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If you search for clarinets for sale online, you’ll see tons of brands. But not all of them are worth purchasing. Instead of risking your money on a cheap model, you should only buy from the top reputable clarinet brands.
These brands have standards that their instruments have to meet. Whether the company focuses on student or professional clarinets, you can be sure that your money won’t go to waste.
Why Your Clarinet Brand Matters
Choosing the right clarinet brand can mean the difference between sounding good and struggling to even get a note out. It might also mean having to find a different brand for a bass clarinet or another instrument.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of knock-off brands, especially online. These clarinets are much cheaper than other models with similar features, but they probably won’t last long.
Whether you buy from a brand that specializes in clarinets or makes a variety of instruments, consider the quality. That way, you can be sure your instrument will last.
How To Choose The Best Clarinet Brand For You
Now that you know about some top reputable clarinet brands and some brands to avoid, you should choose a brand. The variety of good brands means you don’t have to settle for an instrument that you don’t love.
You can try multiple clarinets from the same or different brands to find one that suits you. Once you find your perfect instrument, it might help you have more motivation to practice and get better.
As you shop for your next clarinet, keep these things in mind.
Consider Your Level
The most significant factor to think about when choosing a clarinet brand is your current playing ability. While brands like Yamaha and Buffet Crampon make instruments for all levels, some brands specialize more.
For example, a more advanced player should look at Selmer Paris clarinets. However, a beginner might want to try clarinets from Jupiter or Jean-Paul USA.
If you’ve played for a while but aren’t quite at the professional level, that’s okay. You can try instruments from all of the top brands to find one that plays well for you.
Try As Many As You Can
Once you determine what level of clarinet you want to buy, you should try as many of them as possible. Look for different models from the same brand to compare the different specs.
You should also try out different brands to see which one you like the best. The first clarinet you try could be the best one for you, or you might prefer something else.
And when trying more advanced clarinets, try at least two or three of the same model. The hand-making process can lead to slight variations, so while you might not like one, the next serial number could be perfect.
Take Other Opinions With A Grain Of Salt
When trying clarinets, you can get opinions from a teacher or another player. However, don’t take any of their feedback too seriously, especially if it’s super positive or negative.
You’re the one who has to play the new clarinet each day, so your opinion of it is the most important. Be sure to test it out and try the low and high notes as well as playing fast and slow.
Ask someone else what they think, but if possible, don’t tell them what brand you’re playing. It can be easy to form opinions about certain brands, which could skew someone’s opinion of the instrument.
Top Reputable Clarinet Brands
While there aren’t a ton of clarinet brands out there, some are much better than others. Before you buy your next clarinet, you should narrow your search to only include good quality companies.
That way, you won’t waste money on an instrument that you have to replace within the next year or two. Instead, you can keep the instrument in good condition as you learn and improve.
In no particular order, here are some brands to try when you shop for your first or next clarinet.
Yamaha is an excellent clarinet brand for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. The YCL-255 is a fantastic choice for beginners because of its quality and durability.
All Yamaha clarinets follow the same design, so you can get the same features no matter which level you choose. If you like your Yamaha clarinet as a student, you can upgrade to an intermediate or professional model.
Then, you can keep a similar sound as you improve, but you can play on a wood model. The wood can help make your sound a little warmer, so the clarinet can blend with other instruments more easily.
- Beginner through professional
- Consistent design
- Great quality
- Expensive for what they are
Another reputable clarinet brand is Jupiter, and they make more than just clarinets. But with all of their instruments, they focus on instruments for students, rather than professionals.
The JCL700N has a resin body that can emulate the sound of wood without the risk of wood cracking. Nickel and silver plating make the keys durable, so you can play this clarinet for a while.
Jupiter clarinets feature offset trill keys that can keep moisture from building up and affecting your playing. That way, you can focus on learning the notes rather than messing with your instrument.
- Great for students
- Unique design
- Not for advanced players
Gemeinhardt is best known for making flutes, but the company also makes some good clarinets. The models are both great for students, featuring resin bodies and silver-plated keys.
If you play the flute and want a reputable clarinet as you first learn it, Gemeinhardt is a good option. However, you may find that you outgrow the Gemeinhardt clarinet more quickly.
You should prepare to upgrade to an intermediate model, especially if you want to play the clarinet a lot. That way, you will be able to play the instrument for years to come.
- Reliable design
- Good quality
- Best for students
- No advanced models
Another great clarinet brand for students is Jean-Paul USA. They make affordable clarinets, so they’re perfect for anyone on a budget who wants to play a good quality instrument.
One great model is the CL-300, which is a student model with an ebonite body. It also has nickel-plated keys and can help you get a more focused tone while you play.
The clarinet even comes with reeds and cleaning supplies so that you have what you need to learn. And you can keep your clarinet in good condition to get the most out of it.
- Great for students
- Nice design
- Not for professionals
Selmer is an amazing clarinet brand for students. Like other brands, Selmer’s CL301 has a plastic body and nickel-plated keys that make it good quality but not too expensive.
You get a mouthpiece with the clarinet, so all you need to buy separately is some reeds. Then, you can learn the basics and make quite a lot of progress before you have to upgrade.
Even then, you can keep the clarinet for use when playing in a marching band or during some other outdoor concert. The plastic can withstand more extreme conditions than a wood clarinet.
- For students
- Great quality
- Plays well
- Not the best for professionals
The names may sound similar, but Selmer Paris is quite different from Selmer. Both brands make clarinets and saxophones, but Selmer Paris caters more toward professionals and other advanced players.
For example, the Recital Model clarinet is wood, and it can provide a dark, rich sound. But it’s also much more expensive than your average student clarinet.
It uses grenadilla wood, which is the most common among clarinets and other woodwinds. As you advance in your clarinet playing, Selmer Paris is one of the brands you should try.
- Great for professionals
- Uses wood
- Plenty of models available
- More expensive than some
Buffet Crampon is another fantastic professional clarinet brand, but they also make student and intermediate models. The R13 clarinet is a popular option among advanced clarinetists, and it’s the industry standard.
But you can get a similar sound on models like the E11, which is a relatively affordable intermediate instrument. And if you start on a Buffet Crampon student model, you can stay with the brand if you like it.
Odds are, you’ll meet at least one clarinet player who has a Buffet Crampon. Even if you decide against the brand, you should give it a try at some stage of your clarinet journey.
- Beginner through professional
- Well known in the clarinet world
- Great quality
- Not for everyone
Clarinet Brands To Avoid
When looking at the top reputable clarinet brands, you should consider all of them. You may also want to consider brands that aren’t at the top to give yourself more options.
However, there are some brands that you should always avoid, whether you’re a student or a professional. That way, you can keep from wasting your money, and you can make sure you get an instrument that won’t fall apart.
Here are some clarinet brands that may seem like a good deal but aren’t worth the trouble. I’d love to link to them, but I don’t want to encourage you to try them.
Mendini instruments are popular on websites like Amazon, and they make more than clarinets. You can get a clarinet from this brand for less than $100, so it sounds like a great deal.
However, Mendini doesn’t have the same quality as brands like Selmer or Yamaha. While you might be able to play the clarinet for a while, it can break down after that.
Take some time to save up a bit more money so that you can get a clarinet from a good brand. Then, it will be easier for you to learn and improve.
Another popular cheap instrument brand online is Glory. They make clarinets and other instruments, and they have a lot of the same problems as Mendini.
These clarinets often cost less than $100, and they’re worth that little. While it may be tempting to save money, it can cost you a lot of time trying to get the clarinet to stay in alignment so that you can play it.
If you buy a Glory clarinet, be prepared to upgrade within the next year or so. That way, you can get an instrument that will grow with you as you become a better musician.
Eastar clarinets can also seem like an appealing choice to anyone on a budget. But just one clarinet listing has a lot of problems, so they aren’t worth your time.
For one, the Eastar clarinets claim to have mouthpiece connectors, which aren’t official clarinet parts. Maybe that’s their term for a clarinet barrel, but it’s a sign that Eastar doesn’t know instruments.
The brand also includes gloves with the clarinet, but gloves won’t help you play. Since the clarinet has key rings and open holes, the gloves may only make playing more difficult.
FAQs About The Top Reputable Clarinet Brands
Answer: A reputable clarinet brand has a history of making good-quality clarinets. The company should have a quality control system in place to keep from having too many lemons in each batch.
If a brand makes professional instruments, they should be able to fine-tune each individual model. That way, the clarinet will be easy to play for whoever buys it.
Answer: When looking at clarinet brands, some cost way less than others with similar specs. This can be a sign that the cheaper brand isn’t very good because decent clarinets start at around $400 at the beginner level.
Intermediate clarinets start at $1,000 or so for an intermediate model. And professional clarinets can cost way more than that. If a clarinet’s price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Answer: If you find a used clarinet, it might cost less than the average $400. As long as the instrument is from a reputable brand and the seller has kept it in good condition, it can be an easy way to save money.
However, if you see a new clarinet for $100 or less, it’s probably not going to last very long. A repair technician may refuse to work on it, making the lifespan even shorter. Still, cheap clarinets can be useful for you to try if you can’t rent or borrow one.
Answer: Student clarinets tend to use plastic, while professional models are usually grenadilla wood. While that can mean wood clarinets are better, it’s not entirely due to the material. Professional instruments usually have more quality control.
A plastic clarinet can be just as easy to play and sound just as warm as a wood model. If you want to play outside in a marching band or as a soloist, a plastic clarinet will be able to tolerate more extreme climates since it won’t crack like wood.
Answer: If you take good care of your clarinet, it can last for many years, sometimes longer than your life. On the other hand, a clarinet that you neglect might only last for a few years.
Make sure you take your clarinet to an instrument technician for maintenance and repairs each year. That way, you can keep cracks from getting worse. You should also swab out your clarinet after playing to keep moisture from building up.
Answer: Buying a new clarinet is a great option if you have the money for it. You won’t have to worry about how old it is or when the instrument last received professional maintenance.
However, buying a used instrument is an easy way to save money while getting more features. Before you buy a used clarinet, ask the seller about the instrument’s history with maintenance and repairs so that you don’t have to spend more money on it upfront.
Final Note On The Top Reputable Clarinet Brands
The top reputable clarinet brands vary from student to professional and wood to plastic. Whether you’re looking to learn the clarinet for the first time or are ready for an upgrade, you should stick to these companies.
Yamaha is fantastic for clarinets of all levels, so you can’t go wrong with the brand. But Selmer Paris is another excellent choice if you need a professional instrument.
Be sure you compare a few brands to find one that you like the best. That way, you’ll want to keep playing for years.