Buying a brand new clarinet can be a very rewarding experience. A well-tuned, quality clarinet can produce some of the clearest, most beautiful-sounding tones that arguably sound the best of all the instruments in the woodwind family.
On the other hand, a lower quality instrument will tend to squeak, lose its tune more readily, and overall have a cheaper build. While this type of instrument can make for a good beginner clarinet, if you plan on playing for years, go for one with a more quality constion.
With this in mind, we’ve created this resource so that you can have all of the information you need to select the clarinet that you’ll play for years. We’ll walk you through:
- Brands of Clarinets
- Specific models of Clarinet
- Finding the best student clarinet that will also work for intermediate players.
Our Top 3 Choice for Clarinets
- Jean Paul USA CL-300 Student Clarinet
- Beautiful Ebonite Body Material featuring Boehm 17 key system
- Included Accessories: Carrying Case, Rico Reeds, Gloves, Cleaning Cloth, and Cork Grease
- Comes with robust contoured carrying case for ease of use transportation
- Yamaha YCL-255 Standard Bb Clarinet Bb Clarinet
- 65mm barrel for a focused tone
- Adjustable thumb rest with strap ring
- Yamaha 4C mouthpiece included
- Legacy CL750 Intermediate Clarinet with Deluxe Carrying Case
- The Legacy CL750 Clarinet is one of our best student/intermediate clarinets and is specially priced to save 50% compared to other manufacturers
- Sterling Silver Plated keys and Italian Made Pads. Perfect step up instrument for the high school player.
- Setup, adjusted and ready to play
List of the Best Clarinets on the Market Today:
First, let’s take a look at some of the better clarinets on the market today. These clarinets have received reviews available and will provide a great experience for experts and beginners alike.
As the name implies, the Jean Paul USA CL-300 is a good beginner clarinet. As a matter of fact, this particular instrument is Amazon’s actual pick for beginners.
Despite its beginner-friendliness, this is excellent in general. It won’t squeak, has a beautiful ebonite body, nickel keys, and also is durable enough to last through practice sessions and performances alike.
In addition to these attributes, this clarinet uses a Boehm 17 key system that grants users a wide variety of musical tones. The cylindrical bore of this instrument ensures that it fits well in your hands as you play.
Some of the key features of the Jean Paul USA CL-300 are its:
- Even weight distribution
- Ability to be easily transported via its included carrying case
- Beautiful ebonite construction with nickel keys
- Included cleaning cloth that makes cleaning the clarinet easy
- Inclusion of spare Rico reeds and cork grease
The Jean Paul USA CL-30 is one of the best instruments on the market today for beginners. As a matter of fact, this particular clarinet is often the feature of positive student clarinet reviews.
If you’re looking for an instrument that’ll last through the beginning to intermediate stages, then this is a great product to consider.
There are few brands of the musical instrument as prestigious or well-known as Yamaha. From drums to keyboards, just about any Yamaha instrument will provide musical perfection.
The Yamaha YCL-255 is a great example of this iconic quality and provides a great experience for any level of a clarinet player.
The first thing of note about this clarinet is the fact that it has a design that’s modeled off of Yamaha’s more professional clarinets.
This degree of styling and quality means that you’ll be able to play the tones and produce the nuanced sounds that you hear in orchestras.
With this said, this model is made for students; it’s probably the plastic clarinet that Yamaha makes, and it is designed to have one of the lightest bills available.
This light bill design is the result of an ABS resin construction, which makes this clarinet a breeze to use for hours on end.
Some of the key features of the Yamaha YCL-255 are its:
- Adjustable thumb-ring for comfort
- Sturdy ABS resin build
- Ability to be used by novices and professionals alike because of its professional-level build quality
The Yamaha YCL-255 is a great option that includes a carry bag and several other neat bells and whistles that will be perfect for clarinet players of any skill level.
Sometimes, a musician needs a more intermediate instrument that has a better build quality than can be found in the most reliable plastic clarinets. While this instrument is crafted of plastic resin, there’s a notable upgrade in build quality from beginners instruments.
As a matter of fact, this instrument has sterling silver-plated keys that are of very high quality. Most student clarinet reviews rate this instrument as perfect for a high school band player with an intermediate skill level.
This specific instrument is also a clarinet for those who want to play consistently. It’ll last for years and play dulcet tunes throughout its use. For long playtimes, the instrument also has a very lightweight construction; it only weighs about 3.6 pounds and has a lighter bill for comfort.
Some of the key features of the Legacy CL750 are its:
- Quality construction that is durable and well-crafted
- Italian-made pads
- Quality, screech-free tonality
- Durable carrying case
If you’re an intermediate-level player, then the Legacy CL750 is a great choice for your skill level. While it’s not perfect for beginners, most clarinet reviews state that it is one of the best student clarinets, especially for high school band members.
The Lazarro 150-BK-S is one of the greatest clarinet available today. Its construction is made from ebonite and it has silver keys that shine brightly. There are some colored variations that are crafted of ABS plastic and sport nickel keys. This means that you’ll have some options that’ll fit the player’s personality.
This kit really shines when it comes to extras. As a matter of fact, not only does Lazarro pack in a carrying case, but they also provide five additional reeds, a screwdriver, cork grease, and a soft cleaning cloth. All of these add-ins make for a great playing experience, especially if you’re an intermediate level clarinetist.
Some of the key features of the Lazarro 150-BK-S are its:
- A robust kit of clarinet maintenance tools and holders
- Lightweight construction; it only weighs 3.8 pounds
- The very competitive price point
- Ability to be used by both beginners and intermediate, high school level clarinetists
- Wide variety of color options
The Lazarro 150-BK-S is a high-quality clarinet that doesn’t cost a whole lot. It’s perfect for multiple levels of play doesn’t have that cheap clarinet squeak, and has a fairly lightweight construction that’s great for long play.
One of the most challenging issues for a parent who wants to foster a sense of artistry in their child is to find a musical instrument that is beginner-friendly and won’t break the bank.
Fortunately, the Allora AACL-336 has both of these requirements firmly in hand. It’s a very good beginner clarinet that is perfect for the most important stage of a child’s early clarinet-playing years.
Its architecture is made from a resin that’s then brushed so that it imitates the feel of natural wood. The original clarinets were made of wood, and this design feature really harkens back to the more traditional instruments.
Each of the keys is made of sturdy nickel-silver, and the combination of the resin and this material makes this instrument very durable.
Some of the key features of the Allora AACL-336 are its:
- Great, beginner-friendly construction
- Boehm key system that is responsive and easy to learn on
- Lightweight construction; it only weighs 3.5 pounds
- Adjustable thumb rest, which makes it easy to heft comfortably
The AACL-336 is the darling of many student clarinet reviews and its beginner-friendliness is well-documented. While you may have to trim the cork a little on this clarinet for optimal playing, it’s perfect for anyone looking to learn or play in a school band.
Another great Yamaha instrument, the YCL-450 is designed with the intermediate student in mind. Thanks to Yamaha’s quality design, this particular model even works well in a professional application.
Its bell and barrel shaping provides a great level of intonation and projection that will make this instrument sound beautifully resonant.
This intermediate clarinet is constructed of granadilla wood, which adds to the clarinet’s natural sound. It’s a little heavy at five pounds, but that’s to be expected from a clarinet that’s actually made of wood. Despite this extra weight, the YCL-450 is a well-balanced instrument that’s perfect for extended play.
Some of the key features of the Yamaha YCL-450 are its:
- Great intonation; this instrument sounds beautiful
- Elegant key system; the keys are Boehm-style and responsive
- Nickel-plated keys that are very durable for extended use
- Closeness to a professional sound
The Yamaha YCL-450 is a great instrument for the mid-tier player, but it also has enough solid construction to be perfect for a pro that is playing gigs on the road. This instrument is proof-positive that instruments from clarinet brands like Yamaha are often high quality.
This model is also available with silver-plated keys.
Selmer is one of the world’s top band instrument providers; you can tell this by all of the positive Selmer clarinet reviews. The CL711 is a perfect model of the clarinet that student clarinetists can use to refine their skills with the instrument.
Created as an entry-level instrument, the CL711 Bb clarinet does a great job at providing a steady level of sound and performance.
Each of the keys is silver plated in this clarinet kit. Each key is very durable and has the proper amount of play so that students can learn with relative ease.
It’s made of durable plastic that has a texture that’s reminiscent of wood and also features some of the design notes that are typically reserved students of an intermediate level. This means that a new student can confidently use this instrument for years.
Some of the key features of the Selmer CL711 Bb are its:
- Sturdy construction and ability to be used for years
- Included plush case that’s both lightweight and protective for the clarinet
- Ease of use. It’s usable right out of the box and is toned and responsive immediately.
The Selmer CL711 Bb combines beginner-friendliness with premium construction and the result is a great clarinet for almost any musician. The case is a nice touch that provides plenty of utility and value; making this one of the top clarinet outfits available.
Typically, wooden construction is reserved for the more expensive, professional models of a clarinet that can run well over $3000 dollars. The Mendini MCT-30 is not only from one of the top names in the clarinet world, but it is also made of beautiful rosewood.
Any musician will tell you that rosewood is one of the most resonant-sounding tonewoods that are known for its use in mandolins, guitars, and on fretboards. Its inclusion on this clarinet is a great tonal choice. As a result, this clarinet sounds vibrant and has silver-plated keys that are responsive and durable.
Some of the key features of the Mendini MCT-30 are its:
- Adjustable thumb rest that allows you to find your most comfortable playing position
- Rosewood construction
- Protective, if not very plush, hard-shell case.
- Included clarinet care materials like the cork grease and cleaning cloth
While it’s not the clarinet for a beginner, the Mendini MCT-30 is an excellent instrument for a learning mid-level clarinetist. The inclusion of a pair of white gloves is a nice touch that will add to the classy feel of a real tonewood instrument.
Another quality Mendini instrument, their black ebonite clarinet is crafted of some of the best materials and has a fairly robust collection of pack-ins as well. Firstly, this B flat instrument is made of ebonite, which is a high grade, hardened ABS rubber that emulates the feel of wood, but is colored a deep, flat black.
This particular clarinet is exceptional for a youth who is just beginning to play the instrument; as a matter of fact, it’s one of the best student clarinets out there today. It even comes from one of the good brands, Mendini, who will back the quality and workmanship with a one-year warranty.
Some of the key features of the Mendini MCT Black Ebonite are its:
- Durable, ebonite body
- Numerous pack-ins that include a hard-shell case, a foldable and storable clarinet stand, and Mendini’s trademark gloves
- Nickel-plated keys
- Included music pocketbook
This Mendini instrument is a great option for those looking to begin a child’s musical education. It has a great, long-lasting design, a beautiful sound, and a one year warranty that is perfect for protecting it. If you need a learning model, at its cheaper price point, you’ll find a few clarinets that are better.
If you’re looking for a great clarinet that has exceptionally good tone and plays well, then the Hisonic 2610 may be the top plastic clarinet for you.
Despite being a budget-friendly instrument, the clarinet has some high-quality sound that resonates very well. In some cases, budget clarinets can feel and sound a bit like toys, but this particular model avoids this pitfall easily.
It’s comprised of ebonite, which is very durable and beginner-friendly. The pads on this clarinet are of the Prestini type, which means that they are of a high level of quality.
The Included case for this clarinet is also very large and premium-feeling. It has a plush interior and room for all of the included pack-ins like cork grease and clarinet swabs.
Some of the key features of the Hisonic Signature Series 2610 are its:
- High-quality case
- Nickel silver keys that are responsive and durable
- Marching band-friendly construction and design
- Ease of play
The Hisonic Signature Series 2610 is a clarinet that is a good beginner clarinet, or one of the best student clarinets for playing in a high school band. It has a great, sturdy case that will protect it on a band meet, and has some excellent pads for playing.
What is the Top Clarinet for Me?
Picking a Clarinet can be a difficult process. There are many types of the clarinet on the market, and selecting one for your skill level, usage, and sound needs will take much consideration. Let’s take a look at some of the features and considerations that are out there that you should know about.
What’s Your Skill Level?
This is a major consideration that should deeply inform the type of clarinet that you buy.
If you or your child is fresh to the world of the clarinet, it really isn’t a great idea to go out and buy an instrument that is priced over $1000.
These instruments are designed for intermediate and above players who have a little more experience with the instrument under their belt.
Types of Clarinet
There are actually several types of the clarinet; with some types that even have curved mouthpieces like those found on other wind instruments. Here are just a few:
These can come in Bb(flat), A, and Eb(flat) varieties. These clarinets are what most people think of when they think of the instrument. They have thin bodies and metal keys that resonate beautifully.
- Bb – This type is most common in jazz music, but also has a ton of versatility; you can find a B-flat soprano clarinet in Baroque music or Dixieland.
- A – A more commonly used type of clarinet in classical compositions, the A allows you to play some tones easier. As a result of this, some musicians have both the Bb and the A clarinets on hand so that they can switch them dependent on the piece. This is made easier by the fact that the bore is the same on both soprano clarinets, allowing clarinetists to use the same warm reed.
- Eb – One of the best types of clarinet for beginners, the Eb is often called the sopranino clarinet. If you need a higher-pitched melody, then the Eb is the clarinet for you.
There are even more types of clarinet out there. The Hub has a great write up of some more types, such as bass and harmony clarinets.
Clarinets have been comprised of granadilla for a long time. This wood is strong, resonant, and produces a clean tone. For beginners, many clarinets are made of ebonite; a material that is actually a very strong, black rubber.
Additionally, there are many resin-based instruments that are some of the greatest plastic clarinets on the market.
Best Clarinet Brands
Yamaha is one of the premier musical instrument producers in the world. They produce everything from classical pianos to drum sets.
Their clarinet line spans every skill range with beginner clarinets that have a lot of professional features to actual professional models that are seen in orchestras across the globe.
As a matter of fact, the musical instrument company produces clarinets at every price point, of every material, and of every type. To put the selection into perspective, Yamaha offers two Eb clarinets, 13 Bb clarinets, four A clarinets, an alto clarinet, and three bass clarinets.
This amazingly rich collection of 23 clarinet types gives clarinetists a wide selection of sounds to choose from.
Each of the offered clarinets has a niche from being “school bus friendly” to the “professional’s favorite,” there’s a model for you at Yamaha, so if you want to know where to buy a clarinet, this is one of the best places to look.
Mendini has a wide variety of musical instruments to choose from. The company offers violins, basses, and of course, clarinets. As a matter of fact, the majority of Mendini clarinet reviews state that the company has a great selection of clarinets for musicians of every possible skill level.
While not quite having the amazing selection of clarinets that is provided by Yamaha, Mendini does have 22 available products for every playing need.
One thing that the company provides that is not provided by many of its competitors is color options.
For example, for one of the Mendini clarinets that we featured in our guide, the MCT-E+SD+PB, there are seven color choices.
Another feature that sets Mendini apart from its competitors is its dedication to class and style. Several Mendini clarinets come with gloves that add a bit of panache to a musician’s playing and also protect the barrel of the instrument from the oils of its owner’s fingers.
Jean Paul is another of the good clarinet brands. Their primary model, the CL-300 is considered by many to be one of the most reliable cheap clarinets on the market today.
This lowish price point is not indicative of quality; all Jean Paul instruments are constructed of the finest materials and produce some of the best sounds available today.
Despite only really offering one model of clarinet, Jean Paul has become synonymous with the instrument, especially for those who are trying to learn how to play. As a matter of fact, it’s become rare to not find a Jean Paul CL-300 near or at the top of the most immeasurable clarinet reviews.
Clarinet for Beginners – FAQ
I want to play different styles of music. Which clarinet is best for me?
Because there are a soprano, bass, and even alto clarinets, picking a clarinet can be a tough proposition. If you want to be able to quickly switch between music styles, then it’s a safe bet to grab a Bb soprano clarinet.
While some classical pieces are more easily played by a Bb and an A together, you can usually play most songs on a Bb by itself.
My child is only six years old but has expressed interest in playing the clarinet. What are the steps I should follow to help my little girl keep on the path to becoming a clarinetist?
Kids can be tough to motivate, especially when you want them to stick to a musical instrument. The best way to foster extended interest is to get them weekly lessons. A music teacher can motivate a young person to keep trying to learn an instrument like the clarinet.
What is the expected price range for a clarinet?
Clarinets can be quite cheap or very expensive. There are many beginners’ clarinets on the market that are under $75, but on the other hand, there are professional level instruments that are over $7000 in price.
As a rule, if you’re new to the instrument, err on the lower priced models that have a good sound, then work your way to a more premium instrument.
I love my new clarinet, but the reeds are bad. Do you know where to buy clarinet reeds?
Clarinet reeds can be bought in any music store, in online retailers like Amazon, or even a more specialized instrument retailers like Guitar Center.
I intend to primarily play classical music. Does this mean that I should buy two soprano clarinets?
This will depend on the music that you will play. Many classical pieces can be played on a Bb clarinet, but some actually will call for both a Bb and an A clarinet, though you can seek by on a Bb. Whether or not you purchase both is going to depend on personal preference.
Whether you’re buying for yourself or your child, purchasing the top clarinet possible is a decision that will provide rewards throughout your life.
Music is a gift that continues to benefit the musician and the listener many years after the initial purchase.
The most important thing about buying one of these instruments is to buy for your skill level.
The fittest clarinet for sale is one that fits your playstyle and ability, so use our guide to find the perfect instrument for you. A great purchase means great sound quality, superior tonality, and a wide range of resonance for years to come.