Student Instruments Part I

Good morning,

I found your name listed as a helpful person in when I did a search on clarinets. My daughter, now almost 17, has been playing the clarinet for about 5½ years would like a new one. I plead ignorance in such matters and am hoping that you might direct me to an area where I might learn more about Clarinets. When her clarinet was in the shop (for a cork replacement) she borrowed a friends old wood clarinet and liked the way it played and sounded. I’m willing to bet that like most things there is a wide range of choices depending on cost vs. quality.

I guess I’m hoping you might share with me some brand names or Web sites where I could learn more. If you share brands maybe you could tell me which ones are considered top notch and/or top dollar. I assume you get what you pay for and no matter how great it is I doubt that I can afford the top of the line. I’m hoping something in the middle is affordable to my budget. Obviously, if you’ve read this far you know that I don’t even know what to ask. I would appreciate any help you might provide including maybe the right questions I should ask.

Thank you for your time and have a great day.


As I keep patrolling these bulbous files, I do not think that I have answered this and there is much that can be said. We are all in the dark when it comes to buying new clarinets, and as we improve it gets more complicated. If you spent that much (400) six years ago, it sounds like a lot for a student plastic instrument. Buying a new wooden is part luck and part WHEN you buy (season makes a difference as to breaking in, etc.) and part what your teacher chooses. Since I do not know if she studies, I will suggest that she does, and again if you have chosen well, that will answer a lot of the questions you have. The best student instruments cost about 4 to 800 dollars. NEVER pay list price. Serious students buy at a third off or more. The best brands are: Yamaha, Selmer, Buffet, and Leblanc … in no particular order.

One of the strange things that I have done and probably many others as well, is to try clarinets almost continuously … I have always had access to music stores and to people in the business who have something new or even more screwy than the next guy to attract.

Yamaha has produced some lovely student wooden instruments and they have many models, and they are mostly good, the others, the French ones as they all are, are not as consistent, but the odd one will be better than the Japanese.

I play the Leblanc “Opus”. It costs 5000, and the set costs 10. They are great. Really quite good. BUT sometimes I am NOT. That is the nature of this beast.

If your daughter shows obvious talent and professes a joy of playing, that real ability to discern, perhaps she should have the best you can get… On the other hand, these kinds of people simply do stick out and and shine.

They needn’t have a great horn … for certainly they will be heard and everything will fall into place.

The best compliments I have had are that I sound as if the clarinet were a part of me. (That is the goal I have tried to give to all students).

Thank you for asking me. It gave cause to a lost of thought, and for that I owe you, thanks. Best of all good fortune


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