As an adult learning to play the clarinet for the first time, your expectations and requirements for an instrument can be different to those of a child that is learning to play. Whether you will be playing for pleasure, working through some graded exams or hoping to play in some musical groups. You will want a high quality clarinet that is a pleasure to play, and will push you on to progress as a musician.
Here at Normans we have a good selection of clarinets to choose from, and we have picked out a few in this blog which we feel are suited to the more mature player!
The Prodige clarinet by Buffet, and the YCL255 by Yamaha are both made from ABS resin, making them the most affordable and lightweight clarinets in this blog. These instruments would be well suited to someone who doesn’t want to invest a lot in a clarinet but still wants a high quality instrument.
As these two clarinets are made from ABS resin they are much lighter in weight than the wooden clarinets mentioned below. This can be a positive for people who may struggle to support the weight of heavier wooden clarinets. Being able to manage the weight of your instrument comfortably will allow you to focus on you posture and producing a sound.
Both Yamaha and Buffet have a great reputation as clarinet makers, and their selection of plastic clarinets is no exception, with a fantastic build quality and high quality sound.
The Buffet E11 clarinet is a wooden model, and a step up from their plastic Prodige model. Still aimed at students rather than intermediate or professional players, the E11 is free blowing but has the refined and rich sound expected from wooden clarinets.
Wooden clarinets are usually more expensive than their plastic counterparts, as they are generally made/finished by hand. The E11 is the most affordable wooden clarinet stocked at Normans coming in at under £700*. This would be suitable for a player from the start of learning to an intermediate level or a keen amateur.
Produced in Buffet’s German factory, the E11 is crafted from selected stained African Blackwood and has a slightly wider bore for enhanced resonance and sound projection. Overall the Buffet E11 is a great clarinet and a pleasure to play, at a good price point.
(*correct in February 2017)
As a step-up from the Student model clarinets, the Yamaha YCL450 and the Buffet E12F are aimed at more intermediate players, but the ease of play, pleasing sound, and high build quality makes these clarinets suitable for most players.
Again much like the E11, these two clarinets are both wooden models, and due to them being aimed at a slightly higher level of player the woods used in these two instruments are more refined. The YCL450 is made from selected grenadilla wood, and the E12F is produced from unstained African Blackwood that has been treated and lacquered to offer a higher level of protection from potential cracks and damage. In comparison to the E11, these two clarinets have a warmer/richer tone, which is no doubt helped by the high quality woods used in manufacture.
The YCL450 and E12F are great instruments to consider if you plan to play to a fairly high standard, and would prefer the consistency of having one instrument throughout your learning journey, rather than changing your clarinet a number of times, as they are built to last.
The final two clarinets to mention in this blog are the Buffet E13 and Yamaha YCL650. At the top-end of intermediate clarinets, these instruments are of exceptional quality, without spending £2000+ on a professional outfit. Much like the above two clarinets, these instruments would be a great option if you want to invest in an instrument to keep for a long time; with the right care and maintenance you may never need to upgrade!
Bearing similar specifications to the professional Buffet/Yamaha clarinet range, these hand-crafted grenadilla clarinets offer excellent sound projection, a rounded, resonant sound and an ease of play that means these intermediate clarinets are even great for more beginner-level players.
Of course if you are considering one of these particular clarinets then the investment is going to be greater, as both are over £1000+ to purchase. However, if this is to be the only clarinet you purchase then investing a little more will give you an instrument that will grow with you as you playing ability progresses.
Whichever clarinet you select to buy, make sure that it is the right one for you. Just because someone you know, or a teacher, recommends a model to you doesn’t mean it should be the only one you consider; everyone’s choice of instrument is personal, and what works perfectly for one player may not suit another as much.