We prepared this review on the best clarinet brands to help you, our reader, pick your best clarinet. When it comes to the best clarinet, it’s not so much an absolute term as it is a case of what best suits the player.
So, you will find in our review all kinds of clarinet for different levels of players. For you to make the best choice though, you’d have to consider a number of features of the clarinet.
For instance, you’d have to consider your own level of skill, the cost of the clarinet, as well as the material. The weight of the clarinet will also impact on whether you end up enjoying your clarinet or not.
So, for a thorough review on some of the best beginner clarinets, clarinets for intermediate as well as pro players, stay with us.
- Top 8 Best Clarinet Brands For The Money 2020 Reviews
- Best Clarinet Brands Buying Guide
Top 8 Best Clarinet Brands For The Money 2020 Reviews
Yamaha YCL-650 Clarinet
14.2 x 8.2 x 4.2 inches
Carrying case, mouthpiece, care kit
15.2 x 6.5 x 12.5 inches
Hard/semi-hard case, Yamaha 4C mouthpiece
Yamaha YCL-450 Clarinet
14.7 x 10.2 x 5.3 inches
95% granadilla woond and 5% polycarbonate fiber and epoxy resin
17.8 x 13.8 x 9.5 inches
Carry case (no mouthpiece)
Nuvo N100CLGN Clarineo Kit
White and Green
3 x 20 x 7 inches
Cleaning cloth, O-ring grease, spare reeds, and fingering chart
6 x 15 x 9.5 inches
Carrying case, Rico reeds, gloves, cleaning cloth, cork grease
14 x 4.2 x 10.8 inches
Leather carry case
14.2 x 11.2 4.8 inches
Deluxe naughahyde-covered wood shell case with plush interor
The Yamaha YCL-650 sounds every bit as wonderful as it looks. And we are not surprised coming from a brand as Yamaha. You don’t even need to be a music enthusiast to know the legendary Japanese brand. This company has contributed to the music industry through their quality music instruments.
Today, we review its Yamaha YCL-650. It comes with a bell design which carries a resonance chamber. In this resonance chamber contains the magic which turns your playing into rich, sonorous tones.
This clarinet comes with a really fantastic response. Your fingers will happily move about on this clarinet for hours unend without tiring easily. Plus, coming in lightweight at 5.2 pounds, you’d never tire of practicing on this as it’s comfortable to hold.
We love how Yamaha designs the bore of this clarinet to increase the overall playability of the instrument. And it’s not just that the clarinet is easy to play, it’s how it also produces lovely, vibrant sounds as well. Intonation is pleasantly accurate.
In construction, this is a really durable instrument. It’s made of grenadilla word, and granted, it’s not as strong as some other materials, like ebonite for instance. But that’s not to say that this isn’t strong. In fact, it’s strong enough for you to pass it down to someone else.
Plus, because this is made from wood, you can be sure that this will deliver on a nearly perfect sound. Of course, we can’t talk about the material and not talk about the looks of this clarinet. It looks beautiful and that much is obvious.
By way of accessories, Yamaha threw in a carry case as well as a mouthpiece and a care kit. In our opinion, the case will serve, the mouthpiece is just there, and the care kit is excellent.
Again we review another clarinet from Yamaha, this time the Yamaha YCL-255. With what we’ve come to expect from Yamaha, of course we have high expectations from this instrument.
In the first place, we have to mention here that this clarinet is pretty different from the other clarinet we just saw. This is an entry-level instrument, although it’s somewhat pricey.
It’s plastic instead of wood and lacks a bit on what a professional clarinet should be. But it doesn’t claim to be a pro instrument so it’s as well.
Anyway, if you’re a serious beginner or you’re looking to make the upgrade from a budget instrument, then you might like this.
The state-of-the-art construction here really impresses us for several reasons. One, it ensures that this remains in good condition for as long as possible. And thanks to its plastic construction, this clarinet is fantastic for students and younger players as it will withstand abuse better.
Now, although this is not a wooden clarinet, the YCL-255 still produces beautiful sound. In fact, we found it really cool that this almost sounds close to what you’ll hear from a wooden clarinet.
In the looks department, this is passes the test. It looks good especially with its matte finish. And if you want, you could also order for a finish or color that matches your unique tastes as well.
In addition to all these features, this clarinet also comes with a thumb-rest (adjustable) and a belt ring. With these two features, the beginner would be able to learn proper playing techniques. And then the included strap would also make the instrument much more playable too.
Lastly, compared to the Yamaha YCL-650, this comes with a lighter bell. But the resonance chamber still functions the same enhancing and improving your tone.
Yes, another Yamaha clarinet on our review. What can we say? This brand knows what it is doing. It has given us professional, intermediate, as well as beginner clarinets.
The last two we saw were its professional and beginner clarinets. This time, we check out its intermediate clarinet – the Yamaha YCL-450.
This is a well constructed clarinet and this is quite obvious even from the looks of the instrument. It’s wood, people! And this is good news. Just like the Yamaha YCL-650, this is also made of granadilla wood which is what gives this its beautiful looks and sound.
You’ve got to be careful though because wood is somewhat fragile and grenadilla wood isn’t the strongest on the block. But that’s not to say that the quality of construction here is questionable. It is a really durable instrument. Plus, the wood also gives this clarinet a warm, beautiful sound.
One another obvious feature which we love about the YCL-450 is the new bell shape design. This design doesn’t just make the clarinet look good, it also affects sound. You’ll find that this clarinet projects really loudly especially when you’re playing on the lower register.
As for the barrel, you’ll be excited to know that it comes redesigned too. This gives the clarinet a much faster and more flexible response. Plus, the intonation of the clarinet is so good, it sounds nearly as good as a professional instrument would.
We won’t forget to mention the nickel-plated keys too. Knowing that some customers are somewhat allergic to silver plating, Yamaha went for nickel plating instead. So, if that’s you, then you should get this clarinet.
For customers with smaller hands, this clarinet has got you with its adjustable thumb rest and strap ring.
There’s just so much to love about this clarinet!
Buffet Crampon isn’t a novice in the clarinet industry. This brand has actually been around for a pretty long time now. And by pretty long, we mean this brand is currently 2 centuries strong! That’s saying a lot!
Its R13 clarinet is a masterfully crafted piece. And from our findings on this instrument, we would place this well beyond even the intermediate level. Amazingly, this clarinet is still quite reasonably priced. Trust us, we found that pleasantly surprising considering the quality of the instrument.
The R13 is currently used by a lot of professionals. But even at that, we found that this can still be used by high school clarinet players (of advanced skill) or college players too.
In construction, this stands out with the premium quality grenadilla wood used. So, this is made from wood as you can see and will give you an outstanding sound no doubt.
And still striving to enhance sound and tone, Buffet Crampon does a beautiful work on the bore and undercut toneholes. Beautifully designed, the bore and undercut tone holes work together to give this clarinet its beautiful intonation, and improved response as well as tone.
The keys on this clarinet are quite beautiful. They are much stronger and more durable than keys you find on low end clarinets. Plus with the nickel plating, you can be sure that the keys won’t tarnish on time like silver would.
Altogether, this is a well balanced clarinet with a ring key design that encourages your fingers to slide with ease. Just keep in mind that this clarinet does not come with a mouthpiece. This is probably because it targeted at the professionals who have their own preferences anyway.
Is your 4 year old already showing interests in playing the clarinet? Then this might just be thing for them. The Nuvo N100CLGN is a cute clarinet for the kids to enjoy. We won’t exactly call this entry-level. So, while going through this review you might want to keep in mind that this is strictly for the kids.
This clarinet is made from ABS plastic, so, it’s great for children. No matter how careless they get with it, it will definitely last. And because this is plastic, it is also very lightweight. So far, it is our lightest clarinet on review, weighing in at about 2.5 pounds. As you can see it’s very light.
Being plastic, you, of course, should not expect the sound quality here to blow you away. It’s satisfactory for its purpose but nothing more than that. And if we keep this strictly to its purpose, you could even say the tone is pretty sweet.
The Nuvo N100CLGN comes in the key C which is the norm for kid clarinets. This size is a lot easier to play and will help your kid to begin early to form correct playing techniques.
This is also a low maintenance instrument unlike wood which requires meticulous care. According to the manufacturers, this is completely washable. This way, your kids can clean this themselves even without your intervention. And you don’t have to fear them damaging the instrument.
We also love how this comes with several useful accessories to make this usable right out of the box. In fact, this comes with a real E flat mouthpiece and reed.
Lastly, we love the eye catching colors here. This particular clarinet comes in green and white and if you want, there are other fun colors available as well.
As the name already gives away, this is a student/beginner clarinet. The brand behind this instrument, Jean Paul is not new to anyone. This brand is the brain behind so many quality wind instruments in the market today.
This is a pretty straightforward instrument that says what it does and does what it says. It comes with an ebonite body and nickel plating. So, in terms of construction, this clarinet is solid. It will not disappoint and will definitely last.
The clarinet is super strong and resistant to both breakage and scratches thanks to its ebonite body. Ebonite is super strong plastic, so we are not surprised.
Now one big advantage of this clarinet’s ebonite body is that it is neither affected by humidity nor temperature. So, you’re going to be using this for years without ever worrying about quality. And this does not disappoint in looks either. Elegant and standing tall, this clarinet is a looker for the price.
Sound here is quite exceptional and tone is also beautiful. But we love this instrument even more for the value it gives. Being a beginner instrument, it comes moderately priced but even more importantly, it comes with so many useful accessories. These might have cost you an additional $50 or more. So yeah it’s pretty good value for money.
Again, we have another Buffet Crampon on our hands. This one, the Buffet Crampon E11, is slightly less expensive than the R13. Nonetheless, it is still quite pricey, selling for about $2000 currently.
It’s a beautiful clarinet as we’ve come to expect from Buffet Crampon. It looks tastefully crafted with an elegance that speaks to a certain class of players. It goes without saying, this is not a beginner clarinet. It’s a clarinet targeted at professionals and intermediate players as well.
Of course, at its price, it is more expensive than the average intermediate clarinet. But if you do get it, you’d find that it is worth the price.
The quality of construction here gives this clarinet a level of advancement in performance that few clarinets in its category can boast of.
Also, of all high end clarinets at the intermediate level, the Buffet Crampon E11 is the most popular. So, you’ll be wise to go for it as finding replacement parts would be way easier.
The sound quality here is also quite good and impressive. It’s deep and rich just like a good clarinet should be.
However, bear in mind, that this clarinet is high maintenance. You’re going to have to be meticulous about your care for the clarinet else it will begin to underperform.
If you do recall we reviewed a similar instrument a few products back. Well, it’s actually the same with this one. They are both R13 clarinets from the same brand.
They only differ slightly in that one is made to be more eco-friendly than the other. The eco-friendlier one being the Green Line R13. Also, both clarinets differ slightly in dimension and weight. This R13 is slightly heavier than the Green Line but only by a teeny bit.
There isn’t much to say about this clarinet that we haven’t said in the previous review of the Green Line R13. So, for the full gist, you might want to go back to that review.
And yeah, we forgot another slight difference. Naturally, this clarinet is less expensive than the Green Line R13. So, if you really loved the features of the R13 and it was a bit out of your reach, this one might be within easy reach.
We will mention here though that we feel spoiled rotten by the deluze case Buffet Crampon throws in with this clarinet. It’s so high quality and plush that your clarinet would actually feel like a king. And it will definitely protect your clarinet form abuse and accidents as well.
As usual, this steals hearts with its look. Sound quality was not compromised either. Tone and construction are also excellent. All that didn’t change.
Sadly, another thing that remained the same is the fact that this does not come with a mouthpiece. Well, if you’re getting this, then you probably already have your own preference when it comes to mouthpieces. So, it might be just as well.
Best Clarinet Brands Buying Guide
Before deciding on any clarinet, here are a few things you should know about clarinets first.
Types Of Clarinets
Clarinets come in five major types. We say “major” because there are actually other types of clarinets. Five, however, are more common than the rest. These are the B flat (Bb), the A, the E flat (Eb) (these belong to the soprano family), the contra-alto and the contra-bass (these belong to the bass family).
The most common clarinet in school bands of all the types listed above is the B flat clarinet and the Bass clarinet too. And of these two, the B flat clarinet is widely known as the best clarinet for students.
Since they are the easiest to work with, they are usually recommended to students to begin their clarinet journey with. So, if your kid has joined the school band, then you probably want to get them a B flat clarinet.
As for A clarinets, you usually find them being used for classical pieces.
E flat clarinets are more intermediate level instruments and sometimes pro level too. Of the types of clarinets, the E flat clarinet is actually a bit tougher to learn. However, they produce the best sound in the right hands.
Material Of Construction
There are two materials of choice when it comes to the construction of clarinets. Clarinets can either be made from plastic or from wood.
When it comes to durability, of course, plastic fares better than wood. Factor in the occasional accidental dropping plus other abuse. This should show you why you’re better off getting a plastic clarinet for a younger player/beginner.
Marching bands should also consider plastic clarinets over wooden clarinets because of how often they move. With this constant movement comes the increase in the risk of dropping the instrument. Hence the reason we advise plastic clarinets.
Now, although wooden clarinets have the reputation for being fragile, there are players who prefer them for their sound. In their opinion, wooden clarinets give warmer, better sound. Of course plastic gives great sound too, just not as great as wooden clarinet.
So, consider this when making your choice.
We already mentioned before that Bb clarinets are recommended for students. That said, these clarinets usually come a bit large and heavy. So, it’s best if the student using such a clarinet is 8 years old at least.
If your child is younger, say 5, then a C clarinet makes a better choice. And to make things even more interesting, many C clarinets also come in fun colors.
The price spectrum when it comes to clarinets is quite wide. It could go for as low as below $100 to as high as over $3000. So, really it’s going to have to depend on you and your pocket to make the choice.
It’s commonsensical to seek a pricey clarinet as a long term investment. And it’s best you consider such pricey instruments only if you’re a professional.
Beginners who are just starting out have no need for high end clarinets just yet. Instead, try going for an entry level clarinet and then upgrade as you get better.
Making the upgrade does not always have to mean going straight for the thousand dollar clarinets too. There are quality clarinets that still manage to combine quality construction and features with a reasonable budget price.
What Are The Best Clarinet Brands?
From our research, we found out that some of the best clarinet brands include Selmer, Jean Paul, Buffet Crampon, Cecilio, Jupiter, and Yamaha.
Our favorite clarinet is the Yamaha YCL-650 Clarinet. It’s not so cutthroat in price but it’s still pretty decent in terms of quality.
The fact that it is made of wood is already a huge plus since it gives the clarinet a beautiful sound. But then again, it’s high maintenance and you’d need to change out the mouthpiece.
Barring those small drawbacks though, we think the Yamaha YCL-650 is a great clarinet to take a shot at.