard case, but you can also get the model with a wood case. Now, this model is a bit expensive for a student instrument, but it’s of excellent quality.
- Great for beginners
- Easy to play
- Nice ergonomics
- Neck strap ring
- Comes with a mouthpiece
- A bit expensive for what it is
- Could be limiting for advanced players
Leblanc Model 7165 Alto Clarinet
The alto clarinet gets a lot of unnecessary hate, but the Leblanc Model 7165 Alto Clarinet could change that. It features a wood-like plastic finish, so it’s nice if you don’t get to play it that often but need a good sound.
You can get a nice, even sound from the low to the high notes. I love how mellow alto clarinets sound; this one fits into a clarinet choir very well.
Since it doesn’t use wood, it costs a lot less than other altos on the market. That makes it an excellent choice for students or for clarinet teachers looking for a studio instrument.
The alto uses the standard Boehm system for fingerings, so you can easily switch from the Bb clarinet. You can use it as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble.
- Even tone
- Easy to play
- Looks and sounds like wood
- Uses Boehm fingerings
- Not a very common instrument
- May require trial and error to choose a mouthpiece and reed
Leblanc Model 60 Bass Clarinet
Moving down the line, the next instrument to try is the Leblanc Model 60 Bass Clarinet. It features an aged grenadilla wood body, which is the standard woodwind instrument wood.
You can get a large sound, so it’s an excellent instrument for playing in an ensemble. The keys have a thick layer of nickel or silver plating, so you can avoid either metal if you have an allergy.
As someone who’s had bad reactions with silver plating, I love the nickel option. You’ll receive an ebonite mouthpiece to use with the instrument, so you get everything you need except reeds.
While you can get a more expensive sound, this isn’t the most affordable model out there. Still, it can meet the needs of a lot of clarinet players and woodwind doublers.
- Large sound
- Fun to play
- Uses wood
- Silver and nickel plating available
- Looks great
- Some keys stick easily
- Not for beginners
Leblanc Model 7181 Contra-Alto Clarinet
The Leblanc Model 7181 Contra-Alto Clarinet is another fantastic instrument to try. It sounds in the same key as the alto clarinet but plays an octave lower.
You’ll get the same wood finish and plastic body as on the Leblanc alto model. So if you need a good contra-alto clarinet but don’t plan to play it often, it’s a good investment.
The body is one piece, so assembling the clarinet is a bit easier. Plus, you can play down to a written low Eb, so you can help fill out the low end of an ensemble.
Once again, I love that nickel plating is the standard option, which is great if silver doesn’t work for you. The plating also makes the instrument look more unique.
- Easy to play
- Good specs
- Full range
- Suitable for casual use
- Financing available
- Somewhat expensive
- Not used in a ton of music
Leblanc Model 7182 Contrabass Clarinet
I first played in a band with a contrabass clarinet in college and thought it was the coolest thing ever. While I’m not sure if they had a Leblanc Model 7182 Contrabass Clarinet, the model is still great.
The clarinet has a one-piece body, so you don’t have as many pieces to put together. It also goes down to a low Eb in the written range of the instrument.
You can get a rich, deep sound out of this model, so it works well in a band or clarinet choir. The model isn’t as expensive as I would have guessed, but it uses the same plastic material as many other Leblanc models.
Sadly, it can be a bit hard to play while sitting if you aren’t at the right height or don’t have the best chair. But once you figure that out, playing may be much easier.
- One-piece body
- Good sound
- Nice range
- Looks great
- Not the best for really tall or short players
- Somewhat costly
How to Choose a Leblanc Clarinet
After you review the best Leblanc clarinets on the market, you have to choose one. A lot goes into selecting an instrument, and it’s a very subjective decision.
However, I’ve bought close to a dozen instruments over the years and have learned what’s most important. Whether you’re a beginner or are starting your professional clarinet life, you need the best instrument you can get.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you select a Leblanc clarinet model.
Consider Your Current Clarinet
If you already play the clarinet, give your current model a test run. Think about the sound, response, and other factors as you play the entire range of the instrument.
Write down the things you do and don’t like about the clarinet you have. Then, you can reference those when testing out different Leblanc clarinets.
For example, if you love a thick low register, you can know to look for that. You can also use your current setup to get an idea of what sort of mouthpiece and reed to use with a Leblanc instrument to get your ideal sound and response.
Review Your Playing Level
When it comes to the Bb clarinet, the models I saw from Leblanc are all for students. Even the models I didn’t share that came from suspicious sellers were for beginners or intermediate clarinetists.
If you fall into those categories, you can get away with a Leblanc Bb instrument. Otherwise, you may need to look at other brands for your main clarinet.
However, when you advance, you can look at Leblanc low clarinets. The brand might have the bass or contrabass clarinet that works well for you.
Think About the Clarinet Size
Speaking of low clarinets, you want to decide what size of clarinet you want to buy. Leblanc has something from Bb down to the contrabass clarinet except for the clarinet in A.
The brand also doesn’t appear to carry Eb clarinets, but there’s still a good variety of sizes. Sure, of each size, Leblanc only sells one model, but that’s better than some brands.
If you’re looking for a specific type of clarinet, consider if Leblanc can meet that need. Then, you can test the instrument you want to play, and you might find Leblanc suits your needs.
Compare New and Used
Especially with a limited stock of clarinet models, I can’t recommend enough how important used models are. I bought a used clarinet (not a Leblanc), and it was in excellent condition and a good deal.
Used clarinets tend not to hold their value well, especially outside of the professional level. That means you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your purchase.
Some sellers may even include an extra mouthpiece with the instrument if they no longer need it. New clarinets can work great, but they may be out of your budget.
However, always inspect the clarinet yourself before buying a used one. If possible, take it to your woodwind technician and get their thoughts to learn if the clarinet may need work before you can play it.
Swap Out Gear
If you’re set on buying a Leblanc clarinet, you may not be able to swap out instrument bodies. However, you can choose from a ton of different mouthpieces and reeds.
Whether you’re testing a new or used clarinet, consider if you can swap out accessories. Bring reeds from different brands and in different strengths, and consider bringing a second mouthpiece option.
Then, you can switch things out if you don’t get your ideal sound the first time. You could still make the Leblanc clarinet model work, so you won’t have to go to a different music store or consider other brands.
Test Other Brands
Sometimes, you might try all of the reeds and mouthpieces in the world, but the Leblanc won’t sound great. As musicians, we’re all different and have unique needs.
This is especially important if you’re looking for a specific type of clarinet or when buying your forever clarinet. You may need to try other brands to give yourself the best possible selection.
When I bought a professional woodwind, I tried dozens of brands and models. And I didn’t buy the model I thought I would, so try not to set your eyes only on Leblanc clarinets.
Similar Clarinet Brands
If you find that you don’t quite love a Leblanc clarinet, you should try similar brands. The best brands to try can depend on your goals and the type of clarinet you want.
Sure, you might still choose a Leblanc model, but you’ll know for sure it’s the right choice. Buyer’s remorse is real, and you don’t want to deal with that after spending thousands on an instrument.
Here are a few clarinet brands to consider and models that are similar to those from Leblanc.
The Yamaha YCL-255 is probably the most similar student model to the Leblanc 300 Series. They both use ABS resin bodies and are close in price, but the Yamaha is cheaper.
You’ll get a mouthpiece with either instrument, so you have the basic gear you need to start playing. A lot of beginners start on a Yamaha since they’re easy to find for sale or for rent.
Yamaha also makes bass clarinets, so they have good alternatives to the Leblanc Model 60. Some are more affordable, while others are significantly more expensive.
Another similar brand to Leblanc is Selmer. Leblanc is actually kind of a sub-brand of Selmer, so they have very similar designs and manufacturing processes.
The standard line of Selmer clarinets tends to be for beginners and early intermediate players. However, there’s also Henri Selmer Paris, which makes professional instruments.
So if you like your Leblanc but need an upgrade, Selmer Paris is a natural choice from Bb down to contrabass. Then, you can get a similar sound and response to what you’re used to.
When it comes to low clarinets, another brand to consider is Buffet. The brand is one of the most popular at the professional level, and they make a lot of clarinet sizes.
Just with a quick search, I found nine Buffet low clarinets. If you’re looking for a better Bb clarinet, Buffet sells over a dozen models that could serve you well.
They even sell clarinets in C and D as well as various kinds of wood aside from grenadilla. That means you have more choices than ever, so be sure to include Buffet in a professional clarinet shopping trip.
FAQs About the Best Leblanc Clarinet Models Guide
Answer: Leblanc is a very good clarinet brand and has a variety of models you can try. While the selection isn’t as vast as some, it has enough to get you started.
You also get to use Leblanc for different types of clarinets. Just make sure you buy from the right seller, especially if you find a used model.
Answer: I’d recommend buying a Leblanc clarinet from a music store, specifically. While you can find them elsewhere, the sellers don’t appear as legitimate to me.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you’re spending a lot of money. That way, you won’t end up with a lemon or a knockoff with no return policy.
Answer: Buying a used Leblanc clarinet can be an excellent choice. But as with any used instrument, you need to be careful and to try the clarinet before you hand over your money.
Be sure to check for leaks in the keys or between the joints. Then, you’ll know if you’ll have to spend more on repairs before you can even use the clarinet.
Answer: Leblanc makes multiple sizes of clarinets, and you can play all of the models they sell. However, they don’t sell all types of clarinets.
The biggest gaps I found were in Eb and A clarinets. If you want to play those sizes, you’ll have to explore other brands.
Final Note on the Best Leblanc Clarinet Models Guide
Reading the best Leblanc clarinet models guide is vital before you go instrument shopping. After researching the brand, I found the Leblanc 300 Series Bb clarinet is the best.
However, the low clarinets offer a fantastic sound and usually cost less than other brands. Keep all of that in mind as you go buy your next clarinet.
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