Looking to buy a clarinet? Well, let me tell you… The wonderful and mellow Clarinet has an important and diverse background in the history of music. As one of the most versatile instruments in the woodwind family (which also includes flutes, oboes, bassoons, and saxophones), the clarinet has been the instrument of choice for many brilliant performers in many styles of music, including jazz, classical and pop.

Some of the most famous clarinettists to make history with the instrument include Benny Goodman, Richard Stoltzman, Jack Brymer, Anton Stadler, Acker Bilk, and Artie Shaw. These artists have each developed their own unique style of playing that illustrate the vast capabilities of the clarinet.

Why Choose a Clarinet?

The clarinet, for a child or adult, is a terrific choice into making music for the first time. The size and weight of the instrument makes the clarinet well-suited for children with small hands and, compared to many instruments, the clarinet has the advantage of being very portable.

Spoiler Alert; It is also, very ‘Cool’ and extremely affordable!

There are many opportunities for young players of the clarinet, primarily in school and local community concert bands and marching bands, orchestras, jazz bands, and clarinet ensembles.

The clarinet is often the instrument to play the melody in band, so children get a lot of pleasure by playing tunes!

clarinet-practiceIs it Difficult?

“No”. (says the Trombonist!!)

As with all activities, be it Music, Sport, Art etc. “with practice makes perfect”.

Producing a good sound on the clarinet is the first step in learning the instrument. This is not a difficult proposition if the student starts with a good, basic and reliable instrument, and of course, a competent teacher.

Spoiler Alert; A top-of-the range £10,000 clarinet will sound just the same as a good quality £150 student instrument when you first start!

Bargain for your Budget

The first issue to consider when purchasing a clarinet is what your budget is. A good-quality, brand-new student clarinet should cost in the region of £150, and I can’t recommend highly enough the outstanding Sonata B1S Clarinet. Sounding far better than the majority of ‘student’ instruments on the market costing three times the price, the Sonata has been specifically designed to give students the best possible start to their performance career. 

clarinet-case

 

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This benchmark student clarinet, recommended by many teachers and educational services, is perfect for any beginner player. Constructed with an ABS body for extra durability and ease of maintenance, and with a matte wood-effect finish, the instrument is light, robust and has an easy, responsive tone. Ideal, and confidence-boosting for the new player.

This great value for money student clarinet is high in quality with off-set trill keys, power forged nickel silver keys, undercut tone holes and an adjustable thumb rest. Which, at this stage might sound like a foreign language, but trust me, it adds to the quality sound production!

It is protected in a deluxe padded case, and includes a mouthpiece, mouthpiece cap, ligature, beginner reed, cleaning cloth, cork grease and detachable shoulder straps for the case.

As Tina Turner would say, the Sonata B1S, is “Simply the Best”!

Beat the Budget

There are however other superb options when looking for a great quality clarinet. These can cost much, much more than you may wish to be initially paying, but may offer an improved performance, faster development and better tonal response. A musical investment so to be.

Here are some of our best sellers that are highly regarded and recommended by clarinet teachers across the UK;

The perfect intermediate step-up clarinets money can buy, from the world’s top two woodwind manufacturers. Both of these instruments are very similar in construction, with a responsive polymer ABS body offering a lightweight feel, undercut tone holes with double-skin pads for accurate articulation, and improved ergonomic silver-plated keywork for greater reliability of performance.

How do you choose which one to go for?? Well that is the ‘million-dollar’ question. In fact, it isn’t; they are both the same price! And at just over £400, much, much less than a million!

So. Which one?? The Yamaha YCL255S tends to produce a more naturally ‘brighter’ tone, most suitable for Jazz Bands and Wind Bands, whereas the Buffet Prodige has its design and mellow tonal DNA traditions more suited to Wind Bands and Orchestras.

Blow the Budgetand an amazing Clarinet!

For those students who are progressing onto ‘A Level’ and Grade 8 performance standards, these two excellent intermediate instruments will not only offer a much higher quality level of sound production, but will become a long-lasting investment.

Again, two very similar clarinets, with similar design features. This time, for the extra cost (Yamaha c.£700 and the Buffet c.£870) you have the enhanced features of a solid grenadilla wood body, blue steel springs, upgraded silver-plated keywork, and a high-quality mouthpiece.

Used across the world in many semi-professional bands and orchestras, the reliability and projection of these brilliant clarinets is ideal in all musical situations and styles. A with the previous models, the Yamaha YCL450 offers a slightly brighter tone to that produced by the Buffet E12, but it is merely a very small difference and the choice is down to personal preference and teacher recommendation.

What budget!

Sometimes in life, only the best will do. Beluga Caviar. Fillet Steak. Petrus Wine. Aston Martin. Middlesbrough Football Club (!!).

For the pinnacle in clarinet manufacture, here at Normans we give you the Buffet and Yamaha bespoke models;

When it comes to the cost of these wonderful exhibits of craftsmanship, it is only an insignificant figure. A number that is overwhelmed by the outstanding sound and imposing tonal quality. At around £2k for the Yamaha YCLCX Custom and an eye-watering, but I must admit ear-astounding, £3.5k for the wonderful Buffet R13 Prestige, the purchase of these instruments is for the enthusiastic musician who wants the finest things in life. They will not disappoint when only the best will do!

Hand crafted from the finest of selected woods, inset undercut tone-holes, forged keywork, premium pads, and professional quality mouthpiece, they offer an uncompromised level of performance desired by all. In the case of the Buffet Prestige, it offers even more with upgraded springs and an additional left-hand Eb Key.

Normans Musical Instruments; Clarinets of Quality & Value

Here at Normans we pride ourselves on the customer service and quality instruments we provide, giving honest opinions and advice, and of course, the best prices.

Our Clarinet range has something for everyone. Every level and standard of performance and ability. We welcome you to visit and try, or drop us an email at sales@normans.co.uk for any further advice or information.

We are musicians. Your performance matters to us!

About the author

Nick joined the Normans Sales Team after a musical career spanning 35 years; firstly as a principal trombonist in Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service for 24 years, performing around the UK and worldwide, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and then within the education sector teaching GCSE and A Level Music and Music Technology. He is a keen Big Band, Jazz performer and Hi-Fi enthusiast.

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