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Are you a beginner looking for your first clarinet? This Vito clarinet review and guide is just what you need. You don’t have to buy the first clarinet you see and hope it works well. In fact, you should test out a few clarinets first. That way, you’ll get an instrument that sounds good and that you can play now and for a while.
Read on to learn more about Vito clarinets.
What are Vito Clarinets?
Vito clarinets are a line of student clarinets, and Vito is a sub-brand of Leblanc. Leblanc focuses more on higher-end models, so Vito is their way of making instruments for beginners. The line’s name comes from Vito Pascucci, who founded Leblanc USA, the American part of the company. While Vito clarinets aren’t as popular as some other brands, they’re worth trying.
You can find a lot of them on the used market, so you may be able to save money on a good instrument. That way, you can start playing the clarinet on the right foot.
Vito vs Leblanc Clarinets
Leblanc clarinets have existed since 1750, and they got their start in France. The Leblanc family developed clarinet acoustics, and one of the family members even attended the Paris Conservatory. Over the years, the company has focused on handmade models. However, those models required a lot of adjustments after they traveled from France to the United States.
That’s when Vito Pascucci helped with the American side of the company. Soon after, he started making beginner clarinets so that the Leblanc family could spend more time on the advanced instruments.
Best Vito Clarinets
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of Vito clarinets out there since they have a very specific focus. However, a good Vito clarinet review and guide should focus on the models that do exist.
That way, you can determine if a Vito model is the right option for you. If it’s a good fit, you can test it out, and if not, you’ll know to look at other brands. Here are the two Vito clarinet models that I could find after searching the internet.
The Vito USA 7212 model is an excellent student clarinet. Its body is ABS resin, so you don’t have to worry about wood cracking when playing the instrument in extreme temperatures. Like most clarinets, this one follows the Boehm system, which dictates the keys. It has the standard clarinet range of the written E below middle C to the written C an octave and a half above the treble clef.
As long as you buy it from a reputable seller, you can get it in good condition so that it’s ready to play. The clarinet comes with a sturdy case to protect it, so you can keep it working well after you buy it. Plus, you get some cleaning supplies to use after you play. That way, the clarinet won’t collect moisture and develop mold or other problems.
- Great for beginners
- Easy to play
- Not for advanced players
If you play the Bb clarinet and want to expand your skills, consider getting the Vito 7168 Low Eb Bass Clarinet. The bass clarinet is probably the most common clarinet after the one in Bb. It plays an octave below the other clarinet, so you can play the bass line in ensembles. Like the other Vito model, this one uses plastic, which makes it durable and great for students.
However, you should start on the Bb clarinet to build a foundation before learning the bass. That way, you’ll know how to control your air and how to finger the different notes. This model features even intonation throughout the clarinet’s range. It’s not the cheapest instrument, but it’s not as expensive as some bass clarinet models.
- Excellent intonation
- Easy to play
- Fantastic for most players
- A little expensive
Best Vito Clarinet Mouthpieces
While having a good clarinet is important, a Vito clarinet guide isn’t complete without sharing some Vito clarinet accessories. The company makes a couple of good mouthpieces you can pair with a clarinet from Vito or another brand.
Whether you decide a Vito clarinet is right for you or not, take a look at their mouthpieces.
The Vito II Bb Clarinet Mouthpiece is an excellent student mouthpiece. It features a small tip opening that measures 1.10 millimeters (mm) to help you develop your embouchure. That mouthpiece tip also helps with resistance, so it can prepare you to upgrade to an intermediate clarinet. You can also use the accessory as a backup to your main mouthpiece.
And if you participate in marching band, the Vito II works well. That way, you don’t have to use a more expensive mouthpiece and worry about damaging it.
- Good for students
- Not for advanced players
If you want to play the bass clarinet, consider the Vito 2V Bass Clarinet Mouthpiece. That way, you can have a mouthpiece that matches your body if you get the Vito 7168. Even if you play a bass clarinet from another brand, the Vito 2V can work well. You can get a good, resistant sound on it, which can help you improve on any clarinet you play.
It’s a fantastic choice for students and people who need to play the bass clarinet occasionally. While it’s not super cheap, it’s still pretty affordable.
- Easy to play
- Not for professionals
How to Choose a Vito Clarinet
While there’s only one Vito Bb clarinet, you should know how to decide if it’s the right clarinet for you. The same is true if you’re shopping for a bass clarinet. Some players may find Vito clarinets work really well for them, while others will struggle to get a good sound. Of course, the right reed, mouthpiece, and ligature also matter.
But for now, consider how you can choose a good clarinet for you, whether it’s from Vito or not.
Determine Your Budget
First, you need to know how much you can spend. Some Vito clarinets go for a few hundred dollars, and others cost over $1,000, even if they’re the same model. The cost depends on the age of the instrument and how well the owner took care of it. Having a budget can help you determine where to look for a good Vito clarinet.
And remember, the cheapest Vito model isn’t always the best. It may be old and require a lot of maintenance, so you might not actually save any money on it.
Consider New and Used
Unfortunately, the bass clarinet is the only Vito clarinet you can find new. But when looking at all clarinet brands, you have to decide if you want a new or used model or if you’re open to both. Trying new and used clarinets will give you access to a wider selection. Then, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right clarinet for you and your needs.
However, some people may prefer one or the other, which is fine. If you want a new clarinet, you should probably look at other brands outside of Vito since new ones aren’t that common. Fortunately, Leblanc, Vito’s parent brand, does make some new clarinets. They aren’t the best for beginners, but you may find a model that suits you.
Test Them Out
Once you find a few clarinets to try, give them each a thorough test. Select music that tests the entire range of the instrument, including low to high, soft to loud, and slow to fast playing.
By keeping the music you play the same, you can listen to the differences of each clarinet you test. Then, you may notice small differences that make one model a better fit for you. If you can’t hear a difference when playing, you can record yourself. Listen to the recordings back to back to see if there are small nuances you missed when testing each clarinet.
Check the Intonation
Another vital element to check when testing clarinets is that they can play and stay in tune. You can use a tuner on your phone or get a physical device to check the notes. If an instrument is hard to get to play in tune, you shouldn’t get it. Even if it meets all of your other needs, you can’t play an out-of-tune instrument with others.
But remember that the clarinet isn’t in concert pitch. So if you tune the note B on your clarinet, the tuner will show an A. Still, you can use a tuner to check if the instrument is sharp or flat and how out of tune it is.
Compare to Other Brands
You may be able to test a ton of different Vito clarinets (even though they’re the same model). But it can also be worth including other clarinet brands in your trials. If you find that you don’t like any of the Vito clarinets you try, consider another brand. Leblanc is a good place to start, but you can also try clarinets from Yamaha, Jupiter, and Selmer.
While you may not be able to test all of them in one sitting, you can get an idea of what you do and don’t like in a clarinet. Then, you may be able to choose the best clarinet for you more easily.
Ask a Clarinet Teacher
A clarinet teacher or another professional can help you select a good instrument. They will know what to look for and how to test individual models to see which plays the best. Plus, if you’re new to the clarinet, a teacher or professional can play the model for you. That way, you can listen to it and see if you like the sound without having to know how to play the notes.
Whether or not you take regular clarinet lessons, a teacher can help you go clarinet shopping. They’ll be able to give their thoughts, and they won’t have the bias of a seller or music store looking to make money.
Answer: Beginners and anyone who needs an affordable, low-maintenance clarinet should try Vito. The clarinet is an affordable option, so you don’t need to give up your life savings, which can be risky if you don’t play the clarinet already.
If you’re a woodwind doubler who usually plays the saxophone or flute, a Vito clarinet might work for you. Since it’s not your main instrument, you might not want to spend a ton on a clarinet.
Answer: Vito clarinets are good for beginners and casual players. They’re also useful for players of all levels who need to play outdoors in extreme heat or cold or in humid conditions.
If you have a wooden clarinet, you don’t want to play it in various climates because the wood could crack. Then, you’d need to take the clarinet to a technician to have them repair the crack.
Vito clarinets are perfect for marching band since they’re durable. You can play the instrument and leave it on the ground without worrying about it breaking.
Answer: While Vito clarinets don’t use wood, they do use a wood-plastic composite material. That way, you can get a sound similar to that of a full wood model, but the plastic provides stability.
You shouldn’t have to worry about cracks. The material also makes the Vito clarinet more affordable than some other models.
Answer: Sadly, Vito no longer makes new clarinets. You may be able to find a new model, such as the bass clarinet. Or you could look around for a Vito that the owner has hardly used.
That way, you can get an instrument that’s in a similar condition to a new one. You can also look for a clarinet that recently had a lot of maintenance to bring it back to a like-new condition.
Answer: You can find a Vito clarinet online at different retailers and auction sites. Some music stores may also have one or two available if they have a consignment program to help people sell their instruments.
Before you buy a Vito anywhere, make sure it’s a genuine Vito clarinet. The internet can have a lot of fake instrument models, so they use the name but don’t have the same build quality as the real thing.
If you can’t test the instrument in person, ask for as many pictures as possible. Try to get the serial number as well, and verify it with Conn-Selmer, the owner of Leblanc and Vito clarinets.
Answer: Vito clarinets can cost anywhere from $200 to over $1,400. Instruments in better condition can sell for more than ones that have sat in closets for decades.
Before you buy a clarinet, ask the owner about the instrument’s history. Then, you can make sure you aren’t overpaying for an instrument that will need a lot of work to be playable.
Answer: Vito clarinets are fantastic for students, but you may grow out of the brand. Fortunately, you can try plenty of excellent models when looking to upgrade.
Leblanc clarinets are the first brand to try because of their relationship to Vito. If you like how your Vito clarinet sounds and feels, you may find that Leblanc models offer the same sound and feel but at a higher level.
Selmer and Selmer Paris clarinets are also worth trying. Like Vito and Leblanc, they’re under the Conn-Selmer umbrella. But you should try any clarinet you can to get one that works for you.
Answer: Unfortunately, clarinets don’t get better over time as some instruments do. For example, string instruments can sound better as the wood ages.
However, clarinets also have keys and rods that can stop working well after a while. You may find you need to replace an old clarinet, especially if you struggle to play fast passages.
Answer: If you take good care of a clarinet, it may last for many decades. When buying a used clarinet, you won’t have control over the care of the instrument from the start, though.
Even if you take perfect care of it, it may not last that long if the prior owner neglected it. But you can still extend the lifespan a bit, so don’t let buying a used model keep you from cleaning the clarinet after you play it.
Final Note on the Vito Clarinet Review and Guide
When shopping for an instrument, you should consult a Vito clarinet review and guide. Then, you can determine if Vito clarinets are the right choice for you and your playing. If not, you can use the guide to help find a model that works better for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of clarinet brands out there, so you don’t have to compromise on your preferences to choose a good-quality clarinet.