A pair of(Yamaha) Clarinets

Dear Mr Friedland

A tough one for you..If you could buy a new pair of clarinets what would you consider on the market today? I want to but have not got a clue. I am thinking of intermediate to pro.
Your advice will be appreciated. sincerely, IH

Dear IH:
Your question must be difficult as it is not an easy choice for someone to consider all of the many ramifications in the business of purchasing a new pair of clarinets. A first consideration for anyone may be the amount you would pay for a set of new clarinets, or in some cases, it could be totally immaterial. It all depends upon your circumstances. Ruling out available finances for they differ for everyone, perhaps the first things to observe will be the number of different available makes of clarinets and their general position within the marketplace.Look forthe most highly regarded clarinet maker and their general reputation. Look for the maker who produces the most clarinets on all levels . Levels of clarinet manufacture always turn into a group of statements made, usually describing indefinables, those being beauty of tone, beauty of just about anything, testimonials by performers, which in the main, should be avoided unless you know the person and/or know his or her playing. Every clarinetist has strong opinions, and also has a certain level of performance, and every clarinetist employed professionally, can play the clarinet very well. So, make your comparisons by the number of players with whom you are familiar, and attempt to arrange them is some order . Your choices will be made depending on the numbers of performers, their preferred instrument, the general reputationof these players, and finally, the make and model of clarinet which seems to be their choice.

In every example and case, you will eventually find that most fine players generate around one or two specific brands and models of clarinets. One will always be Buffet, general the name used as a benchmark of clarinet names.
When we buy tissues for our nose, we frequently use KLEENEX, which of course, is a brand, and has been substituted for every type of tissue. In the realm of the clarinet, that name has been Buffet for many years.But ,if you are a discerning person and/or musician, you must know that this is the most inconsistent clarinet made, with enormous variances in every aspect of performance, from manufacture and quality of sound and dependability. The fine players who play Buffet are all quite excellent, but it is a garanty that they all have technicians whom they see,probably initially on a daily basis; to tune, to voice, to adjust, to repair their instruments. And of course, a pair of these clarinets new are mostly highly prohibitive for many of you, if not all. Some of these clarinet have been tweaked to impressive excellent results, but they will cost more than ten thousand dollars for the pair. I myself, find that highly excessive.

But this is your choice, and your money. You asked my opinion and based upon the above, and what I actually think would be the best choice, based upon the extreme playability and rather high quality of manufacture, and the fact that I have played or owned almost all of the various models made by this company, my suggestion is that you investigate the high end of the Yamaha clarinet product. It is the CSG Series. I would also suggest that you try this special plating they offer. It is gold, mixed with nickel and copper. Largely a matter of opinion, many prefer the way this plating responds.

You will find that these are very consistent instruments, better tuned than any Buffet or even Selmer. Certainly there are other fine clarinets, but the pair of these will afford you the best sound, intonation and a very good buy.

Most sincerely,



One Response to A pair of(Yamaha) Clarinets

  1. I just recently acquired a CSGII custom, initially as a backup to my Leblanc Opus. The Opus is a fine clarinet; tuned and voiced by an excellent clarinetist on the East Coast. Excellent intonation, sound and response and an Alt-Eb key. I’m in the middle of a 3 week run of West Side Story where I have to play solos and ensemble passages jumping from the G” up to the altissimo G”’.

    NOTE: I said “initially as a backup”. The CSGII I purchased used, in excellent condition, but not voiced or tuned (or so I suspect) and it plays every bit as well as my Opus. The tone has a bit more emphasis on the higher partials and I think a bit sweeter.

    As a professional show reed player, I wholeheartedly echo Mr. Friedland’s comments on the out-of-the-box quality of the CSGII. (On a related note, I needed a tenor sax for another show and purchased an older Yamaha 62 tenor. A duplicate of the Selmer Mark VI, but plays so much better than every Mark VI I ever played with consistency of intonation that is impressive…I’m tremendously impressed by the clarinet and my sax experience with the Yamaha brand).

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