Happy New Year ! I am a 64 year old returning amateur player and seek a good value clarinet with a decent sound . One mail order company has Patricola clarinets on closeout for $1200 . Is this too good to be true? Do you have any experience with these Italian sticks ? Also an English outfit Hanson has student (and advanced) hard rubber clarinets from $400 and up . Again , have you come across these instruments? Your comments would be much appreciated. Thanks so much .
Thank you for your question about reasonably priced good clarinets. They are definitely out there. Curiously, I have never played the Patricola Clarinet, and can therefore say nothing, however there are a number of reasonably priced instruments, which play well for under a thousand dollars. Hard rubber is a good choice for a clarinet as they are less liable to crack, and are supposed to be more stable in extreme temperature. The response is slightly different from that of wood. There is no better or worse adjective, it is simply a different response, easily acceptable and regularized. The Hanson instrument may be quite good, the price being terrific. Perhaps the best hard rubber instrument is has been designed and is marketed by William Ridenour, a master designer who has designed the best scale into an inexpensive hard rubber instrument. It is called the “Lyrique”. His name can be found in your browser . The Yamaha 250, which a is a reincarnation of the “20” is a plastic instrument with good playing charachteristics, and costs in the neighborhood where you are looking The Ridenour instrument represents the best buy, it coming with two barrels, mouthpiece, case, and a guarantee by the designer, who sets up each instrument prior to sale. I would be slightly leery of the Italian instrument because it may be closing out, meaning there will be no other and parhaps no recourse.
I hope this has helped.